Were the cases against the Central Park 5 vacated or exonerated and what is the difference? The answer to that is very simple. Their cases were vacated. It is different in that a vacated case does not mean that the accused is innocent. It simply means that new evidence was found that would have probably influenced the jury to come to a different conclusion. That conclusion may not have been innocence but instead less time. You don’t know how a jury will rule once presented with evidence.
Because the Central Park 5 got the most time that they possibly could have for the crimes that were committed that night, there was no reason for them to be taken back to court and tried with the new evidence. They had already served their time.
Had their cases been exonerated there would be absolutely no question about it. They would have been found innocent. Unfortunately for them, that is not what happened.