Category Archives: Innocence Project

A decades-old rape test sent him to prison. Then his high school girlfriend saw an old photograph.

The discovery horrified Detroit, and the nation: More than 11,000 rape kits were sitting untested in a police warehouse, in some cases gathering dust for decades before prosecutors stumbled upon the boxes in 2009.
One in particular had been collected in November 1997, when a 15-year-old girl came to police with a harrowing tale. After she left a store on Detroit’s east side, she said, a stranger lunged at her. He put a gun to her head and covered her head with a rag, then dragged her into an alleyway, where he raped her. A nurse performed a sexual assault examination, but the evidence went untouched for nearly two decades, until the untested rape kits became a national scandal. In 2015, prosecutors working their way through the backlog finally sent it out for testing.

Ohio Innocence Project fights for eight years to free Milford man imprisoned for robbery

CINCINNATI — At 38, Kevin Thornton is trying to start a new life.
After serving 11 1/2 years in prison for a robbery he says he didn’t commit, he was transferred to an Over-the-Rhine halfway house in June.
The transition to freedom has been overwhelming.

‘It’s essentially junk:’ $7.5M bite mark settlement underscores national call for better forensic evidence

MILWAUKEE — He spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Now, a Milwaukee man is finally getting justice for a conviction based on flawed evidence. His long-awaited day in court came amid a national effort to put forensic science on trial.
For decades, television shows have conditioned people to believe that people can pinpoint a criminal suspect with a shoe print, tire mark, or a single strand of hair, and they can do it with absolute certainty. However, the advent of DNA technology has proven that other forensic disciplines, once thought to be bulletproof, are susceptible. Those errors have put hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people in prison.

In an Apparent First, Genetic Genealogy Aids a Wrongful Conviction Case

It started as a way to trace family history. It evolved into a tool to help solve decades-old cold cases. Now, for apparently the first time, a genealogy database is expected to lead to charges being dropped against an Idaho man convicted in a decades-old rape and murder case.

Snoop Dogg joins SVU star Ice-T in calling for Delaware County District Attorney to allow DNA testing that could overturn murder conviction

One of America’s most recognizable faces, Snoop Dogg, sent a powerful message to Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun Copeland Monday, intensifying the push to give a Chester man who has been sitting in prison for over 39 years a DNA test.

Two men from Texas wrongfully convicted of stabbing a man to death declared innocent after 19 years

After nearly two decades of being wrongfully convicted, two men from Texas are finally seeing their day in the sun. Stanley Mozee and Dennis Lee Allen have been declared “actually innocent” as of May 11, 2019 after being wrongfully convicted of murder in 2000. Although there was no physical evidence that connected them to the murder, they were still convicted and sentenced to a life imprisonment.

Family of executed man seeks to have DNA in case tested

April Alley watched as her father was executed by lethal injection in 2006 for raping and murdering a 19-year-old Marine in 1985.
Now, she is fighting to find out if her father, Sedley Alley, committed the crime. She has petitioned Shelby County Criminal Court to test the DNA evidence in the case. The petition for post-conviction testing of the DNA was filed April 30.
The case is a first of its kind, using DNA evidence in an attempt to clear someone already executed.

Court battle to test evidence for DNA in 35-year-old Missouri murder case

HOLDEN, MO (KCTV) — Patty Prewitt is serving a life sentence for the murder of her husband, Bill Prewitt.
She swears she’s innocent and has since the morning her husband was shot. Her legal team is hoping old evidence will provide new information and prove Patty has been telling the truth all along.
A court battle is currently underway for DNA testing on items collected at the murder scene. DNA testing wasn’t a possibility back in 1984 so that never took place.

Exonerated of murder after 16 years in prison, Jeffrey Deskovic will soon be a lawyer

It seems both improbable and inevitable that Jeffrey Deskovic would be among the 2019 graduates of Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law.
The legal system destroyed Deskovic’s life. At 17, he was found guilty of the rape and murder of a classmate, crimes he didn’t commit.
Then lawyers saved him. After years of rejections, the Innocence Project won a recheck of DNA evidence that was matched to the real killer.

Wrongly convicted, exonerated man visits prison to help inmates

Nine years ago Sunday, a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas judge gave Towler his life back. Towler was formally exonerated after serving nearly three decades in prison because of a September 1981 verdict. At the time of his release, only a few people across the country had served more time for a wrongful conviction.

Hawaii Innocence Project Gains New Director

The Hawaii Innocence Project, a troop of attorneys and University of Hawaii law students striving to exonerate innocent prisoners, has a new top litigator.
Longtime Hawaii attorney L. Richard “Rick” Fried Jr. has joined HIP as a volunteer co-director, a role he now shares with faculty specialist Ken Lawson.

Adnan Syed’s Lawyer Says He’ll Take High-Profile Case to Supreme Court

Adnan Syed’s supporters do not seem to be backing down without a fight.
After Maryland’s highest court ruled that the “Serial” subject would not get a new trial, Syed’s lawyer tweeted that he’ll take the case to the highest court in the land.
“We will petition to the Supreme Court,” Justin Brown tweeted Friday.

Man convicted of rape in 1976 is cleared by DNA retesting

A former Fairfax County, Va., man convicted of rape in 1976 and imprisoned for 4½ years despite conflicting physical evidence and multiple alibi witnesses has had his conviction erased by the Virginia Supreme Court.
Winston L. Scott, now 63 and living in Indiana, spent 43 years as a convicted rapist. “It ruined his life,” said Shawn Armbrust of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which handled Scott’s appeal. “It ruined his relationship, it ruined his career plans, it ruined his job prospects. Living for 43 years as a convicted rapist is not something any of us would want to do.”

Justices: Nebraska county owes $28M for wrongful convictions

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a rural Nebraska county’s appeal of a $28 million court judgment aimed at compensating six people wrongfully convicted of a 1985 slaying.
The justices turned away Gage County’s last-ditch effort to avoid the hefty judgment, after a federal appeals court in St. Louis found the award was justified because of egregious law enforcement conduct. In August, the county raised its local property tax levy as high as state law allows to pay off the debt — a move that could become a major drag on the local economy.

Man Cleared Of Charges In Bossier After 37 Years In Prison

Given the new DNA evidence plus the weaknesses of the evidence used to convict Prudholm, the Bossier Parish District Attorney’s office and Prudholm agreeded to Alford plea, allowing him to maintain his innocence in exchange for immediate release.