New Report Shows Where Exonerations Happen in the US (State-by-State)

Exonerations rise nationally as wrongly convicted Americans get justice

HOUSTON, Texas, July 22, 2019 -- Texas currently leads the nation in exonerations, despite the state having some of the toughest laws on crime. This is one of the many interesting findings in a new report published by Neal Davis Law Firm, a top-rated criminal defense law firm based in Houston.

The report collected data from the National Registry of Exonerations and the US Census to show a state-by-state breakdown of exonerations and take a closer look at wrongful conviction statistics in the United States.

Among other findings, the report reveals that while some of the most populated states (like California, Texas and New York) predictably have some of the highest exoneration rates, this correlation between state population size and the number of exonerations isn't necessarily direct. For instance, Illinois, which ranks 6th in population, comes in 2nd in number of exonerations.

The rate of exonerations per 100,000 residents in each state since 1989

Likewise, even though California is the most populous state, it ranks 4th in number of exonerations — falling behind Texas, Illinois and New York.

The top 5 states with the highest number of total exonerations in the last 30 years are:

  • Texas
  • Illinois
  • New York
  • California
  • Michigan

On the flip side, the states with the lowest number of total exonerations in the last 30 years are:

  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Maine

Overall, a total of 2,468 people were exonerated between 1989 and 2019. The most common reasons included DNA testing, higher societal awareness and more prosecutorial accountability. Indeed, the tide seems to be turning from widespread incarceration to freedom and exoneration for wrongly imprisoned persons.

"Challenging faulty evidence and poor witnesses is often a key when pursuing exoneration," said Houston criminal defense attorney Neal Davis. "I've had to do this many times to fight the conviction of a client who later was granted a new trial."

More infographics, charts and exoneration data, including a breakdown of exonerations by the type of crime, can be found on at:

About the Neal Davis Law Firm

The Neal Davis Law Firm is a top-rated law firm based in Houston, Texas. Neal Davis is a board-certified lawyer who has handled thousands of cases from child sex offenses, drug charges and white collar crimes in state and federal courts—including the U.S. Supreme Court. With over 20 years of experience, including working with legendary criminal defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin, Neal primarily takes cases from Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County and throughout Southeast Texas.

Contact Information

Neal Davis
Neal Davis Law Firm
(713) 227-4444

Board Certified, Criminal Law – Texas Board of Legal Specialization (2009-2021), AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell (2015), and listed as a Best Lawyer in America (2015-2022)
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