Smash the Patriarchy, a Medium series by Allison Klein
African-Americans made up more than two-thirds of wrongful convictions last year.
Those convictions were among 161 that were tossed nationwide last year, according to the NRE report. Since May 2012, the project has recorded 3,060 exonerees. More Black people have been found to be wrongfully convicted than whites: 1,570 Black men and 81 Black women, compared to 897 white men and 147 white women.
There are several factors that contribute to a wrongful conviction, such as prosecutorial misconduct, false confession, and jailhouse informants. The annual report found that, in 2021, official misconduct occurred in at least 102 exonerations, including 77% of murder and manslaughter exonerations.
There are variables of official misconduct that include withholding evidence that is favorable to the defendant, and forensic analysis misconduct, according to the NRE database.
“Official misconduct was found in 42% of the cases in 2012. Now, over 2,000 cases later, we see official misconduct in 56%,” according to the annual report.
The NRE database has tracked wrongful convictions since 1989 and has a few cases prior to that year. The effort aims to provide detailed information about every wrongful conviction across the country and is maintained by the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School, and Michigan State University College of Law.
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