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150 Were Exonerated Last Year, A Number Projected To Grow

One man in Kansas and two others in Missouri walked out of prisons in 2023 after spending years behind bars for crimes they didn't commit. They joined 150 people who were exonerated nationwide. A new report predicts that number will grow in the future, reports KCUR in Kansas City.

According to a study from the National Registry of Exonerations, “official misconduct” of police, prosecutors or others in the system was the top reason for 118, or 77%, of the 2023 exonerations. A total of 2,230 years were lost to wrongful imprisonment.

Of the people wrongfully convicted, 84% were people of color.

Innocence organizations and conviction integrity units played a large role in the increase; they were responsible for 63%, or 67 exonerations, in 2023.

The National Registry of Exonerations is a collaborative project of three universities. It provides details of known exonerations in the U.S. since 1989.

The registry grew by 207 in 2023, because 53 exonerations from years past were also recorded. As of the end of last month, the National Registry of Exonerations has recorded 3,478 since 1989, the first year the number was tracked.

In Philadelphia, a man convicted of the 2011 attempted murder of a family and imprisoned for over a decade is now free after a federal judge on Monday found him innocent of all charges, reports Courthouse News Service.

Judge James Eisenhower granted the district attorney's motion to drop all charges against C.J. Rice, who was sentenced in 2013 to a prison term of 30 to 60 years on four counts of attempted murder for a shooting he has adamantly denied doing, or even being physically capable of doing.

“We are thrilled at today’s outcome,” Rice’s lawyer said. "This ends a lengthy ordeal for C.J., who was forced to grow up in prison, incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. Today’s decision is an acknowledgment from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the court of that wrong.”

Since 1973, only Chicago has exonerated more death row inmates than Philadelphia, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The National Registry of Exonerations says that one-tenth of all U.S. homicide exonerations between 2019 and 2021 came from Philadelphia — a rate 25 times higher than the national average..


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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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