Executive Summary

“Innocence Lost in New Jersey”

“Innocence Lost in New Jersey” tells the stories of 25 New Jerseyans who were wrongfully convicted of rapes and murders they did not commit. Combined, these innocent men and woman spent a total of 228 years behind bars before the truth came out.

The report further found an additional 12 New Jerseyans who were possibly or probably innocent of the crimes for which they spent much of their lives in prison, including one who remains on death row.

“Innocence Lost in New Jersey” is not a comprehensive study of every innocent person convicted in New Jersey, but rather a snapshot of what can go wrong and some of the consequences of that broken system on the real lives of innocent men and women.

The report found eight major causes leading to wrongful conviction in New Jersey:

For each factor, the report details concrete examples of New Jersey cases where these errors cost innocent people years of their freedom, and other cases of individuals who may very well be innocent but are still waiting for the truth to come out:

There is a lot right with New Jersey’s criminal justice system – but there is much room for improvement. This report begins to shed light on some of the most troubling areas and puts a human face on the very real consequences of the justice system’s mistakes. Implicit in this story of a broken system is a warning – New Jersey is at risk of executing an innocent person. A death penalty plagued by the problems detailed in “Innocence Lost” will inevitably, someday, make a mistake that can’t be undone.