Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Texas topped nation in 2013 exonerations

Texas had the most exonerations of any state in the country according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Reported the Texas Tribune:
Texas in 2013 exonerated more people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes than any other state, according to a new report from the National Registry of Exonerations.

Thirteen Texans were officially absolved of wrongdoing last year for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession. Some had spent more than a decade in prison, and others a few months. The state with the second-most exonerations was Illinois, with nine, followed by New York, with eight.

The national registry, a joint project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law, was launched in 2012. It tracks every known exoneration in the United States since 1989. Texas has 133 exonerations listed. Only New York, with 152, and California, with 136, have more.

The project’s directors stress that many more wrongful convictions never make the list.
“There are many false convictions that we don’t know about,” said Samuel Gross, editor of the registry and co-author of the report. “The exonerations we know about are only the tip of the iceberg.”
See related coverage from the New York Times and the Wrongful Convictions Blog. Here's the list of Texas exonerations from the registry, only a few of which received statewide attention.

Of course, the 13 Texas exonerations listed for last year don't include cases like the San Antonio Four or Fran and Dan Keller, all of whom were released on habeas corpus writs because the junk science underlying their conviction was disproven, but weren't declared "actually innocent" by the courts. Grits views such lists like one would a pollster's sample - an indication of the variety of potential causes and types of wrongful convictions but by no means a comprehensive assessment.


"Red" Merriweather Coast said...

You can get exonerated in Texas even if you plead guilty?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Yes, see Ex Parte Tuley.

"Red" Merriweather Coast said...

Yeah, I checked your profile page after I wrote that - I didn't realize you had worked with the Innocence Project to change the law. I was doing research on writs of actual innocence and I noticed that many states only allow them for people who pleaded not guilty, which of course leads to a Catch-22 situation for innocent people accused of a crime.

The National Registry, a joint project of University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law, listed 891 exonerations when the project was launched in May 2012. The recent total to date of 1,304 exonerations is a 46% increase in about twenty months. This number does not include at least 1,100 exonerated defendants involved in 12 “group exonerations”—“sets of cases in which corrupt police officers systematically framed innocent defendants for non-existent crimes, mostly possession of illegal drugs or guns.”

What's this referring to? I'd like to hear more about this!

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, appreciate the Update. Other than the T.T., 100% of the media outlets are zeroed in on Bieber, Fake Davis & 2016. Could the editorial boards have something to do with this ignore syndrome? Nevertheless, with 2013 apparently being a good time to be an exoneration attorney, we extend a hardy congrats to those lucky enough to be 'chozen' or followed to the bank. Thanks.

*Note: To CDLs, (sorry, others, especially imposters simply don’t qualify) the next time you complain (or want to seek excuses) that there are too many lawyers and not enough jobs to justify the saturation of the profession, consider chasing the ignored rainbows. The: Non-DNA, Non-Death Row & Not Currently Incarcerated claims of - false arrest & subsequent wrongful convictions, (including the ones that failed to exhaust all of their appeals and / or were tricked into Plea Bargaining). Wrong is wrong, despite the type of evidence and or year one can prove they were wronged. As of 2013, with the TDCAA declaring they've “tested just about everything”, and with the IPOT braking down and taking cases that they previously ignored, I declare 2013 the year of inclusion (sort of?).

If you are in or wish to be in the righting of past wrongs business and making bank, spreading your wings in 2014 is a consideration worthy of your time. The basement is no place for ethical lawyers hell bent on doing the right thing and see Cherry Picking for Justice as flat out wrong.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Actually, RMC, that Ex Parte was a CCA decision and not an Innocence Project case.

The group exonerations are cases like Tulia, the Dallas sheetrock scandal, the Ramparts scandal in LA, and other (mostly drug) cases where exonerations happened en masse. See here, e.g..

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@TRG, part of the reason IPOT is revisiting cases they turned down before is the new junk science writ bill passed last year now opened the door for habeas writs in those cases. Before that, there wasn't much they could do.

Anonymous said...

There should be an equivalent list of those people who contributed to the wrongful conviction and the subsequent civil or criminal penalties those people paid.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Thanks Grits. Maybe an intern worth his / her salt will locate my 'Application' and gett'er done before all of the assholes that are documented as to have knowingly & willingly railroaded me (based on the junkiest science on earth) die off and go to hell?
Thanks again.

"Before that, there wasn't much they could do." Oh, but yes there was plenty of good they could have considered. And, it's not too late.

There is no reason good enough to avoid Assisting 'Applicants' seeking a Full Pardon - for / based on innocence that can provide ample proof / evidence they were falsely arrested and subsequently wrongfully convicted. A small reasonable fee would be acceptable and go towards funding certified mailings. Experience goes to the intern. (It's all 100% done via mail). Those wishing to pay it forward, could pledge to provide pro-bono / volunteer work. (As I have). Win Win.

Or the IPOT could have worked to undo the requirement placed on Applicants to obtain unanimous decisions of the original three trial officials. A real life sized WTF? requirement that leaves the three with absolutely no incentives whatsoever to reply or comply. With this brick wall dismantled, the Applicant wouldn't need any additional support or assistance, as they let the evidence speak for itself and let the corrupt three wiggle for excuses to their documented actions.

*Applicants are asked to provide the name of the individual or group assisting them. Those applying hon solo are assigned to a goofball case worker and 86'ed via form Denied letters as they are left to consider jumping back through the same loopholes in two years.