Exonerated After 20 Years in Prison: One of the Most Compelling False Confession Stories of 2013

Daniel Taylor
Daniel Taylor, exonerated after two decades in prison. Photo: Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Steve Drizin of the Center on Wrongful Convictions has written a summary of important events in 2013 regarding false confessions.

Many innocent people confess to crimes they did not commit, because they are coerced or tricked during interrogation, or because they tell police what they believe they want to hear.

One of the most compelling stories of 2013 is that of Daniel Taylor, who was wrongfully convicted of murder in Illinois in 1992 and spent more than two decades in prison before he was exonerated and freed last year.

Taylor’s case is one of the most egregious because it was physically impossible for him to have committed the crime he was convicted of: he was in police custody when the murder was committed, and this fact was known to prosecutors before he was charged and tried. Taylor was convicted largely based on his confession, with the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office withholding exculpatory evidence and contending that the jail records showing Taylor to be in custody were inaccurate.

Taylor was exonerated and freed after appellate work by Karen Daniel of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, who obtained a sworn statement from the lockup keeper working when Taylor was released from custody after the murder took place, stating that it was “not possible” for him to have been released earlier.