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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Criminal Justice Quote: Wrongful Convictions Exonerations

     A nationwide push by prosecutors and police to re-examine possible wrongful convictions contributed to a record number of exonerations in 2013….The National Registry of Exonerations says 87 people falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated last year, four more than in 2009, the year with the highest total. The joint effort by the Northwestern University and University of Michigan law schools documented more than 1,300 such cases in the U.S. since 1989 while also identifying another 1,100 "group exonerations" involving widespread police misconduct, primarily related to planted drug and gun evidence.

     The new report shows that nearly 40 percent of exonerations in 2013 were either initiated by law enforcement or included police and prosecutors' co-operation. One year earlier, nearly half of the exonerations involved such reviews….

    Texas topped the state-by-state breakdown with 13 exonerations in 2013, followed by Illinois, New York, Washington, California, Michigan, and Missouri….

     Fifteen of the 87 documented cases in 2013 involved convictions obtained after a defendant pleaded guilty, typically to avoid a longer prison sentence. Forty of the cases involved murder convictions, with another 18 overturned convictions for rape or sexual assault….

Alan Sacher Zagier, "U.S. Prosecutors Help Set Record Number of Exonerations in 2013," Associated Press, February 4, 2014


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