“But I Wasn’t There!”
The Alibis of DNA Exonerees
Keywords:Alibi, Innocence Project, Innocence Record, Wrongful Conviction
Using the exoneree summaries in the Innocence Project and the documentation in the Innocence Record, we analyze the content of the alibis of those who have been wrongly convicted and exonerated with the use of DNA. Sixty-five percent of the 377 DNA exonerees had an alibi. Fifty-one percent reported that their alibi corroborators were friends and/or family members, while only about 10% presented physical evidence to support their alibi. Those with an alibi were significantly less likely to falsely confess than those without an alibi. Eyewitnesses were significantly more likely to be a contributing cause of conviction for those with an alibi than for those without an alibi, and 27% of the exonerees with an alibi had only eyewitness evidence to implicate them. Those that had an alibi were also more likely to claim that they had an inadequate defense than those that did not have an alibi. We conclude this paper with recommendations for reforms and future research.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Wendy Heath, Joshua Stein, Sabreen Afiouni
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.