Center on Wrongful Convictions

Thirty-six innocent men and women in Illinois were exonerated due to efforts of the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC). Prior to the Center's founding in 1998, members of its staff were instrumental in 14 additional exonerations - including that of Gary Dotson, who in 1989 became the first person in the world to be exonerated by DNA. More...


New CWC Film:  Daniel Taylor's First Year of Freedom

$40 Million Settlement for Dixmoor Five

James Harden, Jonathan Barr, Robert Taylor, Robert Veal and Shainnie Sharp

Christopher Coleman

Peoria County drops all charges against CWC client Christopher Coleman


National Registry of ExonerationsThe National Registry of Exonerations releases its 2013 annual report

2013 was a banner year for exonerations—87 nationally, including nine in Illinois (second only to Texas with 13).

As of December 31, the Registry included 1,281 known exonerations nationally that occurred during the last quarter century, including 125 in Illinois (making us first on a per capita basis, but fourth numerically—behind New York with 152, California with 136, and Texas with 8).

The 2013 report indicates that the role of DNA in exonerations is steadily dwindling. Only 18 (20.7%) of the 87 exonerations in 2013 involved exculpatory DNA. As recently as 2005, the percentage of DNA exonerations was nearly twice that high, accounting for 23 (41.1%) of 56 exonerations that year. Just one of the nine 2013 Illinois exonerations (Benny Starks) involved DNA. From 1989 through 2013, DNA accounted for 363 (23.0%) of the 1,281 exonerations