Posts Tagged ‘California Innocence Project’


Today in Wrongful Conviction History: February 9th

Alejandra de la Fuente — February 09, 2017 @ 1:53 PM — Comments (0)

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Today is the exoneration anniversary of Tim Atkins from Los Angeles, California.

In 1987, Tim Atkins went to trial for the armed robbery of Vincente and Maria Gonzalez that resulted in the murder of Vincente. He and Ricky Evans were arrested and charged with murder and armed robbery after a woman named Denise Powell told police she heard the two street gang members bragging about the crime.

While Evans was assaulted and killed in jail in 1985, Atkins waited two years for his trial. Once it began, Powell could not be located to testify. Despite this, her testimony from the preliminary hearing was presented to the jury as a confession. Maria also identified Atkins as the man who stole her necklace at the scene of the crime. Due to this, Atkins was sentenced to 32 years to life in prison.

In 2001, Atkins wrote to the California Innocence Project where a law student found Powell at a drug rehabilitation center. When approached, Powell admitted her testimony was false. Not only did she confess to lying about overhearing a confession, Powell said police threatened to charge her with a narcotics offense if she didn’t provide information about the two suspects.

In 2007, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan granted Atkins’ a new trial and on February 9th, he was released. While he was cleared of all charges, the state did not grant Atkin’s compensation as they felt he did not wholly prove his innocence.

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Today in Wrongful Conviction History: June 24

Alejandra de la Fuente — 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: May 24

Alejandra de la Fuente — May 23, 2016 @ 10:00 AM — Comments (0)

Happy exoneration anniversary Brian Banks and Bennett Barbour!

Brian was exonerated in California in 2012 with help from the California Innocence Project. Brian was the keynote speaker at IPF’s 2014 Steppin’ Out gala, giving a riveting address to the audience about his story and the need for folks to support IPF.

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Bennett was exonerated in Virginia in 2012 with help from the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia School of Law. Unfortunately, Bennett passed away in 2013 after a long battle with bone cancer, but not before getting to vote in his first ever presidential election.

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Update: Exoneree Brian Banks Looking Forward

Alejandra de la Fuente — September 13, 2013 @ 2:28 PM — Comments (0)

California Innocence Project Exoneree and NFL-hopeful Brian Banks was released from the Atlanta Falcons during a pre-season cut to the 53-man team. Banks was one of ten players released. Banks is neither upset nor dismayed. He noted his performance on the field was behind that of his peers because of his absence from the game and he put everything he had out there on the field.

Banks looks forward to free agency as well as other opportunities. He recently posted on his twitter account:

“As most have heard, my time with the Atlanta Falcons has come to an early end. I want to thank Mr Blank, Dimitroff,& Smith for such an amazing and unforgettable opportunity. This experience has shown me a piece of life that was once taken, and where things (football wise) would have been if it wasn’t for the 10 years of life loss.”

Brian BanksBanks has not announced any plans to continue playing football though he has tweeted about speaking engagements and other events he may be available for.  Banks is the keynote speaker at the Innocence Project of Minnesota’s annual benefit on October 17th.

There have also been tweets about a potential documentary of his life story. Whatever the future holds for Banks, we hope for success for him as he continues to spread his story of exoneration and innocence.

More information about Brian Banks can be found at ABC News , the NFL, and The National Registry of Exonerations, as well as IPF’s blog Plain Error.

 

 

 

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Uriah Courtney Exonerated in California

Alejandra de la Fuente — June 27, 2013 @ 3:21 PM — Comments (0)

This week a San Diego judge dismissed all charges against Uriah Courtney, a man who spent eight years in prison for a kidnapping and rape that he did not commit. Courtney was convicted in 2004 after a sexual assault in Lemon Grove, CA. The victim told the jury she was sure Courtney was the man who pulled her off the street.

The judge reversed the conviction after finding that the foreign biological material collected from the victim did not match Courtney’s DNA. Instead it matched that of a man who “bore striking physical resemblance to Courtney,” according to a news release from the California Western School of Law.

Courtney was aided by the California Innocence Project, who was able to complete DNA testing with the funding provided by the National Institute of Justice. A big shout out to everyone who worked on the case, including the CIP staff, attorneys, partners, and students. And congratulations to Uriah Courtney on his renewed lease on life!

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