Study: About 2,000 convicted, then exonerated

Posted at 5:17 PM, May 21, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-21 17:17:03-04

Two universities have released what they say is the largest database of criminal exonerations in the United States ever put together.

The registry was painstakingly assembled by the law schools at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University.

It includes nearly 900 exonerations since 1989.

The inaugural report also discusses more than 1,100 other exonerations, but researchers said they have less evidence for those.

Those convictions were dismissed in group exonerations in the wake of more than a dozen police scandals.

In the scandals, police fabricated crimes — usually by planting guns or drugs on innocent people.

The registry’s goal is to prevent wrongful convictions and help the justice system better identify and correct them.

The Associated Press reported that the researchers said those 873 exonerated defendants spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison, or an average of more than 11 years each.

Additionally, 9 out of 10 of them are men and half are African-American.