US overturned 139 criminal convictions last year: Report

The US exonerated 139 people of crimes last year, including a record-breaking 84 who were wrongfully convicted as a result of official misconduct.

Published: 15th March 2018 06:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th March 2018 06:54 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer

Image used for representational purpose.

By AFP

WASHINGTON: The US exonerated 139 people of crimes last year, including a record-breaking 84 who were wrongfully convicted as a result of official misconduct, according to a report published Wednesday.

The majority of the overturned convictions came about as a result of the efforts of "professional exonerators" including prosecutorial Conviction Integrity Units (CIUs) in local district attorneys' offices and non-profits such as the Innocence Project.

The report was published by the National Registry of Exonerations, a joint project of the University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science and Society, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law.

"The main reason we're seeing more exonerations now is that they can seek help from innocence organizations and prosecutors' offices who are committed to fixing wrongful convictions and are increasingly working together," said Michigan State University law professor Barbara O'Brien.

"Fifty or a hundred years ago, an innocent defendant in prison had no one to turn to."

In addition to the 139 exonerations, at least 96 other defendants in Chicago and Baltimore were exonerated in "group exonerations" that occurred after the discovery that police officers were systematically framing people for drug crimes.

Experts believe the exonerations likely represent only a small fraction of the total number of miscarriages of justice in the United States.

Many innocent defendants plead guilty to felonies under plea deals in order to avoid the risks of a harsher penalty if they lose their trial.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.