A national registry has compiled a list of over 2,000 wrong convictions since 1989, since DNA testing became common. And reevaluation of old DNA testing is freeing innocent people from jail every day.
In the May 21st edition of the Los Angeles Times, David G. Savage quotes law professor Samuel Gross as saying, "The more we learn about false convictions, the better we’ll be at preventing them."
To the surprise of many prosecutors and judges, the new National Registry of Exonerations has revealed that a significant number of convicted rapists and murderers are innocent. The Innocence Project in New York says DNA alone has freed 289 prisoners since 1989.
Savage quotes law expert Rob Warden as saying, "Nobody had an inkling of the serious problem of false confessions until we had this data."
One reason that prosecutors are so eager to convict is that whole towns are supported by jobs in private prisons (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), and these companies lobby politicians extensively and promise campaign funds to prosecutors and judges who are tough on crime.
Illinois has the most exonerations listed in the new registry, with Cook County and Chicago leading the way, followed by Dallas and Los Angeles. Savage quotes Gross as saying, "It’s clear that the exonerations we found are the tip of the iceberg."