After 12 years in prison for murder, a Florida man was freed Thursday in a case that called attention to the phenomenon of false or coerced confessions.
Based solely on his own questionable confession, Timothy Brown, 27, was convicted in the 1990 slaying of Broward sheriff’s Deputy Patrick Behan.
Brown maintained his innocence, and in May a federal judge overturned his conviction. On Thursday, the state conceded it had no evidence against Brown, and a judge set him free.
A Miami Herald investigation last year found that at least 38 false or questionable murder confessions have been thrown out by Broward County courts, rejected by juries or abandoned by police or prosecutors since 1990. It found repeated examples of illegal interrogation, coercive questioning and flawed fact-checking. In at least six cases, innocent people languished in jail while likely killers escaped detection.