10 Stories

Exonerations Hit All-Time High

Prosecutors more willing to revisit cases, study says

(Newser) - More wrongfully convicted people were exonerated last year than ever before in the US, a study by two law schools behind the National Registry of Exonerations finds. Some 87 people were found to have been wrongfully convicted, compared to 83 in 2009, the study's previous high, per the New ... More »

Guy Exonerated in Rape Case Gets 2nd Shot at NFL Dream

Brian Banks signed by Atlanta Falcons

(Newser) - Brian Banks was a 16-year-old top college football prospect back in 2002, but the linebacker's dreams of someday playing with the NFL were dashed when a classmate falsely accused him of rape. He was sent to prison for five years, but finally had his name cleared last year after... More »

Rape Conviction Cleared, Thanks to Facebook

Brian Banks served five years in prison

(Newser) - A 26-year-old man has been exonerated of rape charges, with a big assist from Facebook. Brian Banks, who spent five years in prison on the charges, was, needless to say, surprised when the woman who claimed he raped her in 2002 added him as a friend on Facebook. He got... More »

No. of Wrongful Convictions Since 1989: More Than 2K

New registry focuses on flaws in criminal justice system

(Newser) - Word of wrongful convictions pops into the news frequently, but a new registry puts a number on just how often: By its count, more than 2,000 people have been exonerated of serious crimes since 1989. The National Registry of Exonerations claims to be the largest database of its kind,... More »

Death Row Challenges Hurt by Newsroom Cuts

Lawyers fear shortage of media resources may result in innocent people being executed

(Newser) - The huge cuts in newsroom staff around the country may have inadvertently condemned some innocent prisoners to death, the New York Times reports. Lawyers complain that many of the investigative journalists who would have once hotly pursued a story about a wrongly accused Death Row inmate aren't working any more.... More »

Texas Could See First-Ever Posthumous Exoneration

DNA evidence vindicates dead convict

(Newser) - A hearing this week could result in Texas’ first-ever posthumous exoneration based on DNA evidence, the AP reports. Tim Cole, who died of a heart attack in prison in 1999, was convicted in the 1985 rape of a Texas Tech student. But an imprisoned rapist’s recent admission of guilt,... More »

Dallas DA Makes Waves by Overturning Convictions

DA makes waves with quest to root out wrongful convictions

(Newser) - Craig Watkins is becoming famous for something rather unusual for a district attorney: getting people out of jail, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Dallas County prosecutor is painstakingly going through hundreds of convictions secured by his predecessors, using DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions. His Conviction Integrity Unit has... More »

Swiss Pardon Europe's Last Executed Witch

Housemaid accused of casting spells was beheaded in 1782

(Newser) - It's 226 years too late to restore her head to her body but the Swiss have decided to restore the good name of convicted witch Anna Goeldi, the Independent reports. Goeldi, the last person in Europe to be executed for witchcraft, was tortured and killed after being accused of casting... More »

Innocent Con Freed After 27 Years

DNA testing confirmed he wasn't guilty of rape

(Newser) - A man who spent 27 years in prison for a rape he didn't commit was released yesterday after DNA evidence proved he hadn't assaulted his accuser. Charles Chatman, now 47, had maintained his innocence throughout his time in jail, refusing to give an account of the crime to the parole... More »

Wronged Ex-Cons: Why Some Get Payday, Some Don't

(Newser) - How much is a year of jail time worth if you're falsely convicted? The potential awards vary widely, the American Prospect reports. Some states fix rates, with exonerated Wisconsinites claiming $5,000 per year in the clink while those from Alabama get $50,000. Twenty-two states have no laws guaranteeing... More »

10 Stories