​In the wake of yet another Massachusetts state investigation into misconduct by a crime lab technician, the Pacific Standard looks at systemic problems in crime labs across the country, how thousands of cases may have been affected and how these scandals could be prevented.


​In 1954,  Tommy Lee Walker, a 19-year old African American, was prosecuted by notorious Dallas DA Henry Wade for the rape-murder of a young white mother. He was convicted and sentenced to death, and executed two years later.  Dallas reporter Mary Mapes now writes:  "Sixty years ago this month, Tommy Lee Walker died in the [Texas] electric chair for a crime he could not have committed."


​Despite the fact that 95% of criminal convictions are based on plea bargains - including 275 exonerations to date and probably the overwhelming majority of all false convictions - the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that exonerated defendants who entered guilty pleas may not be compensated for wrongful imprisonment. (Shown: Bobby Johnson, a Connecticut exoneree who falsely plead guilty to murder).


Our new mobile app makes it easy to read about exonerations seconds after they are added to the Registry!  You can find it in the App Store for iPhones and in Google Play for Androids by searching "exonerations." It's free and includes an exoneration counter, recently posted exoneration stories, and a notification each time a new exoneration is added.


​In its first year, the District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit in Los Angeles County (the most populous in the country) has been flooded by more than 700 requests to review potential wrongful convictions. Meanwhile, in Fort Worth, Texas, the Tarrant County unit is getting underway. (Tarrant County DA Sharen Wilson pictured)


A recent study from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law found that the state of California paid at least $282 million for 692 wrongful convictions between 1989 and 2012. That total includes the costs of imprisoning the innocent defendants, compensating them for their imprisonment, settling lawsuits and paying for unnecessary trials and appeals.


​Exoneree Ricky Jackson, who was sentenced to death and spent 39 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, asked Hillary Clinton about her support for the death penalty at a recent Democratic town hall.


The leading journal Science published a critique of the current state of forensic evidence, noting that there are some promising new attempts to quantify the level of certainty of fingerprint comparisons.


​The San Antonio Express News profiles the Bexar County Conviction Integrity Unit's chief prosecutor, Jay Brandon, and the "seismic cultural shift" in a few Texas counties that are now focusing on righting wrongful convictions.


​Last week an Egyptian military court convicted a three-and-a-half-year-old of killing three people, carrying guns and firebombs, blocking a road with burning tires, and trying to damage government buildings — and sentenced him to life in prison. He was a year old at the time of the crimes. After an uproar the military said that it was a case of mistaken identity and exonerated the boy.

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