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Even after a judge exonerates a wrongfully convicted person on the basis of DNA and other evidence, Ohio prosecutors often appeal the ruling, which sparks concern about their commitment to justice.
That's exactly what happened in the case of Douglas Prade, who was declared innocent by a judge and freed last week, and Joseph D'Ambrosio, who was also wrongfully convicted and freed from death row, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Whatever the reason for appeal, the process can delay or prevent the exonerated from receiving compensation. It's too soon to know how the appeal in Prade's case will turn out, and D'Ambrosio has been battling appeals since a federal judge overturned his conviction in 2006, ruling that prosecutors withheld evidence that might have exonerated him at 1989 trial. Four years later, the presiding judge barred prosecutors from trying him again because they failed to disclose the death of a key witness, reported the Plain Dealer.
Read the full article.
More on Douglas Prade.
More on Joseph D'Ambrosio.
Five years after the Columbus Post-Dispatch published its award-winning series "Test of Convictions," the paper caught up with five men who have been cleared through DNA testing since its publication. Through a collaboration with the Ohio Innocence Project, the series led to the DNA exonerations of four men: Robert McClendon, Raymond Towler, Joseph Fears and David Ayers. A fifth man, Douglas Prade, was freed just last week after DNA testing excluded him in the murder of his ex-wife. The District Attorneys' Office plans to appeal.
"Test of Convictions" uncovered Ohio's flawed evidence-retention system and the state's resistance to post-conviction DNA testing. The series also highlighted the need for DNA testing in the cases of 30 inmates. Of the 30, five were cleared through DNA, four were implicated, seven were denied testing, ten got inconclusive results and the remaining cases are still ongoing.
Just after Prade's release last week, the five exonerees met and shared their common experiences for the first time. The Dispatch Reports:
Read the full article.
Two exonerees from the Central Park Five case, Kevin Richardson and Yusef Salaam, exonerated through DNA testing, will speak tonight after a screening of the Ken Burns documentary about their wrongful convictions. They will appear on a panel with Innocence Project Managing Attorney David Loftis and journalist Herbert Boyd. The event, which is open to the public, will begin at 6:30 in the Kimmel Center at NYU.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
A rare Texas legal proceeding called a "Court of Inquiry" began this morning to consider whether a former Texas prosecutor should face criminal charges for his involvement in the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, who served 25 years behind bars for the murder of his wife, Christine. The Innocence Project helped clear Morton through DNA testing, which proved his innocence and implicated another man.
Judge Ken Anderson, who was the district attorney prosecuting Michael Morton in 1987, is accused of concealing several pieces of evidence pointing to Morton's innocence during and after the trial. He has denied any wrongdoing in the prosecution of the case.
Tarrant County Judge Louis Sturns will hear evidence and then issue a ruling or take the matter under advisement. If he determines that Anderson acted unlawfully while prosecuting Morton, he will have to issue an arrest warrant charging Anderson, said the Austin American-Statesman.
Morton always maintained his innocence of the murder of his wife, who was found dead in their home by a neighbor the morning of August 13, 1986. At trial, the prosecution argued that Morton beat his wife to death after she refused to have sex with him upon returning from his 32nd birthday celebration at a restaurant. There were no witnesses or physical evidence linking Morton to the crime.
The Austin American-Statesman lists the following as the hidden evidence:
Read the full article.
Read more about Morton in his case profile and from Sunday's New York Times.
Follow Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck on Twitter live from the courtroom.
Austin American-Statesman staff writer Chuck Lindell is also in the courtroom providing live updates on Twitter.
José Ramón Aniceto Gómez and Pascual Agustín Cruz were exonerated by the Supreme Court of Mexico after almost three years in prison. The Court found that the men's rights were violated by denying them access to an interpreter during trial and that some of the crimes they were charged with never even occurred.
Four claimants have lost their appeals for compensation before the UK's High Court in spite of having been exonerated. The Court has begun applying a new higher standard for the wrongfully convicted to win compensation, one which media outlets have used to brand the innocent as "not innocent enough."
Scottish fingerprint expert Fiona McBride, who wrongly identified a latent print at the center of a murder case, won't be getting her job back due to doubts that her past misidentification would cast a doubt on the accuracy of any future findings.
David Bain, who was exonerated in June 2009 of the murder of his family, has filed a claim at the New Zealand High Court in Auckland against the Minister of Justice over the way she handled his compensation case.
A Kuwaiti man is suing the government for compensation after spending a year in jail for drug crimes he never committed and was convicted of in absentia. Upon his release, the man was able to prove that another man had committed the crimes while impersonating him using a forged passport.
Sexual groping on crowded urban trains is a growing problem in Japan, but so is wrongful convictions of supposed gropers.
By Jovon Ferguson
YCTeen Staff Writer
This story originally appeared in YCteen, a magazine written by New York City teens. YCteen is published by Youth Communication, a non-profit organization that helps marginalized youth develop their full potential through reading and writing. It is an excerpt from a longer article titled "The Central Park Five," which ponders the question of whether an injustice like the wrongful conviction of the Central Park Five could happen today.
As an African-American teenage boy growing up in New York City, I'm not afraid of the society I'm living in, but I am conscious of the threats around me. I keep in mind the history of prejudice, racism, and injustice that America has tucked away in its pocket, and I know I have a target on my back.
I know I'm not safe from being wrongly accused, because it has happened to me and others around me far too often. Every day, when you share long gazes with police as they look you up and down deciding whether to stop you or let you go on, you are reminded of their presence and reputation. You are reminded of the aggressive nature of their stop and frisks, and their tendency to grab anyone who "fits the description." That is the kind of accusation you face as a young black man.
I remember one of my friends telling me about his run-in with the police. They stopped him while he was walking past the basketball courts and cuffed him to one of the poles, searching him and even slapping him as words were exchanged. He had nothing on him.
My point is that injustice is ongoing, large scale or small scale. Things like this continue to occur in our society because there is little opposition. Our vision of what's right has been impaired by racism, fear, and prejudice, and if we don't side with justice, injustice will keep happening. We can't be so quick to turn off our mental light bulbs and not think for ourselves. We can't just brush off the Central Park Five, any more than we can brush off Sean Bell and Trayvon Martin and countless others-they're reflections of our society.
Read the full article and watch the Youth Communication's video interview with Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five.
Learn more about the Central Park Five case.
Check out our youth sub-site to learn about other wrongfully convicted young people.
Tuesday, February 5, Co-Director Peter Neufeld and Board Member Marvin Anderson will speak at the Virginia Commonwealth University about the role of race in wrongful convictions. Anderson was wrongfully convicted in 1982 and exonerated twenty years later through DNA testing with the help of Neufeld and the Innocence Project. Anderson's case is just one of many that reveal the racial injustice at work in wrongful convictions. Of the 302 DNA exonerations, over 70% are people of color and over 60% are African American.
The talk is at 7:00 p.m. in the W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, Virginia, and is free and open to the public.
More about Marvin Anderson's case.
A chemist's arrest may lead to another crime lab audit in Massachusetts, an independent crime lab in Washington, D.C. seeks accreditation, and new research could lead to developments in forensic anthropology. Here's this week's round up of forensic news:
After the recent arrest of a chemist from a crime lab in Amherst, Massachusetts, District Attorney David Sullivan has asked that the Inspector General audit the lab to determine if any cases were compromised. At the conclusion of the investigation, Sullivan is pushing for the immediate public release of the results.
The troubled St. Paul crime lab will resume processing crime scene evidence and seek accreditation for fingerprint analysis. However, drug testing will be moved to an offsite facility at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and additional staff could be hired to handle cases that originally went to the St. Paul lab.
The Texas Forensic Science Commission heard updates on the arson case review and thought the process would restore public confidence in the fire investigation system in the state. Out of more than a thousand cases screened, a possible 6 to 8 cases could be sent to the Fire Marshall's office for further review.
In an interview with Legal Times, the Washington, D.C. Forensic Sciences Chief, Max Houck, speaks about the lab's process toward accreditation and hiring a complete staff since its grand opening four months ago.
Researchers in Spain are trying to improve the field of forensic anthropology by creating a computer and software system that can determine the sex and age of a corpse. Early studies show that the system, which is much faster than traditional tests, has a 95% reliability rate so far.
A Montgomery County District Court Judge granted Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen a stay of execution yesterday, four weeks before he was scheduled to die by lethal injection. The decision followed a hearing in which the Innocence Project and Swearingen's attorneys argued for DNA testing that could prove his innocence in the 1998 murder of Melissa Trotter.
Swearingen's attorneys argued that the current DNA testing statute was expanded by the Texas Legislature in direct response to Swearingen's unsuccessful requests for testing, reported KTRK (ABC-Houston).
The prosecution's request to set an August execution date was denied. Instead, Judge Kelly Case gave them 60 days to file a response to the motion before he makes a decision on DNA testing.
Read the full article.
Texas Tribune: Death Row Inmate Larry Swearingen's Execution Stayed (01/30/2013)
Houston Chronicle: Condemned man gets another reprieve (01/30/2013)
Associated Press: Judge withdraws execution date in college slaying (01/30/2013)
An editorial in today's Houston Chronicle called for DNA testing in the case of Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen, who is facing a February 27 execution date. The Houston Chronicle writes:
The current DNA testing statute was expanded by the Texas Legislature in direct response to Swearingen's unsuccessful requests for testing. A Montgomery County District Court Judge is conducting a hearing today to determine whether to grant Swearingen's request for DNA testing of the ligature used to strangle the victim, her fingernail scrapings, clothing and other evidence.
Read the full editorial.
More on Swearingen.