God bless DNA, huh? But it’s not all about DNA. It’s mostly just dogged investigations of improper prosecutions.
Those 149 people, counted in 29 states, the District of Columbia, federal courts, and Guam, had, on average, spent 14½ years in prison, the report said. Fifty-eight of those exonerated in 2015 were defendants in homicide cases, more than two-thirds were minorities, and about half were African American. Of 47 drug-related exonerations, another record, 42 pleaded guilty in Harris County, Texas, which includes Houston.
The report also detailed the work of the nation’s 24 conviction-integrity units, a part of a prosecutor’s office that ensures convictions are fair. The units helped secure 58 of the 149 exonerations last year. Still, the report said: “The performance of these CIUs has been highly variable and some have been criticized as mere window dressing.”
Almost half the exonerations came from Harris County, TX – that’s Houston. 90% came from 4 counties that are clearly getting this justice thing all wrong.