Texas Tops List of Wrongful Conviction Exonerations

A new report released Tuesday shows that a nationwide push by prosecutors to re-examine possible wrongful convictions contributed to a record number of exonerations in 2013.

The National Registry of Exonerations said that 87 people falsely convicted of crimes were exonerated last year.

The joint effort by the Northwestern University and University of Michigan law schools shows that nearly 40 percent of those exonerations were either initiated by law enforcement or included police and prosecutors' cooperation.

Texas topped the state-by-state breakdown with 13 exonerations in 2013, followed by Illinois, New York, Washington and California.

District attorneys in the counties containing Dallas, Chicago, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Santa Clara, Calif., are among those with new "conviction integrity" units. The International Association of Chiefs of Police is also pushing to reduce wrongful convictions.

In Dallas, much of the effort to re-examine wrongful convictions is cited to Dallas County Distritct Attorney Craig Watkins.

Watkins worked to persuade count leaders to establish spend about $450,000 to create the country's first "conviction integrity" unit back in 2006. Since that program started, more than 40 convictions in Dallas County have been overturned.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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