Exonerating the Wrongfully Convicted

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Book Chapter

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Chapter 2 examines the critical role DNA analysis has played in exonerating the wrongfully convicted. Since the first DNA exoneration in 1988 of Gary Dotson, falsely convicted of rape in Illinois, hundreds of people have been exonerated through DNA analysis, including many who were on death row; minority groups have been disproportionately represented (approximately 70%). This chapter examines the various reasons that innocent people have been convicted, including coerced confessions and mistaken eyewitness identifications, and discusses several cases in which DNA evidence led to exoneration. It also discusses the establishment of the innocence movement, from the founding in 1983 of Centurion Ministries, an organization devoted to freeing innocent people from prison; to the formation in 1992 of the Innocence Project, which used DNA to free the innocent; to the global movement of today, in which more than 100 innocence organizations around the world work on reform and litigation.

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