May 232012

The National Registry of Exonerations is a new joint project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. It maintains an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989, including Louisiana, of course.

There were at least 38 (state and federal) exonerations in the Pelican State during the past 23 years, which makes the top-prison state also one of the top-10 exoneration states in the USA. From 1989 through 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations has reported:

  • 1 exoneration in Caddo Parish
  • 1 exoneration in Calcasieu Parish
  • 1 exoneration in East Baton Rouge Parish
  • 1 exoneration in Jackson Parish
  • 8 exonerations in Jefferson Parish
  • 13 exonerations in Orleans Parish
  • 1 exoneration in Sabine Parish
  • 3 exonerations in St. Tammany Parish
  • 2 exonerations in Terrebonne Parish
  • 2 exonerations in Union Parish
  • 1 exoneration in Washington Parish.

Rural Avoyelles Parish is one of the parishes where someone has been falsely convicted but never exonerated. If Vincent Simmons was exonerated one day and his case became an entry in the National Registry of Exonerations, it might list as typcially contributing factors:

  • perjury or false accusation
  • deliberate misidentification
  • official misconduct
  • lack of forensic evidence, and
  • (maybe even) fabricated crime.

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