Posts Tagged ‘Tennessee’


Man Wrongfully Convicted of Rape and Robbery Denied Exoneration

Alejandra de la Fuente — September 30, 2016 @ 12:24 PM — Comments (0)

lawrence-mckinney

Lawrence McKinney was freed from prison in 2009 after DNA evidence overturning his 1978 conviction in Memphis, Tennessee. He was wrongfully convicted of rape and burglary and sentenced to 100 years for the rape and 10-15 for the burglary. After 31 years in prison, Lawrence finally saw the promise of freedom in the horizon. However, despite being released and having his record expunged, Lawrence was not officially exonerated of his conviction.

Now, Lawrence’s efforts have been tarnished by a Tennessee parole board who claims that the evidence isn’t sufficient for them to recommend the governor formally exonerate him and make him eligible for compensation. The vote was 7-0 against his innocence, reports AP.

Lawrence’s legal team, which includes Lorna McCulsky from the Innocence Project, states that they plan to request the exoneration directly from Gov. Bill Haslam, bypassing the usual (but not required) board recommendation process. If McKinney is exonerated, he would be eligible for compensation up to $1 million dollars due to his wrongful conviction. Tennesee has only paid compensation to two previous exonerated men before and so, Lawrence’s uphill battle continues as he fights after decades of injustice.

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Lawrence McKinney Granted Exoneration Hearing

Kate Mathis — July 25, 2016 @ 1:00 PM — Comments (0)

Last month, an article was posted to our blog about Lawrence McKinney’s request for exoneration and Tennessee State Representative Mark Pody’s frustration with how long that process was taking. Now, some progress has finally been made, as the Tennessee Board of Parole recently granted McKinney an exoneration hearing.

The board is responsible for reviewing applications such as McKinney’s and gives recommendations to the governor, who makes the final decision on exoneration requests. If McKinney is exonerated, it will make him eligible to file for compensation for his wrongful conviction.

David Raybin and Jack Lowery, whom Pody referred to as “good legal representation,” will represent McKinney at the upcoming hearing, which is scheduled for September 27.

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Tennessee Lawmaker Frustrated with Exoneration Process

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

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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Tennessee Bill on Preserving Evidence Passed Unanimously in Senate Judiciary Committee

Kate Mathis — April 04, 2016 @ 4:00 PM — Comments (0)

Last month, the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill that would require biological evidence collected in death sentence cases to be preserved throughout a defendant’s life or incarceration. Nashville Republican Senator Steve Dickerson sponsored the bill. A similar bill, sponsored by Representative Jeremy Faison, was presented to a House subcommittee that same day.

During a committee meeting the week before, Dickerson told committee members that although they do believe most biological evidence has been preserved, the bill would eliminate any doubts. A Tennessee Bureau of Investigations representative, however, testified later that it is already policy to preserve that evidence, since doing so is the only way to ensure an innocent person is not executed.

At that same committee meeting, Ray Krone also testified. He was sentenced to death for the 1991 murder of a 36-year-old woman in Phoenix, Arizona; a murder that he did not commit. Krone, who said he usually does not use notes when speaking, read from a prepared statement while talking to legislators because he was unsure whether he would be able to keep his composure.

Despite being arrested and charged for the crime, Krone said he still felt confident because he knew he was innocent and believed in the system and government.

While a public defender was assigned to represent Krone for a mere $5,000, the bite mark expert who testified that the bite marks on the victim belonged to Krone received $50,000 for his testimony.

In 1996, Krone’s original conviction was overturned on appeal based on procedural errors, winning him a new trial. He was once again convicted, however, but was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison because the judge had doubts about his guilt.

In 2002, biological evidence used in DNA testing proved Krone’s innocence—the same kind of evidence detailed in Dickerson’s bill. That test identified Kenneth Phillips, Jr. as the real perpetrator.

Following the 1976 reinstatement of the death penalty, Krone was the 100th inmate to be exonerated from death row.

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