African-American prisoners who were convicted of murder are about 50 percent more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers.
"African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated".
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and the Michigan STate University College of law focused on three types of crimes that produce the largest number of exonerations on the registry: murder, sexual assault and drug crimes. It also suggests prosecutors use bail, not to secure a defendant's return to court, but as leverage to obtain a plea agreement."It seems like overkill to make sure someone appears at the next court hearing by locking them up", O'Brien said.Pennsylvania is among a number of states exploring the use of risk assessments for bail hearings.Not everyone, however, agreed with the report's findings or O'Brien's conclusions.Berks District Attorney John T. Adams took issue with how exoneree is defined, pointing to the two county cases the registry identified involving Owen Cesar. Blacks also received much longer prison sentences than whites who were exonerated of sexual assault charges, spending an average of 4.5 years longer in prison before being cleared. While blacks and whites have similar rates of illegal drug use, black people are more likely to be arrested and convicted of such offenses than white people are, researchers found.
Here, to, some convictions that ended up in exonerations were marred by implicit bias, racially tainted official misconduct and, in some cases, explicit racism, it added. On average, innocent African Americans convicted of sexual assault spent nearly four-and-a-half years longer in prison before exoneration than innocent whites, according to the report.
Nationwide, 52 defendants were exonerated of murder and 73 were exonerated of non-violent crimes, such as drug possession.
"Assaults on white women by African-American men are a small minority of all sexual assaults in the United States, but they constitute half of sexual assaults with eyewitness misidentifications that led to exoneration". They constitute 47 percent of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations.
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As in past years, Texas leads the country in exonerations, many of them for nonviolent drug crimes. Hispanic men were 1.7 times more likely than whites to be killed by officers.
Alabama had four exonerated in 2015, tying the state for seventh in the nation in exonerations that year, according to the Registry.
Oddly, many blacks plead guilty to crimes they did not commit: they fear going ahead with a full-blown jury trial and being punished with even more years in prison.
A reader examining the studies can not help but come away with the impression that government official misconduct combined with the obsession with the drug war (which feeds the need for results, which therefore encourages the misconduct) play a massive role in putting innocent people away.
In its annual exoneration report, the registry said it was aware of 166 exonerations in 25 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico in 2016.
"Our data shows that police or prosecutorial misconduct has been the primary cause of 16 of the last 18 death-row exonerations (88.9%)", said Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham.
There now are about 2,900 people on death rows around the country, of whom; under that formula, about 120 are likely to have been wrongfully convicted.