- Birmingham Six member Paddy Hill has claimed that police sent secret letters promising immunity to two of the men responsible for the 1974 pub bombings. The miscarriage of justice campaigner, who received a life sentence for the terrorist atrocity but was released from prison and cleared after his conviction was quashed, believes two of the pub bombers were told they would not face prosecution for IRA crimes. The 68-year-old, who now lives in Scotland, said he has been told IRA members previously admitted that five people carried out the bombings at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town. He said that two of the five have since died, two were promised immunity – but a fifth bomber has not received any assurances that he could escape prosecution. Nobody has ever been brought to justice for the mass murder of 21 innocent people on the streets of Birmingham on November 21, 1974, which left 182 injured. Full article here…
- Nebraska exoneree Troy Hess has compensation claim rejected by Nebraska Supreme Court
- In Canada, a judge has allowed former Vancouver real estate developer Tarsem Singh Gill to withdraw his guilty pleas in connection with a $40-million mortgage fraud. In a ruling Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Terry Schultes said that the possibility of a “miscarriage of justice” loomed large if he denied Gill’s application to withdraw his pleas to two counts of fraud. Full story here….
- Exoneree Edgar Coker discusses life on the sex offender registry.
- Article about the Uriah Courtney exoneration in California
- Exoneree Lana Canan sues Elkhart, Indiana police
- A man convicted of rape nearly four decades ago should be allowed to seek new DNA testing, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday, upholding an earlier Nebraska Court of Appeals ruling. Juneal Pratt, 58, is serving 32 to 90 years for the rape, sexual assault and robbery of two Iowa sisters at an Omaha motel in 1975. He was 19 when he was arrested days after the August 1975 assaults on suspicion of purse-snatching at the same hotel, then quickly charged with the rapes. Several witnesses said Pratt was at home at the time of the attacks, but Pratt was convicted just two months later after the sisters picked him out of a police lineup — a practice that’s increasingly under fire. Full article here….
- A man who was wrongly convicted of a 2006 shooting in Oakland has filed a $32 million federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, alleging that he was maliciously prosecuted. The lawsuit by Ronald Ross, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accuses Oakland police of conducting a faulty photo lineup that ended with his being improperly identified by the shooting victim, Renardo Williams, as the shooter. Ross spent nearly seven years behind bars before being released last February. Full article here…
- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plans to unveil legislation Wednesday that would make it easier for people wrongfully convicted of crimes to recover damages from the state. Schneiderman’s Unjust Imprisonment Act would strip away restrictions in state law that block claims from people who were coerced into false confessions or who pleaded guilty to crimes they did not commit. Full article here.
- Pennsylvania Innocence Project hiring an investigator
- Another chance for the U.S. Supreme Court to say no to prosecutorial misconduct
- Missouri considers eyewitness id and videotaped interrogations reform
- Opening of sealed records in Orange County, CA shows improper use of informants
- In Florida, bill to compensate death row exoneree James Joseph Richardson passes first test in the Senate
- Despite request of Senators from both parties, Obama Administration says it is unlikely to posthumously pardon heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson for racially motivated conviction
- During the full-day workshop held Monday, February 17, 2014 at the 66th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Seattle, Washington, Andrew Sulner, Barry Scheck, and other distinguished experts will provide attendees with concrete examples and a clear picture of how cognitive and motivational bias can affect the outcome of forensic investigations and lead to miscarriages of justice in both criminal and civil cases, and how lawyers can exclude or impeach expert testimony that may have been tainted by bias. More here….
- Edgar Coker Jr. exonerated by U of Virginia clinic
- Exoneree Ryan Ferguson talks about adjusting to normal life
There have been recent moves by the government in the UK, to severely restrict access to compensation for victims of miscarriages of justice. There has rightly, been (muted) outrage about the proposed requirement that the person claiming compensation had to prove their ‘innocence’ to be eligible for compensation. (see post here…)
“A statutory definition was first attempted by the government as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, which originally stated a miscarriage of justice has occurred if new evidence must “show beyond reasonable doubt that the person was innocent of the offence”. When the bill progressed to the House of Lords, peers voted to defeat the government and change the wording so that the new evidence “shows conclusively that the evidence against the person at trial is so undermined that no conviction could possibly be based on it”.
The debate on the amendment and the definition of a ‘miscarriage of justice’ is available here…. For those of us involved in miscarriages of justice in the UK, this is essential viewing – and those interested in how authorities approach these issues. It is a long debate, but very very interesting! There has been limited reporting so far of the debate – but you can see one article here…
- The unintended consequences of compensating the exonerated
- Canada’s system for reviewing alleged wrongful convictions “failing miserably”
- West Virginia University Law Innocence Project pushes interrogation recording bill
- What does a record number of U.S. exonerations in 2013 tell us?
- ESPN video on the wrongful accusation against Richard Jewel for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing
- Ex-cop exonerated after 20 years in prison awarded $9 million
- Mexican lawyers turned filmmakers win civil suit against them brought by family of victim in wrongful conviction case they exposed through the documentary Presumed Guilty
- Planned changes in UK’s compensation laws for exonerees will make it nearly impossible to obtain compensation after wrongful conviction
- New Zealand Innocence Project re-ignites debate about the need for a wrongful convictions commission
- Idaho Innocence Project client Sarah Pearce may soon be released—settlement discussions ongoing
- Innocence Project of South Africa now officially a member of the Innocence Network
- In the UK, new law could limit compensation to exonerees who can conclusively prove innocence
- Nearly 350 years after his execution, a french jew is exonerated and declared a martyr
- Almost 70 years after a 14-year-old African American was executed in South Carolina following the slaying of two young white girls, family members asked a local judge on Tuesday to order a retrial and correct what they called a long-ago miscarriage of justice. Continue reading….
The struggle to overcome a wrongful conviction doesn’t end with exoneration. Rebuilding a life interrupted by years of incarceration takes a lot of hard work. Nicole Harris, a client of the Northwestern University Center on Wrongful Convictions who falsely confessed to the murdering her 4-year-old son, is doing it the right way. Her effort is featured in this story on the front page of today’s Chicago Tribune.
By Duaa Eldeib, Tribune reporter
January 19, 2014
As she marks her 32nd birthday Sunday, Nicole Harris is navigating job interviews and graduate school applications. She’s discovering just how delicate the relationship between a mother and her teenage son can be. She is constantly on the hunt for a good book.
Yet still there are moments she yearns for the quiet of her prison cell.
Nine years ago, Harris was a young mother of two who’d overcome tremendous obstacles to earn a college degree. Her boys, Jaquari and Diante, were just 4 and 5, but she was already thinking about where she might someday send them to college.
Then Jaquari died. And she was convicted of killing him.
Harris spent almost eight years behind bars before an appeals court, raising serious questions about her conviction, reversed it. And on a bright winter day nearly a year ago, she was set free.
- The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently awarded the William O. Douglas Award to UW law professor Jackie McMurtrie for her nearly 20 years of work toward bringing justice to wrongly convicted individuals with the Innocence Project Northwest.
- In more Jackie McMurtrie news, an editorial in this week’s Seattle Times praised the efforts made by attorneys and law students at the Innocence Project Northwest Clinic at the University of Washington School Of Law in their pursuit to overturn a King County man’s wrongful conviction. Way to go Jackie!
- California Innocence Project exoneree Brian Banks, and NFL player, signed a movie deal to tell his story
- Bad ballistics evidence may have caused a Quebec judge to be wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife
- Scrapping the corroboration requirement in Scotland could cause more wrongful convictions
- Exoneree Martin Tankleff settles wrongful conviction suit for $3.4 million.
- Illinois exoneree Alan Beamon has wrongful conviction lawsuit dismissed
Recent DNA exoneree Victor Nealon, who spent 17 years in prison for an attempted rape he did not commit, has spoken of his time in prison and his release. He was given just 7 days notice of his appeal, then when freed from the appeal court, dropped at a local train station with 46 pounds (approx US$75) and nowhere to live. He is now considering suing the police for his arrest in order to gain some compensation to rebuild his life. Read the full interview here….
- In Wisconsin, the governor says he’ll issue no “innocence pardons” because it is too hard to pick and choose who deserves attention and who doesn’t
- Why is a Texas prosecutor still practicing law after having been found to have committed egregious misconduct to wrongfully convict Anthony Graves?
- Philly police to implement sweeping interrogation reforms January 1, 2014
- Virginia man Jonathan Montgomery says exoneration is “best Christmas present ever.“
- Details about the Little Rascals Daycare case in North Carolina, another of the alleged daycare hysteria wrongful conviction cases
- Nora Wall, wrongfully convicted Irish nun, in talks with Irish government about compensation
- Connecticut federal judge finds that Scott Lewis was wrongfully convicted as a result of Brady violations
A Chinese man who was sentenced to death and spent 12 years in prison for the rape and murder of a child was awarded US$160,000 compensation after his conviction was overturned, a court said. Li Huailiang stood trial seven times and was given three different sentences for the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl in Pingdingshan in August 2001, Xinhua reported.
The farmer was condemned to death, then death with a two-year reprieve – a sentence normally commuted to life in prison – and after that, 15 years in jail.
Each time, the verdict was subsequently overturned “due to lack of evidence,’’ but he was not formally acquitted until April this year, when he was released from prison, Xinhua said. The Intermediate People’s Court in Pingdingshan, in central Henan, granted him 780,000 yuan (US$130,000) for the loss of “personal freedom’’ for 4,282 days spent in prison and a further 200,000 yuan for “psychological damage,’’ a statement posted on its website said.
Li had claimed 3.79 million yuan in total, the statement added.
- CCRC’s referral of George case back to court of appeals a boost for the university-based Innocence Projects in the UK
- Pending bill in Scotland could increase wrongful convictions
- Exoneree Dwayne Dail gets $7.5 million compensation from state
- The last of the Scottsboro boys exonerated
- Derrick Deacon’s first days of freedom
- Exoneree Christopher Scott uses compensation money to build a business, help others
- Arizona adopts wrongful conviction provision of ethical rules for prosecutors