Revision to List of Exonerated Individuals
Thanks to additional research by Prof. Samuel Gross of the University of Michigan, DPIC has learned that one of the individuals on its list of exonerated death row inmates had conceded his guilt to a lesser offense in connection with the crime that originally sent him to death row. He was, however, acquitted on the murder charge. James Bo Cochran was originally found guilty of a 1976 murder in Alabama in connection with a robbery at a grocery store. His first trial resulted in a mistrial and the convictions from his second and third trials were overturned. When he was retried in 1997, a jury acquitted him of murdering the grocery store's assistant manager. However, in an agreement made with prosecutors prior to his release, it now appears that Cochran accepted guilt to a robbery charge. Earlier research had indicated that he had been acquitted of all charges. Since inclusion on DPIC's list requires not only the removal of the capital conviction but also of all convictions related to the original offense, we can no longer include Cochran's case on our list of exonerations. The number of exonerations from death row since 1973 now stands at 138. Accurate research occasionally requires revisions based on new information, and we are grateful to Prof. Gross, one of the nation's leading experts on the reversal of convictions, for this research. We regret any inconvenience.
(DPIC posted Nov. 29, 2010). See Innocence for the criteria for including a case on DPIC's list of exonerated individuals.