November 5, 2013: Ryan Ferguson Update: Conviction vacated for Mo. man jailed nearly 10 years for murder he says he didn't commit
COLUMBIA -- The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District has vacated the conviction of Ryan Ferguson in a 2001 felony murder case. Ferguson and his attorneys argued that newly discovered evidence showed he was innocent and claimed that his due process rights were violated, depriving him of a fair trial. Continue reading →
October 29, 2013: Panhandler's friend may have stabbed man in brawl, court told
A panhandler convicted of second-degree murder in the Toronto stabbing of a St. Catharines man may have been mistaken for another woman at the scene who was actually his killer, an appeal court heard Tuesday. Continue reading →
October 29, 2013: Texas Judge resigns after being caught texting instructions to prosecutors to help win convictions
Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after being caught engaging in a massive perversion of justice. A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction. Continue reading →
October 27, 2013: Campaign to free Ryan Ferguson may get rewarded with new trial
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI) – A young Missouri man is just weeks, maybe even days, away from finding out if he will get a new trial for a murder that he and many others say he did not commit. Ryan Ferguson, 29, has spent nearly a decade in prison for the murder of a newspaper sports editor in Columbia, Missouri, but there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. Continue reading →
October 26, 2013: Exonerated inmates push Ohio to scrap the death penalty
TOLEDO, Ohio — Three men who were sentenced to death only to be exonerated years later have a message for Ohio and the rest of America: Abolish the death penalty because the judicial system doesn’t work.
September 9, 2013: Ryan Ferguson case back in court for latest appeal
The latest chapter in Ryan Ferguson's yearslong appeal of his murder conviction is scheduled to open Tuesday Continue reading →
September 5, 2013: Debra Milke to be released pending retrial
After nearly 24 years in custody, Debra Milke will step back out into the real world, at least until the murder charge against her is settled one way or another. Continue reading →
August 18, 2013: The Corrupt Investigation Of The Camm Murders
I’ve been researching questionable convictions for the past couple of years and most of them are filled with some level of official misconduct, but the Camm case ….. this is by far the worst I have ever seen and believe me, there are many tragic cases out there with innocent people suffering in prison. As I write this, his 3rd Continue reading →
August 15, 2013: New DNA Evidence Proves Camm’s Innocence As 3rd Trial Is Set To Begin
For those unfamiliar with the specifics of this case, it’s a complex case filled with the most egregious prosecutorial misconduct one could imagine. The actions of public officials in the state of Indiana have impacted David Camm, his family, Kim’s family, supporters, friends and the entire community in ways that could never be quantified. It’s been going on for 13 long years with much needless suffering, and it’s not over. Camm’s 3rd trial is set to begin with jury selection currently underway. Many have written articles about the case, including myself. Here is a summary I put together last year that highlights most of the key points. Continue reading →
August 12, 2013: Jamie Snow Thanks Supporters For Attending Recent Postcard Event
Jamie Snow has provided a recorded message to thank supporters for their support for the 3rd Annual Postcards in the Park event. This year’s postcards were sent to Erin Moriarty of 48 Hours asking her to do an investigative story on his case. Continue reading →
July 16, 2013: The Committee to Free Jamie Snow hosts third annual Postcards in the Park event
The Committee to Free Jamie Snow is hosting their third annual Postcards in the Park event this weekend in Bloomington, Illinois. The annual event is designed to bring more attention to the wrongful conviction of Jamie Snow. Continue reading →
July 13, 2013: Rodney Lincoln has a new website.
Summary: Rodney Lincoln has been incarcerated since May 23, 1982. He was convicted of the murder of a young mother and the brutal attack of her two little girls. The problem with this is he is innocent. www.freerodneylincoln.com
July 11, 2013: Kirstin Lobato Has New Evidence Scientifically Proving Her Actual Innocence ... Will It Matter To The Nevada Supreme Court?
Duran Bailey was a homeless man whose body was found "around 10 p.m." on July 8, 2001 behind a dumpster in the exterior trash enclosure for a bank near the Las Vegas Strip. It was determined from Mr. Bailey’s autopsy that he died as a result of “Blunt Head Trauma.” Continue reading →
July 10, 2013: Bill Montgomery Doubles Down on Armando Saldate, Debra Milke Denied Bail Pending Trial (For Now)
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery should consider chucking the prosecutor gig, and starting a new career as a defense attorney. Already, he makes a fine mouthpiece for Armando Saldate, the ethically-challenged former Phoenix cop, whose questionable testimony put Debra Milke on death row.
July 9, 2013: Ryan Ferguson's case goes to court once again
COLUMBIA — Ryan Ferguson’s attorneys will be back in court in September, arguing his case before three judges at the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals. Continue reading →
July 9, 2013: Justice After the Fact May Be Justice Too Late
I would like to thank the numerous supporters of Ryan Ferguson who sent me a copy of the interview with one of the jurors sitting in during his first trial. I was more than surprised to see the little interest they showed in the evidence of that criminal case — where a young innocent man was fighting for his freedom — and all the attention they paid instead to the personal background of the defendant in the case. Continue reading →
July 8, 2013: Debra Milke to be retried in Peoria killing of 4-year-old son
Just hours after a U.S. District Court judge on Monday ordered that Debra Milke be released from custody unless the State of Arizona declared its intent to retry her for the 1989 murder of her 4-year-old son, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office did just that. Continue reading →
June 28, 2013: Death row exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth celebrates 20 years of freedom
June 28, 2013, marked the twenty year anniversary of Kirk Bloodworth’s release from prison as the result of post-conviction DNA testing that proved his innocence. Bloodsworth served nine years in prison, including two years on death row, for the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl named Dawn Hamilton. Continue reading →
June 28, 2013: Judge that acquitted Amanda Knox claims Italian Supreme Court violated the law when ruling on case
Appeals court Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellmann, is speaking out once again about the Italian Supreme Court’s decision to overturn his ruling in 2011 that declared Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito innocent for the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007. Continue reading →
June 28, 2013: All charges dropped against man convicted in double slaying
Two decades after a Chicago man was convicted of a double murder in spite of evidence that he was in a police lockup when the slaying took place, Cook County prosecutors today dropped all charges against him, bringing to a close one of the city’s more controversial cases. Continue reading →
June 27, 2013: Robert Nelson speaks about wrongful rape conviction and 30 year imprisonment
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Robert Nelson sat quietly at sister's table, admittedly nervous about talking to a reporter about the 30 years he spent in prison and the rape conviction that changed his life. Continue reading →
June 4, 2013: Overzealous Detectives and Ineffective Counsel to Blame for Wrongful Conviction of Jamie Snow
Jamie Snow has proclaimed his innocence from day one. He told police he was nowhere near the scene of the crime at the time of Little’s murder. According to Snow, he was across town having dinner with his children. In the years following Snow’s conviction, new information has come to light that strongly suggests the wrong man was sent to prison for Little’s murder, as a result of police misconduct and bad lawyering. Continue reading →
May 31, 2013: McLean County SA: Forensic testing won’t prove Snow’s innocence
BLOOMINGTON — Jamie Snow’s newest request for forensic testing on evidence in his 2001 murder conviction contains nothing that would prove his innocence, McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said Thursday. Continue reading →
May 30, 2013: Convicted murderer Snow hopes DNA testing will exonerate him
BLOOMINGTON — A Bloomington man convicted in the 1991 murder of a gas station attendant has renewed his request for DNA testing on evidence and fingerprints from the crime scene. Jamie Snow also asked that authorities provide records related to previous tests. Continue reading →
May 30, 2013: Internet Radio Host Vincent Hill Shines a Spotlight on the Wrongful Conviction Epidemic
This week I had the privilege of being a guest on "The Other Side of Justice," an internet radio program focusing on wrongful convictions. The show’s host Vincent Hill is a former Nashville police officer and licensed private investigator. Vincent’s experience in law enforcement gives him a unique perspective on the topic of wrongful convictions. Continue reading →
May 30, 2013: Barry Beach asks Supreme Court to reconsider ruling that sent him back to prison
HELENA — The attorney for Barry Beach is asking the state Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to put the man convicted of murdering his classmate in 1979 back in prison after 1 1/2 years of freedom.
May 23, 2013: Death Row Exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth Joins Fight To Free Kirstin Lobato
Death row exoneree Kirk Bloodsworth made a stop in Las Vegas this past weekend to show his support for Kirstin Blaise Lobato. Bloodsworth strongly supports a petition asking Las Vegas District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson to stop blocking DNA testing in the Kirstin Lobato case. Continue reading →
May 20, 2013: DNA Testing Still A Reach For Convicted Woman
(Las Vegas, NV) — Kirstin Lobato has been at a women’s correctional facility since 2001 after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sexual penetration of a dead body. Continue reading →
May 20, 2013: Amanda Knox: Stop Making Sense
It is human nature to try to make sense of nonsense. In this day and age, every time we hear of another bizarre crime, our minds go to work trying to figure out how such things happen. How could a family man imprison three women for ten years in the middle of Cleveland, Ohio? We try to find the reasons. We engae in counterfactual thinking, consoling ourselves that the unforeseeable was foreseeable. If only the girls had not climbed into the kidnapper’s truck… If only the kidnapper’s friends had been more suspicious… If only the police had acted on the previous 911 calls… We don’t know that the horror could have been prevented, but we wish. Continue reading →
May 17, 2013: Debra Milke’s Wrongful Conviction and the Future Publicity Fallout
Goodyear, AZ—Debra Milke has languished on Arizona’s Death Row here for more than two decades. She’s no stranger to unwanted publicity, nearly all of it being outrageous and libelous. Continue reading →
May 11, 2013: Debra Milke’s 23 Years of Hell on Earth
Goodyear, AZ—In this hot dusty town just west of Phoenix sits the Perryville Prison. It was built in 1980 to relieve overcrowding in the state’s rapidly growing prison system. It began with a population of all men. It was intended to be only a medium security prison. Continue reading →
May 11, 2013: A Bill to Bolster the Fight on Wrongful Convictions
Clinton Bamberger lost the most important case of his career, but most legal experts consider that 1963 United States Supreme Court decision a crucial victory for criminal justice. Continue reading →
May 11, 2013: Review of 50 Brooklyn Murder Cases Ordered
The Brooklyn district attorney’s office has ordered a review of some 50 murder cases assigned to an acclaimed homicide detective, an acknowledgment of mounting questions about the officer’s tactics and the legitimacy of the convictions.
May 8, 2013: Inslee signs wrongful conviction compensation law
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A measure to compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted in Washington state was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee. Continue reading →
April 12, 2013: Arizona fights reversal in Debra Milke case
Just one month after a federal appellate panel threw out the filicide conviction of death-row inmate Debra Jean Milke, Arizona prosecutors are asking for a do-over. The Attorney General’s Office on Thursday petitioned the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its reversal in March of Milke’s guilty verdict and death penalty in the 1989 slaying of her 4-year-old son. Continue reading →
April 9, 2013: Mississippi death row inmate Jeffrey Havard fights conviction in 6-month-old girl's death
Mississippi death row inmate Jeffrey Havard recently filed a petition in federal court requesting relief from his capital murder conviction and death sentence, claiming they are a “violation of numerous of constitutional rights.”
April 9, 2013: Havard Files Federal Petition, Claims Trial Was Flawed
Natchez-- More than 10 years after he was convicted of killing a 6-month-old child, death row inmate Jeffrey Havard has filed a petition in federal court asking for relief of his conviction and sentence. Continue reading →
March 29, 2013: The Amanda Knox Haters Society: How They Learned to Hate Me Too
When Italy‘s highest court reversed the acquittal of Amanda Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito this week, a small cottage industry on the internet began grinding back into high gear. Continue reading →
March 29, 2013: Amanda and Raffaele: A Disappointing Setback
March 25, 2013, Rome, Italy. The Italian Supreme Court (Court of Cassation) sent Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito’s case back to the appeal level for review to the disappointment of the university students who were wrongly convicted of the death of Amanda’s roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Continue reading →
March 26, 2013: Amanda Knox back on "The railroad job from hell"
investigator Paul Ciolino tells West Seattle Herald By Steve Shay
The legal ordeal, and anguish, of West Seattle-raised Amanda Knox, and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, continues. Both were aquitted Oct. 3, 2011 of all murder charges of her British college roommate, Meredith Kercher, stabbed to death in their shared apartment Nov. 1, 2007 in Perugia, Italy, also the town where trial took place. Continue reading →
March 26, 2013: Italy High Court Overturns Amanda Knox Acquittal, Orders New Trial
Amanda Knox was "shocked" by Italy's Supreme Court ruling today that she must be retried for the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher. Knox spent four years in prison before an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction in 2011 and she had been hoping the court would uphold the appeals court ruling and end her six year ordeal. Continue reading →
March 26, 2013: Amanda Knox's retrial puts Italian justice in the dock
Rudy Guede killed Meredith Kercher. The continued pursuit of Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito implies incompetence and misogyny. Continue reading →
March 26, 2013: Hope and despair as case is reopened: Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito to be tried again over murder of Meredith Kercher
More than five years after Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were first arrested, they face a new murder trial. Continue reading →
March 26, 2013: Court Ruling Upends Effort by Knox at Normal Life
"She's living the life of a normal college student," said Candace Dempsey, a Seattle journalist and author of "Murder in Italy," a book about Knox. "I think we're seeing who she really is — that she's not the drug-crazed, sex-hungry American girl that the prosecutors have fantasized." Continue reading →
March 20, 2013: Debra Milke: Arizona's Illegal Political Hostage
Debra Milke: Arizona's Illegal Political Hostage (or: How Tom Horne puts the people of Arizona in an untenable position) Continue reading →
March 18, 2013: Graham Lawyer Blog: Jeffrey Havard – Latest News
It is unthinkable that a modern democratic state would act the way that Mississippi did in the handling of the Jeffrey Havard case. Months ago, I published a blog on Jeffrey Havard, a wrongly convicted man currently sitting on Mississippi’s Death Row. Since then, there have been a few new discoveries that make Havard’s future a little less bleak. Continue reading →
March 18, 2013: Police, Prosecutors: Costs Are High When Misconduct Contributes to Wrongful Conviction
According to a report in the Coloradoan (here), on Saturday Lt. Jim Broderick, 56, resigned from the Fort Collins (Colorado) Police Services where he had worked for 33 years. His career had a dramatic reversal when he was indicted on charges of felony perjury in June 2010 in connection with the grand jury indictment and trial of Tim Masters. Continue reading →
March 14, 2013: Death Row Inmate Debra Jean Milke Has Convictions Overturned
The convictions of Arizona death row inmate Debra Jean Milke were overturned Thursday by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Milke has spent the past 22 years on death row for the 1989 murder of her 4-year-old son Christopher. Continue reading →
March 12, 2013: Senate Panel OKs Increased Prosecutor Accountability
A day after the premiere of a documentary about his wrongful conviction and a few days after his wedding, exoneree Michael Morton sat before a panel of lawmakers Tuesday as they approved a key reform measure that he hopes will ensure accountability for prosecutors. Continue reading →
March 11, 2013: New Study Show Statistical Factors Behind Wrongful Convictions
Why do innocent people go to jail in the United States every year for violent crimes they did not commit? It’s a serious question representing the ultimate miscarriage of justice—taking away the freedom of a factually innocent person while also allowing the guilty person to remain free. Continue reading →
March 11, 2013: Study Reveals 10 Factors to Prevent Wrongful Convictions
What does science tell us about case factors that can lead to a wrongful conviction? American University Prof. Jon Gould's research reveals the first large-scale empirical study that has identified ten statistically significant factors that distinguish a wrongful conviction from a "near miss" (a "near miss" is a case in which an innocent defendant was acquitted or had charges dismissed before trial). Continue reading →
March 7, 2013: Tim Masters: State should pay for unjust convictions
An unjust criminal conviction cost Tim Masters nearly 10 years of his life. And upon his exoneration, the Colorado prison system spat Masters onto the street of an outside world that guaranteed him nothing but uncertainty. Continue reading →
February 28, 2013: The Ryan Ferguson Case Highlights The Difficulty Of Correcting A Wrongful Conviction
Ryan Ferguson was wrongfully convicted in 2001 of second-degree murder of Columbia Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Ferguson is one of roughly 2.3 million people currently housed in America’s prison system. The United States incarcerates more people than any civilized nation on earth. Continue reading →
February 25, 2013: Shaming Bad Prosecutors
This morning, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor scolded a federal prosecutor for a racist comment he made during a drug trial. While questioning the defendant, the prosecutor asked, "You've got African-Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you -- a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, This is a drug deal?" Continue reading →
February 24, 2013: Kirstin Blaise Lobato Fights For DNA Testing That Would Exonerate Her
Kirstin Blaise Lobato was convicted in October 2006 of voluntary manslaughter and sexual penetration of a corpse. However, even though there is no evidence of Lobato committing this crime (including no eyewitnesses, a more than substantial alibi, false testimonies, and 150,000 supporters that have signed and stand behind Lobato’s innocence) Lobato still remains behind bars 11 years later. Continue reading →
February 20, 2013: 48 Hours will be airing an update to Ryan Ferguson's story on Saturday 23rd February at 9pm / 8c on CBS.
February 17, 2013: The David Camm Case: An American Miscarriage of Justice By Joseph Bishop
This August, former Indiana State Trooper David Camm will go on trial for the third time in the murder of his wife and two young children, Jill, age five, and Brad, age seven. His two previous convictions have been overturned on appeal. David Camm is completely innocent. Continue reading →
February 12, 2013: Ken Anderson's Testimony Caps Dramatic Inquiry
GEORGETOWN -- Defiant, angry and frustrated, former prosecutor Ken Anderson took the stand on Friday to defend himself, ending a week of dramatic testimony in an unusual court of inquiry that is examining whether the former district attorney committed criminal misconduct during the trial that led to the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton. Continue reading →
February 11, 2013: ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer Secures Amanda Knox Interview
ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer has landed the first interview with Amanda Knox, the American girl who was convicted of murdering her roommate in Italy, only to be acquitted in dramatic fashion in October, 2011. The interview will air during a dedicated primetime special Tuesday, April 30 at 10 PM. Continue reading →
February 8, 2013: Jeffrey Havard Faces Execution In Mississippi Despite Proof Of Faulty Evidence
Support for death row inmate Jeffrey Havard continues to grow as his federal appeal awaits a decision from United States District Judge Keith Starrett. Jeffrey Havard currently sits wrongfully convicted on death row in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Jeffrey accidentally dropped Chloe after giving her a bath. According to Jeffrey, Chloe slipped out of his hands and hit her head on the toilet. The evidence in the case supports his claims. Continue reading →
February 8, 2013: Death row inmate among many challenging pathologist's findings
NATCHEZ, Miss. Time is running out for Jeff Havard, who is sitting on death row convicted of murder. But now, the man who helped put him there is under fire.
February 7, 2013: Morton Calls Anderson's Inquiry "Road to Accountability"
GEORGETOWN — It’s been a painful week at times, Michael Morton said, as a court of inquiry rehashes the details of the botched murder trial that led to his wrongful conviction more than a quarter-century ago. Continue reading →
February 4, 2013: In wrongful conviction cases, prosecutors don't give in easily on guilt, compensation
Soon after Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter exonerated Douglas Prade last week in the slaying of his former wife, prosecutors announced they would appeal. Continue reading →
February 2, 2013: Open Up DNA Databases to All
The scene: A criminal courtroom anywhere in America. The players: A judge, a prosecutor, a defense attorney and the accused. The assumption: That all parties involved enjoy a level playing toward the twin goals of discovering the truth and finding justice. Continue reading →
January 15, 2013: Agent 86 and the murder of Sarah Scazzi By RoseMontague
I think most of you know by now that the justice system in Italy has two sets of rules, one they are supposed to operate by, and a different one well, that they actually operate by. In this article I will talk about how this relates to the prosecution of Sabrina and Cosima Misseri for the Murder of Sarah Scazzi. Continue reading →
January 10, 2013: Jeffrey Havard's case has been added to the Death Penalty Information Center website.
Jeffrey Havard is facing execution in Mississippi despite the fact that key evidence against him came from a medical examiner who has been harshly criticized by experts in his field. Continue reading →
January 7, 2013: Questions for Mississippi Doctor After Thousands of Autopsies
JACKSON, Miss. - For a long time, if a body turned up in Mississippi it had a four-in-five chance of ending up in front of Dr. Steven T. Hayne. Between the late 1980s and the late 2000s, Dr. Hayne had the field of forensic pathology in Mississippi almost to himself, performing thousands of autopsies and delivering his findings around the state as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases. For most of that time, Dr. Hayne performed about 1,700 autopsies annually, more than four for every day of the year and nearly seven times the maximum caseload recommended by the National Association of Medical Examiners. Continue reading →
December 20, 2012: Compromised Justice? Selling Case Details to Would-be Snitches
A must-read USA Today report published on December 14 (here) places a spotlight on a process rarely revealed to those outside the justice system: The role of the snitch in making federal cases…and in reducing sentences. While DNA proven wrongful convictions have shown that snitches can be questionable source for information, the use of snitches continues to be widespread. So much so that credible case information is a currency for getting out of jail sooner. Continue reading →
December 19, 2012: Bolivia releases imprisoned American after 18 months
(CNN) -- A flooring contractor from Brooklyn, New York, received news he had dreamed of for more than a year when a Bolivian judge released him on bail Tuesday.
December 18, 2012: Jacob Ostreicher Released on Bail!!
G-MAN CASE FILE: I have just confirmed with Jacob's wife (and one of my heroes) Miriam that reports from the Associated Press of Jacob's release are true.
December 16, 2012: Justice not served for Ferguson or Heitholt
Editor, the Tribune: I've never visited Columbia, shopped at its stores or met its families, but the people I've known from this country's heartland are hard-working and honorable. That's why I'm so confused about why an innocent man still sits in prison for a crime he clearly did not commit. I'm referring to Ryan Ferguson, whose story was recently featured on NBC's "Dateline." Continue reading →
December 12, 2012: The Central Park Five: A Still Relevant Call for Change
A new documentary by David McMahon, Sarah and Ken Burns, The Central Park Five, recounts the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of five African-American and Latino teenagers following the highly publicized 1989 assault and rape of a white 28-year-old Upper East Side investment banker in what came to be known as the Central Park Jogger Case. There was no evidence linking the boys to the crime, save for confused, coerced, later recanted confessions that turned out to be false.
December 5, 2012: Why Police and Prosecutors Suspect the Wrong Person - and Then Dig In
The best magazine piece I’ve read this year is by Pamela Colloff, in Texas Monthly, about the murder conviction of Michael Morton and the 25 years he spent in a Texas prison as prosecutors insisted he’d killed his wife, despite the mounting proof that he hadn’t. You really have to read this story for yourself — it’s movie material; it’s that riveting. I want to pull on one thread of Colloff’s narrative, because I’ve seen it in the weave of many other wrongful conviction cases. Continue reading →
November 30, 2012: Despite Evidence From Discredited Medical Examiner, Mississippi's Jeffrey Havard Nears Execution
Last year, NPR looked at two dozen cases in which adults had been convicted of killing infants or young children, then later exonerated or given commutations. The investigation found a number of common themes in those cases. One of them was that prosecutors often relied on the subjective opinions of a medical examiner.
November 27, 2012: Bolivia: Arrest in Sale of Jailed American's Rice
A high-ranking Bolivian official was arrested Monday for alleged illegal enrichment from the sale of rice seized from a U.S. businessman who has been jailed for 18 months without charge. Continue reading →
November 26, 2012: Florida Supreme Court Approves New Jury Instructions Regarding Eyewitness Identifications
TALLAHASSEE — Trial judges are being required by the Florida Supreme Court to instruct jurors on factors such as race and familiarity that should be considered when evaluating the accuracy of eyewitness identifications, the leading cause of wrongful convictions. Continue reading →
November 22, 2012: Johnathan Montgomery, Wrongly Convicted Man, Released From Virginia State Prison
NORFOLK, Va. -- Johnathan Montgomery spent the past four years in a Virginia state prison saying the same thing a lot of inmates do: He was innocent.
November 20, 2012: Gov. McDonnell pardons imprisoned Hampton man
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has issued a conditional pardon for an imprisoned Hampton man whose accuser recently recanted her story. Continue reading →
November 20, 2012: Series explores Texas criminal justice issues
The Texas Center for Community Journalism at Texas Christian University is embarking on a statewide initiative to investigate the fairness of in the Texas criminal justice system, especially in cases that deal with indigent defense. The project is being underwritten by the Hood County News. Continue reading →
November 15, 2012: Texas executes Hughes for 1988 slayings of 15-year-old girl, her 3-year-old cousin in Houston
HUNTSVILLE, Texas – Convicted killer Preston Hughes III proclaimed his innocence as he was executed Thursday for the fatal stabbing of a 3-year-old Texas boy and the child's teenage cousin who uttered her attacker's first name to police in her dying breaths. Continue reading →
November 13, 2012: NY woman to get $2.7M for wrongful conviction
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A New York woman who spent more than 13 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of killing her teenage daughter has reached a $2.7 million settlement with the state. Continue reading →
November 12, 2012: A Texas Prosecutor Faces Justice
In just about a month from now, Texas will witness a rare event: a former prosecutor is going to be held to account for alleged prosecutorial misconduct.
November 12, 2012: Ken Burns film takes on Central Park jogger convictions
CBS News) Filmmaker Ken Burns' new film, "Central Park Five," is a departure for the historical documentarian, who has made films on subjects from the American Civil War to baseball to national parks. Continue reading →
November 10, 2012: Texas Wrongful Conviction Continues to Reveal Tragic Human Costs
Yesterday, a Travis County (TX) grand jury indicted Mark Norwood on capital murder charges in the 1988 death of Debra Baker. Norwood is currently awaiting trial on murder charges in the 1986 death of Christine Morton. The apprehension of the man whose DNA is allegedly linked to both murders was delayed more than two decades by the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton, Christine’s husband, who served 25 years in prison for the crime he always said he did not commit. Continue reading →
November 9, 2012: Nyki Kish Remains Behind Bars After Questionable Conviction
Poet, songwriter and community activist Nicole “Nyki” Kish was convicted on March 1, 2011 of second degree murder for allegedly stabbing to death Ross Hammond in Toronto Canada, on August 8, 2007. Continue reading →
November 9, 2012: Walther does not concede easily
Interim Culpeper County Commonwealth’s Attorney for eight months, Republican nominee Paul Walther earned broad support from the establishment in his bid Tuesday night for the permanent post of top prosecutor. Continue reading →
November 9, 2012: Clay urges Koster to drop appeal in Allen case
St. Louis Congressman Lacy Clay is urging fellow Democrat and Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to drop his appeal and allow George Allen Jr. to be freed from prison. Continue reading →
November 8, 2012: Bill Macumber Freed Decades After Claiming Ex-Wife Framed Him for 1962 Arizona Double Murders
Bill Macumber, a convicted felon who spent almost four decades in prison for two murders he claimed his ex-wife framed him for, still denies he committed the crimes and said he "never lost hope" he would be granted his freedom.
November 6, 2012: Brad Cooper appeals 2011 murder conviction
Raleigh, N.C. — Attorneys for a Cary man serving life in prison for the high-profile murder of his wife have completed their appellate brief, according to an attorney that represented him in his trial. Continue reading →
November 5, 2012: Innocence Project seeks out the wrongly convicted
A “passionate” group of University of Ottawa law students is looking for people who believe they’ve been wrongfully convicted in hopes that they can help right the justice system’s wrongs. Continue reading →
November 2, 2012: Missouri judge throws out 1983 murder conviction
JEFFERSON CITY -- A Missouri judge has thrown out the 1983 rape and murder convictions of a St. Louis-area man who case was taken up by nonprofit group that specializes in using DNA evidence to overturn wrongful convictions.
October 31, 2012: Judge denies new trial for Ryan Ferguson
Convicted murderer Ryan Ferguson was denied a new trial yesterday after months of deliberation by a Cole County judge. The ruling is the result of Ferguson's latest attempt to vacate a 2005 conviction for second-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the Nov. 1, 2001, slaying of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. The 48-year-old father and husband was beaten with a blunt object and strangled with his belt in the Tribune parking lot. Continue reading →
October 28, 2012: Jeffrey Havard Convicted of Horrific Crime — But Is He Really Guilty?
The future is unknown for inmate L3955, Jeffery Havard. Havard has endured Death Row for the last ten years in Mississippi and time is running out. What really happened on the night of Feb. 21 2002? According to Havard, on Feb. 21 Havard was giving his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt, a bath after she had spit up on herself. As Havard picked baby Chloe up out of the bathtub, she wiggled out of Havard’s arms and struck her head on the toilet. Continue reading →
October 27, 2012: A Prescription for Criminal Justice: Embrace Errors, Then Fix Them
Scientists are accustomed to a landscape of shifting knowledge, while the justice system prizes certainty. But the criminal justice system, including forensic science, increasingly has been called upon to re-examine past certainties and to revisit what they once believed to be incontrovertible facts. Continue reading →
October 27, 2012: The National Registry of Exonerations Quickly Reaches 1,000 Milestone
When the University of Michigan Law and Northwestern Law School announced their joint project—the National Registry of Exonerations (here)—earlier this year on May 21, the initial tally of exonerations in the United States since 1989 was 891. Today, five months later, the number of exonerated in the registry is 1,000. No one knows how high the number will go. The only certainty is that this milestone will soon be surpassed. Continue reading →
October 24, 2012: Family again tries to clear Willingham's name
Despite repeated rebuffs by the state of Texas, relatives of Cameron Todd Willingham on Wednesday again will try to get officials to admit that the Corsicana man was wrongly executed eight years ago for the 1991 deaths of his three young children in a Christmas-season fire. Continue reading →
October 22, 2012: Nicaragua prosecutors want to reinstate freed Tacoma man's sentence
Just one month after Tacoma native Jason Puracal was exonerated of drug charges in Nicaragua, prosecutors in that country want to reinstate his sentence.
October 21, 2012: Why can’t law enforcement admit their mistakes?
After honor student Stephanie Crowe was stabbed to death in her bedroom in Escondido, California in January 1998, police briefly questioned (and collected clothes from) Richard Tuite, a drug-addicted, mentally ill transient who had been spotted prowling nearby the previous evening and scaring the Crowes’ neighbors. But the first person to get the third degree by detectives was Stephanie’s 14-year-old brother Michael, who weathered 10 hours of grueling interrogation without his parents or attorney present. Continue reading →
October 19, 2012: Texas State Bar Sues Michael Morton's Prosecutor For Wrongful Murder Conviction In 1987
HOUSTON — The State Bar of Texas is suing a former prosecutor who is now a state district judge, accusing him of withholding memos and other written evidence in the case of a man who served nearly 25 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.
October 18, 2012: The Wrongful Convictions Blog: PBS Nova – “Forensics on Trial” – a Review
To sum up my overall reaction, I was quite disappointed. They failed to educate the audience about the actual underlying scientific shortcomings of forensics, and for a good portion of the show, I felt like I was watching an episode of CSI in which the investigator sits down at a computer and some magical software application solves the crime. Continue reading →
October 16, 2012: Freed from Nicaraguan prison, Jason Puracal tells his story
Jason Puracal, who was freed after spending two years in a Nicaraguan prison, will tell his story at Seattle University School of Law Monday, Oct. 22, at noon in room C-5 of Sullivan Hall. Puracal's sister Janis, a 2007 graduate of Seattle University School of Law who devoted herself to representing and freeing her brother, will join him
October 15, 2012: My Visits With Nyki Kish: A Life Changing Experience
Where is the last place on earth that you would want to be? I think a majority of people would answer prison and I would be in that majority. Despite this fact, I planned my recent vacation so that I could spend time in a prison as a visitor.
October 14, 2012: Examining the wrongful conviction of Jason Payne
On the morning of December 11th, 2007, a mother and her teenage son were found shot to death in the family home. The mother, Nichole Payne, had apparently been sleeping when she received a deadly gunshot wound to her head. Her 16-year-old son, Taylor, was found slumped over on his bed in the garage. The teen had been using the garage as a bedroom. The shotgun rested on his right leg and he had sustained a gunshot wound to his face. Continue reading →
October 6, 2012: The Champion of Justice for Brad Cooper Is Not Just His Criminal Lawyer
It requires tremendous intestinal fortitude to speak truth to power. Those courageous few who choose to follow this treacherous route do so at great personal peril, often motivated by nothing more than moral outrage and a compelling need to right a perceived fundamental wrong. Whereas I, as a criminal defense lawyer, have made it my life's goal and the basis of my livelihood to fight for justice, those purists who champion justice for no reason other than their overriding belief that the truth must prevail are the true heroes as they do so without recompense. Continue reading →
October 1, 2012: Raffaele Sollecito’s Book Detailing His Journey With Amanda Knox Hits NY Times Best Seller List
Raffaele Sollecito should be feeling pretty good about the success of his new book Honor Bound: My Journey to Hell and Back with Amanda Knox, as he recently returned home to Italy after a successful book tour in the United States. His book is currently listed on the New York Times Best Seller List for e-books in the nonfiction category. Continue reading →
September 30, 2012: Amanda Knox’s prison guard investigated for rape
Perugia, Italy, September 30, 2012. Inspector Raffaele Argirò, former deputy-commander of the prison police at Capanne prison (where Amanda Knox was held) is accused of extortion and rape with aggravating circumstance for having acted on a person “subject to limitations of personal freedom”—namely, a traffic cop from Milan, who was arrested but then discharged and acquitted. Continue reading →
September 28, 2012: Damon A. Thibodeaux, Louisiana Death Row Inmate, Exonerated By DNA Evidence 15 Years After Being Condemned
NEW ORLEANS -- A 38-year-old man wrongly convicted of raping and killing his 14-year-old step-cousin in 1997 has been released from Louisiana's death row.
September 28, 2012: 300 Exonerations And Counting!
Damon Thibodeaux was sentenced to death for the New Orleans-area murder of his half-cousin Crystal Champagne based largely on his recanted confession. Thibodeaux spent 15 years in prison for the crime before his exoneration through DNA testing on September 28, 2012. Continue reading →
September 24, 2012: Jason Puracal: Nicaraguan prison was 'a fight, all day long'
Jason Puracal is settling back in to a family life after returning home from Nicaragua. A judge cleared the Tacoma native last week on money laundering charges.
September 21, 2012: Ex-Death Row Inmate Says How He Really Feels About The Death Penalty
One of the West Memphis Three — a trio of men convicted of murders they say they didn't commit — is speaking out about his experience as an innocent man on death row. Continue reading →
September 18, 2012: Puracal: Thoughts of wife, son kept him going while imprisoned
NEW YORK (AP) - The thought of his wife and 5-year-old son born with Down syndrome is what helped Jason Puracal endure two years in a crowded, bug-infested Nicaraguan prison serving a drug sentence that was later withdrawn when he won an appeal. Continue reading →
September 12, 2012: Appeal panel orders release of UW grad Jason Puracal
Just days after the one-year anniversary of his conviction, an appeal panel in Nicaragua has ordered the release of a Tacoma man and University of Washington graduate who maintained for nearly two years that he was wrongly imprisoned in the country, according to his defense attorney. Continue reading →
September 4, 2012: Nicaraguan judges skirt ruling deadline in Jason Puracal appeal
As supporters of Jason Puracal waited for a ruling in his appeal Tuesday morning, the deadline for a decision quietly passed. A three-judge appellate panel in Granada, Nicaragua was to issue a ruling before 9 a.m. CST, 10 working days after the appeal hearing ended. Continue reading →
September 3, 2012: The Jason Young case: The jury ignored the judge’s instructions
As many of you are aware, I’ve spent a great deal of time analyzing the Brad Cooper case. Well, the Jason Young case has me equally concerned. Much like the Cooper case, I kept waiting to hear the evidence but it never surfaced. I saw similar tactics in both cases – fabricated evidence, untrustworthy testimony by State witnesses, attempts to discredit defense witnesses. After watching the trial, I could only conclude that not only was there insufficient evidence to convict Jason Young, it’s very likely he is innocent. Continue reading →
September 1, 2012: The wrongful conviction of Kirstin Blaise Lobato
In the 1990s, wrongful convictions seemed a rarity. They were deemed by many as an aberration, resulting from corruption or extreme ineptitude on the part of police and prosecutors. In 1988, the documentary The Thin Blue Line detailed the story of Randall Dale Adams who was charged and convicted of murdering a police officer in Dallas, Texas. Adams was on death row for 12 years before his sentence was reduced. He remained in prison for another 8 years before he was finally released.
August 30, 2012: The Bradley Cooper Railroad — and a Wonderful Woman Who Tempers the Cynicism That Has Become American Law
I will say as my time on this blog nears the end that I do become very discouraged with what I see in the American justice system, as it seems to produce liars and glorify the worst lies while denigrating truth. Nor does it matter if the players are atheists, Christians, or something else: the lie always seems to win.
August 30, 2012: Locked up in Nicaragua, American Jason Puracal is hopeful for release
A US family that has spent the past 23 months on an odyssey through the treacherous terrain of Nicaragua’s legal system hopes the adventure will end soon, with Jason Puracal’s safe return home to Tacoma, Washington. Continue reading →
August 29, 2012: Jason Puracal family hold vigil on one-year anniversary of conviction
SEATTLE -- Jason Puracal's family held a candlelight vigil at the University of Washington where he attended school Wednesday night. Continue reading →
August 29, 2012: New York to Pay $3.5 Million Settlement for Prosecutorial Misconduct
Outraged by the lack of disciplinary action against prosecutorial misconduct that cost 13 years of his life, Shih-Wei Su sued, and New York State will now pay him $3.5 million. Continue reading →
August 29, 2012: 'Katie' debuts with Amanda Knox boyfriend
The former boyfriend of Amanda Knox will talk publicly for the first time about the relationship he had with the West Seattle native and the murder of her roommate in Italy. Continue reading →
August 28, 2012: Justice For Brad Cooper: The black and red sports bra (why one should never talk to the police)
Nancy Cooper was found wearing only a black and red sports bra when her body was discovered in a drainage pond on July 14th, 2008. On the afternoon of July 12th, Brad told police that she left to go running and hadn’t returned. Police questioned him extensively on the 12th and again on the 13th in his home. Although they tried to persuade him to go to the police station numerous times to answer questions, Brad declined. He wanted to stay home with his two young daughters.
August 21, 2012: Decision from Nicaraguan Court on Jason Puracal Could Come in Next 10 Days….
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – A Washington state man convicted of money laundering in Nicaragua has argued at a hearing appealing his 22-year sentence that police and prosecutors created lies to link him to organized crime.
August 20, 2012: An Idaho murder case from 1996 is coming under new scrutiny with the help of the Idaho Innocence Project. On Friday, Aug. 24, NBC-Dateline will air a one-hour show about Angie Dodge’s murder in her Idaho Falls apartment and the confession of Chris Tapp, who currently is serving a sentence of 25 years to life for the crime. The show airs at 9 p.m. on KTVB Channel 7. Continue reading →
August 16, 2012: Jason Puracal Appeal Hearing Begins In Nicaragua
Entering the courtroom in handcuffs and led by police officers armed with assault rifles, U.S. citizen Jason Puracal took his place in a metal chair alongside 10 other Nicaraguan defendants this morning to begin his long-awaited appeal hearing before a three-judge tribunal. Continue reading →
August 15, 2012: Alabama says “No” to DNA Testing as Execution Day Approaches
The state of Alabama has spent countless taxpayer dollars prosecuting and imprisoning Arthur…and successfully opposing DNA testing of the wig worn by the perpetrator. Continue reading →
August 8, 2012: Appeals Hearing Set For Jason Puracal
After 22 months of fighting tirelessly for her brother’s release, Janis Puracal, the younger sister and legal representative of incarcerated U.S. citizen Jason Puracal, is guardedly optimistic that justice will finally be served.
August 7, 2012: Site Update: Featured Death Penalty Case, Debra Jean Milke
Debra Milke currently sits wrongfully convicted on death row in Arizona for the murder of her four-year-old son. Debra is a victim of police negligence and corruption. The only evidence against her was a detective's claim that she provided a non-recorded verbal confession. Continue reading →
August 2, 2012: Judge explains breaking rules to support Knox
A King County Superior Court judge spoke in Yakima about why he felt compelled to support what he considered to be the wrongfully convicted murder suspect Amanda Knox from his Superior Court office, despite allegations of misconduct for doing so.
July 19, 2012: Site Update: Featured case pages now have comment sections.
We have added comment sections to our four featured case pages. We are currently testing this new feature. If all goes well we will make the feature permanent and add comment sections to our profiled case pages as well.
July 17, 2012: The Jeffrey Havard Case Will Undermine Support for Capital Punishment
Jeffrey Havard was convicted of murdering an infant in Mississippi and is now on death row. His conviction depends in part upon a finding of a sexual assault and rests heavily upon the forensic testimony of Dr. Hayne, who performed the autopsy on the infant. Hayne's testimony alleged that the baby died due to shaken baby syndrome and that there was an unexplained small anal contusion. This, and the testimony of hospital personnel that the baby's anus was diluted, became the basis for Havard's conviction. There was no forensic testimony presented by the defense.
July 10 , 2012: Justice Dept., FBI to review use of forensic evidence in thousands of cases
The Justice Department and the FBI have launched a review of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted or deserve a new trial because of flawed forensic evidence, officials said Tuesday. Continue reading →
July 9, 2012: The Unbearable Thoughtlessness of Guilt By Roteoctober
It has been a game for many people for four years to play: Amanda and Raffaele guilty or innocent? It was a game that was played on TV, in the newspapers, on the Internet, and above all in Court. Because starting in Court and continuing outside by many means the lives and personalities of two decent human beings were nullified and substituted by puppets played by Masters who never cared a damn for them as human beings. Continue reading →
July 9, 2012: Witness Implicates Alternative Suspect in Texas Death Penalty Case
Camera rolling, a student-journalist hands the witness a photo taken by police at a gruesome crime scene. The witness studies the photo and turns away, seemingly repulsed. Then she tears up. Continue reading →
July 1, 2012: Duke Wrongful Convictions Clinic secures new trial for Greensboro man
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Greensboro man convicted of first-degree murder in 1995 was released from prison Friday after a judge agreed with defense attorneys and a North Carolina assistant district attorney that he should be freed pending a new trial.
June 29, 2012: Investigative Report: Jacob Ostreicher, Held Captive by the Government of Bolivia By Steve Moore
JACOB OSTREICHER is a citizen of the United States of America who went to Bolivia to manage (in the short term) an agricultural company dedicated to rice production in Santa Cruz De La Sierra, Bolivia. At no time did Mr. Ostreicher or his company violate any law; Bolivian, international or American. Even so, without specific charge and without opportunity to obtain bail or even plead his innocence, he has been arrested and incarcerated at a prison in Bolivia for (at this writing) over a year. The prison does not meet international standards for humanitarian conditions or treatment, and there is no indication and little hope that Mr. Ostreicher will receive a hearing for bail, or even a trial in which to answer the unsubstantiated allegations. His incarceration is for all intents and purposes, open-ended. Continue reading →
June 22, 2012: Justice Advocates Seek New DNA Tests in 11-Year-Old Murder Case
The Innocence Project has come forward to pay for the tests. Injustice Anywhere, an organization that pushed for the release American college student Amanda Knox from an Italian prison has also taken up Lobato’s cause. Continue reading →
June 20, 2012: 100,000 Call For DA To Allow DNA Testing In Kirstin Lobato Case
Over 100,000 people have signed a Change.org petition in support of a powerful campaign to free Kirstin "Blaise" Lobato. Lobato was wrongfully convicted in 2006 for the murder of Duran Bailey, which occurred in Las Vegas in July 2001. Lobato came to the attention of the police because of statements she made regarding a traumatic incident in which she had to fight off a man attempting to rape her. This incident occurred in May 2001, one month earlier and several miles away from the location of Bailey’s murder. Continue reading →
June 18, 2012: From Lindy Chamberlain to Amanda Knox, Vilification to Exoneration
There are warning signs to look out for: an astounding story, a confession after hours of interrogation, the mention of satanic rituals, shady activities by the authorities involved. The next sensational crime story is likely around the corner; watch for signs of vilification and hold back judgment. Ask the press hard questions and the next time, for victims like Lindy Chamberlain, it may take a lot less than thirty two years to find the truth. Continue reading →
June 16, 2012: Why Should Americans Care About Jason Puracal or Amanda Knox
Americans by nature are a curious people; we travel extensively all over the planet and peek into every corner. Most of the time we come home with fabulous stories of the wonderful people we have met and the interesting places we have visited. But not always. Sometimes we end up in a foreign prison through no fault of our own, sometimes we are the hapless victims of corrupt officials seeking money, fame or revenge on the US. When we serve such purposes and find ourselves trapped in an unforgiving legal system these are the times that we turn to our countrymen and our government for help.
June 16, 2012: Witness recantations not credible in Ferguson case, state says
Ryan Ferguson's 2005 jury conviction should stand because recantations by the only two witnesses to place Ferguson at the scene are not credible, according to legal briefs filed yesterday by the Missouri Attorney General's Office. Continue reading →
June 14, 2012: The Free Press/Fair Trial Dilemma: Core Values in Conflict By Philip J. Mause
I start this article with a confession. I am a free speech extremist. When I was a law professor, I was a staunch advocate of the Hugo Black/William O. Douglas position - "Free Speech means free speech" and somewhat of a 1st Amendment absolutist. I firmly believe that the most essential check on an abusive government is free speech and a free press than can turn the public's attention to government abuses of power; if the press is shackled, there is really little or no chance that the public will find out about government malfeasance and corruption and abuse of power will spin out of control. Continue reading →
June 13, 2012: Lawmaker visits American hunger striker imprisoned in Bolivia
As his case meanders through the Bolivian justice system, an American businessman imprisoned there for a year without formal charges is finding support from a leading human rights advocate in the U.S. Congress. Continue reading →
June 8, 2012: Judge Valorie Vega says ethics charges lack merit
Clark County District Judge Valorie Vega said Friday she intends to fight state judicial ethics charges filed against her, saying the claims lack merit. The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline announced Friday that three counts of judicial misconduct were filed June 5 against Vega. She is accused of manipulating the schedule of a 2010 child abuse murder retrial so it didn't conflict with her personal schedule. Continue reading →
June 5, 2012: Florida Governor Rick Scott Puts State’s Innocence Commission to Death
Florida holds the dubious honor of wrongfully convicting the largest number of innocent people put on death row. Since 1973, the Sunshine State wrongfully incarcerated and released twenty-three people set for a state sanctioned killing. And nationwide, 140 people in twenty-six states have been exonerated of the crimes for which they were convicted and sent to death row. If this tells independent voters anything, it’s that the criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform, with capital punishment leading the way. Continue reading →
June 2, 2012: State Backs DNA Testing for Hank Skinner
Reversing its decade-long objection to testing that death row inmate Hank Skinner says could prove his innocence, the Texas Attorney General's office today filed an advisory with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals seeking to test DNA in the case.
June 1, 2012: Supporters of Woman Who Claims Innocence Deliver Petition to DA
Supporters of a young woman behind bars for a crime she says she did not commit are asking the Clark County District Attorney to drop his opposition to her appeal.
May 31, 2012: Man Wrongfully Convicted Of Deadly Arson Fire Set Free
A 46-year-old man cleared of setting a fire that killed a woman and her five children in 1984 has been released from prison. Continue reading →
May 31, 2012: The Hope Diamond Of Wrongful Convictions: The Kirstin Lobato Case By Philip Mause
Every so often (actually more often than I am comfortable with), however, the legal system serves up a fat pitch, a gopher ball, a hanging curve ball which is every pitcher's nightmare - an easy case, a no-brainer. There is an expression in law - "hard cases make bad law" - as courts wrestle with the law and twist it to deal with a difficult set of facts. Well, there are also easy cases. Kirstin "Blaise" Lobato's is one of those easy cases and the rationale for her continued incarceration is stranger than the parting of the Red Sea." Continue reading →
May 28, 2012: United Nations Calls for the Immediate Release of Jason Puracal
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has ruled that Jason Puracal was not provided with a trial consistent with its obligations under international law. Subsequently, the Working Group called for the Nicaraguan government to order Jason's immediate release. Continue reading →
May 25, 2012: Onetime top Calif. football prospect exonerated after serving 5 years on rape charge
The district attorney offered Banks a deal -- plead guilty to rape and spend another 18 months in prison, or go to trial and face 41 years to life, CBS Los Angeles reports. Banks said his defense attorney told him, "'When you go into that courtroom the jury is going to see a big black teenager and you're automatically going to be assumed guilty.' Those are her exact words." Continue reading →
May 24, 2012: The Kirstin Lobato Case: An American Miscarriage of Justice
Last week marked ten years since Kirstin “Blaise” Lobato was initially found guilty in the killing of Duran Bailey, a 44 year-old homeless man who had been stabbed and sexually mutilated in Las Vegas in July 2001. Despite substantial evidence affirming her innocence and clear reversible error by the presiding judge, Ms. Lobato remains in the same Nevada prison where she has spent most of the last decade. Her case is now emerging as one of the foremost unjust convictions in the United States today. Continue reading →
May 22, 2012: Judge: Michael Crowe, friend, factually innocent of killing Stephanie Crowe in 1998
Two boys -- including the older brother of a 12-year-old girl killed in 1998 -- had their records formally cleared Tuesday when a judged ruled that they are factually innocent of the murder. Continue reading →
May 20, 2012: Mississippi Death Row Inmate Jeffrey Havard Is A Victim Of Wrongful Conviction
Jeffrey Havard currently sits wrongfully convicted on death row in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Continue reading →
May 20, 2012: Exoneration lists expose causes for wrong convictions in Jefferson County and across nation
Five men from Jefferson County and 12 others convicted but later cleared in Alabama courts are listed on a new national exoneration registry designed to highlight the issue of wrongful convictions and explain why they happen. Continue reading →
May 18, 2012: Citing Carlos DeLuna, Protesters Call on Dallas DA Craig Watkins to Abandon the Death Penalty
Rick Halperin, head of SMU's human rights program, has been saying for years what became nationally recognized this week: "Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man," to borrow a headline from the Atlantic. Halperin has spent his career doing the academic equivalent of banging his head against the wall trying to get people to recognize that it is possible to kill innocent prisoners and hosting event after event with death penalty exonerees sharing their stories. Continue reading →
May 18, 2012: Texas high court orders state to pay ex-inmate $2M
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court ordered the state Friday to pay about $2 million to an ex-inmate who spent 26 years in prison for murder before his conviction was overturned, a decision legal experts said could set a new standard for when ex-prisoners should be compensated. Continue reading →
May 15, 2012: Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man
Carlos DeLuna was put to death in December 1989 for a murder in Corpus Christi. But he didn't commit the crime. Today, his case reminds us of the glaring flaws of capital punishment. Continue reading →
May 11, 2012: American Sits Almost a Year With No Charges in Isolated Bolivian Prison
In a grim Bolivian prison, a lone American man has languished for nearly a year, uncharged by authorities who have accused him of money laundering, but he says he is innocent of any wrongdoing and refuses to give in. "It's an absolute nightmare," Jacob Ostreicher said. "I feel all alone most of the time. I'm begging the American people to try to help me." Continue reading →
May 11, 2012: Effort to free Tacoman in Nicaraguan prison gains steam
An international campaign to free Tacoma's Jason Puracal from a Nicaraguan prison accelerated this week with support from 43 members of Congress and the U.S. State Department. Continue reading →
May 10, 2012: 43 U.S. Reps. ask Ortega to review Puracal case
Forty-three U.S. lawmakers from the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Daniel Ortega today urging him to order an independent review of the case of Jason Puracal, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 22 years in a Nicaraguan prison on charges of international money laundering, drug trafficking, and organized crime. Continue reading → May 8, 2012: Tune in to watch an Important Nightline segment on Jacob Ostreicher this Friday (May 11). Jacob is an innocent American wrongfully incarcerated in Bolivia. Retired FBI Agent Steve Moore is currently working on this case. http://www.freejacobnow.com
May 2, 2012: Ferguson family accepts apology from key witness
Members of Ryan Ferguson’s family have accepted an apology from a key witness in Ferguson’s 2005 murder trial. Ryan’s father Bill Ferguson said Jerry Trump was courageous and sincere when he gave tearful testimony during a recent hearing that could lead to Ryan Ferguson’s freedom. Continue reading →
May 2, 2012: Top Criminal Court to Hear Hank Skinner's DNA Plea
Death row inmate Hank Skinner’s decade-long fight for DNA testing, which he hopes will prove his innocence in a grisly West Texas triple murder, will take center stage this morning in the state’s highest criminal court. Continue reading →
May 2, 2012: Lobato Case Gives Nevada Supreme Court A Chance To Do The Right Thing - Finally
Americans were rightly concerned when Amanda Knox was convicted in Italy in 2009 based upon questionable evidence and a bizarre and improbable theory of the crime. But the Italian system permits an appeal and a new court took a fresh look at the case in 2011, acquitting Amanda Knox and correcting the mistake made in 2009. The American "justice" system is often not as willing to correct its mistakes. If American protestations about human rights abuses in other countries are to be credible we have to begin addressing the manifest inadequacies in our own legal system. The Kirstin Lobato case would be an excellent place to start. Continue reading →
April 24, 2012: Support Continues To Grow For Jason Puracal, An American Wrongfully Imprisoned In Nicaragua
On August 29, 2011, U.S. citizen Jason Puracal was wrongfully convicted in Nicaragua of international money laundering, drug trafficking, and organized crime despite conclusive evidence of his innocence. Jason has been sentenced to twenty two years in La Modelo maximum-security prison located outside of Nicaragua's capital city of Managua. Continue reading →
April 23, 2012: Jason Puracal Thanks Supporters
More than 80,000 people from around the world are now calling for the release of Jason Puracal, an American jailed in Nicaragua on charges of drug trafficking, money laundering, and organized crime. Without a shred of evidence, Jason was convicted on those charges and sentenced to 22 years in one of the world's most dangerous prisons - Nicaragua's La Modelo prison. Continue reading →
April 19, 2012: New Study Predicts Wrongful Conviction Rate in U.S. at 5,000 to 10,000 Per Year
The ultimate question is whether the prospect of, at a minimum, 2,000 innocent defendants going to prison every year (with capital murder defendants a disproportionately higher part of this total as their wrongful conviction rates are demonstrably higher than 0.5%), and another 3,000 receiving lesser felony sentences, should move the innocence reform agenda. Continue reading → Ryan Ferguson's page will be updated daily throughout the course of his hearing.
April 16, 2012: Convicted defendants left uninformed of forensic flaws found by Justice Dept.
Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled. Continue reading →
April 16, 2012: Ryan Ferguson seeks new trial to prove innocence
On December 5, 2005, Ryan Ferguson was found guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree robbery of Kent Heitholt, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Ryan was convicted based on the accepted testimony of two people, Chuck Erickson and Jerry Trump. Both Erickson and Trump have since given sworn affidavits stating that they were lying. Continue reading →
April 16, 2012: The Case for Ryan Ferguson: Testimony examines Erickson's police interviews
An expert witness testified in court Monday about the method of police questioning used on key witness and murder co-defendant Charles Erickson regarding the 2001 slaying of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. Continue reading →