Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Criminal Justice Sciences

First Advisor

Michael C. Gizzi


Wrongful convictions have been gaining attention both in the public and academic arenas. The knowledge that has been gained about wrongful convictions has been gained mostly by looking at cases of exonerations based on factual innocence. The use of DNA in the adjudication process, mainly in helping to defend and free innocent people brought the detriments of wrongful convictions into the lives of the public through the use of media. Since this time, innocence projects have opened, more cases of exonerations have been found, and more cases of wrongful conviction have been overturned. However, the frequency with which wrongful convictions occurs is yet unknown.

This thesis examined the most current, inclusive database of exonerations in the United States that exists, the National Registry of Exonerations. Qualitative and Quantitative data was examined and refined, and many statistical analyses were run including descriptives, frequencies, correlations, and linear regressions in order to gain a better idea of contributing factors, or what occurs in the criminal justice process that can lead to wrongful convictions. There are six categories of contributing factors that are widely used in wrongful conviction research. These are eyewitness misidentification, false confessions, perjury and/or false accusations, false and/or false forensic evidence, official misconduct, and inadequate legal defense. This thesis examined wrongful convictions through the lens of contributing factors in order to gain a better idea of what goes wrong so that preventive measures can be put into place to lower the number of innocents who are convicted.


Imported from ProQuest Semmelroth_ilstu_0092N_10193.pdf


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