The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola


47 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120


Report Shows 13 False Convictions Overturned in Illinois Last Year

Posted on in Criminal Defense

false conviction, Elgin criminal defense attorneyAccording to the National Registry of Exonerations, a University of Michigan Law School project, 2015 was a banner year for the exoneration of falsely convicted individuals. Throughout the country, 149 people were exonerated of crimes they did not commit—a new record high—up from the previous high of 139 in 2014.  Here in Illinois, 13 individuals had their convictions overturned in 2015, compared to 8 during the previous year.

Alarming Rates of False Convictions

Since 1989, more than 1740 falsely convicted men and women have been exonerated by the emergence of new evidence of their innocence. This number includes over 240 exonerations in Texas and 208 in the state of New York. Illinois is third on the list, with 160 convictions overturned in the last quarter century. While the exoneration of a falsely convicted individual can be seen as a personal victory and validation, the need for doing so points to a much larger problem. A conviction would not need to be overturned if the defendant was not falsely convicted from the beginning.

DNA Evidence

While the availability of DNA analysis and technology has contributed to many overturned convictions in the last several decades, most exonerations are based on other evidence. In fact, less than 18 percent of last year’s exonerations were attributed to new DNA evidence, including just two of 13 in Illinois on the basis of DNA alone. Some may point to the use of DNA information during trial, which may be preventing additional false convictions, but the number of exonerations based on DNA is typically less than expected.

Other Factors

Information gathered by the registry indicates that several other considerations more directly contributed to the false conviction in almost every Illinois case last year. False confessions and misconduct by law enforcement, prosecutors, and other officials were much bigger factors in the overturning of wrongful convictions. Eleven of the 13 of the exonerations in Illinois in 2015 involved convictions of murder, with the remaining two being false sex crime convictions.

If you have been charged with a crime you did not commit, a skilled attorney is your first line of defense against a false conviction. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today at 847-488-0889. Our knowledgeable is ready and willing to fight for your rights at every stage of the process.


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