Last month, this blog highlighted here a Marshall Project report on how prosecutors are winning convictions through the egregious misuse of PowerPoint presentations.
Now, the Marshall Project reports here the reversal of yet another conviction because of prosecutors’ use of inflammatory and misleading PowerPoint images during a trial. That brings the total of such reversals to 11, the Marshall Project says. There likely will be more.
Courtsey of Fernando Bermudez.
From the LA Times:
By Javier Panzar and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Dec 23, 2014
A New York man who spent 18 years in prison for murder he did not commit will receive a $4.75-million settlement from the state, the largest award for a wrongful conviction in New York history.
Fernando Bermudez was arrested in a 1991 shooting and convicted the next year of second-degree murder, but a judge in 2009 declared him innocent after several witnesses recanted their testimony. Continue reading
Australia has seen another high-profile wrongful conviction hit the headlines this week with the release on bail of Henry Keogh after serving 19 years in prison for the apparent murder of his fiancee in 1994. Keogh had always maintained his innocence, claiming a litany of errors during the autopsy, resulting in the bizarre conclusion that he had drowned his fiancee in the bath by lifting her legs over her head. The motive was apparently financial, with his fiancee having several life insurance policies. The case has been back and forth to the South Australian courts and Governors over the years until the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal finally ordered a retrial on Monday, permitted Keogh to be free until such time the DPP decides to bring another prosecution. Keogh, aged 59, was only permitted a further appeal to the courts after a change in South Australian legislation last year, allowing appeals on ‘new and fresh compelling evidence’. Read more on the news here….
Henry Keogh released on bail after 20 years in jail on Anna-Jane Cheney murder conviction
and a journalist who assisted with the case for years, Bob Mole, has a page dedicated to Henry Keogh’s case here….
Networked Knowledge: The Henry Keogh Homepage
Inner Mongolia’s High People’s Court has overturned the conviction of Huugjilt, an ethnic Mongolian, for the rape and murder of a woman in Hohot. Huugjilt had been put to death in 1996. The court officially apologised to the man’s family and the head of the court made a personal donation of 30 k yuan. The case has attracted much criticism and outrage. Media report here.
The police officer in charge of the case has just been arrested and charged with using torture to obtain a confession among others. Media report here.
Press release from Center for Prosecutorial Integrity….
WASHINGTON / December 4, 2014 — Since 2007, state and federal prosecutors have established 16 Conviction Integrity Units to assure the accuracy of convictions obtained by their offices, according to a White Paper released today by the Maryland-based Center for Prosecutor Integrity.
Prosecuting attorneys in districts from Santa Clara County, California to Washington, D.C. began establishing the units after DNA evidence led to a rising number of exonerations.
The White Paper, titled “Conviction Integrity Units: Vanguard of Criminal Justice Reform,” outlines the structure and administration of the 16 conviction integrity units now existing in the U.S. The report reveals that the nine units established by the end of 2013 accomplished nearly 7,000 case reviews, resulting in 61 exonerations.
Gina Lauterio, Program Director of the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, said the report is the first to reveal how the number and effectiveness of the units has grown in recent years. “I hope that all District Attorneys in the country will consider what’s being done in these 16 districts and adopt similar practices.”
Lauterio noted the nonprofit Center encourages scholarship on the causes of wrongful convictions and efforts to minimize them. “We commend the growing number of prosecutors who are now devoting resources to reexamine questionable cases.”
The report is available on the Center’s website: http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Conviction-Integrity-Units.pdf