New National Registry of Exonerations

The National Registry of Exonerations is a joint project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, maintaining an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989.

Browse the Registry.

Texas Highlights

Of the 891 exonerations listed 87 are from Texas.

Of the 87 exonerations:

  • 51 included mistaken witness identification,
  • 27 included false or misleading forensic evidence,
  • 29 included official misconduct,
  • and 49 included DNA evidence.

Exoneration Numbers by County:

Angelina – 1
Burleson – 1
Cameron – 1
Collin – 1
Dallas – 38
El Paso – 2
Ellis – 1
Harris – 13
Hutchinson – 1
Lamb – 2
Lubbock – 1
McLennan – 3
Montgomery – 3
Nueces – 1
Pecos – 1
Rains – 2
San Jacino – 1
Smith – 1
Tarrant – 3
Travis – 8
Upshur – 1
Uvalde – 1

More Texas Highlights from the Texas Tribune.

Highlights from the AP story:

Study: 2,000 Convicted Then Exonerated in 23 Years

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/05/21/us/politics/ap-us-wrongly-convicted-criminals.html?_r=1&hp

Counties such as San Bernardino in California and Bexar County in Texas are heavily populated, yet seemingly have no exonerations, a circumstance that the academics say cannot possibly be correct.

 

In half of the 873 exonerations studied in detail, the most common factor leading to false convictions was perjured testimony or false accusations. Forty-three percent of the cases involved mistaken eyewitness identification, and 24 percent of the cases involved false or misleading forensic evidence.

 

In two out of three homicides, perjury or false accusation was the most common factor leading to false conviction. In four out of five sexual assaults, mistaken eyewitness identification was the leading cause of false conviction.

 

The registry excludes at least 1,170 additional defendants. Their convictions were thrown out starting in 1995 amid the periodic exposures of 13 major police scandals around the country. In all the cases, police officers fabricated crimes, usually by planting drugs or guns on innocent defendants.

 

Regarding the 1,170 additional defendants who were left out of the registry, “we have only sketchy information about most of these cases,” the report said. “Some of these group exonerations are well known; most are comparatively obscure. We began to notice them by accident, as a byproduct of searches for individual cases.”