Exonerations for Crimes Reaches High in 2013

According to a new report released on February 4 by the National Registry of Exonerations, 87 people had their criminal convictions dismissed in 2013, the most for any year in the Registry, which begins with 1989. Those exonerated last year included Reginald Griffin, who had been sentenced to death in Missouri 30 years ago. Griffin became the 143rd person on DPIC’s Innocence List, which includes those exonerated from death row since 1973. The National Registry has recorded 1,304 exonerations since 1989. Of those exonerated in 2013, 31% were in cases where no crime actually occurred; 17% occurred in cases in which the defendant had pled guilty. Texas led the country with the most exonerations (13). Samuel Gross, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School and author of the report, noted the impact of wrongful convictions on defendants: “They’ve lost 10 years, or in some cases, 30-some years of their life. Their children have grown up if they had children, their spouse may have left them, their parents may have died, they have no skills. For many people, the destruction that has occurred is irreparable.”

(E. Chuck, “2013 was a record year for exonerations of prisoners,” NBC News; Newsletter, “Record Number of Exonerations in 2013,” National Registry of Exonerations, Feb. 4, 2014).

Source: Death Penalty Information Center