Research by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) shows the total number of people exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death is 185.
The data from these 185 exonerations (see three case studies below) shows that particularly with people of color, innocent death row prisoners were convicted because of a combination of police or prosecutorial misconduct and false testimony.
It would seem that when this many people have been found innocent of the crimes that put them on death row, many others have been executed in spite of innocence.
Case Study #1:
Joe Ligon entered prison when Eisenhower was President. He was released 68 years later. His trial was one day and he was referred to as “colored.” He was a child of 15 at the time of his conviction.
Most of his family is now dead. He re-entered a world he didn’t know.
It has cost taxpayers $3 million to keep him for those 68 years excluding his treatment for prostatic cancer.
Case Study #2
Raymond Riles arrived on death row in 1976 the year Gerald Ford lost his re-election bid. Forty-five years and 8 presidents later he remains of death row having lived through 3 execution dates that were canceled.
Experts have deemed him extremely delusional and grossly psychotic. Texas may soon grant him a new trial where he could be placed in the general population of the prison rather than on death row.
Case Study #3
Pennsylvania death-row exoneree, Christopher Williams, was released from prison on February 9, 2021, after being exonerated in a second murder case. The second wrongful murder conviction had kept Williams incarcerated after he was cleared of the murder for which he was wrongfully condemned to die. As unlikely as it may seem this man was wrongly convicted of murder twice.