I just freed an innocent man from death row. And I’m still furious. "Some people expect me to feel satisfied, or even happy. The truth is: I am angry. I am angry that we live in a world where two disabled boys can have their lives stolen from them, where cops can lie and intimidate with impunity, where innocent people can be condemned to die and where injustice is so difficult to bring to light. As I lie awake at night, mulling over the maddening details of this case, I wonder: How many more Henry McCollums are still imprisoned, waiting for help that will never come?" [more inside]
The teenagers’ experience demonstrates how poor work by detectives at the initial stages can start a sequence of events that snowballs through the system, seemingly unstoppably, until two possibly innocent men have spent decades in prison. The detective in the case was Louis Scarcella. The Brooklyn DA's Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
I had never been so confident of a convicted defendant’s innocence. And I never imagined nearly 12 years would pass before Cook County prosecutors would admit the truth and dismiss his conviction. But it finally happened. On June 28, 2013, Daniel, who was arrested at age 17, was released at age 38, having spent more than 20 years behind bars. [more inside]
“This court cannot think of a more intentionally harmful act than a prosecutor’s conscious choice to hide mitigating evidence so as to create an uneven playing field for a defendant facing a murder charge and a life sentence." A Texas court finds probable cause that ex-District Attorney Ken Anderson intentionally hid evidence to secure a 1987 murder conviction against the now-exonerated Michael Morton. (Previously.) [more inside]
'On April 12, 1987, Michael Morton sat down to write a letter. “Your Honor,” he began, “I’m sure you remember me. I was convicted of murder, in your court, in February of this year.” He wrote each word carefully, sitting cross-legged on the top bunk in his cell at the Wynne prison unit, in Huntsville. “I have been told that you are to decide if I am ever to see my son, Eric, again. I haven’t seen him since the morning that I was convicted. I miss him terribly and I know that he has been asking about me.” Referring to the declarations of innocence he had made during his trial, he continued, “I must reiterate my innocence. I did NOT kill my wife.' [more inside]
After 18 years in prison on false charges, Anthony Graves walked out a free man yesterday. This recent Texas Monthly article by Pamela Colloff played a major role in bringing awareness to his case. [more inside]
The Arizona Clemency Board says that William Macumber, convicted of murder in 1975, is the victim of a "miscarriage of justice." But Arizona's governor, Jan Brewer, declined to follow the Board's unanimous recommendation that Macumber be freed. She also declines to explain why. Another man confessed to the murders, but although Macumber has been tried twice, neither jury was told of the confession.
Remember Jeffrey Deskovic? (If not, spend a minute browsing the links on the previous thread first). He just wrote an interesting position piece on what can be done to make sure that what happens to him doesn't happen to others.
Texas definitely a leader among the states, now leading in exonerations in wrongful conviction cases and also a leader in executions. One hopes there isn't too much overlap.
DNA frees 3 convicts after 17-year incarcerations --Barry Scheck and The Innocence Project have struck again. Thus far, they have used DNA to free 128 wrongly convicted people. Read Frontline's interview with Scheck. Learn about a sister organization, Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has freed nine Illinois men who were once sentenced to death. For those sentenced to time in the can, prison can be a rough place. How can we prevent innocent people from being put to death? Or fates worse than death?