The state of Maryland already paid settlements of $2.9 million to three men who each served 36 years in prison for a robbery-murder, but the men have now sued the Baltimore Police Department and the three lead detectives in their case alleging a lengthy pattern of misconduct.
Why do courts prosecute people for crimes that never happened? The answer, former New York City public defender Jessica Henry says in a conversation with TCR about her new book on U.S. legal practices, lies in the system’s reluctance to correct errors.
An anti-terrorism measure passed by Congress in 1996 to block some defendants seeking to overturn their convictions has proved as fatal as the maneuver used against George Floyd, writes a Texas inmate. It’s called the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.
Brooklyn, N.Y., DA Eric Gonzales has taken an important step with the publication of a report on 25 wrongful convictions uncovered by his Conviction Review Unit, the largest in the nation. But the deeper challenge remains preventing future miscarriages of justice, writes TCR’s legal affairs columnist.
Joseph Sledge was sentenced to life without parole in North Carolina for a murder he didn’t commit. It took 36 years for him to be freed, largely because exoneration cases focus on those given the death penalty — a dilemma faced by inmates in many states where capital punishment has been abolished.
Krishna Maharaj has spent the last three decades in a Florida prison, where he faces the death penalty for murders he says he didn’t commit. Now 81 years old and ailing, he charges that the state has not responded to his appeals for a new hearing on evidence that proves his innocence, putting him at risk for infection from COVID-19.
The National Registry of Exonerations says that, collectively, innocent people exonerated last year spent 1,908 years incarcerated, an average of 13.3 years lost per person. Official misconduct was blamed for most of the cases.