We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How does Someone get Exonerated?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A convicted person can be exonerated if new evidence comes forward to demonstrate innocence. Exoneration may free an inmate from prison, eliminate the death penalty, or lift probation and other limitations on a convicted prisoner who has been released after serving all or part of a sentence. The exoneration process is long and in some cases occurs posthumously; historians have even spearheaded cases for exoneration involving events that occurred centuries before, as seen in the case of some posthumous exonerations of victims of the Salem witch trials.

The first step involves finding new evidence to present in a case arguing why a person should be exonerated. This process can include the provision of supporting material to explain why the evidence was not made available during the original trial. A common tool is DNA evidence, which has been a key player in the exonerations of a number of death row prisoners in the United States. The evidence can categorically show that the prisoner was not involved in the crime, relying on techniques that may not have been available at the original trial.

Prisoners can be exonerated through the emergence of new witness testimony or recanted testimony. A witness may claim that she was manipulated or forced to lie on the stand in a case, or attorneys can show how a witness was led into testimony that was not accurate. For example, a lineup might have been flawed because the accused was the only person matching the rough description of the perpetrator, leading the victim to mistakenly identify him in an eagerness to identify someone in the lineup.

Organizations and individuals can campaign for a prisoner to be exonerated. Production of evidence requires moving through careful steps to preserve the integrity of the evidence, as pardons cannot be issued on the basis of disputed evidence. If there are concerns about the fabrication or manipulation of evidence, an official can turn down a request for exoneration. In the case of historic exonerations, a legislature may be involved in the passage of a measure posthumously excusing people of blame in a case.

In the case of posthumous exonerations, the resolution is usually designed to address concerns of family and members of the community. Families may experience shame and unhappiness because of the wrongful conviction of one of their members, and could be able to access compensation if they can get their family members exonerated. Exoneration of a person already out of prison can also be important, as people with a criminal past usually have trouble finding work and may experience discrimination in their communities.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a MyLawQuestions researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.