U.S. Exonerations See A Record High In 2015

National Registry of Exonerations reported an extremely high amount of exonerations last year, mostly among minorities, The Atlantic reported.

On Wednesday, the report was released and said 149 people were exonerated last year; they spent 14 and half years on average in prison. It continues:

Fifty-eight of those exonerated in 2015 were defendants in homicide cases, more than two-thirds were minorities, and about half were African American. Of 47 drug-related exonerations, another record, 42 pleaded guilty in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston.

Additionally, the report said, 27 exonerations were for convictions based on false confessions—22 of them in homicide cases. And, of 58 homicide exonerations, 44 involved official misconduct by authorities.

It was also known that in 2014, the record for exonerations was set at 139. Since the formation of the database in 1989, 1,733 cases have been reported. The top three states featuring the highest amount of exonerations were Texas (54), New York (17), and Illinois (13).

The Atlantic also reported that;

“Increasingly, prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys are acknowledging the systemic problem of wrongful convictions,” said Samuel Gross, a professor of law at the University of Michigan who wrote the report. “That’s a welcome change, but it’s just a start. We’ve only begun to address this problem systematically.”

Brandon Astor Jones, 72, who is said to be the oldest inmate on Georgia’s death row, convicted of murder in the death of a convenience store manager in a botched robbery in 1979, was executed early this Wednesday.

The execution was the fifth this year in the country and the second in Georgia.

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