Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 26

Kate Mathis — June 26, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary John Hooper!

John was exonerated in New York last year.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 25

Kate Mathis — June 25, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary Nathan Brown and Quentin Carter!

Nathan was exonerated in Louisiana in 2014 with help from the Innocence Project and the Innocence Project New Orleans.

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Quentin was exonerated in Michigan last year.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 24

Kate Mathis — June 24, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Several exonerees celebrate their exoneration anniversaries today.

Verneal Jimerson was exonerated in Illinois in 1996 with help from the Innocence Project.

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Gregory Bright and Earl Truvia were convicted of the same crime and were exonerated in Louisiana in 2003 with help from the Innocence Project New Orleans.

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Uriah Courtney was exonerated in California in 2013 with help from the California Innocence Project.

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Lewis Gardner and Paul Phillips were convicted of the same crime, along with two other people, and were exonerated in Illinois in 2014.

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Happy exoneration anniversary Verneal, Gregory, Earl, Uriah, Lewis, and Paul!

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 23

Kate Mathis — June 23, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary David A. Gray and Darrell Williams!

David was exonerated in Illinois in 1999.

Darrell was exonerated in Oklahoma in 2014 with help from the Chicago Innocence Center.

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Colorado Exoneree Seeks $30 Million for Wrongful Conviction

Kate Mathis — June 22, 2016 @ 1:00 PM — Comments (0)

Lorenzo Montoya, who recently celebrated his exoneration anniversary on June 16, is now suing those responsible for his wrongful conviction. Montoya was convicted in 2000 of the murder of Emily Johnson in January that year when he was just 14 years old. After more than 13 years behind bars, his conviction was overturned in 2014 when DNA evidence proved he was not responsible for the crime.

When police brought Montoya in for questioning, he told them 65 times during the interrogation that he was not present during the crime and that he did not do anything. Ultimately, he accepted a deal and pled guilty to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact—a felony that is still on his record.

Montoya recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Denver and the Denver Police Department, seeking $30 million for his wrongful conviction. According to his attorney, David Fisher, part of the reason Montoya filed the lawsuit is because he wants to initiate change. Fisher went on to say that while his client is trying to let go of and move on from his wrongful conviction, he does not want what happened to him to happen to other kids.

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Tennessee Lawmaker Frustrated with Exoneration Process

Kate Mathis — June 21, 2016 @ 1:26 PM — Comments (0)

Although the growing number of exonerations is something to celebrate, the exoneration process is a lengthy one—something that a Tennessee lawmaker has recently expressed his frustrations about. State Representative Mark Pody got involved in the effort to exonerate Lawrence McKinney about six months ago. McKinney was convicted in 1978 for a rape and burglary that he did not commit and was sentenced to 100 years and 10-15 years, respectively. After DNA evidence showed he was not responsible, McKinney was released in 2009 after spending 31 years wrongfully incarcerated.

McKinney then had his record expunged, but it was not enough for him. He has been fighting for his exoneration, in which the state would declare him innocent, making him eligible to file for compensation. After getting involved in the case, Pody now feels the board of parole misled him on how long it would take for them to provide Governor Bill Haslam with a recommendation to consider on McKinney’s exoneration.

In March, the parole board was provided with the information they needed in order to review McKinney’s case. According to Pody, he was told several weeks later that the board would provide a recommendation by early June. Last week, however, Pody was told that board members had not yet received the information and that a September hearing may be a possibility. In addition, he was also told that the governor, who ultimately decides exoneration requests and does not have to adhere to the board’s recommendation, usually makes those decisions near the end of a term, which for Haslam would be January 2019. According to the Tennessee Board of Parole, however, Pody was told that board members would receive the information materials within two weeks.

Expressing his frustration with the process during a press conference, Pody reminded those involved that they are dealing with someone’s life, and demanded specific dates and people for when and by whom McKinney’s exoneration request would be addressed. Senator Mae Beavers agreed with Pody, stating that people should have a right to a speedy exoneration just as they have a right to a speedy trial.

This is actually McKinney’s second request for exoneration, as he applied soon after his release from prison. The parole board did not recommend him, however, and never gave him a reason why.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 21

Kate Mathis — @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary James Curtis Giles!

James was exonerated in Texas in 2007 with help from the Innocence Project.

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Michigan Senate Unanimously Passes Wrongful Conviction Compensation Bill

Kate Mathis — June 20, 2016 @ 3:00 PM — Comments (0)

The number of states that do not have legislation regarding compensation for wrongfully convicted individuals is dwindling, which is good news for the innocence movement and those fighting to right the wrongs carried out by our criminal justice system. Recently, Michigan lawmakers unanimously passed Senate Bill 291, also called the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, which will allow exonerees to receive $50,000 for every year they spent behind bars.

There are some limits to the bill, however, which would be deemed inapplicable if a sentence is upheld for a separate crime that was related to the wrongful conviction. In addition, exonerees seeking compensation for any injuries they suffered while incarcerated must file a separate claim.

Without legislation, many exonerees have had to engage in expensive legal battles in order to seek compensation for the time they spent wrongfully incarcerated. The bill, which will now go to Michigan’s House of Representatives, aims to avoid that difficult process. It also includes aftercare services for exonerees.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 20

Kate Mathis — @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary Kevin Green!

Kevin was exonerated in California in 1996 with help from the Innocence Project.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 18

Kate Mathis — June 18, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary Eugene Gilyard and Mark West!

Eugene was exonerated in Pennsylvania in 2014 with help from the Pennsylvania Innocence Project.

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Mark was exonerated in Texas in 2014.

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