Exoneration Round Up – June 14, 2015

  • Jason Strong recently became the sixth person to be cleared of a conviction in Lake County since 2010.  On May 28, all charges were dropped for the brutal murder of a young woman, a crime for which Mr. Strong wrongfully spent 15 years behind bars.  Strong’s conviction was overturned based on previously unexamined medical evidence, which indicated that the original autopsy report was incorrect.
  • After spending 10 years on death row, Texas inmate Alfred Brown was exonerated on June 9.  Brown was sentenced to death in 2005 for an armed robbery resulting in the death of a police officer, and last year, it was discovered that the phone records clearing Brown of the murder were never given to the defense attorneys.  Read journalist Lisa Falkenberg’s Pulitizer-winning coverage of Brown’s case here.
  • On June 4, after 27 years in prison, Shabaka Shakur became the ninth person to be cleared of a murder investigated by Brooklyn Detective Louis Scarcella.  Although he has not been exonerated by a finding of actual innocence, the Brooklyn district attorney stated that the ability to retry the case “has been compromised by a number of factors,” including the investigation of Scarcella’s cases.  Scarcella’s fifty murder convictions are currently under review for a number of reasons.  Read more about the Scarcella investigation here.
  • Texas prosecutor, Charles Sebesta, was disbarred on June 11 for evidence withholding and using false testimony to win a capital murder conviction.  These actions caused Anthony Graves to spend 18 years behind bars, 12 of which were spent on death row.  Graves’ case may sound familiar because of CBS’s “48 Hours” broadcast, “Grave Injustice”, which has received many accolades, including an Emmy.
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