Since 1989, DNA evidence launched a revolution in America’s criminal justice system, prompting a wave of exonerations of wrongfully convicted men and women.
Yet despite a record number of exonerations last year, DNA evidence played a much lesser role than in previous years, according to a new study by the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
The exposure of false convictions by DNA evidence has prompted a reexamination of junk science such as bite mark evidence and previously sacrosanct confessions and witness identifications. As the National Law Journal reported, last year DNA-based exonerations “represented only 28 percent of the cases. But exoneration for reasons other than DNA evidence doubled.”
Even law enforcement got into the act – in 2013 they were involved in helping push through 38% of the exonerations.
You can read the full National Registry of Exonerations report here.