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​​DNA

DNA: Post-conviction DNA testing was conducted and contributed to the exoneration. ​Cases denoted "DNA" are cases in which post-conviction DNA testing, analysis, or interpretation was conducted and the results were a factor in establishing the factual basis of the exoneration.​ This is a heterogeneous group with respect to the informativeness of the DNA testing and the degree to which the results influenced the decision to vacate the conviction.​

The term “DNA exoneration" has been used in a variety of contexts and by a variety of authors, and the meaning of the term is not always clear. It has been used to describe both this broader set of cases and a narrower set of cases curated by the Innocence Project​ in which post-conviction DNA evidence was central to establishing innocence. The Innocence Project stopped maintaining this list in early 2020. The first 375 “DNA exonerations" listed by the Innocence Project and statistics about them are available from the Innocence Project. A spreadsheet which allows researchers to identify these cases is available from the Registry upon request​. For more information on exonerations that have included DNA testing, see the Report below.​​

Changes in DNA Exonerations Over Time – ​18 April 2016
DNA exonerations have always been a minority of all exonerations, and the nature of DNA exonerations has been changing over the years -- both in the underlying crimes and the importance of non-DNA factors. This paper reviews DNA exonerations in the Registry up to April 2016. Read more.

Comment: New Study Estimates Rate of False Convictions at 11.6% – 05 December 2017
A new report by the Urban Institute in Washington DC estimates that the defendants were innocent in 11.6% percent of rape and rape-murder convictions in Virginia from in the 1970s and 1980s. This comment reviews the conclusions reached in the study. Read more.

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