A Record Number of Prisoners Were Exonerated Last Year

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prison fence public domain

When you really break it down, the criminal justice system is the linchpin of a functional government. The government may have many different responsibilities, but their ability to catch criminals and punish them is the most important. In fact, if some libertarians are to be believed, if you were to shrink the government down to the smallest possible size, you would be left with nothing but the military, the police, and the courts.

And some countries like Costa Rica and Dominica don’t even have a military. A government with the barest institutions run by a skeleton crew, would essentially consist of nothing more than the courts, the people who were elected to legislate the court’s rules, and the police officers tasked with enforcing those rules. While most people would rather give the government more responsibilities and more staff, this is the government at its lowest common denominator.

So what happens if the government sucks at that job? What if they fill their prisons to the brim with nonviolent offenders, while losing the ability to catch real violent criminals? And worst of all, what if they’re jailing an alarming number of innocent people?

It turns out, the latter of those issues may be a growing problem.

There are more people being wrongly convicted of crimes they didn’t commit than ever before.

That’s according to the University of Michigan’s National Registry of Exonerations which released a report Thursday that documented 2014 as the highest year for proven-wrongful convictions of innocent people.

This record high reached 125 people proven innocent after wrongful conviction in 2014. Prior to that, 2013 was the highest year on record, at 91 wrongful convictions. This shows a disturbing and steady upward trend of police, court and prison collusion to lock up innocent people.

In Texas, investigators found 33 people falsely convicted of drug offenses, in Harris County alone, near Houston.

“Judging from known exonerations in 2014, the legal system is increasingly willing to act on innocence claims that have often been ignored: those without biological evidence or with no perpetrator who can be identified because in fact no crime was committed; cases with comparatively light sentences; and judgments based on guilty pleas by defendants who accepted plea bargains to avoid pre-trial detention and the risk of harsher punishment after trial,” the NRE report stated.

The number of exonerations is now 6 times higher than it was in 1989, which is significantly more than the growth of the US prison population. There were only a couple dozen of these cases in the late 80’s, and now there are more than a hundred per year. You might think that this is due to the advent of DNA testing technologies, but that only accounts for a minority of these cases. In fact, DNA related exonerations have actually been declining since 2009.

What’s not entirely clear though, is whether or not these cases indicate that our justice system is arresting more innocent people, or if they’re just getting better at letting them go. Contrary to the NRE’s claims, this fact is difficult to pin down.

What we do know is that there is a serious problem with innocent people confessing to crimes they didn’t commit. Of the 125 people who were released last year, 47 had plead guilty to the crime, which is a substantial increase from previous years. This is likely due to police interrogation techniques which have a tendency to produce false confessions.

Either way, this may be the tip of the iceberg. Somehow I doubt that out of the millions of people who are trapped in our prison system, only a few hundred are innocent. If some estimates are true, then anywhere between 4.1% and 6% of our prisoners are innocent. There’s something seriously wrong with our justice system; a system that I might add, is supposed to be the core of a functional government.

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Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .

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  • Joe2D2

    Justice system? No, Just Us System and you ain’t one of ‘Us’. Got that slave? Don’t ever get mixed up in their system either. You’ll spend years, possibly even a lifetime, tangled in their web of bureaucratic bullshit designed to not make you pay a debt to society and move on with your life; no, to pay them with your life, freedom, blood and most importantly, your paycheck. Very few people ever make it out of their system with a clean break. Heed the warning.

    • Ann McDonald

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      —-srk….
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  • Just because a person is acquitted of a crime, doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Just because a person is convicted, doesn’t mean they did.

    • And because the vast majority of us avoid jury duty like the plague, we will never be able to do anything to prevent such cases of injustice.

  • Then there are those jailed because they exercised their right to apply jury nullification.
    There is no mention of those exonerations that took place after the convicted was executed.

    If the police are a necessary part of government, how did we get through half of our history without them?

    • BigGaySteve

      How do false confessions work? People confess before a lawyer tells them he can flim flam a way out.

      • False confessions are usually created by a beleaguered defendant under duress, which becomes torture when it becomes apparently life threatening, such as waterboarding. Anyone who reads the news sees that many police officers will kill people before they can retain counsel, and confessing is one way an accused (by a threatening officer) might try to survive until their arraignment.

  • Sailor Uranus

    Warning to all commenters out there world net daily will permanently ban you from commenting if you use the word B followed by U followed by T. I know it sounds outrageous nevertheless it only shows they have the worst censorship i have ever seen. This proves that right wingers are the most deplorable police state nannies on the planet where even daring to use a basic kindergarten word will get every comment you posted erased.I have encounters much censorship on conservative sites before but this is outrageous.

    • bozotoo

      Butt isn’t their motto- “A Free Press for a Free People”
      ?

      • Sailor Uranus

        That’s not the word i used and they are anything but free..

        • bozotoo

          I get it! I was trying to be funny but was not. I edited my word

          • Sailor Uranus

            Okay

          • olddog

            BTW…Disqus is a San Fran, Kalifornica based buss. and is HARD LEFT and have been actively deleting Conservative post as well.

          • Sailor Uranus

            Left or right it don’t matter can’t you see the wings for the vulture?

          • olddog

            L or R don’t matter??..Stoned on Stupid is quick path to “Hoax and Chains” UTOPIAN thingys..enjoy..

          • Sailor Uranus

            Well none of it matters because everything they do is bad for humanity and nothing they do will ever create a utopia on earth because no one can found a paradise upon greed.

          • olddog

            well then guess you’re stuck with doing it yourself, which turns out to FAR MORE REALISTIC…Been watching this movie 7 decades and have NEVER witnessed the Gov. Gumba THUGS supply anything except the “Hoax and Chains” UTOPIAN (D)isasters like (D)estro-it, Watts, Balti-MORGUE, St. Louis…on and on..they’re 100% FAIL and 500% CASH BURN RATE…and yet the FOOLS just keep buying the “Snake Oil”..Be assured, you’re more talented and efficient than the Entire THUGocracy ..COMBINED..

        • olddog

          Agree..and I know I’m a potty mouth and WAY push the limits, but this is absolutely ridiculous what’s going on..Pure Censorship!!!

          • JerryUSA2015

            Grampy you sound like a total moron and we think senility has set in.

          • olddog

            WE??..you got a Choomer (D)ung pile in your pocket..HO???

      • Diane Burke

        my associate’s stride close aunt makes $98 an hour on the portable workstation……….Afterg an average of 19952 Dollars monthly,I’m finally getting 97 Dollars an hour,just working 4-5 hours daily online.….. Weekly paycheck… Bonus opportunities…earn upto $16k to $19k /a month… Just few hours of your free time, any kind of computer, elementary understanding of web and stable connection is what is required…….HERE I STARTED…look over here
        kia…..
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    • olddog

      I’ve been banned at Breitbart, Truth revolt, The Right Scoop.. and 10 others. NRO and several other (?)conservative(?) sites are getting to be ABSURD…RINOtist and Leftist FLAG trolls are eating them up. Anything Pro-American or conservative will be removed or BLOCKED..

      • JerryUSA2015

        You’ve been banned because you’re a senile idiot.

        • olddog

          you’ve been banned for being to stupid to breathe..PERIOD!!!but keep trying buckwheat..

  • the POS prosecutors re-legislate statutory codes to fabricate probable cause, they never obtain ratification of commencement , and never have an unbiased witness under penalty of perjury to submit an affidavit to support an arrest.

    SUE THS P’sOS: http://www.aele.org/law/Digests/civilmenu.html

  • Infidel51

    The American gulag.

  • Infidel51

    History will judge our prisons crammed with non violent drug offenders, serving decade long sentences, in the same light that we judge the debtors prisons of old.

  • Mike

    The police, fbi, cia and all other abc agencies that have arresting powers arrest innocent people all the time to make it look like they are actually doing their jobs. They fabricate evidence on a regular basis.