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More US Exonerations in 2015 Than Ever Before

Almost 150 people, mostly falsely convicted for homicides and drug possession

(Newser) - Netflix's Making a Murderer has not only become a binge-watching addiction—it's apparently turned the spotlight onto unjust convictions in the US. And exonerations are at an all-time high, reports Reuters : There were 149 in 2015, compared with 139 in 2014, according to a report from the National...

DNA Clears Man in Prison for 16 Years for Rape

'Shaky witness' testimony erroneously landed Luis Vargas in jail in 1999

(Newser) - A California man imprisoned for 16 years for sexual assault was exonerated Monday after DNA tests showed another man committed the crimes, USA Today reports. Luis Vargas, 46, broke down when an LA Superior Court judge granted a petition to release him from his sentence of 55 years to life...

Rapist Look-a-Like Spends 29 Years in Jail
Man Spends 29 Years in Jail ... for Looking Like Rapist

Man Spends 29 Years in Jail ... for Looking Like Rapist

Michael Kenneth McAlister's conviction had been in doubt for decades

(Newser) - Michael Kenneth McAlister was freed Wednesday after spending about half his life in prison for having the wrong face at the wrong time. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe granted a full pardon to the 58-year-old after a serial rapist who bears a very strong resemblance to McAlister—side-by-side mugshots can be...

Bogus Texas Drug Cases Lead to Record Exonerations

125 exonerated last year in US, most ever

(Newser) - The US saw a record number of exonerations in 2014, and it was due in part to 33 cases in Texas in which individuals had their drug convictions dismissed after lab tests determined they never had illegal substances, a report released today shows. The National Registry of Exonerations said 125...

Man Wrongly Imprisoned for 23 Years Dies

William Lopez died just 20 months after release, was suing for $124M

(Newser) - William Lopez spent 23 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, and he was finally released in January of last year. But after just 20 months of freedom—and mere days before his lawsuit for false imprisonment was to begin—the Bronx man died Saturday of a...

Exonerated NC Pair Finally Walk Free

'They took 30 years away from me ... but I don't hate them,' says McCollum

(Newser) - A day after a judge declared Leon Brown and Henry McCollum innocent and ordered their release after 30 years behind bars for a rape and murder they didn't commit, the half-brothers finally walked out of prisons in North Carolina yesterday. McCollum, 50 embraced his parents as soon as he...

Half-Brothers Cleared of Murder After 30 Years

DNA evidence reveals wrongful conviction of NC teens

(Newser) - Two mentally disabled half-brothers in North Carolina have spent the last 30 years locked up for a murder they didn't commit, DNA evidence has revealed. Leon Brown and Henry McCollum were 15 and 19 years old, respectively, in 1983 when they were arrested for the rape and murder of...

Wrongly Convicted Central Park 5 to Get $40M

NYC settlement adds up to $1 million per year in jail

(Newser) - Five New York City men wrongly convicted in their teens for the rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park are to receive around $1 million per year of imprisonment. The black and Hispanic "Central Park Five"—who were aged 14 to 16 when they were caught...

Man Exonerated in Murder Charged With Another

Andre Davis served 32 years for first case

(Newser) - Andre Davis served 32 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Now he might be going back for one that prosecutors say he did. As NBC Chicago explains, Davis served his lengthy prison sentence after being convicted of the 1980 rape and murder of a young girl,...

4.1% of Those Sentenced to Die Are Innocent
4.1% of Those Sentenced
to Die Are Innocent

4.1% of Those Sentenced to Die Are Innocent

Most end up serving life, 'forgotten'

(Newser) - At least 4.1% of people sentenced to death in the US are innocent, a new report warns—and most of them end up neither executed nor exonerated, but serving life behind bars. Researchers say that at a conservative estimate, one in 25 of the thousands of people condemned to...

'Long-Buried Evidence' Wins Inmate His Freedom

Jonathan Fleming long maintained he was out of state when 1989 murder occurred

(Newser) - Jonathan Fleming has spent 24 years in prison for a murder that took place in New York on August 15, 1989—even though Fleming offered quite a bit of proof he was at Disney World in Florida with his family that day. The assistant district attorney handling the 1990 court...

Death Row's Longest Serving Inmate Goes Free

All-white jury convicted Glenn Ford of murder in 1984

(Newser) - In 1984, Glenn Ford, who is black, was wrongfully convicted by an all-white jury in the murder of an elderly white man in Louisiana. He spent the next three decades on death row—but yesterday afternoon, he was finally set free, the Atlantic reports. During the case, Ford had cooperated...

Wrongfully Imprisoned Man Goes After Prosecutor

Files complaint against prosecutor who got him convicted of murder

(Newser) - In 1994, Anthony Graves was convicted of the grisly killings two years earlier of a woman, her daughter, and her four grandchildren in a tiny Texas town. Graves was implicated in the crime by Robert Carter, who was also charged and ultimately convicted and put to death in 2000. But...

Exonerations Hit All-Time High

 Exonerations Hit All-Time High 
new study

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 ...

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...

LA Man Cleared of Murder, Freed After 19 Years

Former gang member had been sentenced to life

(Newser) - A former gang member sentenced to life in prison for a murder he didn't commit walked out of prison yesterday after 19 years, reports NBC Los Angeles . John Edward Smith, now 37, had always maintained his innocence in the drive-by killing, but it wasn't until advocacy group Innocence...

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...

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

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,...

Va. Clears Innocent Man of Rapes After 27 Years

Thomas Haynesworth never stopped fighting

(Newser) - For 27 years, Thomas Haynesworth sat in prison, learning auto mechanics, welding, and masonry … and fighting to clear his name. That fight paid off yesterday, when a Virginia appeals court declared him innocent, acknowledging that he did not commit the three rapes of which he was convicted in 1984....

DNA Test Frees Texas Man After 25 Years

Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife

(Newser) - Another inmate freed by DNA evidence: Michael Morton was formally exonerated today by a Texas appeals court for the murder of his wife in 1986, reports AP . Morton, 57, is eligible to get about $2 million from the state, or about $80,000 for each of the 25 years he...

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