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African Americans More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted: Study

Black Americans are about seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than white Americans, according to the study.

REUTERS

(Reuters) — African Americans are far more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes such as murder, sexual assault and illegal drug activity than whites due to factors including racial bias and official misconduct, a study released on Tuesday said.

Of the 1,900 defendants convicted of crimes and later exonerated, 47 percent were African Americans — three times their representation in the population — according to the study from the National Registry of Exonerations, which examined cases from 1989 to October 2016.

The study also said Black Americans were about seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than white Americans.

“In the murder cases we examined, the rate of official misconduct is considerably higher in cases where the defendant is African American compared to cases where the defendant is white,” said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan Law School professor who is senior editor of the group that tracks U.S. exonerations.

He said unconscious bias, institutional discrimination and explicit racism, were factors in some of the wrongful convictions.

When it comes to drug crimes, Black Americans are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than innocent white people, the study said.

A separate study from the same group also released on Tuesday showed that 2016 set a record for known exonerations in the United States since 1989 at 166, up from 160 cases in 2015.

Nearly 60 of exonerations came from Texas, the most of any state, where district attorneys in the counties that include Houston and Dallas have set up integrity units to examine prosecutions for possible problems.

Most of the Texas exonerations were drug convictions in Harris County, home to Houston. In many of the cases, suspects pleaded guilty to drug possession and months or years later, reports from crime labs showed that seized material contained no controlled substances.

Nationwide, 52 defendants were exonerated of murder and 73 were exonerated of non-violent crimes, such as drug possession.

After Texas, Illinois had the most exonerations in 2016 at 16, followed by New York with 14 and California with nine.

Among last year’s most notable exonerations were the so-called San Antonio Four — four women convicted of sexual assault in the 1990s and sent to prison because of junk science, tainted testimony and false ideas of lesbian behavior, a Texas appeals court said.

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9 comments


  • Tracey Easter

    bias in this sentences alone When it comes to drug crimes, Black Americans are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than innocent white people, the study said. … SHOULD READ … When it comes to drug crimes, innocent Black Americans are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than innocent white people, the study said.

  • And, I believe, if one reads the available information, one will learn, sadly, that African Americans are also most likely to commit crimes, and most likely to be victims of violent crime.

      • Please don’t be obtuse or deceptive. You know full well that, just as blacks are terribly over-represented in wrongful convictions, there are reams of credible statistics that also show blacks to be, proportionally, both perpetrators and victims of vastly more crimes than any other race in America.Yes, of course, white people commit crimes against white people, as U.S. News and many others reported in September, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a 2015 report on crime in our country*, but white criminals commit their crimes at a much lower rate. The facts that whites make up well over 50% of the American population and blacks about 15% bring a stark contrast to the FBI’s statements that, among cases in which the race of the victim and the killer were known, blacks killed 2,380 blacks in 2015, while the number of white people killed by other whites was 2,574.
        In criminal homicide then, ‘twould seem that blacks were, in 2015, sadly, approximately three times more likely to kill (and be killed).

        https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-09-29/race-and-homicide-in-america-by-the-numbers*

        • I think it’s complete racist bullshit to compare Black versus white crime statistics when we both know the FBI does not require Police Departments to report out properly and law-enforcement in general has been proven repetitively to be biased by race. The criminal justice system has been stacked against Black people since the beginning of the republic. Further, there is no average white men in this country who would benefit from trading places with an average black man.

          If you want to believe that Black people are somehow defective, that I don’t know why you want to continue to comment here because I don’t.

          Societal problems are societal problems.

          • Luke your a blind idiot. Look at the real numbers. 15 % black population and they still commit as much if not more than 50% of white population. Get a grip. Everyone one in the United states has same opportunities to work. As long as the government gives handouts and free bees people take the easy way. Why work when I can get it from the gov for which I pay for your free crap. Would love to see welfare reform. So much thievery there by all races. Get off your dead asses and find a job.. my wife worked for blue cross blue shield the women bragged how the con the gov.how there three Dads to there 8 kids don’t pay child support and don’t marry but live in the house so they can get more free money and goods and ow there man makes lots of money selling drugs. .my wife was shocked to hear these statements. Fed up with all this you owe me crap.

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