November 2015

Since the October 2015 Newsletter:
30 exonerations have been added
18 contemporaneous exonerations
12 old exonerations that we recently learned about

1702 Exonerations

Innocents who Pled Guilty

About 95% of felony convictions in the United States are obtained by guilty pleas, but only 15% of known exonerees pled guilty. It would be comforting to conclude that defendants who plead guilty are far less likely to be innocent than those who are convicted at trial, but it’s not true. Read more here.

At 16, Bobby Johnson falsely confessed and pled guilty to murder. After 9 years in prison he was exonerated in September 2015. Read his story here.

(picture from Hartford Courant)

15% of exonerees pled guilty to the crimes
for which they were falsely convicted.

Edward McInnis & Bad Pleas

Most innocent defendants who plead guilty get a sentence much lower than the maximum. But not always. Edward McInnis' guilty plea gained him nothing. Read more here.
Shawn Whirl falsely confessed to murder after being tortured by Chicago police. He pled guilty. He was exonerated in October of 2015. Read his story here.

(picture from Steve Davis/AP)

False Confessions & Pleas

Exonerees who falsely confess are more than three times as likely to plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit than exonerees who did not confess. Read more here.

Pleas in Group Exonerations

A “group exoneration,” is a remedy for a pattern of misconduct by one or more police officers who systematically frame innocent defendants. Once the criminal behavior of the police is exposed, exonerations of those affected may be handled summarily and receive little attention. Read more here.
In the past two years, 74% of guilty plea exonerations came from drug cases in Houston Texas. Read more here.
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