Category Archives: Innocence Project

The Midwest Innocence Project looks to the next generation

The statistics are staggering: between two and seven percent of all prisoners in the U.S. are innocent. That means at least 40,000 people — and as many as 155,000 people — are rotting behind bars for no reason. Ryan Ferguson (pictured above) was once among these ranks. He spent nearly ten years in prison for a murder committed in Columbia, Missouri, in 2001. He was 17 at the time.

Two men exonerated by DNA evidence in gang rape sue Hammond, Indiana State Police

The day police arrested Roosevelt Glenn in 1990, he thought the meeting called at the Luria Brothers sheet steel plant was about the man he’d pulled from a conveyer earlier that day.
When men in suits walked in the room, he said Wednesday, Glenn figured they must have been company representatives. He wondered if the man was OK, or if he was going to get a safety award for his actions. Instead, they were Hammond police officers arresting him for allegedly participating in a gang rape.
“Then they began to name names and they called my name, ‘Glenn,’” he said. “I was so excited that I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s me, I’m Glenn.’ They said, ‘Get on the ground.’ That’s like a nightmare to me. I still see that.”

MT Innocence Project reacts to decision in 1994 murder convictions

MISSOULA – It took seven years from the time the Montana Innocence Project first took a look at the case of Paul Jenkins and Freddie Lawrence, who were convicted of the 1994 murder of Donna Meagher and the robbery of the Jackson Creek Saloon.
Lewis and Clark Co. District Judge Kathy Seeley ordered the convictions in a decades-old murder case vacated Friday and ordered a new trial. It was an exciting day for the lawyers who didn’t give up.

Judge overturns convictions of two men sentenced for 1994 Jefferson County murder

Freddie Joe Lawrence and Paul Kenneth Jenkins, two men serving life sentences for the killing of a Jefferson County woman in 1994, had those convictions overturned Friday morning following five years of work by the Montana Innocence Project.
Donna Meagher was working at the Jackson Creek Saloon near Montana City on Jan. 11, 1994, when she disappeared after working a night shift. More than $2,000 had been stolen from the casino and Meagher’s pickup was missing. Her body was found the next day off of Colorado Gulch Road west of Helena.

Illinois Innocence Project Claims Many Imprisoned Because of Flawed Forensics

TV detectives might be solving crimes easily with the help of advanced forensic testing, but two legal experts with the Illinois Innocence Project say their caseload is mounting because of flawed forensics.

He pleaded guilty to rape 40 years ago. Now he says he is innocent

Roy Watford was 18 and borderline intellectually disabled, when a Virginia judge asked him to make a decision that would go a long way to determine his future: How would he plead to the charge of raping a 12-year-old girl?
Watford contended he was innocent, but his grandfather urged him not to take the risk of going to trial. He was looking at the possibility of life in prison if convicted by a jury, while a prosecutor was offering a deal that would allow him to walk out of the courthouse without serving a day.

Petition claims DNA proves innocence of Virginia man sentenced to 100 years for 1990 rape of 10-year-old girl

DNA proves a Virginia Beach man is innocent of the brutal 1990 rape of a 10-year-old girl who now doubts her courtroom identification of him as the assailant, contends a petition filed with the Virginia Supreme Court.
Darnell Phillips, 45, convicted of rape, abduction, forcible sodomy and malicious wounding by a jury in 1991 and sentenced to 100 years in prison, has maintained his innocence, according to his lawyers with the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Case dropped against man tried 32 years ago

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Prosecutors dismissed charges Wednesday against a man who spent three decades in prison for a rape conviction based in part on one strand of hair.

Court reinstates $2.3 million award to homeless man who spent year in solitary confinement before charges dropped

A federal appeals court reinstated a $2.3 million award to a homeless man who spent more than a year in solitary confinement before the government dropped its charges against him.
The government charged Marlow Humbert with committing sexual assault and placed him in pretrial solitary confinement, where he spent nearly 15 months.

Missouri Man Cleared in 1997 Sex Case by DNA Evidence

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man who spent nearly two decades in mental hospitals after entering a disputed plea in the 1997 sexual assault of a teenager has been cleared of the crime after genetic evidence was re-tested and excluded him as a suspect.

Not Guilty, and Released Thanks to Them

The artist Taryn Simon’s “The Innocents” opened at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Saturday. While the project dates from 2002, its subject is timeless: wrongful conviction for violent crimes and the subsequent reversal of those convictions because of DNA evidence. Ms. Simon photographed a number of those exonerated in locations that were significant to the case, such as the scene of the crime, the scene of the alibi, or the scene of misidentification.

Idaho man who didn’t match DNA from killing is freed

BOISE, Idaho – An Idaho man who experts say was coerced into a false murder confession was freed Wednesday after spending half of his life behind bars.
A judge released Christopher Tapp after vacating his rape conviction and resentencing him to time served for the 1996 killing of Angie Dodd.
The release came after years of work by Tapp’s attorney, public defender John Thomas, and advocates, including Judges for Justice, the Idaho Innocence Project and the victim’s mother, Carol Dodge.

Milwaukee man released after serving 24 years in prison for sexual assault

DNA and justiceMILWAUKEE — A Milwaukee man who has served 24 years in prison for sexual assault and burglary of has been exonerated — and on Wednesday, October 5th, he walked out of prison.

“I did 24 and some odd years for something that I believe they knew I didn’t do it. I came in mid-20s. I’m almost 50 now. My whole life has changed. They had old-school telephones back then. Now they’ve got computers. I don’t know nothing about this!” Daryl Holloway said.

He Survived a False Conviction, Then Freedom Failed Him

WebbOKLAHOMA CITY — After 32 years, he’d forgotten what she looked like.
The last time Thomas Webb III had seen her, she’d glared at him from across a courtroom with a hatred that still haunted him.
He’d spent more than half his life wondering why she’d picked him from photo lineups and pointed him out to a 1983 jury as the man who’d raped her. After more than 13 years in prison, and an even longer descent into addiction and homelessness, he’d learned to accept that he may never know the answer.
And now here she was.

Law Firm Scores $5M for Exoneration Case

Justice and DNACENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) – A law firm that defended three men who were imprisoned 18 years for a murder they didn’t commit got a $5 million payday from a federal judge on Monday. U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert granted the payout to the legal team of Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, who represented John Restivo, Dennis Halstead and John Kogut.