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

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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

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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

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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

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

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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

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