In 1997, Keith Cooper was sentenced to 40 years in prison for armed robbery in Elkhart County, Indiana. After his conviction, the eyewitnesses recanted and DNA tests identified the real criminals. The parole board recommended Indiana Governor Mike Pence pardon him. Pence declined to act, and Cooper was pardoned by his sucessor, Governor Eric Holcomb in 2017.
In 1991, Johnny Hincapie was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after he falsely confessed to taking part in a widely publicized murder and robbery in New York City. He was exonerated in 2017 after new witnesses and the true perpetrators said Hincapie was not present at the crime. (Johnny Hincapie, left, with his attorneys. Photo credit: John Mantel)
The Guilty Plea Problem
The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining. The Innocence Project shines a spotlight on exonerees, like Christopher Ochoa (pictured), who pled guilty in their new campaign - The Guilty Plea Problem.
The Registry has published about Innocents Who Pleas Guilty, Guilty Pleas in "Group Exonerations", and Guilty Pleas and False Confessions.
Use our clickable map & graph to filter and display exonerations by state, race, contributing factors, crime, year, and 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.