Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bulletin: National Registry of Exonerations report shows exonerations at record level in U.S, says DNA related exonerations are down - and contains the disturbing statistic that "17 percent of those exonerated in 2013 ahd originally pleaded guilty to a crime they did not commit." New York Times;

STORY: "Study puts exonerations at record level in National Registry in  U.S." by reporter Timothy Williams, published by the New York Times on February 4, 2014.

GIST: "The number of exonerations in the United States of those wrongly convicted of a crime increased to a record 87 during 2013, and of that number, nearly one in five had initially pleaded guilty to charges filed against them, according to a report to be released on Tuesday as part of a project led by two university law schools. Nearly half of the exonerations — 40 — were based on murder convictions, including that of a man wrongly convicted and subsequently sentenced to death in the fatal stabbing of a fellow inmate in a Missouri prison in 1983, according to the report by the National Registry of Exonerations. The registry is a joint program of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law......... Fewer exonerations than in the past involved DNA evidence, a circumstance the registry attributed to the police and prosecutors exhibiting greater concern about the problem of false convictions. But the report also found that 17 percent of those exonerated in 2013 had originally pleaded guilty to a crime they did not commit — usually because the defendant had been offered a plea bargain that guaranteed a lesser sentence on the condition of a guilty plea."

The entire story can be found at:


See Wrongful Convictions Blog post -  with link to the entire report;  "In addition to the trend of increasing cooperation of law enforcement in exonerations, the report suggests that we “are increasingly willing to consider and act on the types of innocence claims that are often ignored: those without biological evidence or with no actual perpetrator; cases with comparatively light sentences; judgments based on guilty pleas by defendants who accepted plea bargains to avoid the risk of extreme punishment after trial.”



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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:


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