Wrongful convictions: Is this problem getting better or worse in New York?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2017 | Wrongful Convictions |

There is no disputing the fact that wrongful convictions are truly one of the greatest injustices in our society. And even though many efforts have been made to eliminate — or at least reduce — the number of instances in which innocent individuals are sent to prison, the truth is that wrongful convictions still occur far more often than many people would like to believe.

In fact, earlier this year, we wrote about how New York had the third most wrongful-conviction exonerations in the country in 2016, according to The National Registry of Exonerations — a joint project of Michigan State University College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School and the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine.

So how is New York doing this year?

New York is actually projected to have fewer exonerations in 2017 when compared to 2016, but only if the current pace stays the same.

Indeed, according to the most recent numbers made available by The National Registry of Exonerations, there have only been five exonerations in New York so far this year — four in state court and one in federal court. Interestingly, all five of these wrongful convictions involved official misconduct and perjury/false accusations.

While only five exonerations may initially sound like good news, it is important to keep things in perspective, especially since it is only July and things can quickly change.

Furthermore, even with these lower numbers, New York still accounts for more than 7 percent of all exonerations in the U.S. so far this year — meaning the Empire State is tied with California for the fourth most exonerations, behind only Texas, Illinois and Michigan.