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Exonerations in 2014 expected to outpace 2013’s record

31st March 2014   ·   0 Comments

(Special from — The National Registry of Exonerations, a joint project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University Law School, reported on Thursday that the pace of exonerations in 2014 is expected to easily surpass the total number in 2013.

So far this year, there have been 25 exonerations and if this pace continues, there will be 100 exonerations in 2014. Last year, there were a record-breaking 87 exonerations, the organization reported.

This year’s exonerations include 11 overturned murder convictions and two overturned rape convictions. Six exonerations involved non-violent crimes, including perjury, theft, non-violent conspiracy and drug possession.

On average, the exoneration occurred 12 years after conviction, although in DNA cases the average time nearly doubles to 23 years.

Nine of the 25 known exonerations occurred in 2014’s first quarter and more than 33 percent involved cases where no crime had occurred.

“No-crime cases make up and ever larger portion of exonerations in the National Registry, including 28 out of 87 of the exonerations in 2013,” organization officials said.

Four of the exonerations in 2014’s first quarter, or 16 percent, occurred in cases in which the defendants were convicted after pleading guilty. The rate of exonerations after a guilty plea has doubled since 2008.

Five of the exonerations were obtained through DNA evidence and 11 were obtained through cooperation with police and prosecutors.

In 2013, 47 percent of the exonerees were African-American; 40 percent were white and 11 percent were Hispanic, the Registry reported.

This article originally published in the March 31, 2014 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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