Central Park Jogger Rape Case & Central Park Five: The Central Park jogger case concerned the violent assault, rape, and sodomy of Trisha Meili, a female jogger, and attacks on others in New York City's Central Park, on April 19, 1989. The attack on the female jogger left her in a coma for 12 days. Meili was a 28-year-old investment banker at the time, weighing under 100 pounds. The attacks were, according to The New York Times, "one of the most widely publicized crimes of the 1980s." Five juvenile males—four black and one of Hispanic descent—were tried, variously, for assault, robbery, riot, rape, sexual abuse, and attempted murder. They were convicted of most charges by juries in two separate trials in 1990, and received sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years. Four of the convictions were appealed; they were affirmed by appellate courts. The defendants spent between 6 and 13 years in prison. n 2002, Matias Reyes, a Hispanic male who had been a juvenile at the time of the attack, confessed to raping the jogger, and DNA evidence confirmed his involvement in Meili's rape. He also said he committed the rape alone. Reyes at the time of his confession was a convicted serial rapist and murderer, serving a life sentence. He was not prosecuted for raping Meili, because the statute of limitations had passed by the time Reyes confessed. District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, stopping short of saying the five were innocent, suggested to the court that their convictions related to the assault and rape of Meili and the attacks on others to which they had confessed be vacated (a legal position in which the parties are treated as though no trial has taken place), withdrew all charges, and did not seek a retrial. Their convictions were vacated in 2002. The five who had been convicted sued New York City in 2003 for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress. The city refused to settle the suits for a decade under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, because the city's lawyers felt they would win. However, after Bill de Blasio became mayor and supported the settlement, the city settled the case for $41 million in 2014. As of December 2014, the five men were pursuing an additional $52 million in damages from New York State in the New York Court of Claims.
Birmingham Six: The Birmingham Six were six men—Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker—sentenced to life imprisonment in 1975 in England for the Birmingham pub bombings. Their convictions were declared unsafe and unsatisfactory and quashed by the Court of Appeal on 14 March 1991. The six men were later awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million.
Guildford Four & Maguire Seven: The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven were the collective names of two groups of innocent people whose convictions in English courts in 1975 and 1976 for the Guildford pub bombings of 5 October 1974 were eventually quashed after long campaigns for justice. The Guildford Four were convicted of bombings carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and the Maguire Seven were convicted of handling explosives found during the investigation into the bombings. Both groups' convictions were eventually declared "incorrect and unsatisfactory" and reversed in 1989 and 1991 respectively after they had served 15–16 years in prison. None of the policemen involved have been convicted of the torture and framing of the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven.
West Memphis Three : The West Memphis Three are three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual. In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case, and a status report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated: "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." On October 29, 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence. Following a successful decision in 2010 by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding newly produced DNA evidence, the West Memphis Three negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors. On August 19, 2011, they entered Alford pleas, which allow them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. Judge David Laser accepted the pleas and sentenced the three to time served. They were released with 10-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison.
Norfolk Four: The Norfolk Four are four men, Derek Tice, Danial Williams, Joseph J. Dick Jr., and Eric C. Wilson, who were convicted for the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko in Norfolk, Virginia. Their convictions were the source of controversy, as their convictions were largely based on confessions which the men maintain were coerced with threats of receiving the death penalty if they did not plead guilty. Organizations such as the Innocence Project protested the convictions as a "miscarriage of justice", while Moore-Bosko's parents continue to believe that all those convicted were participants in the crime. Three of the four men, Tice, Williams, and Dick, were sentenced to one or more life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole due to their having either pleaded guilty to or having been convicted of the murder, while Wilson was convicted of rape and sentenced to 8½ years in prison. Three other men, Geoffrey A. Farris, John E. Danser, and Richard D. Pauley, Jr., were also initially charged with the crime, but their charges were later dropped. A fifth man, Omar Ballard, was also convicted of the crime and was sentenced to 100 years in prison, 59 of which were suspended. He is the only man whose DNA matches that found at the scene, and his confession states that he committed the crime by himself, with none of the other men involved. Forensic evidence is consistent with his story that there were no other participants.