In Pursuit of Innocence: A Study of Race and Ethnicity Differences in Time-to-Exoneration




Exoneration, Wrongful Conviction, Race, Ethnicity, Time-to-Exoneration, Focal Concerns Theory


The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of race and ethnicity on time-to-exoneration through the lens of focal concerns theory. Focal concerns theory has been used to demonstrate that criminal justice actors are influenced by legal and extralegal factors in decision making and rely on stereotypes to assess blameworthiness, protection of the community, and in navigating practical constraints and consequences. Utilizing data obtained from the National Registry of Exonerations (N =507) survival analysis was performed. The findings indicate that Black exonerees experienced a longer time-to-exoneration than did White exonerees and that Hispanic exonerees experienced the shortest time-to-exoneration of all. The findings offer support for focal concerns theory in the demonstration that racial and ethnic differences are present in time-to-exoneration resulting in disparities which disadvantage minorities. Further support for focal concerns theory is found in that the legal components of a case are shown to be associated with racial and ethnic differences in time-to-exoneration.





How to Cite

Braden, V. E. (2024). In Pursuit of Innocence: A Study of Race and Ethnicity Differences in Time-to-Exoneration. The Wrongful Conviction Law Review, 5(1), 59–79.