1. Randall Dale Adams
In 1976, Robert Wood of the Dallas Police Department was shot and killed when he pulled a car over. Police first suspected a man named David Ray Harris, but Harris blamed Randall Dale Adams for the killing, and multiple surprise witness in the trial led to Adams’ conviction. He was sentenced to death. However, in May 1979, with just three days to go before his execution, the Supreme Court stayed his execution because of procedural issues with the trial, so Adams’ sentence was commuted to life. In 1985, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris began making The Thin Blue Line, which would come to investigate Adams and reveal further evidence that he was innocent. Adams was set free in 1989, in part because of what the court called malfeasance on the part of the original prosecutor and perjury issues with one of the witnesses. At a later legislative hearing, Adams summed up his journey: “The man you see before you is here by the grace of God. The fact that it took 12 and a half years and a movie to prove my innocence should scare the hell out of everyone in this room, and if it doesn’t, then that scares the hell out of me.”
See the other 14 here.