The National Registry of Exonerations released a report this month entitled: Government Misconduct and Convicting the Innocence.
Download the full report here: Government Misconduct & Convicting the Innocent.
- Official misconduct contributed to the false convictions of 54% of defendants who were later exonerated. In general, the rate of misconduct is higher in more severe crimes.
- Concealing exculpatory evidence—the most common type of misconduct—occurred in 44% of exonerations.
- Black exonerees were slightly more likely than whites to have been victims of misconduct (57% to 52%), but this gap is much larger among exonerations for murder (78% to 64%)—especially those with death sentences (87% to 68%)—and for drug crimes (47% to 22%).
- Police officers committed misconduct in 35% of cases. They were responsible for most of the witness tampering, misconduct in interrogation, and fabricating evidence—and a great deal of concealing exculpatory evidence and perjury at trial.
- Prosecutors committed misconduct in 30% of the cases. Prosecutors were responsible for most of the concealing of exculpatory evidence and misconduct at trial, and a substantial amount of witness tampering.