Black people Wrongfully Convicted Of Crime More Often, Data Shows
Mar 08, 2017 09:44 AM EST
Information on exonerations, since 1989 shows that black people are more likely to be wrongfully convicted in America than people of other races. The record number of people has been collected by the National Registry of Exonerations, which gives a complete national data collected on the subject.
At least 166 black people have been exonerated last year after being wrongfully convicted of crimes, according to the National Registry of Exonerations' most recent annual report. Data collected in the previous years show 149 in 2015 and 125 the year before that.
Another report released on race and wrongful conviction on Tuesday has stated that African Americans are only 13% of the American population but makes up the majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. The statement continues to state that the black people "constitute 47% of the total 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations" as of October 2016.
Devontae Sanford is one of those exonerated, according to Detroit News. The black teenager, 14 years old at the time of the offense, confessed to the killings of four people in a house in his Detroit neighborhood.
Despite testing negative for gunshot residue and not matching descriptions of the perpetrators provided by witnesses, he was convicted and sentenced to 37 to 90 years in prison. Sanford was one of 16 black people exonerated for murder last year who had been convicted when they were teenagers.
Texas has been leading the country in exonerations of black people in the past years, mostly for nonviolent drug crimes. Although the report acknowledges the possibility of a higher overall rate of wrongful conviction of black people in the state, it notes that the county has overturned dozens of convictions since it created a Conviction Integrity Unit to review past cases, thus crediting the unit for investigating questionable convictions.