Executions in 2018: min. 690 plus 'thousands' in China

Innocence Cases - 'Exonerees'

Over and over again we refer on our web page to cases of prisoners, that were released from death row as innocent.  Also, over and over again you read a concrete number here: at the moment we speak of 165 'exonerees'.

Other sources show quite different figures which can deviate due to different criteria.

The German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty includes references to figures such as given by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). The statistics at the DPIC demonstrate consistent reliability.

Read more ....

The DPIC is a non-profit organization serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.

The DPIC uses very strict and objective criteria for inclusion of cases on this list. Basically, the list is determined by the decisions of courts and prosecutor offices, not by DPIC's subjective judgment.

The criteria for inclusion on the list is:

Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either

a) their conviction was overturned AND
i) they were acquitted at re-trial or
ii) all charges were dropped

b) they were given an absolute pardon by the governor based on new evidence of innocence.

The list includes cases where the release occurred in 1973 or later, which was the time that states resumed sentencing people to death after the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the death penalty.

From 1973-1999, there was an average of 3.1 exonerations per year. From 2000-2007, there has been an average of 5 exonerations per year.  

The average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration was 9.8 years; DNA played a substantial factor in establishing innocence in only 18 of these cases.  

See complete list of exonerees below; to read a short description of each of these cases, please look the the website of the DPIC here.

List of exonerees since 1973

Nr.* Name State Race Year of conviction Year of exoneration Years between Reason DNA involved?**
1 David Keaton FL black 1971 1973 2 Charges dismissed  
2 Samuel A. Poole NC black 1973 1974 1 Charges dismissed  
3 Wilbert Lee FL black 1963 1975 12 Pardoned  
4 Freddie Pitts FL black 1963 1975 12 Pardoned  
5 James Creamer GA white 1973 1975 2 Charges dismissed  
6 Christopher Spicer NC black 1973 1975 2 Acquitted  
7 Thomas Gladish NM white 1974 1976 2 Charges dismissed  
8 Richard Greer NM white 1974 1976 2 Charges dismissed  
9 Ronald Keine NM white 1974 1976 2 Charges dismissed  
10 Clarence Smith NM white 1974 1976 2 Charges dismissed  
11 Delbert Tibbs FL black 1974 1977 3 Charges dismissed  
12 Earl Charles GA black 1975 1978 3 Charges dismissed  
13 Jonathan Treadway AZ white 1975 1978 3 Acquitted  
14 Gary Beeman OH white 1976 1979 3 Acquitted  
15 Jerry Banks GA black 1975 1980 5 Charges dismissed  
16 Larry Hicks IN black 1978 1980 2 Acquitted  
17 Charles Ray Giddens OK black 1978 1981 3 Charges dismissed  
18 Michael Linder SC white 1979 1981 2 Acquitted  
19 Johnny Ross LA black 1975 1981 6 Charges dismissed  
20 Ernest (Shujaa) Graham CA black 1976 1981 5 Acquitted  
21 Annibal Jaramillo FL Latin 1981 1982 1 Charges dismissed  
22 Lawyer Johnson MA black 1971 1982 11 Charges dismissed  
23 Larry Fisher MS white 1984 1985 1 Acquitted  
24 Anthony Brown FL black 1983 1986 3 Acquitted  
25 Neil Ferber PA white 1982 1986 4 Charges dismissed  
26 Clifford Henry Bowen OK white 1981 1986 5 Charges dismissed  
27 Joseph Green Brown FL black 1974 1987 13 Charges dismissed  
28 Perry Cobb IL black 1979 1987 8 Acquitted  
29 Darby (Williams) Tillis IL black 1979 1987 8 Acquitted  
30 Vernon McManus TX white 1977 1987 10 Charges dismissed  
31 Anthony Ray Peek FL black 1978 1987 9 Acquitted  
32 Juan Ramos FL Latin 1983 1987 4 Acquitted  
33 Robert Wallace GA black 1980 1987 7 Acquitted  
34 Richard Neal Jones OK white 1983 1987 4 Acquitted  
35 Willie Brown FL black 1983 1988 5 Charges dismissed  
36 Larry Troy FL black 1983 1988 5 Charges dismissed  
37 Randall Dale Adams TX white 1977 1989 12 Charges dismissed  
38 Robert Cox FL white 1988 1989 1 Charges dismissed  
39 James Richardson FL black 1968 1989 21 Acquitted  
40 Clarence Brandley TX black 1981 1990 9 Charges dismissed  
41 John C. Skelton TX white 1983 1990 7 Acquitted  
42 Dale Johnston OH white 1984 1990 6 Charges dismissed  
43 Jimmy Lee Mathers AZ white 1987 1990 3 Acquitted  
44 Gary Nelson GA black 1980 1991 11 Charges dismissed  
45 Bradley P. Scott FL white 1988 1991 3 Acquitted  
46 Charles Smith IN black 1983 1991 8 Acquitted  
47 Jay C. Smith PA white 1986 1992 6 Acquitted  
48 Kirk Bloodsworth MD white 1984 1993 9 Charges dismissed Yes
49 Federico M. Macias TX Latin 1984 1993 9 Charges dismissed  
50 Walter McMillian AL black 1988 1993 5 Charges dismissed  
51 Gregory R. Wilhoit OK white 1987 1993 6 Acquitted  
52 James Robinson AZ white 1977 1993 16 Acquitted  
53 Muneer Deeb TX other 1985 1993 8 Acquitted  
54 Andrew Golden FL white 1991 1994 3 Charges dismissed  
55 Adolph Munson OK black 1985 1995 10 Acquitted  
56 Robert Charles Cruz AZ Latin 1981 1995 14 Acquitted  
57 Rolando Cruz IL Latin 1985 1995 10 Acquitted Yes
58 Alejandro Hernandez IL Latin 1985 1995 10 Charges dismissed Yes
59 Sabrina Butler MS black 1990 1995 5 Acquitted  
60 Joseph Burrows IL white 1989 1996 7 Charges dismissed  
61 Verneal Jimerson IL black 1985 1996 11 Charges dismissed Yes
62 Dennis Williams IL black 1979 1996 17 Charges dismissed Yes
63 Roberto Miranda NV Latin 1982 1996 14 Charges dismissed  
64 Gary Gauger IL weiß 1993 1996 3 Charges dismissed  
65 Troy Lee Jones CA black 1982 1996 14 Charges dismissed  
66 Carl Lawson IL black 1990 1996 6 Acquitted  
67 David Wayne Grannis AZ white 1991 1996 5 Charges dismissed  
68 Ricardo Aldape Guerra TX Latin 1982 1997 15 Charges dismissed  
69 Benjamin Harris WA black 1985 1997 12 Charges dismissed  
70 Robert Hayes FL black 1991 1997 6 Acquitted  
71 Christopher McCrimmon AZ black 1993 1997 4 Acquitted  
72 Randall Padgett AL white 1992 1997 5 Acquitted  
73 Robert Lee Miller, Jr. OK black 1988 1998 10 Charges dismissed Yes
74 Curtis Kyles LA black 1984 1998 14 Charges dismissed  
75 Shareef Cousin LA black 1996 1999 3 Charges dismissed  
76 Anthony Porter IL black 1983 1999 16 Charges dismissed  
77 Steven Smith IL black 1985 1999 14 Acquitted  
78 Ronald Williamson OK white 1988 1999 11 Charges dismissed Yes
79 Ronald Jones IL black 1989 1999 10 Charges dismissed Yes
80 Clarence Dexter, Jr. MO white 1991 1999 8 Charges dismissed  
81 Warren Douglas Manning SC black 1989 1999 10 Acquitted  
82 Alfred Rivera NC Latin 1997 1999 2 Charges dismissed  
83 Steve Manning IL white 1993 2000 7 Charges dismissed  
84 Eric Clemmons MO black 1987 2000 13 Acquitted  
85 Joseph Nahume Green FL black 1993 2000 7 Charges dismissed  
86 Earl Washington VA black 1984 2000 16 Pardoned Yes
87 William Nieves PA latin 1994 2000 6 Acquitted  
88 Frank Lee Smith (starb vor Freilassung) FL black 1986 2000** 14 Charges dismissed Yes
89 Michael Graham LA white 1987 2000 13 Charges dismissed  
90 Albert Burrell LA white 1987 2000 13 Charges dismissed  
91 Oscar Lee Morris CA black 1983 2000 17 Charges dismissed  
92 Peter Limone MA white 1968 2001 33 Charges dismissed  
93 Gary Dinkard AL white 1995 2001 6 Charges dismissed  
94 Joaquin Jose Martinez FL Latin 1997 2001 4 Acquitted  
95 Jeremy Sheets NE white 1997 2001 4 Charges dismissed  
96 Charles Fain ID white 1983 2001 18 Charges dismissed Yes
97 Juan Roberto Melendez FL Latin 1984 2002 18 Charges dismissed  
98 Ray Krone AZ white 1992 2002 10 Charges dismissed Yes
99 Thomas Kimbell, Jr. PA white 1998 2002 4 Acquitted  
100 Larry Osborne KY white 1999 2992 3 Charges dismissed  
101 Aaron Patterson IL black 1986 2003 17 Pardoned  
102 Madison Hobley IL black 1987 2003 16 Pardoned  
103 Leroy Orange IL black 1984 2003 19 Pardoned  
104 Stanley Howard IL black 1987 2003 16 Pardoned  
105 Rudolph Holton FL black 1986 2003 16 Charges dismissed  
106 Lemuel Prion AZ white 1999 2003 4 Charges dismissed  
107 Wesley Quick AL white 1997 2003 6 Acquitted  
108 John Thompson LA black 1985 2003 18 Acquitted  
109 Timothy Howard OH black 1976 2003 26 Charges dismissed  
110 Gary Lamar James OH black 1976 2003 26 Charges dismissed  
111 Joseph Amrine MO black 1986 2003 17 Charges dismissed  
112 Nicholas Yarris PA white 1982 2003 21 Charges dismissed Yes
113 Alan Gell NC white 1998 2004 6 Acquitted  
114 Gordon Steidl IL white 1987 2004 17 Charges dismissed  
115 Laurence Adams MA black 1974 2004 30 Charges dismissed  
116 Dan L. Bright LA black 1996 2004 8 Charges dismissed  
117 Ryan Matthews LA black 1999 2004 5 Charges dismissed Yes
118 Ernest Ray Willis TX white 1987 2004 17 Charges dismissed  
119 Derrick Jamison OH black 1985 2005 20 Charges dismissed  
120 Harold Wilson PA black 1989 2005 16 Acquitted  
121 John Ballard FL white 2003 2006 3 Acquitted  
122 Curtis McCarty OK white 1986 2007 21 Charges dismissed Yes
123 Michael McCormick TN white 1987 2007 20 Acquitted  
124 Jonathon Hoffman NC black 1995 2007 12 Charges dismissed  
125 Kennedy Brewer MS black 1995 2008 13 Charges dismissed Yes
126 Glen Chapman NC black 1994 2008 14 Charges dismissed  
127 Levon Jones NC black 1993 2008 15 Charges dismissed  
128 Michael Blair TX other 1994 2008 14 Charges dismissed Yes
129 Nathson Fields IL black 1986 2009 23 Acquitted  
130 Paul House TN white 1986 2009 23 Charges dismissed  
131 Daniel Wade Moore AL white 2002 2009 7 Acquitted  
132 Ronald Kitchen IL black 1988 2009 21 Charges dismissed  
133 Herman Lindsey FL black 2006 2009 3 Acquitted  
134 Michael Toney TX white 1999 2009 10 Charges dismissed  
135 Yancy Douglas OK black 1995 2009 14 Charges dismissed  
136 Paris Powell OK black 1997 2009 12 Charges dismissed  
137 Robert Springsteen TX white 2001 2009 8 Charges dismissed  
138 Anthony Graves TX black 1994 2010 16 Charges dismissed  
139 Gussie Vann TN white 1994 2011 17 Charges dismissed  
140 Joe D'Ambrosio TX white 1989 2012 23 Charges dismissed  
141 Damon Thibodeaux LA white 1997 2012 15 charges dismissed yes
142 Seth Penalver FL white 1999 2012 13 acquitted  
143 Reginald Griffin MO black 1983 2013 30 charges dismissed  
144 Glenn Ford LA black 1984 2014 30 charges dismissed  
145 Carl Dausch FL white 2011 2014 3 acquitted  
146 Henry McCollum NC black 1984 2014 30 charges dismissed yes
147 Leon Brown NC black 1984 2014 30 charges dismissed yes
148 Ricky Jackson OH black 1975 2014 39 charges dismissed  
149 Wiley Bridgeman OH black 1975 2014 39 charges dismissed  
150 Kwame Ajamu OH black 1975 2014 39 charges dismissed  
151 Debra Milke AZ white 1990 2015 39 charges dismissed  
152 Anthony Ray Hinton AL black 1985 2015 30 charges dismissed  
153 Willie Jerome Manning MS black 1996 2015 19 charges dismissed  
154 Alfred Brown TX black 2005 2015 10 charges dismissed  
155 Lawrence William Lee GA white 1987 2015 28 charges dismissed  
156 Derral Wayne Hodgkins FL white 2013 2015 2 acquitted  
157 Isahia McCoy DE black 2012 2017 5 acquitted  
158 Rodricus Crawford LA black 2012 2017 5 charges dismissed  
159 Ralph Daniel Wright Jr FL black 2013 2017 3 acquitted  
160 Rickey Dale Newman FL black 2014 2017 3 acquitted  
161 Gabriele Solache IL latino 2000 2017 7 charges dismissed  
162 Vicente Benavides CA latino 1993 2018 25 charges dismissed  
                 
                 
                 
                 

Source: Death Penalty Information Center

*The list is ordered by the year of the inmate's release. Occaionally new cases of earlier releases are discovered. Thus, the number assigned to a person above may differ from his or her number in various published DPIC reports.

**DPIC refers to the Innocence Project's (Cardozo Law School, NY) criteria for whether a post-conviction exoneration was the result of DNA testing.

The Innocence Project requires that both:

a) DNA testing played a role in the defendant's reversal, AND

b) the results of the testing were central to the inmate's defense and to the identity of the perpetrator.

Become involved

If you would love to do something against the death penalty but you just don’t have the time to become an active member of an organization and pen friendships have never been just the thing for you?  

There are many different ways one can become involved. We’ve collected a few ideas what can be done on these pages.