here has been prior research pointing to racial bias and official misconduct contributing to higher wrongful conviction rates for Blacks than for whites. But the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE) not only documents such instances; it also supplies a consistent source of data to explore what is driving that disparity.
A NRE report, “Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States,” released last week, examined U.S. cases from 1989 to October 2016. Of the 1,900 defendants convicted of crimes and later exonerated, 47 percent were African Americans — three times their representation in the population, which is 13 percent.
The analysis focuses on sexual assaults, murder and drug-related offenses. These are the crimes for which exonerations are most common.
According to the study, Blacks were almost seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than whites. Forty percent of Blacks were convicted of murder but are 50 percent of those wrongfully convicted, whereas 36 percent of whites were wrongfully convicted of a crime.
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