One of our standard close reasons is

Questions about unresolved current events and issues currently under investigation by a court of law, government, or other similar investigative body are off-topic because there is insufficient data for a meaningful answer....

There seems to be some precedent that these sorts of questions do become on-topic after the investigation/case/adjudication/etc. has been completed, but the result then is that those findings are taken as authoritative.

Is it appropriate to question the findings of such an "investigative body" at a distant time after the conclusion of the investigation? That is, questions would be of the form, "At a sufficient time in the past, investigators charged with investigating allegations of P found that P was in fact the case. Were their findings correct?" For example, would a question like

In 1970, John Smith was found guilty of the murder of William Jones (source). Did he actually commit the murder or was he falsely convicted?

A murder case is usually notable, but is that sufficient to make the 1970 conviction into a notable, on-topic claim today, or would I need further evidence calling into question the original conviction (e.g. a 1983 interview in which one of the original witnesses recants their testimony, a 2005 academic article showing flaws in the bullet identification tests used in those days, etc.)?

1 Answer 1


If you doubt whether he killed Jones, the trial is strong evidence and we can't simply discard it. It's one of the strongest possible pieces of evidence. Further trials and revisions would probably be admissible but I don't know there are any in this case.

If you doubt the trial itself, who is claiming that it is? Is that notable? If it is, then some forensic analysis of it would represent interesting evidence. Showing the trial is invalid would not necessarily invalidate its verdict though.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .