25 Years Of DNA Exonerations

Gary Dotson, who was accused of rape by a woman who later recanted her story, is embraced by his mother Barbara, and sister Laura, outside the jail at Joliet, Illinois., April 4, 1985. (AP)

Twenty-five years ago today, Gary Dotson walked out of an Illinois prison a free man.

He had been imprisoned for nine years on charges of rape and kidnapping — until the evidence from those crimes was subjected to DNA testing.

That laboratory work revealed that Dotson was not guilty. It was the first exoneration using DNA evidence, and since then another 316 people have been exonerated in the same way.


Daniel Medwed, professor at Northeastern University School of Law. His most recent book is “Prosecution Complex: America’s Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent.” You can read his Cognoscenti piece here.

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Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.

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