Wrongfully Convicted Freed In Record Numbers Last Year

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The Huffington Post reports a record number of inmates were freed last year, exonerated for serious crimes it turns out they didn’t commit. The news comes from a a report released last week by the National Registry of Exonerations.

Read more from Huffpo:

The registry is a collaboration between the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. At the time of its creation two years ago, researchers had found 873 individuals exonerated since 1989. The database now tallies about 1,300 wrongful convictions.

For 2013, researchers found 87 cases in which a convicted person was cleared of murder, rape or other serious offense — exceeding the 81 cases they had found in 2009.

Despite the slight uptick, analysts say that the use of DNA to overturn convictions has dropped in recent years, along with the number of death row exonerations. In fact, research shows 35 percent of those exonerated in 2012 used on DNA  to prove their innocence. DNA evidence currently only factors into just 28 percent of exonerations. Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, attributes the decline to an improved system, one better at preventing wrongful convictions and identifying them sooner.

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