A Claim of Innocence No Longer Impedes Parole


Admitting guilt has historically given inmates a better shot at parole, says the New York Times. But that “parole paradox” may be changing. The Times profiles Freddie Cox, who was paroled recently in New York after 28 years in prison for a 1986 murder in Brooklyn. Cox maintained his innocence at four parole hearings. Three times, the parole board rejected his release, even though a co-defendant — who admitted to the murder, and has said Cox was innocent — was freed three years ago.

On his fourth try, Cox was paroled. Lawyers from the Exoneration Initiative successfully argued that there was enough evidence to cast doubt on Cox's guilt, and that his claim of innocence should not be held against him. The Times says the case is part of trend as New York and other states confront a growing number of wrongful-conviction claims. At least three other men convicted in Brooklyn courts have won their freedom despite not admitting guilt. On the West Coast, men in California and Alaska who maintained their innocence were granted parole this fall.

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