Shirley Ree Smith sits in the living room of her daughter's upstairs duplex in Alexandria, Minn. Smith is waiting to hear if California Gov. Jerry Brown will grant her clemency. "They say things happen for a reason. I'm not sure if I'll ever figure out a reason for all of this," she says. Courtney Perry for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Courtney Perry for NPR

Ernie Lopez hugs his daughter, Nikki Lopez, for the first time since 2009. Ernie was released from prison on March 2 in Amarillo, Texas, after nine years, while he awaits a new trial. Katie Hayes Luke/Katie Hayes Luke for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katie Hayes Luke/Katie Hayes Luke for NPR

Students stand outside Penn State's Old Main building, protesting the handling of a child abuse scandal involving retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Gene J. Puskar/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Gene J. Puskar/AP

The final patient from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. arrives at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011. Maggie Starbard/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tammy Marquardt, now 39, spent 14 years in prison for a crime she didn't commit. Joseph Shapiro/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Joseph Shapiro/NPR

Ernie Lopez is serving a 60-year prison sentence for a crime he, and medical experts, said he didn't commit. Courtesy of Frontline hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Frontline