List of miscarriage of justice cases
This is a list of miscarriage of justice cases. This list includes cases where a convicted individual was later found to be innocent of the crime and has received either an official exoneration, or a consensus exists that the individual was unjustly punished or where a conviction has been quashed and no retrial has taken place, so that the accused is assumed innocent.


  • Colin Ross
    Colin Campbell Ross
    Colin Campbell Eadie Ross was an Australian wine-bar owner executed for the rape and murder of a child which became known as The Gun Alley Murder, despite there being evidence that he was innocent...

     was pardoned on May 27, 2008, 86 years after his conviction and execution.
  • Darryl Beamish
    Darryl Beamish
    Darryl Beamish is a Western Australian who was wrongfully convicted of willful murder in 1961 and sentenced to hang. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and he served 15 years....

     and John Button
    John Button (campaigner)
    John Button, born in Liverpool, England on 9 February 1944, is a Western Australian who was the victim of a significant miscarriage of justice.-Conviction:...

     were convicted of murders committed by Eric Edgar Cooke
    Eric Edgar Cooke
    Eric Edgar Cooke nicknamed The Night Caller was an Australian serial killer. From 1959 to 1963, he terrorised the city of Perth, Western Australia, by committing 22 violent crimes, eight of which resulted in deaths....

     in 1961 and 1963, respectively.
  • Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton was convicted in 1982 for the murder of her 9 week-old daughter, Azaria
    Azaria Chamberlain disappearance
    Azaria Chantel Loren Chamberlain was a nine-week-old Australian baby girl, who disappeared on the night of 17 August 1980 on a camping trip to Uluru with her family. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo...

    , after claiming that the baby had been taken off by a dingo
    The Australian Dingo or Warrigal is a free-roaming wild dog unique to the continent of Australia, mainly found in the outback. Its original ancestors are thought to have arrived with humans from southeast Asia thousands of years ago, when dogs were still relatively undomesticated and closer to...

    . In 1988, her conviction was overturned and she was released from prison.
  • Ray, Peter, and Brian Mickelberg were convicted in 1983 of the Perth Mint Swindle
    Perth Mint Swindle
    The Perth Mint Swindle is the popular name of a robbery of 68 kg of gold bars at the Perth Mint in Western Australia on 22 June 1982. The bullion was valued at A$653,000 at that time....

    . In 2002, Tony Lewandowski came forward and admitted the police had framed the brothers. In July 2004 their convictions were quashed and as part of a libel settlement, the West Australian police issued a public apology in December 2007.
  • Roseanne Catt was convicted in 1991 on 9 counts including attempted murder of her husband Barry Catt. She was arrested after she had agreed to assist the Department of Family and Community services in the prosecution of her husband for molesting his children (her stepchildren). The detective leading the investigation (Peter Thomas) was a business associate of Barry Catt and had a previous antagonistic relationship with Roseanne Catt. The investigation was carried out from the home of a friend of Barry Catt rather than from the local police station. The crown prosecutor was Patrick Power
    Patrick Power (Australian)
    Patrick John Piers Power, SC is a former Senior Counsel in New South Wales, Australia. He was Deputy Senior Crown Prosecutor at the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions . In May 2007 he was convicted of possessing child pornography....

     who later pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. In 2004, after an 18 month investigation by Judge Davidson, Ms Catt's appeals against seven of the nine convictions (including attempted murder) were upheld whereas the other two convictions were allowed to stand.
  • Andrew Mallard
    Andrew Mallard
    Andrew Mallard is a Western Australian who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released from prison in 2006 after his conviction was quashed by the High Court of Australia....

     was convicted for the murder of jeweler Pamela Lawrence in 1994 after eight unrecorded hours of police interrogation and a brief recorded "confession" that followed. In 2005, the High Court of Australia
    High Court of Australia
    The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, has the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and...

     was advised that the prosecution and/or police had withheld evidence which showed his innocence, and overturned his conviction. As such, Mallard was released from prison. A "cold case" review of the murder conducted after Mallard's release implicated one Simon Rochford as the actual offender and Mallard was exonerated.
  • Salvatore Fazzari, Jose Martinez, and Carlos Pereiras were convicted in 2006 for the murder of Phillip Walsham in 1998. The conviction was overturned by the Western Australian Court of Appeal in 2007 on the grounds that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable and could not be supported on the evidence.
  • Graham Stafford
    Graham Stafford
    Graham Stuart Stafford born 1963, was a sheet metal worker from Goodna, near Ipswich, Queensland who was convicted in 1992 of the murder of twelve-year-old Leanne Sarah Holland, born October 1, 1978. Leanne Holland, the younger sister of Stafford's former partner, Melissa Holland, was murdered in...

     was convicted in 1992 of the murder of twelve-year-old Leanne Sarah Holland, the younger sister of Stafford's then partner. Stafford unsuccessfully appealed in 1992 and 1997. Stafford served over 14 years in prison before being paroled in 2006. One of the conditions of his appeal was that he not speak to the media. In a rare third appeal in 2009 Stafford was successful with two judges ordering a retrial and the third recommending an acquittal. One aspect of the decision of the High Court in determining the Andrew Mallard
    Andrew Mallard
    Andrew Mallard is a Western Australian who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1995 and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released from prison in 2006 after his conviction was quashed by the High Court of Australia....

     case was quoted by the majority as an important factor in their decision to uphold the appeal. The Queensland Director of Prosecutions decided that a retrial was not in the public interest. Stafford and his supporters are seeking an investigation into the original prosecution.
  • Farah Jama was convicted on 21 July 2008 of rape of an unconscious woman purely on the basis of DNA evidence. The woman had been found unconscious partly undressed in a toilet cubicle in a night club. She had no recollection of having been raped. Mr Jama served 15 months of a 6 year sentence before being acquitted by a court of appeal. A subsequent investigation by a retired judge concluded that there had been no rape and that the DNA sample had been contaminated at the time it was taken from the alleged victim. Mr Jama was awarded an ex gratia payment of $AU 250,000 by the Victorian Government.
  • Terry Irving was convicted in 1993 of the armed robbery of a Cairns bank, and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Identification evidence given at his trial was later established to be false. Irving protested his innocence throughout his trial and appeals. He was denied legal aid for his appeals. After serving over half of his prison sentence, Irving had his conviction quashed by the High Court of Australia. The High Court stated that Irving’s original trial was unfair, saying that it had the "gravest misgivings about the circumstances of the case". When the Queensland Government refused to make restitution to Irving, he took his case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which stated in 2002 that Irving had "been the subject of manifest injustice" and "should be entitled to compensation". In 2009, Queensland Attorney General Cameron Dick abandoned a judicial review of Irving's case, which had been ordered by Dick's predecessor, Kerry Shine. Irving is yet to be compensated for his four and a half years of wrongful imprisonment.


  • Ivo Andrić
    Ivo Andric
    Ivan "Ivo" Andrić was a Yugoslav novelist, short story writer, and the 1961 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. His writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under the Ottoman Empire...

    , as a result of confusion during the First World War for political activities.


  • Steven Truscott
    Steven Truscott
    Steven Murray Truscott is a Canadian man who was sentenced to death in 1959, when he was a 14-year old student, for the murder of classmate Lynne Harper...

    's wrongful conviction of murder in the death of Lynne Harper stood for 48 years before finally being overturned August 28, 2007.
  • In 1969, 16-year old David Milgaard
    David Milgaard
    David Milgaard is a Canadian who was wrongfully convicted for the murder and rape of nursing assistant Gail Miller.- Arrest and trial :...

     was convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of 20-year old nursing aide Gail Miller. After 23 years of imprisonment, the Supreme Court of Canada
    Supreme Court of Canada
    The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

     allowed for the release of Milgaard. Five years later DNA
    Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

     testing proved his innocence.
  • Donald Marshall
    Donald Marshall, Jr.
    Donald Marshall, Jr. was a Mi'kmaq man who was wrongly convicted of murder. The case inspired a number of disturbing questions about the fairness of the Canadian justice system, especially given that Marshall was an Aboriginal; as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation put it, "The name Donald...

     was wrongfully convicted in 1971 of the murder of Sandy Seale; acquitted on appeal in 1983 after an additional witness to the murder came forward.
  • In 1971, Gary Staples was wrongfully convicted of the murder of taxi driver, Gerald Burke. He was finally exonerated of the crime on December 5, 2002.
  • Thomas Sophonow was wrongfully convicted in 1981 of the murder of Barbara Stoppel; acquitted on appeal in 1985, and conclusively exonerated by DNA evidence in 2000.
  • Ronald Dalton was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda, in August 1988. It was later found that Brenda Dalton choked on cereal.
  • James Driskell
    James Driskell
    James Patrick Driskell is a Canadian who was wrongfully convicted for the murder of Perry Harder in 1991. Driskell has 7 children and 14 grandchildren.-The Crime and Prosecution:...

     was wrongfully convicted in 1991 of the murder of Perry Harder; his conviction was quashed and the charges stayed in 2005 due to DNA testing, but he has not been fully exonerated.
  • Robert Baltovich
    Robert Baltovich
    Robert Baltovich is a Canadian man who was wrongly convicted in 1992 of the murder of his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain, in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada...

     was convicted in 1992 of the murder of Elizabeth Bain; released in 2000 to prepare an appeal based on new evidence. The Court of Appeal for Ontario ordered a new trial, which began in March 2008. At the outset of the trial, the Crown declined to call any evidence, and the judge ordered the jury to bring a verdict of not guilty. New evidence points to Paul Bernardo
    Paul Bernardo
    Paul Kenneth Bernardo, also known as Paul Jason Teale , is a Canadian serial killer and rapist, known for the sexual assaults and murders he committed with his wife Karla Homolka and the serial rapes he committed in Scarborough.-Early life:Bernardo's mother, Marilyn, was the adopted daughter of a...

    , an acquaintance of Ms Bain's, as her killer.
  • Guy Paul Morin
    Guy Paul Morin
    Guy Paul Morin is a Canadian who was wrongly convicted of the October 1984 rape and murder of his eight-year-old next-door neighbour, Christine Jessop of Queensville, Ontario. DNA testing led to a subsequent overturning of this verdict....

     was wrongfully convicted in 1992 of the murder of Christine Jessop; he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 1995.
  • Vytautas-Charles Baltrusaitis was wrongfully convicted of the 1994 murder of his brother. After serving almost a decade behind bars a second jury concluded him to be not guilty. His case is one of several discussed in a Canadian Justice Department report on prevention of miscarriages of justice.
  • Tammy Marquardt was convicted in Ontario in 1995 of killing her two-year-old son, who had epilepsy. Her conviction rested in large part upon testimony from Charles Smith
    Charles Randal Smith
    Charles Randal Smith was a Canadian pathologist who was the head pediatric forensic pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, from 1982 to 2003. The quality of his autopsies, and the resulting criminal charges and convictions of several people, have been called into...

    , a pathologist (stripped of his medical licence in February 2011) who concluded the boy had been strangled or smothered. Smith's work in many criminal cases (including Marquardt's) was later discredited in a public inquiry, and her conviction was set aside on 10 February 2011 by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Prosecutors agreed Marquardt's trial had been faulty, but they believed she might still be convicted again and would not say whether a retrial would be sought or not.


  • Joan of Arc
    Joan of Arc
    Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...

     was executed in 1431 on charges of heresy
    Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

    . She was posthumously cleared in 1456.
  • Jean Calas
    Jean Calas
    Jean Calas was a merchant living in Toulouse, France, famous for having been the victim of a biased trial due to his being a Protestant. In France, he is a symbol of Christian religious intolerance, along with Jean-François de la Barre and Pierre-Paul Sirven.Calas, along with his wife, was a...

     from Toulouse
    Toulouse is a city in the Haute-Garonne department in southwestern FranceIt lies on the banks of the River Garonne, 590 km away from Paris and half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea...

     was executed on March 10, 1762, for murder of his son Marc Antoine. The philosopher Voltaire
    François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

    , convinced of his innocence, succeeded in reopening of the case and rehabilitation of Jean in 1765.
  • Alfred Dreyfus
    Alfred Dreyfus
    Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish background whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French and European history...

     was wrongly convicted for treason
    In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

     in 1894. After being imprisoned on Devil's Island
    Devil's Island
    Devil's Island is the smallest and northernmost island of the three Îles du Salut located about 6 nautical miles off the coast of French Guiana . It has an area of 14 ha . It was a small part of the notorious French penal colony in French Guiana until 1952...

    , he was proven innocent with the assistance of Émile Zola
    Émile Zola
    Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

     and definitively rehabilitated only in 1906. See the Dreyfus affair
    Dreyfus Affair
    The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France in the 1890s and the early 1900s. It involved the conviction for treason in November 1894 of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent...

  • In 2005, thirteen people were finally proven innocent of child molestation after having served four years in prison. A fourteenth died in prison. Only four people were proven guilty. This infamous case, which deeply shook public opinion, is known as the Affaire d'Outreau, the Outreau case
    Outreau trial
    The Outreau trial was a 2004 criminal trial in Northern France on various counts of sexual abuse against children. The trial and the appeal trial revealed that the main witness for the prosecution, convicted for the abuse, had lied about the involvement of other suspects, who were in fact innocent...

    , from the name of the city where the victims lived.


  • Socrates
    Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

     was sentenced to drink poison hemlock
    Conium is a genus of two species of highly poisonous perennial herbaceous flowering plants in the family Apiaceae, native to Europe and the Mediterranean region as Conium maculatum, and to southern Africa as Conium chaerophylloides....

     in 399 BC for corrupting the youth of Athens and impiety. Modern interpretations state this was instead revenge for his affiliation with the dictatorial Thirty Tyrants
    Thirty Tyrants
    The Thirty Tyrants were a pro-Spartan oligarchy installed in Athens after its defeat in the Peloponnesian War in 404 BC. Contemporary Athenians referred to them simply as "the oligarchy" or "the Thirty" ; the expression "Thirty Tyrants" is due to later historians...



  • Atefah Sahaaleh
    Atefah Sahaaleh
    Atefeh Rajabi Sahaaleh was a 16-year-old Mazandarani Iranian schoolgirl from the town of Neka, Iran who was executed a week after being sentenced to death by Haji Rezai, head of Neka's court on charges of adultery and "crimes against chastity"...

     was a teenager who was convicted of adultery and "crimes against chastity". She was hanged on August 15, 2004. There was little evidence to support her guilt, other than her confession which was obtained by coercion and torture. Also, under the international law, it is illegal for Iran to execute an individual under the age of 18, however, after the execution, the judge in her case confessed to a cover-up by having a speedy trial. Documents presented in court described her as 22 years of age, while her birth certificate would've shown that she was only 16.


  • Sallins Train Robbery
    Sallins Train Robbery
    The Sallins Train Robbery occurred on 31 March 1976 when the Cork to Dublin mail train was robbed near Sallins in County Kildare, Republic of Ireland. Approximately IR£ 200,000 was stolen...

  • Nora Wall
    Nora Wall
    Nora Wall is a former Irish nun of the Sisters of Mercy who was wrongfully convicted of rape in June 1999, and served four days of a life sentence in July 1999, before her conviction was quashed. She was officially declared the victim of a miscarriage of justice in December 2005...

    , a former Irish
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

     nun, was convicted of rape in 1999 and certified in 2005 by the Court of Criminal Appeal
    Court of Criminal Appeal (Ireland)
    The Court of Criminal Appeal of Ireland hears appeals of indictable offences tried in the Circuit Court, the Central Criminal Court and the Special Criminal Court....

     to be the victim of a miscarriage of justice.


  • In January 1976, Amos Baranes was convicted for the 1974 murder
    Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

     of soldier Rachel Heller and was sentenced to life imprisonment
    Life imprisonment
    Life imprisonment is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime under which the convicted person is to remain in jail for the rest of his or her life...

    . In 1980, Ezra Goldberg, a retired policeman concluded that Baranes didn't commit the murder. He gave the information to judge Haim Cohn, who concluded that his judgement was wrong. Cohn suggested Baranes to ask for a pardon. Baranes refused, claiming that such a request would be an admission of a crime he didn't commit. Cohn asked the president to shorten Baranes's imprisonment. Baranes was finally released in June 1983. He continued his struggle to clear his name. Three times his requests for a new trial
    New trial
    A new trial or retrial is a recurrence of a court case. Depending on the rules of the jurisdiction, a new trial may occur if:*a jury is unable to reach a verdict ;...

     were denied. In March 2002, Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner finally ruled that Baranes should get a new trial. Four weeks later, judge Cohn died. His last phone conversation was with judge Dorner; he called her from his sickbed and thanked her for fixing the injustice "that I did". Baranes was one of the people who carried Cohn's coffin. In December 2002, the court acquitted Baranes - without hearing evidence and without deciding whether Baranes committed the crime - after the prosecution decided not to have a trial. Amos Baranes died in September 2011. Rachel Heller's killer was never caught.

  • In 1978, seven gang members - known as the "Maatz Gang" - were accused of arsons and planning the murders of judges and policemen. Based on their own admissions, they were all convicted and sentenced to imprisonment terms between 3 and 10 years. 14 years later, a policeman involved in the investigation of 4 of them, confessed that their confessions were taken using violence and humiliations and that their confessions were forged. The four requested a new trial
    New trial
    A new trial or retrial is a recurrence of a court case. Depending on the rules of the jurisdiction, a new trial may occur if:*a jury is unable to reach a verdict ;...

    . In 1998 the court canceled their conviction, after the prosecution agreed to acquit them due to new evidence found.

  • In 1986, Ukrainian immigrant and retired Ford auto worker, John Demjanjuk
    John Demjanjuk
    John Demjanjuk is a retired Ukrainian-American auto worker who gained notoriety after being accused numerous times of Holocaust-related war crimes....

     was extradited to Israel to stand trial for being the infamous Treblinka extermination camp
    Treblinka extermination camp
    Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp in occupied Poland during World War II near the village of Treblinka in the modern-day Masovian Voivodeship of Poland. The camp, which was constructed as part of Operation Reinhard, operated between and ,. During this time, approximately 850,000 men, women...

     guard known as "Ivan The Terrible". His trial started in 1986 sometime after he was brought to Israel and charged, the trial was broadcast live on the Israeli radio media. There were some documents that he was a guard however, certain details raised by the defense such that an SS Commissioner, Odilo Globocnik, who had in fact been dismissed from this post in March 1942 (before Demjanjuk was said to have arrived), at which time his official SS seal was destroyed. Also certain, members of the SS had wrong ranks signed on the ID card. There were five people, former concentration camp inmates that testified and identified John Demjanjuk as the guard as "Ivan The Terrible" in the Israeli courtroom. On April 18, 1988 John Demjanjuk was convicted on all counts and sentenced to death by hanging. An appeal by his Israeli lawyers was launched. During, this time doubts started to surface. In Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    , near a town where the Treblika concentration camp was located, some of the local residents who were there during the Nazi occupation claimed they knew most of the SS guards that came into town to frequent at the local bar and cafes, etc. They claimed that John Demjanjuk was not Treblinka's Ivan the Terrible. In 1991, the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     fell apart and then KGB documents emerged. Documents said that some 37 former guards said an "Ivan Marcheko" was the infamous Ivan. In fact the KGB
    The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

     files even had a detailed file on concentration camp guard Ivan Mercheko (where he was born, schooling, family history, etc.) of being "Ivan the Terrible" and not Demjanjuk. Also, Demjanjuk family members in the USA found documents by the US Government OSI Agency that cast doubts that John Demjanjuk even being Treblinka's Ivan camp guard. The US agency went to great lengths not to share this information with Demjanjuk's USA lawyers. With this mounting hard evidence on July 29, 1993 the Israeli Supreme Court overturned his conviction and was set free. Many concentration camp victims wanted him tried for being at Sobibór extermination camp
    Sobibór extermination camp
    Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp located on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór, Lublin Voivodeship of occupied Poland as part of Operation Reinhard; the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor...

    , but the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that this would be double jeopardy, and he was sent back to the United States. He later had his citizenship restored in 1998, but USA officials still wanted him out of the USA. After many years a very ill John Demjanjuk was deported to Germany in the summer of 2009, and he is currently on trial for being a Wachmann at Sobibór camp in Germany.


  • Pietro Valpreda
    Pietro Valpreda
    Pietro Valpreda was an Italian anarchist, dancer and novelist. He was victim of a miscarriage of justice, sentenced to prison on charges of being responsible of the December 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing, before being cleared sixteen years later.Valpreda came from a poor working-class family in...

    , an anarchist condemned for the 1969 Piazza Fontana bombing
    Piazza Fontana bombing
    The Piazza Fontana Bombing was a terrorist attack that occurred on December 12, 1969 at 16:37, when a bomb exploded at the headquarters of Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana in Milan, Italy, killing 17 people and wounding 88...

    , was finally found innocent sixteen years later. He was framed since it was planned to blame the crime on the radical Left, while it was committed by Neo-Fascist groups as the first step of the strategy of tension
    Strategy of tension
    The strategy of tension is a theory that describes how to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, and false flag terrorist actions....

  • Enzo Tortora
    Enzo Tortora
    Enzo Tortora , was a popular TV host and anchorman on national RAI television, who was falsely accused of being a member of the Camorra and drug trafficking...

    , a popular anchorman on national RAI
    RAI — Radiotelevisione italiana S.p.A. known until 1954 as Radio Audizioni Italiane, is the Italian state owned public service broadcaster controlled by the Ministry of Economic Development. Rai is the biggest television company in Italy...

     television, was arrested in 1983 and held in jail for months on trumped up charges by several pentiti
    Pentito designates people in Italy who, formerly part of criminal or terrorist organizations, following their arrests decide to "repent" and collaborate with the judicial system to help investigations...

     of the Camorra
    The Camorra is a Mafia-type criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating to the 18th century.-Background:...

     and other people already known for perjury. It was soon noted that this was most likely an mis-identification due to confusion with a man bearing the same surname (meaning "turtledove"), but the pentiti kept on accusing Tortora of the gravest offenses related to drug dealing. He was sentenced to ten years in jail in his first trial held in 1985, being spared further incarceration only thanks to the providential intervention of the Radical Party who offered him a candidacy to the European Parliament, a place Tortora won in a landslide as the country became divided between those who held him guilty and those who held him innocent. He was completely acquitted and rehabilitated in 1986; he returned the next year to his work in TV, to a moving comeback in his "Portobello" show, to die in 1988 from cancer and become an icon of injustice and a perpetual reminder of the gravest public blunder of the Italian judiciary system.
  • Daniele Barillà, an entrepreneur mistakenly identified as a major drug cartel boss in Milan
    Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

    , spent more than 7 years in jail in 1992–1999, despite growing evidence of his complete innocence and non-involvement in any criminal activity. To this day, the Italian state hasn't awarded him any compensation.


  • Sakae Menda
    Sakae Menda
    is a Japanese man who was convicted of a double homicide, but was exonerated by retrial in 1983. This was the first time anyone was ever released from death row by retrial in Japan...

     was convicted for a double murder in 1948 and was sentenced to death, but was cleared in 1983 after further evidence backing up his alibi came to light.
  • Hiroshi Yanagihara was convicted of rape and attempted rape, but the true culprit, Eiichi Otsu, was arrested after Yanagihara's release. Otsu was charged with 14 rapes and Yanagihara was cleared by retrial in 2007. Otsu was sentenced to 25 years in prison.


  • In 2005, the AFI
    Federal Investigations Agency
    The Federal Investigations Agency was a Mexican federal agency that existed to fight corruption and organized crime, through an executive order by President Vicente Fox Quesada. The AFI replaced an earlier agency, the Federal Judicial Police...

     staged an arrest of kidnappers for the benefit of Mexican TV crews. A French woman named Florence Cassez
    Florence Cassez
    Florence Marie Louise Cassez Crepin is a French woman convicted in Mexico of belonging to the kidnapping gang Los Zodiaco . She is currently serving a 60-year sentence for the crimes of kidnapping, organized crime, and illegal possession of firearms...

     was condemned to 60 years in Prison. Her case has created controversy between France and Mexico. The AFI
    Federal Investigations Agency
    The Federal Investigations Agency was a Mexican federal agency that existed to fight corruption and organized crime, through an executive order by President Vicente Fox Quesada. The AFI replaced an earlier agency, the Federal Judicial Police...

     agents involved in the staged arrest have since come under investigation. In August 2010, the lawyers for Florence Cassez filed an appeal to the Mexican Supreme Court, arguing that the arrest was unconstitutional and that the right of their client was violated.
  • In 2006, six AFI
    Federal Investigations Agency
    The Federal Investigations Agency was a Mexican federal agency that existed to fight corruption and organized crime, through an executive order by President Vicente Fox Quesada. The AFI replaced an earlier agency, the Federal Judicial Police...

     agents raided the Santiago Mexquititlán market
    Santiago Mexquititlán raid
    In March 2006, six plainclothes agents of Mexico's Federal Investigations Agency raided a market in Santiago Mexquititlán, Querétaro, in search of unauthorized copies of copyrighted works. The agents later alleged that they were held hostage by vendors during the raid. Three women were convicted...

    , and later claimed they had been held hostage by unarmed market vendors. Three women, including Jacinta Francisco Marcial, were imprisoned for the alleged kidnapping. In 2009, the charges against Francisco Marcial were dropped following protests from human rights groups.

The Netherlands

  • The Putten
    Putten is a municipality and a town in Gelderland province in the middle of the Netherlands. In 2007 it had a population of 23,024.Putten is surrounded by a great variety of landscapes. To the east of Putten lies the Veluwe, the biggest national park of the Netherlands...

     murder case (1994): in this case, the 23-year-old stewardess Christel Ambrosius was found murdered in her grandmother's house, which was remotely located in the Veluwe
    The Veluwe is a forest-rich ridge of hills in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. The Veluwe features many different landscapes including woodland, heath, some small lakes and Europe's largest sand drifts....

    . The police arrested four men who had been in those woods that weekend. Even though sperm found didn't match the DNA of any of the four men, Wilco Viets and Herman Dubois were convicted to 10 years imprisonment anyway, of which they only served two thirds for good behavior. In April 2002, the Dutch high council
    Hoge Raad der Nederlanden
    The Supreme Court of the Netherlands is the highest court of the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Aruba. The Court was established on 1 October 1838 and sits in The Hague, Netherlands....

     (Supreme court) declared both men innocent, shortly after they had completed their sentences. Another suspect was apprehended in May 2008, based on a DNA match.
  • The Schiedammerpark murder case (2000): Cees Borsboom was released in December 2004 after serving four years in prison of a sentence of 18 years for a murder in June 2000 of a 10-year old girl in a Schiedam
    Schiedam is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. It is part of the Rotterdam metropolitan area. The city is located west of Rotterdam, east of Vlaardingen and south of Delft...

     park. He was released after Wik Haalmeijer confessed to the murder. This confession was confirmed by DNA evidence on the victim and the description of the attacker given to the police by another victim, Maikel, who narrowly survived the attack. Investigation of the manner the prosecution acted in this case revealed that the police and the public prosecutor made substantial mistakes, ignored relevant information, and brutalized (strangulation during police interrogation) the 11-year old victim Maikel. Minister of Justice Piet Hein Donner
    Piet Hein Donner
    Jan Pieter Hendrik "Piet Hein" Donner is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal . He is the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Cabinet Rutte since October 14, 2010....

     had to take all responsibility. In September 2005, he survived a no-confidence motion in parliament but did set up the Posthumus I and Posthumus II committees. The state of the Netherlands paid Cees Borsboom € 600.850,- compensation and the parents of Maikel an unknown amount.

The Posthumus committees: the Schiedammerpark murder case, as well as the similarly overturned case of the Putten murder, led to the installation of the "Posthumus I committee", which analyzed what had gone wrong in the Schiedammerpark Murder case, coming to the conclusion that confirmation bias
Confirmation bias
Confirmation bias is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.David Perkins, a geneticist, coined the term "myside bias" referring to a preference for "my" side of an issue...

 led the police to ignore and misinterpret scientific evidence (DNA). Subsequently, the so-called Posthumus II committee was set up to investigate whether more of such cases might have occurred. The committee received 25 applications from concerned and involved scientists, and decided to take three of them into further consideration: the Lucia de Berk
Lucia de Berk
Lucia de Berk, often called Lucia de B. or Lucy de B is a Dutch licenced paediatric nurse, who was subject to a miscarriage of justice. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2003 for four murders and three attempted murders of patients in her care...

 case, the Ina Post case, and the Enschede incest case. In these three cases, confirmation bias and misuse of complex scientific evidence is claimed by independent researchers (professors Wagenaar, van Koppen, Israëls, Crombag, Derksen) to have led to miscarriages of justice.
Other potential cases: there are also continuing attempts by concerned scientists to get the well-known Deventer murder case, the Overzier murder case, the butler case, the Epe incest case, and the Kevin Sweeney case
Kevin Sweeney case
Kevin Sweeney is a British businessman convicted in 2001 in the Netherlands for the murder of his wife, Suzanne Davies by arson on 17 July 1995. The prosecution offered no motive for the alleged crime and Suzanne's life insurance policies were in trust for the children.Sweeney was acquitted after a...


New Zealand

  • Arthur Allan Thomas
    Arthur Allan Thomas
    Arthur Allan Thomas was convicted in 1971 of the Harvey and Jeannette Crewe murders in June 1970 in Pukekawa , south of Auckland, New Zealand. Thomas, who farmed a property in the same district as the Crewes, was twice convicted of their murders but later given a Royal Pardon...

    , a New Zealand farmer, was twice convicted of the murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe
    Harvey and Jeanette Crewe
    David Harvey Crewe , known as Harvey, and Jeannette Lenore Crewe were a New Zealand farming couple who died in a double murder, or possibly a murder–suicide, around 17 June 1970...

     on June 17, 1970. He spent 9 years in prison but was given a Royal Pardon, and was released and awarded $1 million compensation for wrongful convictions. A Royal Commission
    Royal Commission
    In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

     in 1980 showed the prosecution cases were flawed, there was a high possibility police had deliberately planted a cartridge case in the Crewes' garden to use as evidence, and ignored evidence that pointed to another suspect. The prosecution had also denied alibi and witness information to the defense team.
  • David Doherty was convicted in 1993 on charges of abduction and the rape of an 11-year-old girl. After serving over 3 years in prison, he was acquitted in 1997 after new DNA evidence ruled him out. Compensation of over $800,000 was paid by the New Zealand Government and an apology given for the wrongful conviction. The real culprit, Nicholas Reekie, was later convicted of the crime.
  • David Bain
    David Bain
    David Cullen Bain is a New Zealander who featured in one of the country's most notable murder cases. He was convicted in May 1995 of the murders of his parents and siblings in Dunedin on 20 June 1994...

     was convicted in 1995 of the murder of all five members of his family the previous year. After 13 years in prison, his convictions were finally overturned in 2007 by the Privy Council
    Privy council
    A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

    , who found that a substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred. In his 2009 retrial Bain was acquitted on all charges.
  • Rex Haig was convicted in 1995 of the murder of Mark Roderique, a crew member on Haig’s fishing boat, Antares. The murder conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal
    Court of Appeal of New Zealand
    The Court of Appeal of New Zealand, located in Wellington, is New Zealand’s principal intermediate appellate court. In practice, most appeals are resolved at this intermediate appellate level, rather than in the Supreme Court...

     in August 2006, nearly two years after Haig’s release on parole having served a full sentence for the killing. Haig’s nephew, David Hogan, who claimed that he saw his uncle kill Mr Roderique, is now regarded by the Court of Appeal as a suspect for the murder, and, by at least one of the three Appeal Court Judges, as an ‘utterly unreliable’ witness. Haig's bid for compensation for imprisonment was declined in 2009 on the basis that he failed to show he was innocent of the murder and was probably involved in it.
  • Aaron Farmer served 2 years and 3 months in prison for the rape of a Christchurch woman before being exonerated by DNA evidence. At the time of Farmer's sentencing District Court Judge Murray Abbott criticized aspects of the police inquiry regarding disclosure of evidence and deficits in transcripts of a police video interview. Issues regarding analysis of samples submitted to Environmental Science and Research
    Institute of Environmental Science and Research
    The Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited is a Crown Research Institute in New Zealand.ESR's work underpins the health and justice systems in New Zealand by providing services in environmental health and forensic science....

     had not been followed through in a timely way, and no satisfactory explanation had been given why an identity parade had not been conducted. The Appeal Court highlighted that in a taped interview with Farmer, the detective gave the impression that DNA evidence implicated Farmer when it did not.
  • Tania Vini, Macushla Fuataha, both 14, and 15 year-old Lucy Akatere were jailed for terms of up to two years for the aggravated robbery of a 16 year-old school girl who was viciously slashed and bashed by five teenage girls. The girls served seven months in prison before being released. The actions of the Police in their interviewing of the girls was shown to have been overbearing and deceitful. In overturning the convictions, Court of Appeal judge, Justice Gault, said the three girls had the court’s sympathy for the injustice that had wrongly sent them to prison. He went on to say the “investigation and the trial system failed in this case” and the wrongful conviction “raises questions of conduct by the police which is a serious matter and must be properly investigated”. The allegations center on the alleged misconduct of the then Detective Constable Trevor Franklin, with serious allegations of misconduct in relation to his tactics.
  • In 2000, a man, whose name is suppressed, was exonerated of allegations of indecent assault on his two sons, both then aged under 12 years. He was convicted in 1995 and spent 14 months in prison before the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction after both sons retracted their allegations. The allegations were withdrawn by the children within 48 hours of being made, but police failed to make those facts available to defense counsel and continued with the prosecution. Over half a million New Zealand Dollars was paid in compensation.


Despite Norway's international reputation, Norwegian police, courts and prison authorities have been criticized and convicted on several occasions by the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is a supra-national court established by the European Convention on Human Rights and hears complaints that a contracting state has violated the human rights enshrined in the Convention and its protocols. Complaints can be brought by individuals or...

 for breaking the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Despite Norways modest population (4,9 million), it was reported that in 2010, almost 800 people had applied for compensation after wrongful prosecutions. Around half were granted compensation.
  • Per Kristian Liland, wrongfully convicted of murdering two of his friends in 1969. He was cleared in 1994. His case is known as The Liland Affair
    Liland Affair
    The Liland Affair was a Norwegian murder trial, for the 1969 double murder in Fredrikstad, which gave rise to a miscarriage of justice.It started in December 1969, when two men were found murdered with an axe in the Norwegian town Fredrikstad. In 1970 Per Kristian Liland was convicted for both...

  • Fritz Moen
    Fritz Moen
    Fritz Yngvar Moen was a Norwegian man wrongfully convicted for two distinct felony murders, serving a total of 18 years in prison...

    , wrongfully convicted for separate murders of two 20-year-old women in 1976 and 1977. He was cleared of one murder in 2004. After his death in March 2005, he was cleared of the second murder, based on a reinvestigation of the case by Norway's Criminal Case Review Commission. The case against Fritz Moen stands as Europe's only known case of dual miscarriage, in which a country's judicial authorities have convicted the wrong person in two separately related murders.
  • Sveinung Rødseth, wrongfully convicted in 1981 for the murder of his 5-month old daughter. Cleared in 1998.
  • Thor Karlsen, arrested in 1982 for the murder of an Johanne Apenes in Fredrikstad. He was released after 170 days in costudy, but was branded as a killer for 25 years before another man confessed the murder in 2007. Karlsen and his family received partial compensation in 2011.
  • Atle Hage was wrongfully convicted for incest to his two children in 1984. His wife accused him when the couple divorced. Hage committed suicide in 1987, his life in ruins after time in prison. In 1997 his two children, then 20 and 22, demanded the case be reopened, claiming that no molestation had taken place and that Hage's wife had lied. Hage was cleared in 1998. Hages ex-wife, Ada Borthen, later made similar accusations against her new husband. She has never been charged for making false accusations. Hage's daughter suffered from depression after the suicide and was admitted to a mental hospital, where she for years was treated as an incest victim.
  • The Birgitte-case 1995: The murder of Birgitte Tengs sparked a huge investigation. The following year a cousin was arrested and charged. He was first convicted, but late cleared on appeal. Later, he was sued in civil court and found liable for the unlawful death of Birgitte Tengs. This decision was later reversed by the European Court of Human Rights, and the Norwegian courts were convicted for human rights violations. Further investigation concluded that false confessions had been made under psychological pressure and extortion by the police. Despite the Human Right courts decision, Norwegian court upheld the liability verdict in 2009, stating that "the victims parents have the right to the peace a final verdict will give."
  • In 1996, veteran police officer Harald Tveiten was convicted of forgery of 223,000 NOK
    NOK or Nok may refer to:*Kiel Canal *Norwegian krone, NOK is the ISO 4217 code and is used as an abbreviation for the currency.*NYSE stock ticker for Nokia Corporation, based in Finland...

    . He helped a widow withdraw and acquire her assets. When she died, the money had been given to charity. The widow's inheritors accused Tveiten of theft, and he was convicted. The case was re-opened in 2008 after 12 years of appeal. Tveiten was cleared in July that year, but died of blood cancer just a few hours after the verdict.
  • In 2002, a woman exercising in Oslo was assaulted and raped. Based on her identification, a naturalised immigrant from Kosovo was convicted for the crime. In 2006, DNA-evidence found on the crime-scene during the initial investigation proved that the real perpetrator was a 44-year old Norwegian, now serving a long sentence for murdering his wife. The innocent person was exonerated.
  • In 2004, a Norwegian woman living in England was convicted for false rape accusations against two British men she had engaged in intercourse with at an hotel. A security camera recording proved that she had made false accusations to hide adultery. The case eventually led to the exonoration of a Norwegian man convicted by accusations from the same woman in 1993, and review of 5 other rape accusations the woman had reported in Norway.
  • In 1990, Åge Vidar Fjell was convicted of killing his neighbour with a shotgun. He was cleared in 2009. Fjell was mentally disabled and incapable of committing the crime.

Former Lagmannsretts judge Trygve-Lange Nielsen has worked with dedication to clear victims for wrongful incest convictions, himself responsible for numerous convictions from his own career as a judge. In 2009, 30 cases were solved as wrongful. Nielsen has stated that as many as 150 convictions or more probably are wrongful.
  • In one of those cases, Oddbjørn Kvam was accused by his ex-wife in 1989 of child molestation. He was convicted and sentenced to 2 years and eight months in prison. Instead of serving, he fled to Thailand with his new wife and their two children and lived there as a corn-farmer until 2004 after Lange-Nilesen contacted him. He got his case re-opened and was cleared of all charges. The Norwegian state refused to give Kvam full compensation because he had fled the country. But in 2009, 20 years after the wrongful conviction, he was awarded 4.6 million NOK by the court, enough for him and his family to re-establish in Norway. The court characterized Kvams exile as a matter of self-defense against the states abusive verdict against him and his family.


The Constitution of Spain
Spanish Constitution of 1978
-Structure of the State:The Constitution recognizes the existence of nationalities and regions . Preliminary Title As a result, Spain is now composed entirely of 17 Autonomous Communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy, to the extent that, even though the Constitution...

 guarantees compensation in cases of miscarriage of justice.
  • The case known as "El crimen de Cuenca
    El crimen de Cuenca
    The Crime of Cuenca is a Spanish drama film , directed by Pilar Miró and based on historical facts which happened in the early 20th century in the Spanish province of Cuenca. El Crimen de Cuenca is also the title of the book published at the same time by the author of the movie script, Salvador...

    " (the crime of Cuenca) where in 1910 two peasants were convicted of the murder of another peasant who had disappeared even though the body was never found. Some years later the disappeared peasant showed up again and proved the conviction was wrongful.
  • The so-called "Wanninkhof case
    Wanninkhof case
    The so-called Wanninkhof case happened in southern Spain with the murder in 1999 of 19 year old Rocío Wanninkhof. After a jury trial conducted in a very charged atmosphere convicted Dolores Vazquez, a friend of her mother, of the murder, new DNA evidence appeared which proved the true killer was...

    " where Dolores Vazquez was convicted of the murder of Rocío Wanninkhof in 1999. Later DNA evidence exonerated her.


  • Joy Rahman, a man of Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

    i origin, was in 1994 wrongfully convicted to life imprisonment for the murder of an elderly lady. After almost nine years in prison, he was freed by the Svea Court of Appeal
    Svea Court of Appeal
    The Svea Court of Appeal , located in Stockholm, is one of six appellate courts in the Swedish legal system. It was founded in 1614 and was the highest court in Sweden until 1789, when the Supreme Court of Sweden was established....

    , and later awarded 8 million SEK
    Swedish krona
    The krona has been the currency of Sweden since 1873. Both the ISO code "SEK" and currency sign "kr" are in common use; the former precedes or follows the value, the latter usually follows it, but especially in the past, it sometimes preceded the value...

    , the highest compensation ever awarded to a person in Sweden for wrongful conviction. Joy Rahman used the money to found the Joy Rahman Welfare Foundation, which provides healthcare and micro-loans to poor people. On March 29, 2008, Joy Rahman was arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of murder.


  • Air Force private Chiang Kuo-ching (江國慶) was tortured and forced to confess to the rape and murder of a five year old girl. He was court martialed and executed in 1997. In 2011 another suspect was arrested for the crime. The conviction has not been overturned but President Ma has apologized for the wrongful execution.

England, Wales and Northern Ireland

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 a jailed person whose conviction is quashed may be paid compensation
In law, damages is an award, typically of money, to be paid to a person as compensation for loss or injury; grammatically, it is a singular noun, not plural.- Compensatory damages :...

 for the time they were incarcerated.

It was a notable problem that the parole
Parole may have different meanings depending on the field and judiciary system. All of the meanings originated from the French parole . Following its use in late-resurrected Anglo-French chivalric practice, the term became associated with the release of prisoners based on prisoners giving their...

 system assumes that all convicted persons are actually guilty, and that it poorly handled those who are not. In order to be paroled, a convicted person was required to sign a document in which, among other things, they confessed to the crime for which they were convicted. Someone refusing to sign such a declaration of remorse ended up spending longer in jail than a genuinely guilty person would have. Some wrongly convicted people, such as the Birmingham Six
Birmingham Six
The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

, were refused parole for this reason. In 2005 the system changed in this respect, and a handful of prisoners started to be paroled without ever admitting guilt.

In the event of a "perverse" verdict that involves the conviction of a defendant who should not have been convicted on the basis of the evidence presented, English law has no means of correcting this error: appeals being based exclusively upon new evidence or errors by the judge or prosecution (but not the defense), or because of jury irregularities. It occurred however in the 1930s when William Herbert Wallace
William Herbert Wallace
William Herbert Wallace was convicted in 1931 of the murder of his wife Julia in their home in Wolverton Street in Liverpool's Anfield district...

 was exonerated of the murder of his wife. There is no right to a trial without jury (except during the troubles in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 when a judge or judges presided without a jury).

During the early 1990s there was a series of high-profile cases revealed to have been miscarriages of justice. Many resulted from police fabricating evidence, in order to convict the person they thought was guilty, or simply to convict someone in order to get a high conviction rate. The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad
West Midlands Serious Crime Squad
The West Midlands Serious Crime Squad was a police unit in the English West Midlands which operated from 1974 to 1989. It was disbanded after an investigation into allegations against some of its officers of incompetence and abuses of power....

 became notorious for such practices, and was disbanded in 1989. In 1997 the Criminal Cases Review Commission
Criminal Cases Review Commission
The Criminal Cases Review Commission is an non-departmental public body set up following the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice itself a continuation of the May Inquiry. It aims to investigate possible miscarriages of justice in England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

 was established specifically in order to examine possible miscarriages of justice. However, it still requires either strong new evidence of innocence or new proof of a legal error by the judge or prosecution. For example, merely insisting you are innocent and the jury made an error, or stating that there was not enough evidence to prove guilt, is not enough. It is not possible to question the jury's decision or query on what matters it was based. The waiting list for cases to be considered for review is at least two years on average.
See, for example:
  • the Darvell brothers
  • Danny McNamee
    Danny McNamee
    Gilbert "Danny" McNamee is a former electronic engineer from Crossmaglen, Northern Ireland, who was wrongly convicted in 1987 of conspiracy to cause explosions, including the Provisional Irish Republican Army's Hyde Park bombing in 1982.McNamee was arrested on 16 August 1986 at his home in...

  • the M25 Three
    M25 Three
    The M25 Three were Raphael George Rowe, Michael George Davis, and Randolph Egbert Johnson, who were jailed for life at the Old Bailey in March 1990 after being found guilty of murder and robbery. The name was taken from the location of the crimes, which were committed around the M25, London's...

  • Jonathan Jones
  • Sheila Bowler
  • Christy Walsh case
    Christy Walsh case
    John Christopher Walsh, from west Belfast, was convicted in 1991 by a Diplock court of possessing explosives in connection with the conflict in Northern Ireland, and campaigned for 20 years to clear his name on the basis that his conviction was a miscarriage of justice. His case was referred to...

  • Danny Morrison (writer)
  • Gerry Magee
  • UDR Four
  • Murder of Lesley Molseed Stefan Kiszko case

Other miscarriages
  • Robert Green, Henry Berry and Lawrence Hill were hanged in 1679 at Greenberry Hill on false evidence for the unsolved murder of Edmund Berry Godfrey
    Edmund Berry Godfrey
    Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was an English magistrate whose mysterious death caused anti-Catholic uproar in England...

  • Adolph Beck
    Adolph Beck case
    The Adolf Beck case was a notorious incidence of wrongful conviction by mistaken identity, brought about by unreliable methods of identification, erroneous eyewitness testimony, and a rush to convict the accused...

    , whose notorious wrongful conviction in 1896 led to the creation of the Court of Criminal Appeal
    Court of Criminal Appeal
    The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

  • John Alexander Dickman was wrongfully convicted of the murder of John Nisbet on 6 July 1910, and sentenced to death, on purely circumstantial evidence, and on the basis of an ID parade where the witness was tainted. The Home Secretary of the time, Winston Churchill, took a keen interest in the case, and he expressed doubts about the evidence. A campaign was run to free Dickman, but John Dickman was hanged in Newcastle Prison on 10 August 1910. In 1925 a person called "Condor" confessed to killing John Nisbet. The document of 40,000 words spread over 205 pages was sent to Truth Magazine. The document was sent on to the Home Office but they refused to order the police to investigate it.
  • William Herbert Wallace
    William Herbert Wallace
    William Herbert Wallace was convicted in 1931 of the murder of his wife Julia in their home in Wolverton Street in Liverpool's Anfield district...

     who was convicted of murdering his wife, but the conviction was overturned by the Court of Criminal Appeal
    Court of Criminal Appeal
    The Court of Criminal Appeal is the name of existing courts of Scotland and Ireland, and an historic court in England and Wales.- Ireland :See Court of Criminal Appeal ...

     in 1931.
  • Walter Graham Rowland was tried for a murder in Manchester
    Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

     and hung in 1947, despite poor identification evidence and a confession from another.
  • Timothy Evans
    Timothy Evans
    Timothy John Evans was a Welshman accused of murdering his wife and daughter at their residence in Notting Hill, London in November 1949. In January 1950 Evans was tried and convicted of the murder of his daughter, and he was sentenced to death by hanging...

    's wife and young daughter were killed in 1949. Evans was convicted of the murder of his daughter and was hanged in 1950. An official inquiry conducted 15 years later determined that the real killer of Evans's daughter had been Evans's co-tenant, serial killer John Reginald Halliday Christie
    John Reginald Halliday Christie
    John Reginald Halliday Christie , born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was a notorious English serial killer active in the 1940s and '50s. He murdered at least eight females – including his wife Ethel – by strangling them in his flat at 10 Rillington Place, Notting Hill, London...

    . Christie was also responsible for the death of Evans's wife, his own wife, and six other women. He was the chief witness against Evans at his trial because the police accepted all of his statements as fact. The police were incompetent in their several searches of the house at Rillington Place, missing bones of earlier victims exposed in the tiny garden of the property. They also concocted false confession
    False confession
    A false confession is an admission of guilt in a crime in which the confessor is not responsible for the crime. False confessions can be induced through coercion or by the mental disorder or incompetency of the accused...

    s from Evans to justify their accusations against Evans. The case was important in leading directly to the abolition of capital punishment
    Capital punishment
    Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

     in 1965 in the UK.
  • Mahmood Mattan, little known case of a Somali
    Somali people
    Somalis are an ethnic group located in the Horn of Africa, also known as the Somali Peninsula. The overwhelming majority of Somalis speak the Somali language, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family...

     fisherman, hanged in Cardiff in 1952. Conviction overtured in 1998. £1.4 million compensation was shared out between Mattan's widow Laura, and her three children.
  • Derek Bentley
    Derek Bentley
    Derek William Bentley was a British teenager hanged for the murder of a police officer, committed in the course of a burglary attempt. The murder of the police officer was committed by a friend and accomplice of Bentley's, Christopher Craig, then aged 16. Bentley was convicted as a party to the...

    , executed for murdering a police officer. The charge was based on the allegation that during a standoff with police, he shouted to an armed friend 'Let him have it, Chris'. The case is often said to be a miscarriage of justice, and the verdict was overturned half a century later. It should be noted, however, that the grounds for overturning the verdict was that the trial had not been fair, due to various procedural defects. Had Bentley still been alive, there would certainly have been a retrial; he was not pronounced innocent by the Court of Appeal.
  • Andrew Evans served more than 25 years for the murder of 14-year-old Judith Roberts. He confessed to the 1972 murder after seeing the girl's face in a dream. His conviction was overturned in 1997.
  • Stephen Downing
    Stephen Downing
    The Stephen Downing case involved the conviction and imprisonment in 1974 of a 17-year-old council worker, Stephen Downing, for the murder of a 32 year old legal secretary, Wendy Sewell, in the town of Bakewell in the Peak District. Following a campaign by a local newspaper, his conviction was...

     was convicted of the murder of Wendy Sewell in a Bakewell
    Bakewell is a small market town in the Derbyshire Dales district of Derbyshire, England, deriving its name from 'Beadeca's Well'. It is the only town included in the Peak District National Park, and is well known for the local confection Bakewell Pudding...

     churchyard in 1973. The 17-year-old had a reading age of 11 and worked at the cemetery as a gardener. The police made him sign a confession that he was unable to read. The case gained international notoriety as the "Bakewell Tart" murder. After spending 27 years in prison, Stephen Downing was released on bail in February 2001, pending the result of an appeal. His conviction was finally overturned in January 2002.
  • The Birmingham Six
    Birmingham Six
    The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in the United Kingdom for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and quashed by the Court of...

     were fraudulently convicted in 1975 of planting two bombs in pubs in Birmingham
    Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

     in 1974 which killed 21 people and injured 182. They were finally released in 1991.
  • In 1974 Judith Ward
    Judith Ward
    Judith Theresa Ward is a British woman known for being a victim of unsafe convictions in 1974 for the bombing of Euston Station in 1973, and of the National Defence College and M62 coach bombings in 1974. Her conviction was quashed and she was released from prison on 11 May 1992...

     was convicted of murder of several people caused by a number of IRA bombings 1973. She was finally released in 1992 having served 18 yeard in Prison.
  • The Guildford Four and Maguire Seven were wrongly convicted in 1974 and 1976 respectively of planting bombs in various pubs in Guildford and Woolwich. Their convictions were quashed in 1989 and 1991. On February 9, 2005, British Prime Minister Tony Blair
    Tony Blair
    Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

     issued a public apology to the Maguire Seven and the Guildford Four for the miscarriages of justice they had suffered."
  • Stefan Kiszko
    Stefan Kiszko
    Lesley Susan Molseed was an eleven-year old girl from Turf Hill, Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who was murdered on Rishworth Moor in West Yorkshire....

     was convicted in 1976 for the rape and murder of an 11-year old Lesley Molseed in 1975. He spent 16 years in prison before he was released in 1992, after a long campaign by his mother. He died of a heart attack the following year at the age of 41. His mother died a few months later. In 2007, Ronald Castree, of Shaw, near Oldham, was found to have the same DNA
    Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

     as Lesley's attacker and was convicted at Bradford Crown Court.
  • John Joseph Boyle aged 18 was convicted under the pretenses of an alleged confession at Belfast City Commission on October 14, 1977 of possession of firearms and ammunition with intent to endanger life, and membership in the I.R.A. He was sentenced to ten years in prison on the first count, and to two years in prison on the second count, the terms to run concurrently. A suspended sentence of two years imprisonment imposed for a previous offense was also invoked, making a total of twelve years in prison. When released he underwent a long fight to prove his innocence. In 2003, his conviction was quashed but he has been denied compensation.
  • Paul Blackburn
    Paul Blackburn (UK)
    Paul Blackburn was a British prisoner who was convicted at the age of 15 of attempted murder, served a life sentence, and was later found to have been wrongly convicted...

     was convicted in 1978 when aged 15 of the attempted murder of a 9-year old boy, and spent more than 25 years in 18 different prisons, during which time he maintained his innocence. He said he had never considered saying he was guilty to secure an earlier release because it was a matter of "integrity". He was finally released in May 2005 having served 25 years when the Court of Appeal ruled his trial was unfair and his conviction 'unsafe'.
  • The Bridgewater Four
    Bridgewater Four
    The Bridgewater Four was the collective name given to the quartet of men who were tried and found guilty of killing 13 year old paperboy Carl Bridgewater, who was shot in the head at close range. After 18 years their convictions were overturned...

     were convicted in 1979 of murdering Carl Bridgewater, a 13-year-old paper boy who was shot on his round when he disturbed robbers at a farm in Staffordshire. Patrick Molloy died in jail in 1981. The remaining three were released in 1997 after their convictions were overturned.
  • Peter Fell, a former hospital porter, described in the media as a "serial confessor" and a "fantasist", was sentenced to two life terms in 1984 for the murder of Ann Lee and Margaret "Peggy" Johnson, who were killed while they were out walking their dogs in 1982. His conviction was overturned in 2001. He had served 17 years.
  • Sean Hodgson, also known as Robert Graham Hodgson, was convicted in 1982 of murder following various confessions to police, although he pleaded not guilty at his trial. His defence said he was a pathological liar and the confessions were untrue. He was freed on March 18, 2009 by the Court of Appeal as a result of advances in DNA analysis which established his innocence.
  • Winston Silcott
    Winston Silcott
    Winston Silcott is a British man of Afro-Caribbean descent, who, as one of the "Tottenham Three", was convicted in March 1987 for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock on the night of 6 October 1985 during the Broadwater Farm riot in north London...

     was jailed for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock
    Keith Blakelock
    The death of PC Keith Blakelock, an officer with the London Metropolitan Police, occurred on 6 October 1985 during rioting on the Broadwater Farm housing estate in Tottenham, north London...

     during the 1985 Broadwater Farm Riot
    Broadwater Farm riot
    The Broadwater Farm riot occurred around the Broadwater Farm area of Tottenham, North London, on 6 October 1985.The events of the day were dominated by two deaths. The first was that of Cynthia Jarrett, an African-Caribbean woman who died the previous day from a stroke during a police search of her...

     in Tottenham. He was cleared in 1991, when new evidence came to light.
  • Kenny Richey
    Kenny Richey
    Kenneth "Kenny" Thomas Richey is a British-US dual citizen, born to a Scottish mother and American father, who was raised in Scotland but moved to Ohio, United States to join his father in late 1982....

    , a UK-US dual citizen, spent 21 years on Death Row in the US after being convicted of starting a fire that killed 2-year-old Cynthia Collins. His conviction was eventually thrown out. Richey agreed to a plea bargain in which he agreed to plead 'no contest' to involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and breaking and entering. In exchange for this plea, the prosecution dropped the charges of arson and murder. Part of the agreement was that Richey leave the U.S. immediately.
  • The Cardiff Newsagent Three, Michael O'Brien (of the Cardiff Newsagent Three), Darren Hall and Ellis Sherwood, were wrongly convicted for the murder of a newsagent, Phillip Saunders. On October 12, 1987 Mr Saunders, 52, was battered with a spade outside his Cardiff home. The day's takings from his kiosk had been stolen, and five days later he died of his injuries. The three men spent 11 years in jail before the Court of Appeal quashed the conviction in 1999. The three have since been paid six figure compensation, but South Wales Police had still not apologised or admitted liability for malicious prosecution or misfeasance.
  • Michelle and Lisa Taylor, wrongly convicted for the murder in 1991 of Alison Shaughnessy, a bank clerk who was the bride of Michelle's former lover. The trial was heavily influenced by inaccurate media reporting and deemed unfair.
  • Colin Stagg falsely imprisoned for the Rachel Nickell murder case
    Rachel Nickell murder case
    The murder of Rachel Jane Nickell took place on 15 July 1992, in Wimbledon Common, London, and resulted in a highly-publicised and controversial investigation....

     on Wimbledon Common
    Wimbledon and Putney Commons
    Wimbledon Common is a large open space in Wimbledon south-west London, totalling 460 hectares . There are three named areas: Wimbledon Common, Putney Heath, and Putney Lower Common which together are managed under the name Wimbledon and Putney Commons...

    , London in 1992, but cleared in 1994. The case was thrown out on the grounds that police had used a "honey trap
    Sting operation
    In law enforcement, a sting operation is a deceptive operation designed to catch a person committing a crime. A typical sting will have a law-enforcement officer or cooperative member of the public play a role as criminal partner or potential victim and go along with a suspect's actions to gather...

    " plot in a bid to encourage him to confess. On November 28, 2007, Robert Napper, a convicted rapist and serial killer, was charged with her murder on the basis of new DNA evidence, and convicted on December 18, 2008. Stagg was subsequently awarded £706,000 compensation, and claims the false conviction ruined 14 years of his life, as he became unemployable and shunned.
  • The Cardiff Three, Steven Miller, Yusef Abdullahi, and Tony Paris were falsely jailed for the murder of prostitute Lynette White, stabbed more than 50 times in a frenzied attack in a flat above a betting shop in Cardiff's Butetown area on Valentine's Day 1988, in 1990 and later cleared on appeal. In 2003, Jeffrey Gafoor was jailed for life for the murder. The breakthrough was due to modern DNA techniques used on evidence taken from the crime scene. Subsequently, in 2005, nine retired Police Officers and three serving Officers were arrested and questioned for false imprisonment, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office. On 6 July 2011, eight of the officers stood trial at Swansea Crown Court for perverting the course of justice
    Perverting the course of justice
    Perverting the course of justice, in English, Canadian , and Irish law, is a criminal offence in which someone prevents justice from being served on himself or on another party...

     together with three witnesses accused of perjury
    Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

    . However, on 1st Decemver 2011 the entire case collapsed, as the judge ruled the police officers could not be given a fair trial due to the previous publicity.
  • Sally Clark
    Sally Clark
    Sally Clark was a British solicitor who became the victim of an infamous miscarriage of justice when she was wrongly convicted of the murder of two of her sons in 1999...

     was convicted in 1996 of the murder of her two small sons Christopher and Harry, and spent three years in jail, finally being released in 2003 on appeal. The convictions were based solely on the analysis of the deaths by the Home Office Pathologist Alan Williams, who failed to disclose relevant information about the deaths, and backed up by the paediatric professor Sir Roy Meadow, whose opinion was pivotal in several other child death convictions, many of which have been overturned or are in the process of being disputed. In 2005 Williams was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and barred from practicing pathology for 3 years. In July 2005 Meadow was also removed from the Medical Register for serious professional misconduct and prohibited from practicing medicine. Sally Clark became an alcoholic as a result of her ordeal and died of alcohol poisoning in 2006.
  • The Gurnos Three, also known as the Merthyr Tydfil Arson Case (Annette Hewins, Donna Clarke and Denise Sullivan). Wrongly convicted of the arson attack on the home of Diane Jones, aged 21, in October 1995. Someone had torn away part of the covering of her front door and poured in petrol to start the fire. The fire spread so rapidly that Ms Jones and her two daughters, Shauna, aged two and Sarah-Jane, aged 13 months, were all killed. The convictions of Ms Hewins and Ms Clarke were quashed at the Court of Appeal in February 1998 and a retrial ordered in the case of Ms Clarke.
  • Donna Anthony
    Donna Anthony
    Donna Anthony is a British woman from Somerset who was jailed in 1998 after being convicted of the murder of her two babies. She was cleared and freed after having spent more than six years in prison....

    , 25 at the time, was wrongly jailed in 1998 for the death of her 11 month old son, and finally released in 2005, also because of the opinion of Sir Roy Meadow.
  • Angela Cannings
    Angela Cannings
    Angela Cannings was wrongfully convicted in the UK in 2002 of the murder of her seven-week-old son, Jason, who died in 1991, and of her 18-week-old son Matthew, who died in 1999...

     also jailed wrongly for four years on the now discredited evidence of Sir Roy Meadow. Angela was later stalked by a jail inmate she befriended, and the strain of the wrongful conviction destroyed her marriage.
  • Barry George
    Barry George
    Barry Michael George is a British man who was wrongly convicted on 2 July 2001 of the murder of British television presenter Jill Dando. His murder conviction was judged unsafe by the Court of Appeal and was quashed on 15 November 2007...

     was cleared on August 1, 2008 of murdering Jill Dando
    Jill Dando
    Jill Wendy Dando was an English journalist, television presenter and newsreader who worked for the BBC for 14 years. She was murdered by gunshot outside her home in Fulham, West London; her killer has never been identified....

     after a retrial in which police were unable to rely on discredited forensic evidence.
  • David Carrington-Jones was released on October 16, 2007 , after spending six years in jail for a rape he did not commit, having been previously found guilty on two counts of rape and sexual assault against a pair of teenage sisters in December 2000. One of the accusers subsequently admitted to police she made up the allegations against her stepfather Mr Carrington-Jones because she 'did not like him'. It has transpired that the girl had previously made up other allegations of rape against her brother, fiancée, stepfather and even a customer at her work, but the jury was not told of this, and Mr Carrington-Jones was sentenced to a ten-year jail term at Lewes Crown Court
    Lewes Crown Court
    Lewes Crown Court is a Crown Court in Lewes, East Sussex, England. It is housed in the Lewes Combined Court Centre which it shares with Lewes County Court in the Lewes High Street...

    . He was later refused parole hearings because he refused to admit his guilt. Mr Carrington-Jones is said to be discussing claiming compensation.
  • Suzanne Holdsworth served three years of a life sentence after she was convicted in 2005 of murdering Kyle Fisher, a neighbour's two-year-old son, by repeatedly banging his head against a wooden bannister at her home in Hartlepool. She was found not guilty in 2008 by the Court of Appeal after new medical evidence suggested Kyle may have died from an epileptic seizure.
  • Sion Jenkins, acquitted after a second retrial of the murder of Billie-Jo Jenkins in February 2006. Jenkins was convicted in 1998 but the conviction was quashed in 2004 following a CCRC referral. The basis of the quashed conviction at the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) were the concessions by the Crown's pathologist that evidence given at the first tribunal were inaccurate.

John Bodkin Adams
John Bodkin Adams
John Bodkin Adams was an Irish-born British general practitioner, convicted fraudster and suspected serial killer. Between the years 1946 and 1956, more than 160 of his patients died in suspicious circumstances. Of these, 132 left him money or items in their will. He was tried and acquitted for...

, is a particularly notable case when a man was acquitted when he may, now with access to archives, be considered to have been guilty in all likelihood. Adams was arrested in 1956 for the murders of Edith Alice Morrell
Edith Alice Morrell
Edith Alice Morrell , was a resident of Eastbourne and patient of the suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams. He was tried for her murder in 1957 but acquitted...

 and Gertrude Hullett
Gertrude Hullett
Gertrude "Bobby" Hullett , a resident of Eastbourne, East Sussex, England, was a patient of the suspected serial killer Dr John Bodkin Adams, who was charged with her murder but never tried for it.-Jack Hullett:...

. He was tried in 1957 and found not guilty of the first charge and the second was dropped via a Nolle prosequi
Nolle prosequi
Nolle prosequi is legal term of art and a Latin legal phrase meaning "to be unwilling to pursue", a phrase amounting to "please do not prosecute". It is a phrase used in many common law criminal prosecution contexts to describe a prosecutor's decision to voluntarily discontinue criminal charges...

, an act which the presiding judge, Lord Justice Patrick Devlin
Patrick Devlin, Baron Devlin
Patrick Arthur Devlin, Baron Devlin, PC was a British lawyer, judge and jurist. He wrote a report on Britain's involvement in Nyasaland in 1959...

, later termed "an abuse of power". Police archives, opened in 2003, suggest that evidence was passed to the defense by the Attorney-General Reginald Manningham-Buller
Reginald Manningham-Buller, 1st Viscount Dilhorne
Reginald Edward Manningham-Buller, 1st Viscount Dilhorne PC, QC , known as Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, Bt, from 1954 to 1962 and as The Lord Dilhorne from 1962 to 1964, was an English lawyer and Conservative politician...

 in order to allow Adams to avoid the death sentence, then still in force. Home Office
Home Office
The Home Office is the United Kingdom government department responsible for immigration control, security, and order. As such it is responsible for the police, UK Border Agency, and the Security Service . It is also in charge of government policy on security-related issues such as drugs,...

 pathologist Francis Camps
Francis Camps
Francis Edward Camps, FRCP, FRCpath was a famous English pathologist notable for his work on the cases of serial killer John Christie and suspected serial killer John Bodkin Adams.-Early life and training:...

 suspected Adams of killing 163 patients in total. Adams was only ever fined for minor offences and struck off the medical register for four years.


Reflecting Scotland's own legal system
Scots law
Scots law is the legal system of Scotland. It is considered a hybrid or mixed legal system as it traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. With English law and Northern Irish law it forms the legal system of the United Kingdom; it shares with the two other systems some...

, which differs from that of the rest of the United Kingdom, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission
The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission is a non-departmental public body in Scotland, established by the Criminal Procedure Act 1995 ....

 (SCCRC) was established in April 1999. All cases accepted by the SCCRC are subjected to a robust and thoroughly impartial review before a decision on whether or not to refer to the High Court of Justiciary
High Court of Justiciary
The High Court of Justiciary is the supreme criminal court of Scotland.The High Court is both a court of first instance and a court of appeal. As a court of first instance, the High Court sits mainly in Parliament House, or in the former Sheriff Court building, in Edinburgh, but also sits from time...

 is taken. Cases of miscarriage of justice include:
  • Oscar Slater
    Oscar Slater
    Oscar Joseph Slater was a victim of British miscarriage of justice. He was born Oscar Leschziner in Oppeln, Upper Silesia, Germany to a Jewish family. Around 1893, to evade military service, he moved to London where he worked as a bookmaker using various names, including Anderson, before settling...

     was wrongfully convicted in 1909 of the murder of Marion Gilchrist on the flimsiest evidence, and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he served at hard labor until his conviction was quashed in 1928.
  • Billy Mills was wrongly convicted of a gun raid on a Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Partick, Glasgow, in May 2007, and jailed for nine years in August 2008. Freed on bail in February 2009, his conviction was quashed in April 2009.

Province of Massachusetts Bay

  • Salem witch trials
    Salem witch trials
    The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings before county court trials to prosecute people accused of witchcraft in the counties of Essex, Suffolk, and Middlesex in colonial Massachusetts, between February 1692 and May 1693...

    , malicious gossip gone awry resulted in the killing of 19 innocent people before the sentences were overturned (1692).

After independence

  • Late 18th century through the 1960s: over 5,000 victims of lynching
    Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

    , the practice of killing people, mostly African American
    African American
    African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

    , by extrajudicial mob action. Only rarely were lynchers punished, or even arrested, for their crimes.
  • November 11, 1831, Nat Turner
    Nat Turner
    Nathaniel "Nat" Turner was an American slave who led a slave rebellion in Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 60 white deaths and at least 100 black deaths, the largest number of fatalities to occur in one uprising prior to the American Civil War in the southern United States. He gathered...

     was hanged in Jerusalem, Virginia, now known as Courtland. His body was flayed, beheaded
    Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

     and quartered. Virginia then executed 56 blacks accused of being part of Turner's rebellion. Two hundred additional blacks were beaten and killed by white militias and mobs in racist revenge.
  • May 4, 1886; Chicago, Haymarket Riot: eight anarchist labor activists sentenced for a bomb explosion during a demonstration, followed by police firing indiscriminately upon unarmed protesters. In June 1893, Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld
    John Peter Altgeld
    John Peter Altgeld was the 20th Governor of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1893 until 1897. He was the first Democratic governor of that state since the 1850s...

     signed pardons for the three still alive after concluding all eight were innocent.

Twentieth century

  • November 19, 1915; Joe Hill
    Joe Hill
    Joe Hill, born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund in Gävle , and also known as Joseph Hillström was a Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World...

     was executed for the murder of John G. Morrison (ex-cop) and Arling J. Morrison, in their Salt Lake City butcher store. Hill, who was a Socialist, became the subject of substantial media and political attention, including pleas for clemency by Woodrow Wilson
    Woodrow Wilson
    Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

  • 1920; Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
    Sacco and Vanzetti
    Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were anarchists who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, United States...

    , two Italian anarchists, tried and sentenced to death for the killing of two people during a robbery in 1920. In 1977, Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

    Governor of Massachusetts
    The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.-Constitutional role:...

     Michael Dukakis
    Michael Dukakis
    Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

     issued a proclamation, stating they had not been treated justly and that "any disgrace should be forever removed from their names." The question of their actual guilt or innocence was not resolved by the Dukakis proclamation.
  • 1923; Marcus Garvey
    Marcus Garvey
    Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League...

    , convicted of mail fraud in a prosecution focused largely on his political activism. Garvey's sentence was commuted by President
    President of the United States
    The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

     Calvin Coolidge
    Calvin Coolidge
    John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

  • 1931; Scottsboro Boys
    Scottsboro Boys
    The Scottsboro Boys were nine black teenage boys accused of rape in Alabama in 1931. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial...

  • 1937; Isidore Zimmerman, was imprisoned from 1937 to 1962 for a murder he did not commit. 21 years later the New York Court of Claims
    New York Court of Claims
    The New York State Court of Claims is the court which handles all claims against the State of New York and certain state agencies. It is not a small claims court. Judges of the Court of Claims are appointed by the Governor of New York and confirmed by the State Senate for a 9-year term...

     awarded him $1,000,000 for his ordeal. He died 4 months later, after having spent 24 of his 66 years in prison. Zimmerman had his death penalty
    Capital punishment in the United States
    Capital punishment in the United States, in practice, applies only for aggravated murder and more rarely for felony murder. Capital punishment was a penalty at common law, for many felonies, and was enforced in all of the American colonies prior to the Declaration of Independence...

     commuted to a life term just hours before he was scheduled to be electrocuted (he willingly sought execution because of the intense psychological torture of being on death row
    Death row
    Death row signifies the place, often a section of a prison, that houses individuals awaiting execution. The term is also used figuratively to describe the state of awaiting execution , even in places where no special facility or separate unit for condemned inmates exists.After individuals are found...

  • 1949; Iva Toguri D'Aquino
    Iva Toguri D'Aquino
    Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino , was an American citizen who participated in English-language propaganda broadcast transmitted by Radio Tokyo to Allied soldiers in the South Pacific during World War II...

     was convicted of treason. She had been one of the women making propaganda broadcasts as 'Tokyo Rose
    Tokyo Rose
    Tokyo Rose was a generic name given by Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II to any of approximately a dozen English-speaking female broadcasters of Japanese propaganda. The intent of these broadcasts was to disrupt the morale of Allied forces listening to the broadcast...

    '. She served a little more than six years of her ten year sentence. Evidence that prosecution witnesses had lied at trial led President Gerald Ford
    Gerald Ford
    Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

     to pardon her in January 1977.
  • 1954; Dr. Sam Sheppard
    Sam Sheppard
    Dr. Samuel Holmes Sheppard was an American osteopathic physician and neurosurgeon, who was involved in an infamous and controversial murder trial. He was convicted of the murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard, in 1954, while residing in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Sheppard served...

    , American convicted in 1954 of killing his wife in their home; Sheppard maintained she had been killed by an intruder, appealed his case to the Supreme Court. After serving ten years in prison, he was granted a new trial and was finally acquitted. A television series
    The Fugitive (TV series)
    The Fugitive is an American drama series produced by QM Productions and United Artists Television that aired on ABC from 1963 to 1967. David Janssen stars as Richard Kimble, a doctor from the fictional town of Stafford, Indiana, who is falsely convicted of his wife's murder and given the death...

     and film
    The Fugitive (1993 film)
    The Fugitive is a 1993 American thriller film based on the television series of the same name. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. The film was one of the few movies associated with a television series to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best...

     (both titled The Fugitive) are widely believed to have been inspired by his story.
  • 1961; Clarence Earl Gideon
    Clarence Earl Gideon
    Clarence Earl Gideon was a poor drifter accused in a Florida state court of felony theft. His case resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v...

     who was convicted in 1961 of robbery, successfully argued in the Supreme Court
    Supreme Court of the United States
    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

     in the case Gideon v. Wainwright
    Gideon v. Wainwright
    Gideon v. Wainwright, , is a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants who are unable to afford their own...

     that his trial was unfair due to his lack of an attorney
    A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

     because of his inability to pay for one. He was given a retrial
    New trial
    A new trial or retrial is a recurrence of a court case. Depending on the rules of the jurisdiction, a new trial may occur if:*a jury is unable to reach a verdict ;...

     in 1963 with a free public defender
    Public defender
    The term public defender is primarily used to refer to a criminal defense lawyer appointed to represent people charged with a crime but who cannot afford to hire an attorney in the United States and Brazil. The term is also applied to some ombudsman offices, for example in Jamaica, and is one way...

     and was acquitted.
  • 1965; Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the two other men who died in prison were awarded $101.7 million as compensation for framing by the FBI.
  • 1973; George Whitmore, Jr was exonerated of the 1963 Career Girls Murders
    Career Girls Murders
    The "Career Girls Murders" was the name given by the media to the killings of Emily Hoffert and Janice Wylie in their apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City, USA on August 28, 1963...

  • 1974; Michael Austin was released in 2001 of murder
    Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

     during an armed robbery in Baltimore, Maryland, after 27 years of incarceration. He was pardoned, and in 2004 was awarded compensation of $1.4 million.
  • 1976; Robert Wilkinson, Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     – Philadelphia County, 1976: police beat him into signing a confession and intimidated witnesses to identify him. He was convicted of arson and murder and sentenced to five consecutive life terms. He was released later in the year after the actual perpetrators were convicted in federal court. The charges were refilled in 1977; indictments dismissed three months later. A federal court ruled prosecutor David Berman ignored, withheld and/or destroyed exculpatory evidence the actual perpetrators came to him and confessed. In dismissing Wilkinson's later indictment, the court ruled the prosecution was being maintained in bad faith. Prosecutors still insist he is guilty.
  • 1976; Randall Dale Adams
    Randall Dale Adams
    Randall Dale Adams was wrongly convicted of murdering police officer Robert W. Wood, and was subsequently sentenced to death. He served more than 12 years in prison, at one point coming within 72 hours of being put to death...

     convicted of the 1976 murder of police officer Robert Wood in Texas largely due to testimony from David Ray Harris, who was later executed for a similar murder. Errol Morris
    Errol Morris
    Errol Mark Morris is an American director. In 2003, The Guardian put him seventh in its list of the world's 40 best directors. Also in 2003, his film The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.-Early life and...

    ' film, The Thin Blue Line
    The Thin Blue Line (documentary)
    The Thin Blue Line is a 1988 documentary film by Errol Morris, depicting the story of Randall Dale Adams, a man convicted and sentenced to die for a murder he did not commit. Adams' case was reviewed and he was released from prison approximately a year after the film's release.-Synopsis:The film...

    explored his case and caused a closer examination, resulting in his release after 12 years in prison 4 of them on death row.
  • 1979; Gary Dotson
    Gary Dotson
    Gary Dotson Litke, James. , May 9, 1986 Associated Press report. The Ledger of Lakeland, Florida. Accessed October 23, 2009. is an American man who was the second person to be exonerated of a criminal conviction by DNA evidence...

    , was the second person whose conviction (in 1979) was overturned because of DNA
    Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

    Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

    , in 1989.
  • 1980; Cornelius Dupree
    Cornelius Dupree
    Cornelius Dupree Jr. is an American who was declared innocent of a 1980 conviction for aggravated robbery, which was alleged to have been committed during a rape in 1979. He had been paroled in July 2010, after serving 30 years of a 75-year prison sentence in Texas...

    , of Houston, Texas, was convicted of aggravated robbery, which was alleged to have been committed during a rape in 1979. He was sentenced to 75 years in prison and paroled during the summer of 2010. After DNA evidence cleared him of the crime, he was declared innocent in January 2011. His 30 years of imprisonment is the longest of any exonerated inmate in Texas.
  • 1981; Clarence Brandley, Montgomery County, Texas, was convicted of capital murder in 1981. In 1989, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Brandley's conviction, finding that police and prosecutors, including James Keeshan, failed to investigate leads pertaining to other suspects, suppressed evidence placing other suspects at crime scene at time of crime, failed to call a witness who didn't support the state's case, allowed the perjured testimony of a witness to go uncorrected, and failed to notify Brandley that another man later confessed to the crime.
  • 1982; Ron Williamson
    Ron Williamson
    Ronald "Ron" Keith Williamson was a former minor league baseball catcher/pitcher who was one of two men wrongly convicted in 1988 in Oklahoma for the rape and murder of Debra Sue "Debbie" Carter. His friend Dennis Fritz was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Williamson was sentenced to death...

     and Dennis Fritz
    Dennis Fritz
    Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson were wrongly convicted of the murder of Ada, Oklahoma resident Debra Carter. Fritz was given a life sentence, while Williamson was sentenced to death in 1988. Fritz and Williamson were the subjects of a non-fiction book, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a...

    , Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, were intimidated by police into confessions for the 1982 rape and murder of Debra Sue Carter and convicted. In 1999, DNA evidence exonerated them.
  • 1983; John Gordon Purvis
    John Gordon Purvis
    John Gordon Purvis Jr. is man who spent nine years inprison for a murder he did not commit.-Early life:Johnny Purvis was born to John and Emma Jo Purvis in 1942. His father gave his life in the...

    , Broward County, Florida, a severely mentally ill person, despite no physical evidence that he was even at the scene of the murder, was intimidated by police into confessing to the murder of Susan Hamwi and her daughter in 1983. Later, investigators found that Paul Hamwi, Susan Hamwi's ex-husband, had hired Robert Wayne Beckett Sr. and Paul Serio to murder Susan Hamwi and Purvis was exonerated in 1993.
  • 1984; Darryl Hunt
    Darryl Hunt
    Darryl Hunt is an African American man from Winston-Salem, North Carolina who, in 1984, was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a young white newspaper copy editor, Deborah Sykes, but was later exonerated by DNA evidence...

    , convicted in 1984 of the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, spent 19 years in prison, 9 of which were served after DNA evidence indicated that he did not commit the rape. Since Hunt was an African American
    African American
    African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

    , the case was heavily charged with the topic of race relations.
  • 1984; Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon
    Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon
    Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon is a public speaker and human rights activist who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent over 17 years on Death Row...

     was wrongly convicted of the Florida murder of Delbert Baker. He spent over 17 years on Death Row and was released from prison on January 3, 2002.
  • 1985: In 1982 Scott and Brenda Kniffen of Kern County California were accused, and in 1985 sentenced to over 240 years, each, in prison on charges that they abused and molested their young sons. It was later revealed the charges were completely fabricated by overzealous prosecutors and police. The Kniffens spent 14 years in prison before being released. This case was the subject of a 2001 Lifetime Television film called Just Ask My Children.
  • 1986; the Roscetti Four - Marcellius Bradford, 17, Calvin Ollins, 14, Larry Ollins, 16, and Omar Saunders, 18 - were convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of 23-year-old medical student Lori Roscetti in Chicago. Bradford pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated kidnapping provided testimony at Larry Ollins's trial in exchange to a sentence of 12 years; the other three were sentenced to life imprisonment. Bradford later recanted, saying that his confession, plea bargain and testimony had been coerced by Chicago police. At the original trials, crime lab analyst Pamela Fish
    Pamela Fish
    Pamela Fish is a former police crime lab analyst for the Chicago Police Department, whose work has been embroiled in controversy since 2001.In 1986, Fish stated that there were no semen stains available in the case of the rape and murder of a medical student in Chicago. Subsequently, four men...

     had testified that semen found on the victim's body could have come from the Ollins brothers, but later examinations of her notes revealed that none of the four boys' blood types matched the crime scene evidence. In 2001, DNA testing exonerated all four men; their convictions were vacated and they were released from prison. In April 2002, their case was profiled on an episode of This American Life
    This American Life
    This American Life is a weekly hour-long radio program produced by WBEZ and hosted by Ira Glass. It is distributed by Public Radio International on PRI affiliate stations and is also available as a free weekly podcast. Primarily a journalistic non-fiction program, it has also featured essays,...

    entitled "Perfect Evidence." In 2003, The four men were awarded $120,000 from the State of Illinois, and Calvin Ollins received an additional $1.5 million from the City of Chicago.
  • 1992; Joshua Rivera, 36, was sentenced 37 years for a 1992 murder. On September 19, 1992, Leonard Aquino was in front of a building and was approached by a couple of men who spoke briefly, then opened fire. Mr. Aquino was killed; another man, Paul Peralta, was shot, but survived. Rivera was known to people in the building and had a conviction for gun possession. He was charged and convicted of the crime. In 2006 Jaime Acevedo confessed he drove the real killer to the murder scene, and that Rivera was not involved. Prior to a court decision, Rivera accepted a plea agreement where he pled no contest to manslaughter.
  • 1999; The Tulia
    Tulia, Texas
    Tulia is a city in, and county seat of, Swisher County, Texas, United States. The population was 5,117 at the 2000 census; in the 2005 census estimate, it had fallen to 4,714. The city is at the junction of U.S. Route 87 and Texas State Highway 86, approximately two miles east Interstate 27...

     incident, in which 46 people, forty who were African-American, were arrested on a drug sting under undercover officer Tom Coleman. Despite the lack of credible evidence, many pled guilty to receive lesser sentences believing they would not receive a fair trial (those convicted received harsher sentences). Further investigations and other evidence led to the release of most of the "Tulia 46" by 2004, who were further compensated a total of $6,000,000 collectively to avoid further litigation.

As the ability to sequence small samples of DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 has improved over the years, overturning of wrongful convictions has increased dramatically.


  • Dwayne Allen Dail, jailed for 18 years in a child rape case, was released from prison after new DNA testing cleared him of the crime.
  • Derrick Bell, who was serving 12½ to 25 years in prison for the robbery and shooting of Brentonol Moriah in Brooklyn in 1996, had his conviction vacated.
  • Claude McCollum, convicted for murder and rape in 2005, had his conviction overturned.
  • Charles Dubbs, convicted for two sexual assaults, was set free after another inmate confessed to committing the crimes.
  • Steven Phillips, sent to prison for a 1982 rape and burglary, was found to be wrongly convicted.
  • Richard L. Kittilstad, sentenced to ten years prison sentence in 2001 for soliciting prostitution, had his conviction overturned.
  • Ronald Gene Taylor was set free after DNA cleared him in a 1982 gang rape in Dallas County.
  • John White was released from prison after a DNA test cleared him of rape.
  • Marcus Lyons was cleared of rape by DNA evidence.
  • Floyd Brown, held since 1993 in a mental institution without trial for beating Katherine Lynch to death, was released after all charges against him were dropped
  • Martin Tankleff
    Martin Tankleff
    Martin Tankleff is a Long Island, New York resident who was convicted of murdering his wealthy parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, on September 7, 1988...

     was released from prison and his 1990 conviction quashed after new evidence cast doubt on the police tactics and methods used to gather evidence. He was originally convicted of killing his parents, but new, unspecified, evidence cast serious enough doubt on that to cause an Appeal Court to quash the conviction.
  • Kennedy Brewer was exonerated of a 1992 rape and murder of a 3-year-old child after spending 15 years behind bars.


  • A Colorado judge ordered on January 22, 2008, the immediate release of Tim Masters after finding that exculpatory evidence had been withheld from his defense team. DNA research by Richard Eikelenboom from Independent Forensic Services in Nunspeet
    Nunspeet is a municipality and town in the central Netherlands. It has been an agricultural site since prehistoric times. It contains a number of villages, like Oosteinde, Westeinde, Hulshorst, Elspeet, Vierhouten and Hoophuizen. Nunspeet has a vivid historical foundation, called Nuwenspete...

     also cast doubt on his conviction with the Peggy Hettrick murder case
    Peggy Hettrick murder case
    The Peggy Hettrick Murder Case concerns the unsolved 1987 death of Peggy Hettrick in Fort Collins, Colorado. Timothy Lee Masters was charged and convicted of the crime in 1999, and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. His sentence was vacated in 2008...

     in 1987 in Fort Collins. However, the DNA was that of the victim's boyfriend and may not be indicative of a crime.
  • David Scott was released from prison after DNA evidence determined he was not the man who killed 89-year-old Loretta Keith of West Terre Haute.
  • Lynn DeJac, convicted of killing her daughter, was exonerated after a judge overturned her conviction based on new DNA evidence implicating her former boyfriend in the killing.
  • Rachel Jernigan, convicted of bank robbery in 2001, was released from prison after another woman confessed to the crime.
  • Willie Earl Green
    Willie Earl Green
    Willie Earl Green was sent to prison in 1983 for the murder of a woman in a South Los Angeles crack house, but after a change in testimony, authorities released him from prison in March 2008....

    , sent to prison in 1983 for the murder of a woman, was released after a change in testimony.
  • Robert Gonzales, a mentally retarded man who falsely confessed to the slaying of an 11-year-old girl in 2005 was released from jail after a national database matched DNA in the case to another man in custody for another crime.
  • Patrick Waller, who was convicted for a robbery in which four people were abducted and a woman was raped, has been exonerated.
  • Raymond H. Jonassen spent four months in jail based on information that turned out to be false.
  • Dean Cage was exonerated of a rape conviction after 14 years in prison.
  • Walter Swift was wrongly convicted of raping a pregnant Detroit woman in 1982.
  • Levon Junior "Bo" Jones
    Levon Jones
    Levon "Bo" Jones is an American former death row inmate. He was convicted and sentenced to death in North Carolina in 1993 on a count of first-degree murder for a fatal shooting which occurred in 1987. The conviction was overturned by a federal judge in 2006, after a key witness admitted to lying...

    , sentenced to death for the 1987 murder and robbery of Leamon Grady, was released after nearly 15 years in prison.
  • James Lee Woodard was released from prison after DNA tests and changes in witness testimony proved that he did not rape and murder his 21-year-old girlfriend in 1980.
  • Cynthia Sommer, convicted of killing her Marine husband with arsenic to pay for breast implants, was cleared after new tests showed no traces of poison.
  • Thomas Clifford McGowan was freed after spending nearly 23 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.
  • Nathaniel Hatchett, who spent 12 years in prison for rape, was released after prosecutors decided to drop charges based on DNA evidence that shows he was not the rapist.
  • Glen Chapman, who spent 14 years on death row, was released after the District Attorney dismissed murder charges against him.
  • Guy Randolph was exonerated by a court judge after the district attorney's office acknowledged that he had been wrongly convicted.
  • Hattie Douglas's charge of murdering her 11-month-old son by poisoning him with alcohol was dismissed in May 2008. The murder charge was dropped after new tests cast doubt on the theory that the death of her son was caused by alcohol.
  • Ada Joanne Taylor, Joseph White, Thomas Winslow, and three others were wrongly convicted in a murder and rape case Ada Joanne Taylor confessed to police of being part of the crime after she was told that she would be the first woman to receive the death penalty in Nebraska.
  • Arthur Johnson was exonerated after spending 15½ years in jail.


  • Alan Beaman, convicted for the stabbing and strangling to death of his ex-girlfriend, was exonerated.
  • Timothy Cole was convicted in 1985 for a rape he did not commit, he was posthumously exonerated in early February 2009 after serving 14 years. He died in prison in 1999.
  • Thaddeus Jimenez spent more than 16 years in jail before his conviction was tossed.
  • Sgt. Brian W. Foster's conviction for rape was overturned.
  • Joseph R. Fears, Jr. was convicted in 1984 for two rapes. His sentence was overturned after DNA evidence proved that he didn't commit one of the rapes.
  • Paul House was exonerated after spending 22 years on death row for murder.
  • Joshua Kezer's 60 years prison sentence for second-degree murder was overturned. Circuit Judge Richard Callahan said: "The criminal justice system failed in the investigative and charging stage, it failed at trial, it failed at post-trial review and it failed during the appellate process."
  • Bill Dillon's life sentence for murder was overturned. He was convicted in 1981 based on John Preston's testimony that he and his scent-tracking German-Shepherd connected Dillon to the killer’s bloody t-shirt. However, a 2007 DNA test proved that Dillon's DNA did not match the DNA on the t-shirt. Hundreds of other convictions based on the alleged abilities of the same dog are now in doubt.
  • Darryl Burton was wrongly convicted and imprisoned for 24 years.


  • Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, known as the West Memphis 3
    West Memphis 3
    The West Memphis Three are three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was...

    , spent 18 years in prison for the murders of three 8-year-old boys in 1993. Baldwin and Misskelley were sentenced to life imprisonment and Echols was sentenced to death. The controversy of the case, ranging from police and jury misconduct to coerced confessions and fabricated evidence, raised doubt in their guilt. The case attracted the support of several celebrities and even the parents of two of the victims have come to believe in their innocence. In 2007, DNA excluded them from the crime, but the state refused to exonerate them. In 2010, a new judge ordered a new trial based on the DNA. In 2011, the prosecutors offered them to enter Alford pleas in exchange for time served, an offer they reluctantly accepted, because they would have been acquitted in a new trial and the state would have faced a lawsuit. They vowed to fight the convictions and find the real killer to clear their names. Prosecutors and police maintain they are guilty.
  • Michael Morton was exonerated after 25 years in jail when DNA evidence proved he did not kill his wife. It was especially controversial because the DA would not release the DNA evidence for over 6 years, even after multiple requests from The Innocence Project.
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