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Texas Among Top 3 States in Total Exonerations

Researchers at two law schools Monday released an unprecedented listing of all the exoneration cases from the last 23 years. Only two states had more exonerations than Texas, according to the report.

Michael Morton stands in a Williamson County courtroom with his attorneys, John Raley of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project. Morton was officially exonerated Dec. 19, 2011 after spending nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law on Monday released the first national registry of exoneration cases with data on more than 2,000 cases from the last 23 years. 

The report's lead authors said the project is an unprecedented examination of the scope of wrongful convictions that shows they are far more prevalent than once thought. In Texas, according to the report, there have been 87 exonerations involving crimes ranging from robbery to murder. Only Illinois, with 110, and New York, with 88, had more.

“It used to be that almost all the exonerations we knew about were murder and rape cases. We’re finally beginning to see beyond that,” Michigan law professor Samuel Gross, editor of the registry and an author of the report, said in a news release. “This is a sea change.”

The report, which includes an online searchable database with details on about nearly 900 of the exonerations, details for the first time wrongful convictions in 58 cases involving drugs, taxes, white-collar and other nonviolent crimes; 102 exonerations for child sex abuse convictions; and 129 exonerations of defendants who were convicted of crimes that never happened.


The authors created a separate category for group exonerations, which includes cases of massive law enforcement corruption in Dallas and in Tulia that led to more than 40 exonerations.

The authors note, however, that their work does not encompass all of the wrongful convictions that have happened in the last two decades. Many more cases, they wrote, are probably undiscovered as the wrongfully convicted remain behind bars, die in prison or lack the money to prove their innocence.

They point to the numbers. For instance, in Dallas County, with about 2.4 million people, there have been 36 exonerations. Meanwhile, Bexar County, where the population exceeds 1.7 million, has had none.

"No matter how tragic they are, even 2,000 exonerations over 23 years is a tiny number in a country with 2.3 million people in prisons and jails. If that were the extent of the problem we would be encouraged by these numbers. But it’s not. These cases merely point to a much larger number of tragedies that we do not know about," the report states.

We've created (above) from the report a graph showing the types of exoneration cases in Texas, based on the type of crime for which each exoneree was wrongfully convicted. And below is a list of all the Texas exonerees. View the full report here

Last NameFirst NameAgeRaceCrimeSentenceExoneratedDNA
Adams Randall D. 28 W Murder Death 1989 No
Alejandro Gilbert 35 H Sexual Assault 12 years 1994 Yes
Allen Billy Frederick 37 W Murder 99 years 2011 No
Amezquita Gilbert 21 H Assault 15 years 2007 No
Barber Jason 20 W Murder 35 years 2000 No
Blair Michael 23 O Murder Death 2008 Yes
Brandley Clarence 29 B Murder Death 1990 No
Briggs Brandy 19 W Child Abuse 17 years 2006 No
Brodie Stephen 19 W Child Sex Abuse 5 years 2010 No
Brown Joyce Ann 33 B Robbery Life 1990 No
Butler, Jr. A.B. 27 B Sexual Assault Life 2000 Yes
Byrd Kevin 23 B Sexual Assault Life 1997 Yes
Chatman Charles 20 U Sexual Assault Life 2008 Yes
Cole Timothy B. 24 B Sexual Assault 25 years 2009 Yes
Coney Robert Carroll 33 B Robbery Life 2004 No
Criner Roy 21 W Sexual Assault Life 2000 Yes
Danziger Richard 17 W Sexual Assault Life 2002 Yes
Deeb Muneer 23 O Murder Death 1993 No
Duke Dale 42 W Child Sex Abuse 20 years 2011 No
Dupree Cornelius 21 B Sexual Assault 75 years 2011 Yes
Elliff Hicks 23 W Murder 55 years 2007 No
Evans Jerry Lee 24 B Sexual Assault Life 2009 Yes
Fields Hilliard 25 B Child Sex Abuse 5 years 2011 No
Fountain Wiley 28 B Sexual Assault 40 years 2003 Yes
Fuller Larry 31 B Sexual Assault 50 years 2006 Yes
Gariepy Ronnie Mark 32 U Child Sex Abuse 12 years 2000 No
Giles James Curtis 26 B Sexual Assault 30 years 2007 Yes
Good Donald Wayne 21 W Sexual Assault Life 2004 Yes
Gossett Andrew 37 W Sexual Assault 50 years 2007 Yes
Graves Anthony 26 B Murder Death 2010 No
Green Michael Anthony 18 B Sexual Assault 75 years 2010 Yes
Guerra Ricardo Adalpe 20 H Murder Death 1997 No
Harvey John Michael 24 W Child Sex Abuse 40 years 2005 No
Henton Eugene 16 B Sexual Assault 4 years 2006 Yes
Johnson Antrone 17 B Child Sex Abuse Life 2009 No
Jones Morris S. 16 U Assault 15 years 2001 No
Karage Entre Nax 21 O Murder Life 2005 Yes
Kimsey Martin 45 W Robbery Life 1990 No
Lavernia Carlos Marcos 29 H Sexual Assault Life 2000 Yes
Lindsey Johnnie 28 B Sexual Assault Life 2009 Yes
Loveless Debbie 31 W Murder Life 1994 Yes
Macias Federico 31 H Murder Death 1993 No
McGowan Thomas 24 B Sexual Assault Life 2008 Yes
Miles Richard   B Murder 60 years 2012 No
Miller Billy Wayne 31 B Sexual Assault Life 2006 Yes
Miller John 42 W Murder Life 1994 Yes
Montgomery LaDondrell 34 B Robbery Life 2011 No
Moon Brandon 26 W Sexual Assault 75 years 2005 Yes
Morton Michael 32 W Murder Life 2011 Yes
Mowbray Fredda Susie 39 W Murder Life 1998 No
Mumphrey Arthur 21 B Child Sex Abuse 35 years 2006 Yes
Murray Lacresha 11 B Murder 20 years 2001 No
Ochoa Christopher 22 H Murder Life 2002 Yes
Phillips Steven 22 W Sexual Assault 40 years 2008 Yes
Pinchback Johnny 28 B Child Sex Abuse Life 2011 Yes
Pope David Shawn 23 W Sexual Assault 45 years 2001 Yes
Porter Allen Wayne 18 B Sexual Assault Life 2010 No
Rachell Ricardo 45 H Child Sex Abuse 40 years 2009 Yes
Ramirez Jesus 48 H Murder Life 2008 No
Robinson Anthony 25 B Sexual Assault 27 years 2000 Yes
Rodriguez George 25 H Child Sex Abuse 60 years 2005 Yes
Russell Stephen Lynn 26 U Robbery 50 years 1990 No
Salazar Ben 23 H Sexual Assault 30 years 1997 Yes
Scott Michael 17 W Murder Life 2009 Yes
Scott Christopher Shun 27 B Murder Life 2009 No
Sifuentes Alberto 22 H Murder Life 2008 No
Simmons, Jr. Claude 42 B Murder Life 2009 No
Smith Billy James 34 B Sexual Assault Life 2006 Yes
Springsteen Robert 17 W Murder Death 2009 Yes
Sturgeon Richard 32 B Robbery 50 years 2009 No
Sutton Josiah 16 B Sexual Assault 25 years 2004 Yes
Taylor Ronald Gene 32 B Sexual Assault 60 years 2008 Yes
Thomas Victor Larue 26 B Sexual Assault Life 2002 Yes
Toney Michael 19 W Murder Death 2009 No
Tuley Wesley 27 W Child Sex Abuse Probation 2003 No
Turner Keith 22 B Sexual Assault 20 years 2005 Yes
Waller James 25 B Child Sex Abuse 30 years 2007 Yes
Waller Patrick 20 B Kidnapping Life 2008 Yes
Wallis Gregory 27 W Sexual Assault 50 years 2007 Yes
Washington Calvin E. 30 B Murder Life 2001 Yes
Webb Mark 22 W Sexual Assault 30 years 2001 Yes
Williams Joe Sidney 19 B Murder Life 2001 Yes
Williams Thomas Wayne 38 B Drug Possession or Sale Life 2000 No
Willis Ernest Ray 39 W Murder Death 2004 No
Winfrey, Sr. Richard 49 W Murder 75 years 2010 No
Woodard James Lee 26 B Murder Life 2009 Yes
Woten Michael Anthony   U Robbery 55 years 1990 No

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Courts Criminal justice State government Death penalty State agencies Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals Texas Department Of Criminal Justice