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Black Americans More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted, Study Finds

A report from the National Registry of Exonerations says that Black Americans are seven times more likely to be falsely convicted of serious crimes, and spend longer in prison, compared with whites, reports Axios. Even though Blacks make up 13.2 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 53 percent of 3,200 exonerations, as of August 8. Innocent Black Americans are about seven-and-a-half times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white. The convictions that led to murder exonerations of Black defendants, were 50 percent more likely to include police officer misconduct.


The number of murder exonerations is increasing, and many of the recent exonerees are Black murder defendants who spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. The study reported that Black people are overrepresented among exonerations for all major crimes except white-collar crimes. "The causes we have identified run from inevitable consequences of patterns in crime and punishment to deliberate acts of racism, with many steps in between," the report said. The doubt cast by a Baltimore judge about the 1999 conviction of Adnan Syed for murder shows some of the difficulties that people of color face in the justice system.

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