Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice: Causes and Remedies in North American and European Criminal Justice Systems, C. R. Huff & M. Killias eds., Routledge, March 2013
22 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2013 Last revised: 12 Mar 2013
Date Written: February 26, 2013
The most common question about false convictions is also the simplest: How many are there? The answer, unfortunately, is almost always the same and always disappointing: We don’t know. Recently, however, we have learned enough to be able to qualify our ignorance in two important respects. We can put a lower bound on the frequency of false convictions among death sentences in the United States since 1973, and we have some early indications of the rate of false convictions for rape in Virginia in the 1970s and early 1980s. These new sources of information suggest – tentatively – that the rate of false convictions for serious violent felonies in the United States may be somewhere in the range from 1% to 5%. Beyond that – for less serious crimes and for other countries – our ignorance is untouched.
Keywords: Wrongful conviction, false conviction, exoneration, death penalty, rape, criminal justice
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Gross, Samuel R., How Many False Convictions are There? How Many Exonerations are There? (February 26, 2013). Wrongful Convictions and Miscarriages of Justice: Causes and Remedies in North American and European Criminal Justice Systems, C. R. Huff & M. Killias eds., Routledge, March 2013 ; U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 316. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2225420