In Sunday’s Week In Review, the New York Times examined the first 200 DNA exonerations and the patterns that have caused many more injustices nationwide. A
examined “the time they lost.”
In the 200 cases, often more than one factor led to the initial convictions, the analysis showed. Three-quarters were marked by inaccurate eyewitness identification, and in two-thirds, there were mistakes or other problems with the forensic science. Fifteen percent featured testimony by informants at odds with the later evidence. There were confessions or admissions in about 25 percent of the cases. In about 4 percent, the people had pleaded guilty.
As these cases have captured the public’s attention, various states and law enforcement agencies have made reforms, including improving the standards for eyewitness identifications, recording interrogations and upgrading their forensic labs and staffs. Several states have appointed commissions to re-examine cases in which inmates were exonerated by DNA. Some states are reconsidering their death penalty statutes.
Read the full article here
. (New York Times, 5/20/07)
Innocence Project Web Feature: “
200 Exonerated, Too Many Wrongfully Convicted