Posts Tagged ‘fight to prevent wrongful convictions’

The Marshall Project has a new article written by Lorea Gillespie, an investigator with The New England Innocence Project.  She talks about what it takes to hunt down witnesses for a case 23 years old.

As I virtually pass by each house on Google Maps Street View, I grow increasingly disheartened.

I’ve been in Orlando for almost two days now, and I’m worried that I’m not going to find this witness — and this witness is huge. She’s the only person who may have seen the 1989 murder I’m working on.

I’m an investigator with The New England Innocence Project, and we believe that our client, JIMMY1, is innocent, even though he was convicted 23 years ago.

I’ve spent hours driving back and forth across this city, trying dozens of addresses. Each time, I run back to my hotel room, get on the computer, and use my locations program to find more options. I try old neighbors, old roommates, old friends — anyone I can find.

No matter who I talk to, though, no one can help me. “Yeah, so-and-so lived here about a year ago, but I don’t know where she’s at now.”

Another door closes in my face.

Read the rest here.

 

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Phil Locke of the Ohio Innocence Project and Duke Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic on how the justice system frequently ignores guilt or innocence, Comment on the Nature and State of the (US) Justice System.

Also a great read, the story of Lorinda Swain who was recently exonerated after spending more than 7 years in jail.  She was freed 6 years after a judge said that there was a “significant probability” she was innocent.

Finally cleared, years after judge first ruled her guilt was dubious…

 

Innocence Project Northwest client Donovan Allen was released this week after DNA testing revealed another man was responsible for the murder for which he served 15 years.

Allen was convicted in 2002 in the death of his mother, Sharon Cox.  She was found strangled and bludgeoned to death in her home in 2000.  Allen falsely confessed after 14 hours of overnight interrogation.  He recanted, but in the end it did no good.

His first trial ended in a hung jury.  At his second trial, Allen was convicted of aggravated first degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the charges against Allen and have arrested Brian Del Kitts, the victim’s nephew.  His DNA was found on Cox’s clothing after new testing.  Despite this, police are sticking to their original findings.  They told the press that Kitts is now considered to be an “additional” perpetrator and that Allen is not exonerated.

Innocence Project Northwest Policy Director Lara Zarowsky said last week that prosecutors never suggested the crime was committed by more than one person and the evidence against Kitts matches this theory and fully exonerates Allen.

“Any additional time he has to spend in prison for the murder of his mother is a tragedy.  To us, this is a clear case,” she said.

Attorneys for the Innocence Project Northwest requested the testing this past May on Cox’s clothing, nail scrapings, and other evidence in the case.  DNA found on the collar of Cox’s sweater and on her shirt matched Kitts, who was a person of interest during the investigation.  Allen was not officially exonerated so, charges could still be brought against him in the future if prosecutors so choose.

“It feels surreal.  I can finally begin the life I was robbed of.  I’m so glad to have a second chance to be a father, a son, an uncle,” Allen said.

Sources:  Innocence Project 1  |  2