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DNA Exonerations Nationwide

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Posted: February 7, 2007   12:00 AM

There have been 329 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

• The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 37 states; since 2000, there have been 262 exonerations.

• 20 of the 329 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.

• The average length of time served by exonerees is 14 years. The total number of years served is approximately 4,505.

• The average age of exonerees at the time of their wrongful convictions was 26.5.

Races of the 329 exonerees:

205 African Americans
98 Caucasians
24 Latinos
2 Asian American

• The true suspects and/or perpetrators have been identified in 161 of the DNA exoneration cases.

• Since 1989, there have been tens of thousands of cases where prime suspects were identified and pursued—until DNA testing (prior to conviction) proved that they were wrongly accused.

• In more than 25 percent of cases in a National Institute of Justice study, suspects were excluded once DNA testing was conducted during the criminal investigation (the study, conducted in 1995, included 10,060 cases where testing was performed by FBI labs).

• 71 percent of the people exonerated through DNA testing have been financially compensated. 30 states, the federal government, and the District of Columbia have passed laws to compensate people who were wrongfully incarcerated. Awards under these statutes vary from state to state.

• An Innocence Project review of our closed cases from 2004 - 2010 revealed that 22 percent of cases were closed because of lost or destroyed evidence.

• The Innocence Project was involved in 176 of the 329 DNA exonerations. Others were helped by Innocence Network organizations, private attorneys and by pro se defendants in a few instances.

• 31 of the DNA exonerees pled guilty to crimes they did not commit.

Leading Causes of Wrongful Convictions

These DNA exoneration cases have provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events, but arise from systemic defects that can be precisely identified and addressed. For more than 15 years, the Innocence Project has worked to pinpoint these trends. Many wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing involve multiple causes.

Eyewitness Misidentification Testimony was a factor in 72 percent percent of post-conviction DNA exoneration cases in the U.S., making it the leading cause of these wrongful convictions. At least 40 percent of these eyewitness identifications involved a cross racial identification (race data is currently only available on the victim, not for non-victim eyewitnesses). Studies have shown that people are less able to recognize faces of a different race than their own. These suggested reforms are embraced by leading criminal justice organizations and have been adopted in the states of New Jersey and North Carolina, large cities like Minneapolis and Seattle, and many smaller jurisdictions. Read more.

Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science played a role in 47 percent of wrongful convictions later overturned by DNA testing. While DNA testing was developed through extensive scientific research at top academic centers, many other forensic techniques – such as hair microscopy, bite mark comparisons, firearm tool mark analysis and shoe print comparisons – have never been subjected to rigorous scientific evaluation. Meanwhile, forensics techniques that have been properly validated – such as serology, commonly known as blood typing – are sometimes improperly conducted or inaccurately conveyed in trial testimony. In other wrongful conviction cases, forensic scientists have engaged in misconduct. Read more.

False confessions and incriminating statements lead to wrongful convictions in approximately 28 percent of cases. Looking at only the homicide cases, false confessions are the leading contributing factor - contributing to 71 (63%) of the 113 homicide cases among the DNA exonerations. Thirty-one of the DNA exonerees pled guilty to crimes they did not commit. The Innocence Project encourages police departments to electronically record all custodial interrogations in their entirety in order to prevent coercion and to provide an accurate record of the proceedings.

Informants contributed to wrongful convictions in 15 percent of cases. Whenever informant testimony is used, the Innocence Project recommends that the judge instruct the jury that most informant testimony is unreliable as it may be offered in return for deals, special treatment, or the dropping of charges. Prosecutors should also reveal any incentive the informant might receive, and all communication between prosecutors and informants should be recorded. Read more.

Bond, James Bond says:
Feb 28, 2015 02:13 AM

In the US, the jury is to find a defendant guilty ONLY if there is no reasonable doubt raised. When a conviction is overturned due to DNA evidence, it means one thing, and one thing only: By default, there had to have been reasonable doubt, and it was ignored by the jurors. Shouldn't the jurors be penalized for their ignorance causing an innocent person to spend most of their life on death row?

steph says:
Mar 10, 2015 12:09 AM

No because the jurors worked with the knowledge of the time. They weren't able to do much with DNA like they can today .SO the jurors didn't have doubt because we didn't have the knowledge of even knowing that there would be a way for DNA testing as it is now. And it is beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't think that means no doubt.

Sam says:
Mar 27, 2015 03:01 AM

Hi My name is "Sam" just want to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage.because i really love SONNIA so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me cause i loved her with all my heart and didn't want to loose her but everything just didn't work out... she moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers and used roots and herbs... Within 7 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need's it... NOTE THAT he will ask you to pay some amount of money to get the materials to work for you. You can email DR SUCCESS via successspelltemple@gmail.com Don't give up just yet, the different between "Ordinary" & "Extra-Ordinary" is the "Extra" so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. visit him today @ successspelltemple@gmail.com

Wander Woman says:
Mar 01, 2015 09:10 PM

This happens way too often! There needs to be consequences for police, detectives, DAs, judges !!

wood says:
Mar 02, 2015 12:03 AM

Don't say much for the cops. I don't know how the cops break down on race.

Sam says:
Mar 27, 2015 02:57 AM

Hi My name is "Sam" just want to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage.because i really love SONNIA so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me cause i loved her with all my heart and didn't want to loose her but everything just didn't work out... she moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers and used roots and herbs... Within 7 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need's it... NOTE THAT he will ask you to pay some amount of money to get the materials to work for you. You can email DR SUCCESS via successspelltemple@gmail.com Don't give up just yet, the different between "Ordinary" & "Extra-Ordinary" is the "Extra" so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. visit him today @ successspelltemple@gmail.com

Westcott says:
Mar 08, 2015 05:41 PM

It almost seems unreal that with the technology today that things like this are still going on. Eventually there needs to be an end to falsely accusing people.

Westcott says:
Mar 08, 2015 05:42 PM

It almost seems unreal that with the technology today that things like this are still going on. Eventually there needs to be an end to falsely accusing people.

aaron cason says:
Mar 12, 2015 10:54 AM

my wife is daed

tim says:
Mar 16, 2015 08:30 AM

you spelled dead wrong

joao batista says:
Mar 22, 2015 06:51 PM

Joe says:
Mar 24, 2015 10:02 AM

This is nothing new! These imperfections in the system have always been known. People tend to forget that district attorney's are also lawyers. If one can say "his lawyer is a sleeze bag" you can also at it about the district attorney who is also a lawyer! DNA is the silver bullet that can set a person free despite all the "BS" in the court. As for being held accountable to there actions, not so much jurors, but the judges and district attorneys who manipulate jurors into thinking a certain way. Since there is no accountability visable to the public, it will continue on as is with possibly slight modification. More to say, this enough to now!

Jill says:
Mar 24, 2015 10:38 AM

This is why the death sentence should be abolished. The law also has to change with regard to how these people are helped when they are released.

Sam says:
Mar 27, 2015 02:38 AM

Hi My name is "Sam" just want to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage.because i really love SONNIA so much that i can not even do without. I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time... it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce... I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me cause i loved her with all my heart and didn't want to loose her but everything just didn't work out... she moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce... I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out... I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice... He did special prayers and used roots and herbs... Within 7 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news... Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need's it... NOTE THAT he will ask you to pay some amount of money to get the materials to work for you. You can email DR SUCCESS via successspelltemple@gmail.com Don't give up just yet, the different between "Ordinary" & "Extra-Ordinary" is the "Extra" so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it's truly worth it. visit him today @ successspelltemple@gmail.com

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