Innocents Who Plead Guilty – 24 November 2015 About 95% of felony convictions in the United States are obtained by guilty pleas (and at least as many misdemeanor convictions), but only 15% of known exonerees pled guilty (261/1,702). Innocent defendants who plead guilty have an exceptionally hard time convincing anybody of their innocence. Read more.
Guilty Pleas in Group Exonerations – 24 November 2015 Because group exonerations arise when a group of officers frame defendants, group exonerations include many more guilty pleas and other comparatively low-stake cases than we see among individual exonerations. Read more.
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.” Read more.
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.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.