Charles Ajokolo

Charles reported that he had been burgled, and property including two guns were taken. The detective he reported the theft to then framed him for an earlier attempted robbery (involving a gun) using a fixed photo line-up. Defense counsel failed to bring up inconsistencies recorded in a 911 call, or in fact do anything of any use whatsoever.

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Jeremiah Dewey

Jeremiah Dewey’s15 year old step daughter Brittney was drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, posting naked photo’s of her self on the internet, and having a sexual relationship with her boy friend. When Jeremiah tried to stop these behaviors she falsely accused him of sexually molesting her in her bedroom.

After a corrupt investigation and trial, Jeremiah was convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

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Steven Castenado

Steven Castenado was coerced into taking a plea bargain by threats of life imprisonment after being denied time for his lawyer to properly prepare for trial, after he was wrongly accused of murder aged just 17.

Please refer to https://cases.nationalcdp.org/steven-castanedo/ for a full description of the case.

Steven was denied post-conviction relief for ineffective assistance of counsel. A lawyer has been retained by the NCDP, who will be appealing the denial if a modest sum of money can be raised. See https://castanedo.nationalcdp.org/help-steven-now/ for details.

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Jon-Adrian Velazquez

Jon-Adrian “J.J.” Velazquez was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life for the shooting death of Albert Ward at the illegal gambling parlor the former NYPD officer operated. On Jan. 27, 1998, about half a dozen people, nearly all drug users or dealers, were inside the gambling parlor when two men came in and announced a robbery. Witnesses told police that one of the men had a gun; the other started binding people with duct tape. A struggle ensued and Ward, the former cop, was shot once in the head.
Velazquez, who said he was at home speaking on the phone with his mother at the time of the robbery, has always maintained his innocence. His case and new information suggesting he may have been wrongfully convicted were the focus of a “Dateline NBC” investigation last year and his innocence has been championed by actor Martin Sheen.
The initial descriptions of the gunman was entirely incomatible with Velazquez.
The witness who first identified Velazquez, now says that when he was brought in by police to look at photos, he had 10 bags of heroin in his possession. He also said that police pressured him to make an identification. Only after he picked someone at random – who turned out to be Velazquez — was he allowed to leave the precinct station, he said, adding that he was allowed to take the drugs with him.
A second witness, who had identified Velazquez in court, also recanted, saying “I told police that this was the guy and I was sure, but this was not the truth.” The witness, who was facing a drug charge of his own at the time, said, “I felt pressured because the police were threatening to arrest me.”

Ryan Widmer

Ryan Widmer was wrongly convicted of murder after three trials. He found his wife unresponsive in their bathtub, on August 11, 2008. Sarah had not been feeling well the entire day and had a bad headache. She was also known by family and friends to easily fall asleep and according to her brother had fallen asleep in the tub numerous times. An expert at the trial testified that in the U.S. every year about 300,000 people under the age of 35 die and that these people’s autopsies do not show any sign of what they died from.

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Ryan Widmer’s attorneys argue for his release December 3, 2015

This time, Gary Widmer is hoping for a different outcome for his son.

“It’s a big day for Ryan and I’m glad he has this opportunity, and I think a win for Ryan would be a win for the public because he’s an innocent guy and he’s in jail and it’s not right,” said supporter Sara Kraner. “I believe 100 percent in his innocence and I hope justice is served today.”

After three trials, Widmer was convicted in 2011 of killing his wife Sarah by drowning her in the bathtub. He has maintained his innocence.

On Wednesday, Michele Berry argued on his behalf. Berry said lead Hamilton Township Detective Jeff Braley was a “corrupt cop” and evidence presented was based on “junk science.”

widmer-federal-court-decision-feb-2-2017

Benny Lopez

Featured case #49 in Chicago, Illinois

Benny was wrongly accused and convicted for an August 1993 murder and attempted murder.

Prior to Benny’s incarceration in 1993, two suspects were arrested who had been positively identified as the two shooters in this case, however, in exchanged for a statement made by one of these suspects, alleging Benny had went to his home and confessed his involvement, the suspect was released without any charges pending.

This same suspect would later testify that he was forced into signing this false statement against Benny.

Benny was arrested, then mentally and physically tortured when he was being interrogated; although it was documented in the police reports and throughout Benny’s trial, that Benny had begged to speak to an attorney and wished not to speak to these detectives-his requests went unanswered. These same detectives claimed that after Benny requested his lawyer, that he then made and oral confession stating he was not the shooter but that he was involved in the fight with the victims.

During Benny’s trial, two of the prosecutions own witnesses, Chicago Police Officers, admitted under cross examination that Benny was not responsible for this crime and testified their reports indicated two other suspects were the shooters in this case.

Since Benny’s trial and conviction, he has obtained seral affidavits from witnesses now coming forward reiterating Benny was not responsible for his crime. He also received an affidavit/confession from the actual shooter stating he was responsible, not Benny.

Prior to this case, on August 23, 1992, Benny was a victim of police misconduct from this same district. He was falsely accused and arrested for a gun charge where these detectives planted a weapon on him. This charge was immediately dismissed after the judge discovered deception in these detectives’ testimonies.

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Guy Heinze Jnr

Featured Case #48

Guy Heinze Jnr was wrongly convicted of murdering his own family after he discovered them murdered. He had no criminal record or record of violence and was a model employee.

The police failed to collect and perform DNA exams on evidence at the scene, and then suggested the lack of other DNA indicated Guy as the killer. A forensic expert said that the murder was committed by approximately five people.

One of the victims was still alive when Guy raised the alarm, which is inconsistent with him being the killer.

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