The National Registry of Exoneration has reported 139 exonerations — cases in which convictions were officially vacated as a result of new evidence of innocence — in 2017. A significant finding in the Annual Report (here) is that in 84 of these cases, misconduct by police, prosecutors, or other government officials factored in the wrongful conviction, an all-time record for official misconduct as a contributor to wrongful convictions later vacated through exoneration. But there was also encouraging evidence of increasing activism in achieving exonerations by prosecutorial offices through the work of Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs).
The annual report provides a detailed analysis of exonerations in 2017. Perjury or false accusation factored in a record 87 cases, 62 percent. Another record 29 or 20 percent of exonerations involved a false confession. And mistaken eyewitness identification impacted a record 37 cases, 26 percent.
Fifty-one defendants were exonerated of homicide, twenty-nine of sex crimes, eighteen of other violent crimes, forty-one of non-violent crimes such as fraud, Continue reading
Posted in Commissions/Innocence Commissions/Governmental Case Review Agencies, Conviction Integrity Units, Editorials/Opinion, Exonerations, Eyewitness identification, False confessions, Police conduct (good and bad), Post-conviction relief, Prosecutorial conduct (good and bad), Reforming/Improving the system, wrongful conviction
Tagged National Registry of Exonerations
Posted in Exonerations, Junk science, Prosecutorial conduct (good and bad), Uncategorized, United Kingdom, wrongful conviction
Tagged DNA, DNA testing, exoneration, National Registry of Exonerations, Prosecutorial immunity, prosecutorial misconduct, wrongful conviction
Posted in Asia, False confessions, Uncategorized
Tagged Alan Clark, Asia, Billy Glaze, Cardiff Law School Innocence Project, China, Christopher Tapp, DNA, DNA Odds, Dwaine George, false confession, Judges for Justice, Making a Murderer, Minnesota Innocence Project, miscarriage of justice, National Registry of Exonerations, Scotland
The National Registry of Exonerations has reported a record 149 known exonerations in 2015 in 29 states, the District of Columbia, federal courts, and Guam. The exonerated had served an average of 14-and-a-half years in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Increasing known exonerations has been a trend over recent years, and the National Registry of Exoneration’s annual report, Exonerations in 2015, includes several new records for 2015: Continue reading
Of more than 1,700 known exonerations in the U.S. since 1989, persons innocent of the crime pleaded guilty in 261 or 15 percent of the cases. The November 2015 newsletter of The National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) sheds light on the non-intuitive decision to plead guilty when innocent, the systemic pressures that prompt it, and why an unknown number of wrongful convictions based on false guilty pleas may never be identified or corrected.
About 95 percent of criminal felony and misdemeanor convictions in the United States now come by way of a guilty plea. The trend of case resolution by plea negotiation has diminished the percentage of cases that are resolved by jury or bench trial. As the report points out, guilty pleas usually result in lighter sentences — Continue reading
Sam Gross, editor of the National Registry of Exonerations, recently wrote an editorial for the Washington Post: The Staggering Number of Wrongful Convictions in American
In Hawaii, attorneys say they can prove that the investigation and prosecution resulting in Taryn Christian 1995 murder conviction were rife with fraud…
Illinois exoneree Alprentiss Nash who was convicted of murder in 1995 and released in 2012 after DNA tests proved his innocence, was fatally shot Tuesday after an argument…
New York’s highest court denies State’s appeal of 2014 court decision overturning the 1993 kidnapping convictions of Everton Wagstaffe and Reginald Connor…
New Conviction Integrity Unit formed in Orange County, New York…
Posted in Conviction Integrity Units, Editorials/Opinion, Exonerations, Post-conviction relief, Prosecutorial conduct (good and bad), wrongful conviction
Tagged Brady Violation, Conviction Integrity Unit, exoneration, exoneree, National Registry of Exonerations, Prosecutorial immunity, prosecutorial misconduct, Sam Gross, The National Registry of Exonerations, wrongful conviction
The National Registry of Exonerations has announced a chilling milestone, the 1,600th known exoneration in the United States since 1989. The tally of persons known to have been convicted of crimes they did not commit has grown rapidly from the Registry’s launch three years ago. The 1600th exoneration, that of Michael McAlister, occurred last week.
Maurice Possley’s Registry report on Michael McAlister (here) provides the telling details — case unique and yet familiar — of a tragic miscarriage. Police and prosecutors would come to doubt McAlister’s guilt and subsequently joined a long effort to correct this stubborn error. Continue reading
Testimony from jailhouse informants has been a known factor in wrongful convictions, and new data indicates the use of this risky evidence has been more frequent in the worst crimes, according to the May 2015 report of The National Registry of Exonerations. While snitch testimony has been a factor in 8% of exonerations across all crimes, it has been a contributor to wrongful conviction in 15% of murder exonerations and in 23% of death penalty exonerations.
Snitch testimony is compelling to a jury but often unreliable because it can be compromised by incentives for the informant to lie. A factor in 119 of 1,567 known exonerations (tallied from 1989 up to March 17, 2015), the new data reveals the risk not only of convicting the innocent but also of enabling the guilty to escape justice and continue perpetrating the most heinous of crimes. An accompanying consideration: Jailed snitches have been compensated for their testimony with reduced sentences, another risky practice.
Access The National Registry of Exonerations May newsletter (here).
In two separate cases, men who were convicted and imprisoned for murders they did not commit had a very good week as officials recognized their innocence on Friday, January 9. Both had been released after years in prison but had continued to fight to clear their names and reputations.
Derrick Hamilton spent 21 years in prison for the 1991 murder of Nathanial Cash in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. In prison, he steadfastly proclaimed his innocence knowing that this worked against his opportunities for early parole. He remained in prison even after the sole witness — Cash’s girlfriend whose Continue reading
The June 2014 update of the National Registry of Exonerations has reported 50 exonerations in the first half of 2014, which is on pace to be record-breaking and to exceed the 87 exonerations reported at year-end in 2013. Each year’s total is a dynamic number. The tally for 2013, for example, had recently increased to 89 as exonerations from the year continue to be discovered. As of June 27, 2014, the Registry was reporting 1,385 exonerations since 1989. As of today, the total has advanced to 1,394.
While these numbers are important, they are a high-level summary of the comprehensive information and case profiles that enable research and insights regarding miscarriages of justice.
An important revelation of the National Registry’s interactive database—which includes both DNA-proven and other official exonerations—is that different types of crimes have different primary contributors. Two recently created graphs enable examination of common contributors by type of crime. The graphs Continue reading
The National Registry of Exonerations, a dynamic database of known exonerations in the United States since 1989, recently reported another noteworthy milestone: the 600th exoneration for murder. Of 1,348 known exonerations as of April 8, 2014, nearly 45 percent have been for murder. This disturbing statistic, once unimaginable to most Americans, supports the assumption that countless wrongful convictions are yet unknown and the conclusion that Americans should strongly support efforts to improve the criminal justice system.
Above all, the 600th exoneration for murder confirms the “tip of the iceberg” characterization often referenced by those who have researched known exonerations. Continue reading
Joel Freedman, a frequent contributor to MPNnow of Canandaigua, New York, has posed a question very important to the Rosario family whose gatherings take place at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. His opinion piece (here) asks, “Why is Richard Rosario still in jail?” The question has a short answer, but it elevates a troubling issue in DNA-era criminal justice. Continue reading
About six weeks ago, the National Registry of Exonerations reached the milestone of 1,000. Today the tally is 1,033. Each added case is accompanied by a name, a photo, and the story of a life completely disrupted or virtually destroyed by a miscarriage of justice. As the number grows, it sounds a wake-up call ever louder, but the sheer numbers can also numb us to the human impact of each wrongful conviction and hard-won exoneration. A recently added name is Alfonso Gomez. His story sounds all too familiar, and the lack of attention in the media may be an indication that cases like this are no longer particularly newsworthy. Continue reading
When the University of Michigan Law and Northwestern Law School announced their joint project—the National Registry of Exonerations (here)—earlier this year on May 21, the initial tally of exonerations in the United States since 1989 was 891. Today, five months later, the number of exonerated in the registry is 1,000. No one knows how high the number will go. The only certainty is that this milestone will soon be surpassed. Continue reading
North Carolina has added a new restriction to its compensation law for those wrongfully convicted: Those who plead guilty are no longer eligible. Denying compensation to those who “contributed” to their conviction by entering a guilty plea has been a common argument from those who seek to minimize the state’s responsibility in miscarriages of justice or deny compensation to those who have had years of their lives stolen through wrongful conviction. But, it’s an argument that should no longer have credibility. Continue reading