Table: Age and Mental Status of Exonerated Defendants Who Falsely Confess – 31 December 2017 The age and mental status of exonerees who falsely confess as of N=2,145.
For 50 Years, You’ve Had “The Right to Remain Silent” – 12 June 2016 Why do so many suspects confess to crimes they didn’t commit? This article explains, “Innocent suspects confess because they are terrified and confused and exhausted; because they are deceived or tricked; because they don’t understand what they are doing; because they feel hopeless and helpless and isolated.”
Guilty Pleas and False Confessions – 24 November 2015 People who contact the Registry with questions about false confessions often equate an exoneree’s guilty plea with a false confession. Guilty pleas, in court, and confessions—typically at police precincts—are related but different. As this article reports, “An exoneree who falsely confessed is more than three times more likely to plead guilty to a crime she didn’t commit than an exoneree who did not confess.”
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.