2013: Trends! Record Year For U.S. Exonerations from Pursuit Magazine

More inmates in the U.S. were exonerated in 2013 than in any previous year.

In a report released today, the National Registry of Exonerations—a joint project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law—there were a record 87 exonerations in the United States. in 2013.  In 17% of these, the wrongfully convicted had pleaded guilty to the crime, and in 8%, defendants had received the death penalty. Texas, Illinois, and New York led the states in exonerations, with 13, 9, and 8.

The Registry has recorded 1,300 exonerations since 1989 (when the first DNA exoneration occurred) and has identified several trends:

1. DNA exonerations are declining, while non-DNA exonerations have increased sharply.

DNA exonerations made up around one-fifth of the total in 2013, but they are slowly decreasing as a proportion of known exonerations. Today, DNA is usually tested before trial in major crimes prosecutions, so more and more DNA exonerations involve inmates convicted more than 20 years ago. Meanwhile, police and prosecutors have become more involved in pursuing other types of innocence claims.

2. Nearly one-third of the exonerations in 2013 involved crimes that never happened.

Twenty-seven of the 87 known exonerations were in cases in which the crime in question didn’t actually exist.

The number of exonerations in which no crime occurred has steadily increased. In eight illustrative case studies listed in the report, four involved nonexistent crimes—an arson, a murder, and two assaults. Two convictions resulted from false testimony from alleged victims, and two cases were “crimes” later found to be accidents.


About securityteknews
Ralph Thomas is author of over 32 books on various aspects of conducting investigations, founder and director of The National Association Of Investigative Specialists,CEO of Thomas Investigative Publications, Inc, The Spy Exchange And Security Center and SpyTek Wholesale Imports. Thomas is a member of the Executive Security Council of Griffith Colson Intelligence Service, a private intelligence agency. Thomas's latest project is NAIStv on the Griffith Media TV Network. He has also developed A Native American Store in Georgetown Texas called Tribal Impressions. You can review his person home page off of: http://www.pimall.com/thomas

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