How Boy’s Wrongful Conviction Was Undone In 10-Year Saga


Anthony Harris was 12 when he was accused of killing Devan Duniver, 5, in New Philadelphia, Ohio, in 1998. It turned out to be a wrongful arrest and conviction. The American Lawyer recounts the ten-year legal saga that the publication says “highlights the best and worst aspects of our criminal justice system. Lives were forever altered, and despite the efforts of a passionate public defender, it ultimately took an Ohio appellate court, two federal courts, and the extraordinary commitment of two large law firms to repair some of the damage. When a person’s future is at stake, what kind of a system depends on the chance rescue efforts of volunteer lawyers? And does it really have to be so hard to hold public officials accountable for their misconduct–or to get them to say they’re sorry?”

Harris ended up going to prison, but lawyers spent years unraveling the wrongful prosecution, ending up winning $3.7 million in damages against officials who pursued it. Daniel Warren, one of the lawyers who handled the appeals, said, “It’s scary how little it takes for people in power to screw things up, and how much it takes to correct it.”

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