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Exonerations 2015: Record Number of False Convictions Overturned

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By    |   Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 12:56 PM

The high number of criminal exonerations set a new record in 2015, according to a new report released Wednesday.

The National Registry of Exonerations annual report, compiled by the University of Michigan Law School, found that 149 people falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated last year, CBS News reported

The previous record was 139, set in 2014.

"There is a coming to terms that this is a regular problem, not just something that happens once in a while and unpredictably," Samuel Gross, a law professor at the University of Michigan and editor of the registry, told Reuters.

"But progress so far is a drop in the bucket."

Homicide convictions made up 58 of the exonerations, including five people who were sentenced to death.

"The thing that is most troubling to me about these cases is it's clear that for every innocent defendant who is convicted and later exonerated, there are several others who are convicted who are not exonerated because almost all the exonerations depend on a great extent on good fortune, on Lady Luck," said Gross.

Gross explained that district attorneys in cities such as Houston, Dallas, and Brooklyn have helped up the number of exonerations by setting up units that review conviction cases to ensure their integrity.

"What's driving it? Continuing increased interest and sensitivity and concern about the problem but also a focus on increasing activity by conviction integrity units," Gross said.

In some cases, exonerations affected groups of people.

In one case, three men were convicted of arson and murder over a deadly fire in 1980. Those convictions were overturned in December after investigators discovered that the only eyewitness to tie the men to the fire later recanted on her death bed.

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The high number of criminal exonerations set a new record in 2015, according to a new report released Wednesday.
exonerations, 2015, convictions, overturned, record
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2016-56-03
Wednesday, 03 Feb 2016 12:56 PM
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