by Michael McLaughlin at Huffington Post
Posted: 05/21/2012 8:54 pm Updated: 05/22/2012 10:42 am
Some tales of wrongful conviction are well known, like the case of amateur boxer Dewey Bozella.
Bozella was found guilty in 1983 for the murder of an elderly woman. New York police and prosecutors pressed second-degree murder charges propped up by the testimony of witnesses who eventually recanted their testimony. It wasn’t until 2007 that Bozella’s attorneys discovered major discrepancies and evidence pointing to another suspect, leading to Bozella’s release in 2009.
But many stories involving tainted evidence, malingering law enforcement and mistaken eyewitness identification never become common knowledge. The cases outlined on the new National Registry of Exonerations are likely just a fraction of the wrongful imprisonment cases in the United States, researchers told The Huffington Post.
More than 2,000 inmates and ex-cons have been exonerated since 1989, according to the database that aims to track all wrongful convictions in the United States. More than 100 had been sentenced to death.
“This is a beginning,” said University of Michigan Law School professor Samuel Gross, one of the database’s creators. “One of my great hopes is that this will lead us to learn more about exonerations.”
The database, which was developed with members of Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Conviction, focused on 873 individual cases. The researchers also identified 13 major police scandals that falsely netted 1,170 other people, although these are not included in the database because they are the results of a collective exoneration based on problems in individual agencies.
Among the findings by the database researchers:
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- New national registry lists exonerations from wrongful convictions (kansascity.com)
- How much doubt is reasonable? (graybeardtrail.wordpress.com)