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None of Them Were Guilty, but Served 11 Years in Prison on Average
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Close to 900 innocents have been convicted and sent to jail from 1989 till date and later found to have been not guilty. There’s no racial discrimination in this country when it comes to sending the innocent to prison, the ratio of black and white populace is an even fifty-fifty. But men have it hard and at least 93 percent of the innocent convicted and jailed as guilty were men while only 7% were women. The majority of the cases related to rape and murder. Such is the data shown by the newly launched National Registration of Exonerations inaugurated on May 21 by the University of Michigan and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern. Most belief it’s been able, only to scratch the surface.

Samuel Gross, the University of Michigan law professor said that there were about 900 entries only because they were anecdotal. He said that the center expected a flood of cases to be reported now that the registry is open to the public. “Are there another 200, 1000, or 2000 cases? In a year we might have a clue” said Gross.

Most of the cases entered into the registry were easy to identify because they had already been investigated by non-profit legal groups such as the Innocence Project, which works on exonerating wrongfully-convicted defendants who have received the death penalty. Gross and his assistants searched through the internet, newspapers, court records and also interviewed attorneys to come up with the list of people who had been jailed on an average of 11 years, but did not commit any crime.


One of the most stirring cases was that of Thomas Kennedy who went to jail without any protest, staying mum, and keeping his head down, when his 11-year old daughter accused him of rape out of spite, because Kennedy had divorced her mother. After 9 years in prison, held guilty of raping his own daughter, Kennedy was freed when his daughter admitted that she made up the rape to punish Kennedy.

Another stirring case was of Richard Miles, an African-American convicted of murder in Dallas in 1996 and released in 2009 after it was found that prosecutors had hidden reports implicating other suspects, and then faced with proof, the main prosecution witness recanted to save his own skin. He was found by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2012 to be “actually innocent.” All a mistake, you see.

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