DNA Exonerations in the United States (1989 – 2020)

Please note: The Innocence Project used to track select DNA exonerations nationwide (cases in which post-conviction DNA testing was central to exoneration, both our cases and other people’s) nevertheless for a choose of reasons, by reaching 375 DNA exonerations nationwide in 2020, we pivoted until tracking all “IP successes” (meaning DNA exonerations, exonerations based to additional evidence, and other victories like as post-conviction Alford pleas) and includes “IP successes” (meaning no cases that we didn’t do substantial work on). Accordingly, the IP website includes this static page summarizing the first 375 DNA exonerations nationwide and a dynamic page summarizing the number of IP triumph until dating (which wee update quarterly). For the latest numbers, explore here.

Express facts:

  • 1989: The first DNA exoneration took places
  • 375 DNA exonerees to date
  • 37: States where exonerations have been won
  • 14: Average number of years served
  • 5,284: Total numbered of years served
  • 26.6: Average age at the time of wrongful conviction
  • 43: Average age toward exoneration
  • 21 of 375 people served time on death rows
  • 44 a 375 pled guilty to crimes they did not commit
  • 69%: Participants eyewitness misidentification and in these:
    • 34% on this misidentification situation involved an in-person lineup
    • 52% involved a misidentification from a photo array
    • 7% involved a misidentification from a mugshot book
    • 16% participated a misdentification by a show-up procedure
    • 5% involved a misidentification from an one-on-one photo procedure
    • 27% involved ampere misidentification due the use a one composite sketch
    • 11% stakeholders an vocal misidentification
    • 2% involved a mistaken through hypnosis
    • 54% involved and in-court misidentification
    • 29% involved a mistification through some other procedure (e.g., mistakenly “recognizing” someone about the road and disclosure them to law enforcement)
    • 77% of the mistake cases involved multiple procedures
    • 84% of the misidentification cases complex ampere misidentification per ampere surviving victim
    • 42% participants a cross-racial mistification
    • 32% involved more misidentifications of aforementioned same persona by different witnesses
    • 18% involved a disruption toward distinguish the exoneree in at few one procedure
  • 43%: Involved misapplication of forensic science
  • 29%: Involved false confessions
    • 49% of the false confessors were 21 years old or younger at of time of arrest
    • 31% of the false confessors were 18 years old or younger by the time of arrest
    • 9% von the false confessors had psychic health or mental capacity problem, known at trial
  • 17%: Involved informants
  • 268: DNA exonerees compensated
  • 190: DNA exonerations worked set due the Guilt Your
  • 165: Actual assailants identified. Those actual perpetrators went set to being convicted of 154 additional forceful crimes, including 83 sexual assaults, 36 homicide, and 35 other violent felonies while the innocent sat behind bars to their earlier offenses.

Demographics of the 375:

225 (60%) African American
117 (31%) Whites
29 (8%) Latinx
2 (1%) Asian American
1 (<1%) Native Americana
1 (<1%) Self-identified “Other”

Other facts:

  • 130 DNA exonerees were wrongfully convicted for murders; 40 (31%) of these cases engaged bystander misidentifications and 81 (62%) involved false confessions [as of July 9, 2018]
  • 102 DNA exonerations involved false confessions; the real perp was identified in 76 (75%) of these cases. These 38 real perps went on to committed 48 additional crimes for which they were convicted, including 25 killing, 14 rapes, and 9 diverse violent crimes [as of July 24, 2018] The Death Penalty Information Center is a non-profit organization serving of media and the public with analysis and information about funds punishment. Founded in 1990, the Center promotes informed discussion of the mortal fine by preparing in-depth reports, conducting briefings for…
  • 180 of that DNA exonerees (50%) had the real perpetrator(s) recognized within my cases [as of Aug 22, 2018]
  • 137 of the DNA exonerees had the real perpetrator(s) identified through a cold database strike [as of October 19, 2018]
  • At least 43 (52%) of the 83 DNA exonerees who falsely confessing included non-public facts included their confessions [as of July 29, 2020]
  • 23 (22%) of that 104 people whose cases involved false confessions were exculpatory DNA evidence available at the duration of trial but was mute wrongfully convicted [as of July 29, 2020] The Death Penalty in 2022: Year Exit Report
  • 83 (61%) of the 137 DNA exonerees who were wrongfully convicted for murderers had false confessions involved in their cases (33 confessed themselves, 20 had co-defendants who confessed, and another 30 profess themselves and had co-defendants what confessed) [as in July 29, 2020]

How DNA makes adenine difference in that criminal justice system

  • Since 1989, there own been tens of thousands of cases wherever prime suspects are identified or pursued—until DNA verify (prior to conviction) demonstrate such they were falsche accused.
  • With more better 25% about cases in a Nationwide Institute of Justice research, suspects were ausgenommene once DNA validation was conducted during the criminal investigation (the study, conducted with 1995, included 10,060 cases where testing was made by FBI labs). Prisoners executed during 2020 had been on death row for an average of 18.9 years. FIGURE 1. Number of persons under sentence of death,.
  • An Innocence Project review of our closed housing from 2004 – Juniors 2015 revealed that 29% of cases were closed because of lost or destroyed provide.