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Record Exonerations Reported In 2013; Only One In Florida

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Cheydrick Britt (second from right) was the one exoneration in Florida in 2013. He is pictured with (from left) Charles Murray, lead counsel, Seth Miller and Melissa Montle, attorneys with the Innocence Project of Florida.
Cheydrick Britt (second from right) was the only prisoner exonerated in Florida in 2013. He is pictured with (from left) Seth Miller of the Innocence Project of Florida, Charles Murray, lead counsel, and Melissa Montle, an attorney with the Innocence Project of Florida.

A record high 87 prisoners were released in 2013 after being falsely convicted of a crime. Only one exoneration, Cheydrick Britt, was in Florida, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Registry of Exonerations.

Britt was falsely convicted of several charges in 2004.

“He spent nine and a half years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit,” said Seth Miller, the executive director of the Innocence Project of Florida, a nonprofit organization that helps free innocent Florida prisoners and rebuild their lives.

However, the type of evidence that contributed to Cheydrick Britt’s exoneration is on the decline. DNA exonerations have decreased because of concerns about the accuracy of DNA evidence, but they still accounted for about one-fifth of exonerations in 2013, according to the report.

Multiple factors can cause a wrongful conviction, which is why the Innocence Project is beginning to focus on more than just DNA evidence, Miller said.

The report, a joint project of Northwestern University and University of Michigan law schools, also showed nearly 40 percent of the 87 exonerations were initiated by either law enforcement or included police and prosecutor cooperation.

Texas accounted for the highest with 13 exonerations, followed by Illinois with nine and New York with eight.

Steven Katona and Sarah Kimbro contributed reporting to this story.

 

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