Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Search of 54: An Update

Way back on 8 March, I calculate that Texas had executed 54 innocent people. Several days later I announced my intention to search for the 54. I have since been working my through each of the now 463 people executed by Texas in "the modern era."

Most of those 463 people will receive only a cursory review, since the guilt of most those executed is quickly obvious. Some small fraction of the those 463 receive a substantially more thorough review, usually ending in the preparation of an Actual Innocence Scorecard. The final number on that scorecard will represent the person's probability of being innocenct, based on my organized and formalized assessment.

Rather than deem a person factually innocent or factually guilty, I determine a probability of innocence. Instead of using integer counting, I use decimal counting. By summing the probabilities of innocence for each person scored, I determine my count of those people innocent but executed by Texas.

I present below a summary for those I have already scored. Click on the name to see the post describing the case. Click on the score to see the Actual Innocence Scorecard.

Charles Anthony Boyd, 1 

By my decimal accounting, I have so far located 9 people wrongfully executed by the State of Texas. I can't tell you exactly which 9 people were wrongfully executed, only that they are from the list above and that more likely located near the top than the bottom.

Also, at this point I update my prediction regarding the number of innocent people Texas has executed. Refining my previous estimate by the cases I have already reviewed, I now predict that I will find Texas to have executed 38 innocent people. I will continue to refer to this series as The Search for 54, or something along that line, though I now expect to find fewer. Time will tell whether my initial or current estimate is the better.

In either case, the answer is appalling

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