I’m posting this because it’s important to always understand fully the fear that threats to the status quo create:
‘Innocence Fraud is Real’ Warns Crime Lab Report’s Chief Managing Editor
This and other preliminary findings of a study titled ‘The Innocence Audit’ were delivered by John M. Collins Jr., the Chief Managing Editor of Crime Lab Report, at the annual symposium of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) on Thursday, April 30, 2015 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) May 06, 2015
A stern warning was issued to crime laboratory administrators that some post-conviction exonerations may have been secured by innocence activists using malicious tactics, or ‘innocence fraud’, creating potential public safety threats as convicted felons are released from prison.
The comments were made by John M. Collins Jr., the Chief Managing Editor of Crime Lab Report, in a speech detailing the preliminary findings of a study titled ‘The Innocence Audit’ at the annual symposium of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors (ASCLD) on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The event was held at the Wardman Park Marriott in Washington, D.C.
“Exonerations are extremely serious,” Collins told the audience of approximately 150 guests on the final day of the symposium. “For our criminal justice system to go back and say that the decision of a judge or jury who decided to put a particular individual in prison [was wrong] . . . and suddenly say that the individual shouldn’t be there – and is therefore free to return to life in the public – is very, very serious.”
Collins cited the 2003 exoneration of Steven Avery in Wisconsin as evidence of the public safety significance of exonerations. After being convicted of a 1985 rape in Manitowoc County Circuit Court (86-1831-CR), Avery was released from prison 18 years later with the help of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. But in 2005, two years after his exoneration, Avery was again convicted in Manitowoc County (05-CF-381) for the brutal killing of a young female Auto Trader Magazine photographer.
Collins said the strongest audience reaction seemed to come from his showing of crime scene photographs from the 1991 murder of Jacquetta Thomas in North Carolina. A white Nissan Pathfinder belonging to Gregory Taylor was found stuck in mud within close proximity of the victim’s body. Gregory Taylor was eventually convicted in 1993 in Wake County Superior Court (92CRS7128, 92CRS30701), but exonerated in 2010 and awarded $4.6 million dollars in post-conviction relief. Despite considerable evidence against him, Taylor was exonerated following what Collins argued was a coerced confession of a wayward prison inmate who had a history of confessing to crimes he didn’t commit.
Collins, who has studied overturned convictions for over a decade, also urged new research priorities to better understand what causes erroneous convictions. Among his recommendations was a call to evaluate drug use and addiction on the part of erroneously convicted felons, which Collins says is a “clear and consistent trend” worthy of study.
In the mean time, Collins hopes that The Innocence Audit will open people’s eyes to what goes on behind the scenes when activists are fighting to secure exonerations. “Our study is producing evidence that Innocence Fraud is real,” Collins says. “But it can be corrected with education and better standards of care for post-conviction activists and litigators. The ends cannot justify the means when the means are fraudulent.”
Crime Lab Report, now in its 9th year, is an independent quarterly publication focusing on media and industry affairs in forensic science. It is edited and distributed by the Forensic Foundations Group, which is based near Lansing, Michigan.
For more information about The Innocence Audit, or to make a donation in support of Crime Lab Report’s ongoing research, please visit http://www.crimelabreport.com/innocenceaudit.
Thank you for this sobering reminder.
Better 10 guilty men go free than I innocent person be denied their liberty.
There are so many innocent people behind bars right now in this country. There may be one or two fraudulent claims, but that does not negate the fact that the majority of those who claim innocence actually are.
Thank you, Michelle Ravell… keep in mind this is what the backlash will look like in response to the progress we are making trying to free the thousands upon thousands of innocent American citizens from the atrocities being committed by corrupt, tyrannical, self-serving, self-governing states. We are gaining ground. Eventually, the states and their agents/agencies will be investigated, held accountable, and face serious consequences for accusing, prosecuting, convicting, and imprisoning completely innocent American citizens because it was the easiest, quickest, most efficient, and most economical way to close cases and shut up victims and their families, while simultaneously duping the communities and the public at large with their tough on crime mumbo jumbo. Why doesn’t Mr. Collins tell the truth about how many innocent American citizens there are held in jails, hospitals, and prisons throughout the United States – and then compare that estimate with his example of fraud.
Did this evil Annie jeopardize her position and career of her own accord, or was she doing these dirty deeds at the behest of her state – Massachusetts this time?! Three (3) years for such criminal activity?! What a joke! THIS is what “fraudulent” looks like. This is how EASY it’s done. And THAT is why innocence activists must continue shouting from the rooftops in each and every corner in every state of our union. Mr. Collins, your presentation is b/s… respectfully, of course. http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/22/justice/massachusetts-chemist-plea/index.html
The “innocence” movement has become increasingly sanctimonious and prone to indulge in axe-grinding and questionable conduct in pursuit of dubious claims. Good on Mr. Collins for calling them on it.