The National Registry of Exonerations recorded 125 new exonerations in 2014, topping the previous record of 91 in both 2012 and 2013. The registry, affiliated with the University of Michigan Law School, now includes 1,535 exonerations in the United States since 1989. The 37 percent annual increase in exonerations last year was driven largely by 33 exonerations in drug cases in Harris County, Tex.
The registry says 49 exonerations in 2014 resulted from the work of prosecutorial Conviction Integrity Units, through which prosecutors work to identify and remedy false convictions in their own jurisdictions. Other highlights from the registry’s 2014 report: More than half of all the exonerations last year (67 of 125) had law enforcement support; the number of exonerations that did not include DNA rose to an all-time high of 103, and the proportion of exonerations that do not involve murder or sexual assault is steadily growing.