Data from a new National Registry of Exonerations has placed Cook County as the number one place for wrongful convictions of violent crimes. Since 1989, 101 cases have been overturned in Illinois, 78 were from Cook County.
Many of the convictions on the list, in Cook County, include cases overseen by disgraced Chicago police commander, Joe Burge, who was convicted of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury. Burge was accused of torturing more than 200 criminal suspects, between 1972 and 1991, into false confessions.
The top 10 states include:
2.New York 88
One could assume the high number of wrongful convictions can be attributed to heavily populated areas, however the National Registry of Exonerations reports that these areas have strong presence of wrongful convictions centers and innocence projects.
Meaning that these states probably don’t have the highest number of wrongful convictions, they are just better at overturning them. It is estimated that Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions is responsible for a third of Illinois exonerations.
The report also states that because exonerations are not centralized, many exonerations remain unknown. Some of the unknown exonerations include low profile cases and those concealed from the public attention.
While the number of wrongful convictions in Illinois is alarming and even disturbing, it is reassuring to know that where there is a willing and active group of people fighting to overturn wrongful convictions, innocent people will have a higher chance of gaining the justice they deserve.
Read the full report from the National Registry of Exonerations.