Legal and extra-legal factors that influence redress received by death row exonerees

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Tiffany Charity Merritt (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Saundra Westervelt

Abstract: As of December 2016, 156 individuals have been exonerated from death row in the United States because of their factual innocence. Although the Supreme Court has declared that exonerees suffer physical and psychological damage equal to that of torture (Battalgia 2012), the government has not created a mechanism to provide financial redress to death row exonerees (Costa 2005). While the research in the area addresses the need for such redress and the legal obstacles that often prevent redress, few scholars have examined the factors that influence when redress is provided. This paper examines the legal and extra-legal factors that influence whether a death row exoneree receives financial redress for his wrongful conviction. To answer this question, I collected data about the redress received by all 156 death row exonerees and the legal and extra-legal factors that may influence the receipt of financial redress. These data show that the majority of death row exonerees do not receive financial redress for their years of wrongful conviction and incarceration. I found certain legal variables and extra-legal variables impact successful obtainment of redress. Exonerees who were wrongfully convicted due to official misconduct or false confessions were more likely to receive redress. Exonerees who wrongfully convicted of killing a minority victim, or a male are more likely to receive financial redress. In sum, extra-legal factors affect which death row exonerees receive financial redress.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
Compensation, Death row, Exoneration, Exoneree, Financial redress, Wrongful Conviction
Compensation for judicial error $z United States
Judicial error $z United States
False imprisonment $z United States
Death row inmates $z United States

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