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Texas leads the nation in exonerations in 2013

Assistant News Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 22:02

Texas has managed to obtain a new high record when it comes to prisons and incarcerations – this time ranking first in the number prisoners released after being proved innocent for 2013, according a study published Wednesday.

The National Registry of Exonerations has released a new report reviewing the state of the exoneration process and the exonerations that took place over the past year. The report shows that Texas released 13 wrongfully convicted individuals during the 2013 year, beating next runner-up Illinois by four persons.

On a county-by-county basis, Texas placed twice on the top ten counties with the most exonerations. Dallas County came in at number three with 49 exonerations in the registry and Harris County held the number eight spot with 22 exonerations.

Montgomery County ranks at number nine on a list of counties with the highest exonerations per capita with seven exonerations on the registry. Walker County did not have an exoneration.

Texas did not stand alone in the increases of exoneration this year though.

“The National Registry of Exonerations has recorded 87 exonerations that occurred in 2013. The next highest total was in 2009, with 83 known exonerations, and the difference is bound to grow as we learn about additional exonerations that occurred in 2013,” the report stated.

While exoneration rates have continued to rise, the matter that seems to weigh the heaviest is wrongful convictions.

According to the Innocence Clinic, a project run by the University of Michigan Law School, many factors can lead to cases of wrongful conviction. Often false confessions, junk science, misidentification, misconduct and bad legal representation are responsible for the conviction of innocent individuals.

In addition, the actual number of wrongful convictions is difficult to identify without the expensive and unavailable resources needed, according to the Innocence Project.

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