Innocence and the Death Penalty
Exonerations in the USA
- Total number of death row exonerations in the USA since 1973: 143
- Approximately 60% of all death row exonerees are non-white
- From 2000-2007, there have been an average of 5 exonerations per year
- Average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration: 10.1 years
- Number of cases in which DNA played a substantial factor in establishing innocence: 18
- To see a complete list of exonerations maintained by DPIC: http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=6&did=110
- DPIC's criteria for inclusion: Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either: a) their conviction was overturned AND i) they were acquitted at re-trial or ii) all charges were dropped; or b) they were given an absolute pardon by the Governor based on new evidence of innocence
- The most common causes of wrongful convictions are; eyewitness error, government misconduct, junk science, snitch testimony and false confessions
- There have been 3 people exonerated from California's death row.
- Ernest "Shujaa" Graham was exonerated in 1981, 5 years after conviction.
- Troy Jones was exonerated in 1996, 14 years after conviction.
- Oscar Morris was exonerated in 2000, 17 years after conviction.
- There was no DNA evidence in any of these cases.