Texas Senate Bill 1611, known as the Michael Morton Act, has been passed by the Texas legislature, signed by the governor, and will become law on September 1. It requires that prosecutors give defense attorneys any evidence that is relevant to the defense’s case.
This advance is a fitting legacy for Michael Morton, wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, and wrongfully incarcerated for 25 years before DNA exonerated Continue reading
On 17 May 2012, the Innocence Project run by law students at the National University of Singapore organised their official launch! The project has been up and running for some time, and the students have been engaged in reviewing a number of cases.
Please take a look at their public website (still in progress) here.
Some media reports here and here.
From the NYTimes:
The Timely Justice Act, a grotesquely named bill passed by the Florida Legislature, could get to Gov. Rick Scott as soon as this week for him to sign into law. The measure would require a governor to sign a death warrant within 30 days of a review of a capital conviction by the State Supreme Court, and the state would be required to execute the defendant within 180 days of the warrant.
Also this week, an inmate on Florida’s death row, Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin, presented DNA evidence that could exonerate him. He was convicted in 2006 of murdering two women, based largely on circumstantial evidence. On Monday, he was in court seeking a new trial because the DNA evidence showed that blood at the crime scene — none of it his — was that of a victim’s daughter, who, his lawyers argue, likely committed the murders.
Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin’s case offers good reason for Governor Scott to veto the bill. The state’s indisputably defective death penalty system is made more horrifying by attempts to rush inmates to execution. There is a strong chance that Mr. Aguirre-Jarquin will become the 25th death-row inmate exonerated in Florida since it reinstated capital punishment in 1973. More death-row inmates have been exonerated in Florida than in any state.
As the American Bar Association explained in a scathing 2006 report on the state’s death penalty system, Florida is one of the few states that allows a jury to recommend a sentence of death based on a majority vote rather than a unanimous one. Defendants charged with capital crimes often have woefully unqualified counsel, and are much more likely to be convicted and sentenced to death if the victim is white — a sign of racial disparity that is clearly unconstitutional. The flaws in Florida’s system, which soaks up huge amounts of resources, cannot be fixed. It is long past time to abolish capital punishment.
Jon-Adrian Velazquez has received more attention than most inmates who claim innocence. He’s served more than fourteen years of a 25-years-to-life sentence in prison after being convicted of the shooting of retired New York City police officer Albert Ward during a hold-up at an illegal betting parlor allegedly operated by Ward. The case prompted many lingering questions, but an 18-month official review has apparently not provided a broader consensus that justice has been served, nor that a new review initiative will be effective in addressing possible wrongful convictions. Continue reading
Alice Leong and Leomia Myers have something in common. They both have suffered the pain of watching their sons wrongful convictions. For one of them, the suffering is over. Her son, Brian Banks, is now an NFL linebacker. The other still suffers everyday with her sons wrongful incarceration http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/05/14/california-innocence-project-marches-for-mothers-of-wrongfully-convicted
Several of you have sent messages asking about how Alissa, Mike, and I are doing. I figured I’d send an update.
Today was Day 17 of the Innocence March. We’ve walked more than 200 miles and are working our way through Santa Barbara County. Aside from some sunburn and blisters, we are all doing fine. The walk through Camp Pendleton, and the areas with no sidewalks along Route One in Orange County, have probably been the toughest days. Walking around the Long Beach refineries in the rain was not pleasant at all. On the other hand, we have had some amazing days. Having 300 friends and family members join us on Day 1 was awesome. Walking with CIP exoneree Adam Riojas and his wife and baby in Oceanside, while he told us about his current life as a minister, was an incredibly moving experience, as was walking with Guy Miles family through Long Beach. Guy’s elderly parents and uncle struggled to walk as far as they could while his wife walked the full 20 miles. We had a great rally in Santa Monica with exonerees, family members, CIP staff, and students, and on Mother’s Day weekend we walked with Brian Banks and his mom.
I feel very good that this march is doing everything we hoped for. We’ve raised awareness through the media and public speaking events. We’ve met incredible people along the way, my favorite being the Mexican farmer who insisted on giving us free fruit and letting us use the bathroom in his home when he heard what were were doing. We’ve had people honking their support the whole way up the coast. Most important, we’ve obtained a meeting with the Governor’s Chief of Staff to present our petitions.
Below is some of the media coverage we’ve received so far and some photos from the march. Thanks to Pam, Hank, and Ian for their help coordinating the media effort. Happy trails. jb
Texas is set to draw closer Wednesday to the ignoble distinction of having put to death 500 people in the modern era of the death penalty. The Lone Star State plans to kill Jefferey Williams, whose execution would be No. 498. Unless Williams receives a stay, Execution Watch will broadcast live coverage and commentary on the state killing.
TEXAS PLANS TO EXECUTE: JEFFEREY D. WILLIAMS, condemned in the 1999 shooting death of a plainclothes Houston police officer who was trying to arrest him for driving a stolen Lexus. Williams claimed he did not know the man was an officer, assumed he was being attacked, and shot the man in self defense. Williams’ execution would be the 498th in Texas in the modern death-penalty era..
EXECUTION WATCH RADIO SHOW PREVIEW:
Unless a stay is issued, we’ll broadcast live: Wednesday, 15 May 2013, 6-7 PM Central Time, KPFT FM Houston 90.1 HD3 and Online…
http://executionwatch.org > Listen
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