Innocence: List of Those Freed From Death Row

 

Last exoneration June 8, 2015 (#155)

For Inclusion on DPIC's Innocence List:

Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either-
 
a. Been acquitted of all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row, or

b. Had all charges related to the crime that placed them on death row dismissed by the prosecution, or

c. Been granted a complete pardon based on evidence of innocence.


For a fuller description of the criteria used in this list and the reasons why these criteria were chosen, see Section V of DPIC's most recent Innocence Report.  See also an excerpt below from an article in the Baltimore Sun by Dan Rodricks regarding the use of the term "exonerated."

The list includes cases in which the release occurred 1973 or later.

See also DPIC's Innocence Database -Searchable database of all exonerations since 1973 - allows you to search and sort for cases by year, state, race, and other variables.

NR*

NAME

ST

RACE

CONVICTED

EXONERATED

YEARS BETWEEN

REASON

DNA **

1

David Keaton

FL

B

1971

1973

2

Charges Dismissed

 

2

Samuel A. Poole

NC

B

1973

1974

1

Charges Dismissed

 

3

Wilbert Lee

FL

B

1963

1975

12

Pardoned

 

4

Freddie Pitts

FL

B

1963

1975

12

Pardoned

 

5

James Creamer

GA

W

1973

1975

2

Charges Dismissed

 

6

Christopher Spicer

NC

B

1973

1975

2

Acquitted

 

7

Thomas Gladish

NM

W

1974

1976

2

Charges Dismissed

 

8

Richard Greer

NM

W

1974

1976

2

Charges Dismissed

 

9

Ronald Keine

NM

W

1974

1976

2

Charges Dismissed

 

10

Clarence Smith

NM

W

1974

1976

2

Charges Dismissed

 

11

Delbert Tibbs

FL

B

1974

1977

3

Charges Dismissed

 

12

Earl Charles

GA

B

1975

1978

3

Charges Dismissed

 

13

Jonathan Treadway

AZ

W

1975

1978

3

Acquitted

 

14

Gary Beeman

OH

W

1976

1979

3

Acquitted

 

15

Jerry Banks

GA

B

1975

1980

5

Charges Dismissed

 

16

Larry Hicks

IN

B

1978

1980

2

Acquitted

 

17

Charles Ray Giddens

OK

B

1978

1981

3

Charges Dismissed

 

18

Michael Linder

SC

W

1979

1981

2

Acquitted

 

19

Johnny Ross

LA

B

1975

1981

6

Charges Dismissed

 

20

Ernest (Shujaa) Graham

CA

B

1976

1981

5

Acquitted

 

21

Annibal Jaramillo

FL

L

1981

1982

1

Charges Dismissed

 

22

Lawyer Johnson

MA

B

1971

1982

11

Charges Dismissed

 

23

Larry Fisher

MS

W

1984

1985

1

Acquitted

 

24

Anthony Brown

FL

B

1983

1986

3

Acquitted

 

25

Neil Ferber

PA

W

1982

1986

4

Charges Dismissed

 

26

Clifford Henry Bowen

OK

W

1981

1986

5

Charges Dismissed

 

27

Joseph Green Brown

FL

B

1974

1987

13

Charges Dismissed

 

28

Perry Cobb

IL

B

1979

1987

8

Acquitted

 

29

Darby (Jesse) Tillis

IL

B

1979

1987

8

Acquitted

 

30

Vernon McManus

TX

W

1977

1987

10

Charges Dismissed

 

31

Anthony Ray Peek

FL

B

1978

1987

9

Acquitted

 

32

Juan Ramos

FL

L

1983

1987

4

Acquitted

 

33

Robert Wallace

GA

B

1980

1987

7

Acquitted

 

34

Richard Neal Jones

OK

W

1983

1987

4

Acquitted

 

35

Willie Brown

FL

B

1983

1988

5

Charges Dismissed

 

36

Larry Troy

FL

B

1983

1988

5

Charges Dismissed

 

37

Randall Dale Adams

TX

W

1977

1989

12

Charges Dismissed

 

38

Robert Cox

FL

W

1988

1989

1

Charges Dismissed

 

39

James Richardson

FL

B

1968

1989

21

Charges Dismissed

 

40

Clarence Brandley

TX

B

1981

1990

9

Charges Dismissed

 

41

John C. Skelton

TX

W

1983

1990

7

Acquitted

 

42

Dale Johnston

OH

W

1984

1990

6

Charges Dismissed

 

43

Jimmy Lee Mathers

AZ

W

1987

1990

3

Acquitted

 

44

Gary Nelson

GA

B

1980

1991

11

Charges Dismissed

 

45

Bradley P. Scott

FL

W

1988

1991

3

Acquitted

 

46

Charles Smith

IN

B

1983

1991

8

Acquitted

 

47

Jay C. Smith

PA

W

1986

1992

6

Acquitted

 

48

Kirk Bloodsworth

MD

W

1984

1993

9

Charges Dismissed

Yes

49

Federico M. Macias

TX

L

1984

1993

9

Charges Dismissed

 

50

Walter McMillian

AL

B

1988

1993

5

Charges Dismissed

 

51

Gregory R. Wilhoit

OK

W

1987

1993

6

Acquitted

 

52

James Robison

AZ

W

1977

1993

16

Acquitted

 

53

Muneer Deeb

TX

O

1985

1993

8

Acquitted

 

54

Andrew Golden

FL

W

1991

1994

3

Charges Dismissed

 

55

Adolph Munson

OK

B

1985

1995

10

Acquitted

 

56

Robert Charles Cruz

AZ

L

1981

1995

14

Acquitted

 

57

Rolando Cruz

IL

L

1985

1995

10

Acquitted

Yes

58

Alejandro Hernandez

IL

L

1985

1995

10

Charges Dismissed

Yes

59

Sabrina Butler

MS

B

1990

1995

5

Acquitted

 

60

Joseph Burrows

IL

W

1989

1996

7

Charges Dismissed

 

61

Verneal Jimerson

IL

B

1985

1996

11

Charges Dismissed

Yes

62

Dennis Williams

IL

B

1979

1996

17

Charges Dismissed

Yes

63

Roberto Miranda

NV

L

1982

1996

14

Charges Dismissed

 

64

Gary Gauger

IL

W

1993

1996

3

Charges Dismissed

 

65

Troy Lee Jones

CA

B

1982

1996

14

Charges Dismissed

 

66

Carl Lawson

IL

B

1990

1996

6

Acquitted

 

67

David Wayne Grannis

AZ

W

1991

1996

5

Charges Dismissed

 

68

Ricardo Aldape Guerra

TX

L

1982

1997

15

Charges Dismissed

 

69

Benjamin Harris

WA

B

1985

1997

12

Charges Dismissed

 

70

Robert Hayes

FL

B

1991

1997

6

Acquitted

 

71

Christopher McCrimmon

AZ

B

1993

1997

4

Acquitted

 

72

Randal Padgett

AL

W

1992

1997

5

Acquitted

 

73

Robert Lee Miller, Jr.

OK

B

1988

1998

10

Charges Dismissed

Yes

74

Curtis Kyles

LA

B

1984

1998

14

Charges Dismissed

 

75

Shareef Cousin

LA

B

1996

1999

3

Charges Dismissed

 

76

Anthony Porter

IL

B

1983

1999

16

Charges Dismissed

 

77

Steven Smith

IL

B

1985

1999

14

Acquitted

 

78

Ronald Williamson

OK

W

1988

1999

11

Charges Dismissed

Yes

79

Ronald Jones

IL

B

1989

1999

10

Charges Dismissed

Yes

80

Clarence Dexter, Jr.

MO

W

1991

1999

8

Charges Dismissed

 

81

Warren Douglas Manning

SC

B

1989

1999

10

Acquitted

 

82

Alfred Rivera

NC

L

1997

1999

2

Charges Dismissed

 

83

Steve Manning

IL

W

1993

2000

7

Charges Dismissed

 

84

Eric Clemmons

MO

B

1987

2000

13

Acquitted

 

85

Joseph Nahume Green

FL

B

1993

2000

7

Charges Dismissed

 

86

Earl Washington

VA

B

1984

2000

16

Pardoned

Yes

87

William Nieves

PA

L

1994

2000

6

Acquitted

 

88

Frank Lee Smith - died prior to exoneration

FL

B

1986

2000 **

14

Charges Dismissed

Yes

89

Michael Graham

LA

W

1987

2000

13

Charges Dismissed

 

90

Albert Burrell

LA

W

1987

2000

13

Charges Dismissed

 

91

Oscar Lee Morris

CA

B

1983

2000

17

Charges Dismissed

 

92

Peter Limone

MA

W

1968

2001

33

Charges Dismissed

 

93

Gary Drinkard

AL

W

1995

2001

6

Charges Dismissed

 

94

Joaquin Jose Martinez

FL

L

1997

2001

4

Acquitted

 

95

Jeremy Sheets

NE

W

1997

2001

4

Charges Dismissed

 

96

Charles Fain

ID

W

1983

2001

18

Charges Dismissed

Yes

97

Juan Roberto Melendez

FL

L

1984

2002

18

Charges Dismissed

 

98

Ray Krone

AZ

W

1992

2002

10

Charges Dismissed

Yes

99

Thomas Kimbell, Jr.

PA

W

1998

2002

4

Acquitted

 

100

Larry Osborne

KY

W

1999

2002

3

Charges Dismissed

 

101

Aaron Patterson

IL

B

1986

2003

17

Pardoned

 

102

Madison Hobley

IL

B

1987

2003

16

Pardoned

 

103

Leroy Orange

IL

B

1984

2003

19

Pardoned

 

104

Stanley Howard

IL

B

1987

2003

16

Pardoned

 

105

Rudolph Holton

FL

B

1986

2003

16

Charges Dismissed

 

106

Lemuel Prion

AZ

W

1999

2003

4

Charges Dismissed

 

107

Wesley Quick

AL

W

1997

2003

6

Acquitted

 

108

John Thompson

LA

B

1985

2003

18

Acquitted

 

109

Timothy Howard

OH

B

1976

2003

26

Charges Dismissed

 

110

Gary Lamar James

OH

B

1976

2003

26

Charges Dismissed

 

111

Joseph Amrine

MO

B

1986

2003

17

Charges Dismissed

 

112

Nicholas Yarris

PA

W

1982

2003

21

Charges Dismissed

Yes

113

Alan Gell

NC

W

1998

2004

6

Acquitted

 

114

Gordon Steidl

IL

W

1987

2004

17

Charges Dismissed

 

115

Laurence Adams

MA

B

1974

2004

30

Charges Dismissed

 

116

Dan L. Bright

LA

B

1996

2004

8

Charges Dismissed

 

117

Ryan Matthews

LA

B

1999

2004

5

Charges Dismissed

Yes

118

Ernest Ray Willis

TX

W

1987

2004

17

Charges Dismissed

 

119

Derrick Jamison

OH

B

1985

2005

20

Charges Dismissed

 

120

Harold Wilson

PA

B

1989

2005

16

Acquitted

 

121

John Ballard

FL

W

2003

2006

3

Acquitted

 

122

Curtis McCarty

OK

W

1986

2007

21

Charges Dismissed

Yes

123

Michael McCormick

TN

W

1987

2007

20

Acquitted

 

124

Jonathon Hoffman

NC

B

1995

2007

12

Charges Dismissed

 

125

Kennedy Brewer

MS

B

1995

2008

13

Charges Dismissed

Yes

126

Glen Chapman

NC

B

1994

2008

14

Charges Dismissed

 

127

Levon Jones

NC

B

1993

2008

15

Charges Dismissed

 

128

Michael Blair

TX

O

1994

2008

14

Charges Dismissed

Yes

129

Nathson Fields

IL

B

1986

2009

23

Acquitted

 

130

Paul House

TN

W

1986

2009

23

Charges Dismissed

 

131

Daniel Wade Moore

AL

W

2002

2009

7

Acquitted

 

132

Ronald Kitchen

IL

B

1988

2009

21

Charges Dismissed

 

133

Herman Lindsey

FL

B

2006

2009

3

Acquitted

 

134

Michael Toney

TX

W

1999

2009

10

Charges Dismissed

 

135

Yancy Douglas

OK

B

1995

2009

14

Charges Dismissed

 

136

Paris Powell

OK

B

1997

2009

12

Charges Dismissed

 

137

Robert Springsteen

TX

W

2001

2009

8

Charges Dismissed

 

138

Anthony Graves

TX

B

1994

2010

16

Charges Dismissed

 

139

Gussie Vann

TN

W

1994

2011

17

Charges Dismissed

 

140

Joe D'Ambrosio

OH

W

1989

2012

23

Charges Dismissed

 

141

Damon Thibodeaux

LA

W

1997

2012

15

Charges Dismissed

Yes

142

Seth Penalver

FL

W

1999

2012

13

Acquitted

 

143

Reginald Griffin

MO

B

1983

2013

30

Charges Dismissed

 

144

Glenn Ford

LA

B

1984

2014

30

Charges Dismissed

 

145

Carl Dausch

FL

W

2011

2014

3

Acquitted

 

146

Henry McCollum

NC

B

1984

2014

30

Charges Dismissed

Yes

147

Leon Brown

NC

B

1984

2014

30

Charges Dismissed

Yes

148

Ricky Jackson

OH

B

1975

2014

39

Charges Dismissed

 

149

Wiley Bridgeman

OH

B

1975

2014

39

Charges Dismissed

 

150

Kwame Ajamu

OH

B

1975

2014

39

Charges Dismissed

 

151

Debra Milke

AZ

W

1990

2015

25

Charges Dismissed

 

152

Anthony Hinton

AL

B

1985

2015

30

Charges Dismissed

 

153

Willie Manning

MS

B

1996

2015

19

Charges Dismissed

 

154

Alfred Brown

TX

B

2005

2015

10

Charges Dismissed

 

155

Lawrence William Lee

GA

W

1987

2015

28

Charges Dismissed

 

Note: James Bo Cochran (AL) and Timothy Hennis (NC) were originally on this list but are excluded following further research and developments.

Average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration: 11.3 years

Number of cases in which DNA played a substantial factor in establishing innocence: 20

*The list is ordered by the year of the inmate's release. Occaionally new cases of earlier releases are discovered. Thus, the number assigned to a person above may differ from his or her number in various published DPIC reports.

**DPIC refers to the Innocence Project's (Cardozo Law School, NY) criteria for whether a post-conviction exoneration was the result of DNA testing.

The Innocence Project requires that both:

a) DNA testing played a role in the defendant's reversal, AND
b) the results of the testing were central to the inmate's defense and to the identity of the perpetrator.
 
Sources: DPIC uses a number of resources when adding cases to the above list, including court opinions, media coverage, and conversations with those directly involved in the cases. The earlier cases in the list are based heavily on the research of Hugo Adam Bedau and Michael L. Radelet. (See, e.g., Hugo Bedau and Michael Radelet, "Miscarriages of justice in potentially capital cases," 40 Stanford Law Review 21 (1987); M.Radelet, H. Bedau, and C. Putnam, In Spite of Innocence, Northeastern University Press (1992); see also M. Radelet et al., "Prisoners released from death rows since 1970 because of doubts about their guilt," 13 Thomas M. Cooley Law Review 907 (1996)).

 

Use of the term "exonerated": Columnist Dan Rodricks of the Baltimore Sun asked DPIC about its list of exonerated individuals.  DPIC's Executive Director Richard Dieter responded, and that response was reprinted in Mr. Rodricks' column, July 5, 2009:

With respect to your question about our list of exonerated individuals, we use very strict and objective criteria for inclusion of cases on this list. Basically, the list is determined by the decisions of courts and prosecutor offices, not by our subjective judgment. As we state in a number of places on our Web site and in our reports, the criteria for inclusion on the list is:

Defendants must have been convicted, sentenced to death and subsequently either- a) their conviction was overturned AND

i) they were acquitted at re-trial or

ii) all charges were dropped

b) they were given an absolute pardon by the governor based on new evidence of innocence.

The list includes cases where the release occurred in 1973 or later, which was the time that states resumed sentencing people to death after the U.S. Supreme Court had struck down the death penalty. The list originated from a request from Congress asking us to identify the risks that innocent people might be executed. The original list that we prepared was published as a Staff Report of the House Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. The list has been favorably referred to by Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, as well as by many public officials around the country.

We believe the term "exonerated" is entirely appropriate to refer to the individuals on this list, which now numbers 150 individuals. Exonerate means to clear, as of an accusation, and seems to come from the Latin "ex" and "onus" meaning to unburden. That is precisely what has occurred in these cases. The defendants were convicted, given a burden of guilt, and then that burden was lifted when they were acquitted at a re-trial or the prosecution dropped all charges after the conviction was reversed. These are not individuals who received a lesser sentence or who remained guilty of a lesser charge related to the same set of circumstances. All guilt was lifted by the same system that had imposed it in the first place. Our justice system is the only objective source for making such a determination.

This notion of innocence, that an individual is innocent unless proven guilty, is a bedrock principle of our constitution and our societal protection against abusive state power. One does not lose the status of innocence merely because a prosecutor or other individuals retain a suspicion of guilt. Of course, it is true that this list makes no god-like determination of knowing exactly what happened in the original crime. Such perfect knowledge of past events is impossible, either to absolutely prove that a person did or did not do an act. We do not try to make a subjective judgment of what we think happened in the crime. We are merely reporting that in a great many cases the justice system convicted an individual and sentenced them to death, but when the process that arrived at that conclusion was reviewed, the conviction and sentence were thrown out. The individual, who often came close to execution, could not even be convicted of a traffic violation. Surely, that should be a cause of concern in applying the death penalty.

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