DNA Exoneree Case Profiles
There have been 321 post-conviction DNA exonerations in United States history. These stories are becoming more familiar as more innocent people gain their freedom through postconviction testing. They are not proof, however, that our system is righting itself.
The common themes that run through these cases — from global problems like poverty and racial issues to criminal justice issues like eyewitness misidentification, invalid or improper forensic science, overzealous police and prosecutors and inept defense counsel — cannot be ignored and continue to plague our criminal justice system.
- Twenty people had been sentenced to death before DNA proved their innocence and led to their release.
- The average sentence served by DNA exonerees has been 13.6 years.
- About 70 percent of those exonerated by DNA testing are people of color.
- In almost 50 percent of DNA exoneration cases, the actual perpetrator has been identified by DNA testing.
- Exonerations have been won in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
- The Innocence Project was involved in 173 of the 321 DNA exonerations. Others were helped by Innocence Network organizations, private attorneys and by pro se defendants in a few instances.
Please take a moment to review the profiles of these unique cases:
Search for a profile by defendant name, crime, location, year, conviction or contributing cause
View a national map of exoneration cases to get a geographical perspective of the issues