Exoneration Round Up – March 24, 2015

  • We continue to be overjoyed for our client, Juan Rivera, as he received $20 million last week in a settlement with the City of Waukegan and Lake County as a result of a civil suit regarding his 20 years spent wrongfully incarcerated for a murder he did not commit. Rivera’s grace and kindness inspire us daily, and we could not be any happier for him.
  • New client Angel Gonzalez also deserves another round of congratulations. Angel finally left prison on March 10th after serving 20 years for a rape he did not commit. We look forward to working with Angel during his transition into freedom and the future. Read more about Angel’s case here.
  • Read here for an update on the Life After Justice house, a proposed haven for exonerees upon their release from wrongful incarceration. Life After Innocence clients Jarrett Adams and Antione Day are working together to plan and build the home, which will act as a place for exonerees to live and accrue skills for reentry into their communities.
  • On Monday, an Arizona judge tossed out Debra Milke’s conviction for the tragic murder of her young son. Milke, who said her son “meant everything to [her],” served 22 years on death row. She has always maintained her innocence. Read more about Milke’s case here.
  • Congratulations to Frank Sealie, 25, who went from a life without parole sentence three years ago to a March exoneration in the 2012 shooting death of a street vendor. Sealie, of Jefferson County (Alabama), was freed two weeks ago after the prosecutor in his case had investigators take a second look at the wrongful conviction.
  • On March 5, the State Bar of Texas filed a formal accusation of misconduct against the Navarro County (TX) District Attorney – John Jackson – who previously convicted Cameron Todd Willingham for the alleged arson murder of his three daughters. Willingham was executed in 2004. Some of the alleged improprieties against Jackson include making false statements, concealing evidence favorable to the defense, and threatening a jailhouse informant to coerce testimony. Read more about the case here.
  • “Glenn Ford should be completely compensated to every extent possible because of the flaws of a system that effectively destroyed his life.” Those words actually come from A.M. Stroud, one of the prosecutors who sentenced Ford to the death penalty in 1984 for murder. Ford, who has stage-four lung cancer, was released from prison on March 11 when new evidence proved he was not the killer. Read Stroud’s apology here.
  • Check out this compelling story on wrongful convictions in China. Chief Justice Zhou Qiang “urged fellow judges to learn from their own past mistakes.”
  • Finally, enjoy this criminal defense attorney’s take on what The Dress tells us about eyewitness misidentification.
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