Grady Attaway

Grady Attaway was wrongly convicted for a series of robberies in November 1999 on the basis of mistaken eye-witness identifications. There was no forensic evidence to corroborate the  conviction. Grady was involved in a car theft with Moises Martinez, but had no involvement in any robbery.

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Appeal Decided Feb 24, 2003

Article dated Friday, November 10, 2000

A jury convicted two young Augusta men Thursday of a slew of charges filed in connection with a home invasion, and one was also convicted of a separate robbery.

At the conclusion of a four-day trial in Richmond County Superior Court, 20-year-old Grady L. Attaway and 19-year-old Moises A. Martinez were convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, hijacking a motor vehicle, terroristic threats, thefts, burglary, financial transaction card frauds and weapons violations.

At the minimum, Mr. Attaway and Mr. Martinez face 10 years in prison without possible parole. They could see as much as a lifetime behind bars when sentenced, at a hearing that has not been set.

Both have been held in jail without bond since their arrests last November.

“You don’t judge this case on the evidence you don’t have. You judge it on the evidence you do have,” Assistant District Attorney Jason Troiano argued to the jury in closing Wednesday afternoon, countering arguments by defense attorneys Ronald Garnett and Leon Larke that evidence fell too short for conviction.

What the jury had was “rock solid” identifications by the victims, Mr. Troiano said.

Mr. Attaway and Mr. Martinez were convicted of crimes in connection with a Nov. 11, 1999, home invasion. Armed with a handgun and shotgun, the pair forced their way into Debra and Brandie Coney’s home, threatening to kill the mother and daughter, binding their hands and barricading them in a bathroom.

Mr. Martinez was also convicted of the Nov. 18, 1999, armed holdup of Ernest Cartwright, who was robbed by two men after making a pizza delivery. Mr. Cartwright testified he was positive the man aiming a handgun equipped with a laser sight was Mr. Martinez, although he couldn’t identify the second man.

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Forensic Science Reform Saves Lives

“The only thing crazed glass tells you is that the glass got hot and the fire department came and put out the fire”

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

Changing forensic science practices and protocols to a basis of scientific proofs takes years. This one indelible fact reveals how slowly law enforcement, the courts, and “general  acceptance” of established forensic groups adapt to legitimate change.

Read about how John Lentini has spent decades reworking the old assumptions and “magic” that was so popular in police arson investigations.

ABA Journal Magazine

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Barry Beach granted clemency

Gov. Steve Bullock on Friday granted clemency for Barry Beach, who has served more than 30 years in prison for a murder he claims he did not commit.

The order issued Friday directs Beach’s sentence to time served, with an additional 10 years suspended. Additional requirements contained within the order direct Beach to serve the suspended portion of the sentence on probation under the supervision of the Department of Corrections.

The governor made the decision through House Bill 43, a law that gives him the power to grant clemency that kicked in Oct. 1. The law was inspired by Beach who has been denied parole four times despite growing public support and the backing of a bipartisan coalition of current and former state and federal officials.

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Misconduct – an uneven playing field?

The Oklahoma Supreme Court’s penalty for intentionally misleading the defense?

Both prosecutors were ordered to be “publicly censured.” A man’s life was on the line, and all the prosecution’s conduct resulted in was a public reprimand. Compare that to the case of an Oklahoma defense attorney accused of suborning perjury.

After a witness was found to by lying when she said that a drug defendant was with her in Mexico on the day of a 2007 drug deal, attorney Mark Clayborne was accused of knowing the witness was lying and knowing she had altered the date on a video to make it appear that she and the defendant were together in Mexico on the date of the alleged offense.

Clayborne contested the witness’s statement that he told her to lie, saying he did not knowingly permit perjury. However, he was convicted of one count of perjury by subornation and one count of false preparation of exhibits as evidence. He was disbarred and criminally sentenced to six years in prison.

Read more at Huffington Post

Suzanne Johnson

Suzanne was convicted of assault on a child causing death ( shaken baby ), it made no sense but experts thought at the time the only explanation of three symptoms was shaking.

The judge said she was obviously an exemplary, caring, and loving lady, but the medical science established her guilt.

However it is now known that a short fall, like a fall from a high chair, can result in trauma sufficient to cause an infant’s death. Additionally, death from a short fall injury is more probable when an infant has a previous skull injury. In fact, when Jasmine fell from her high chair, she had an existing skull fracture that had occurred months earlier. The preexisting skull fracture was confirmed by Jasmine’s failure to thrive, physical discomfort, feeding problems, constant crying, and by autopsy findings.

Guilty plea may be withdrawn if prosecution withold evidence

The West Virginia Supreme Court said Tuesday that a man could withdraw a guilty plea he made in 2002 for a robbery and rape because prosecutors had withheld DNA testing results suggesting that he was probably innocent.

The case will reverberate more widely, legal experts said, because the West Virginia justices have provided the clearest decision yet on what has been an ambiguous, but important, question about the constitutional rights of criminal defendants.

See nytimes.com or Wrongly Convicted Blog for full details.

Oran Jones

[ Case description to come ]

News report from October 1992:

A former death row inmate may soon be free, thanks to the efforts of Oklahoma’s NAACP director.

The state Pardon and Parole Board recommended a parole to Colorado for Oran Jones, who at one time faced the electric chair for the 1974 robbery-slaying of an Oklahoma City motel owner.

Parole board members were set to deny clemency for Jones until the Rev. Wade Watts of McAlester testified on his behalf Thursday.

Before hearing Watts’ remarks, one board member even interrupted an Oklahoma County prosecutor’s objection of Jones’ clemency bid, saying the protest wasn’t necessary.

“I had him marked ‘no’ originally,” said Carl Hamm, the board’s vice chairman. “Reverend Watts was what influenced me. ” Watts said Monday, “I have kept up with this boy for several years. All the guards have spoken very highly of him. They say not only has he never caused any problems, he’s actually kept trouble down. ” Jones, 41, is part of a prison group that speaks to youth groups and tries to steer them away from lives of crime, said Watts, who is the state’s executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Watts said he has spoken before the parole board on behalf of “a dozen or more” inmates, “and only one has turned out bad. ” He also said he had doubts about Jones’ conviction for the slaying of Ealam Stanley at a motel in the 2100 block of NE 23.

The court transcript showed that Jones accepted an immunity offer to testify against another suspect, then was charged with first-degree murder anyway, Watts said.

“I think he was there (at the motel), but I don’t think he was the triggerman,” Watts said. “If I thought deep down that he was guilty, I wouldn’t have gone to bat for him. ” Jones was among several Oklahoma inmates whose sentences were modified to life a year after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional.

A parole board official said it was the first time in several years that clemency had been recommended for a former death row inmate.

The board voted 3-1 Friday to approve a parole only to Colorado after a family member from the Denver area said Jones could live with her.

Colorado officials have not said whether they will accept Jones’ plan, said Jerry Massie, Oklahoma corrections department spokesman.

Discussion here

OranJonesAffidavit

Kevin Baily

In 1989, two Chicago teenagers were wrongly accused and arrested for a murder they did not commit.

Corey Batchelor and Kevin Bailey were brought in to the notorious Area 2 police station and brutally interrogated by officers who had previously served under the now disgraced commander, Jon Burge. Corey was interrogated for 27 hours straight until he made a false confession. Kevin was then interrogated for 12 hours straight until he did the same. As someone sitting in the comfort of a free world, a false confession may sound absolutely preposterous, but Chicago is now being called the false confession capital of the world for good reason.

In spite of the stark reality that not one single shred of physical evidence or one single eyewitness linked Corey or Kevin to the murder of Lula Mae Woods, they were both convicted solely on the strength of their false confession — in spite of the reality that even their individual confessions greatly contradicted one another.

After serving 26 years in prison, Corey Batchelor, who entered as a 19-year-old and came out of prison as a 45-year-old man, is now free. Kevin Bailey, who was given an 80-year-sentence, is still behind bars.

Now, though, with the support of The Innocence Project, the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, the Exoneration Project, and the People’s Law Office, crucial DNA evidence from the crime scene has been tested for the very first time.

A bloody towel that the actual murderer used on the scene and a hat that was mistakenly left behind and did not belong to the victim or her family, each were tested and found to have hair on them from one person.

That person was not the victim, Corey, or Kevin. Not only that, but the stolen person and items from her purse were each found to have DNA from men on them. Testing confirmed that both Corey and Kevin are excluded from any possible matches on those items as well.

Lawyers for both men are now asking the courts for expedited hearings to finally free Kevin Bailey from prison and for both men to clear their names.

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How to Request Legal Assistance

The Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) will consider cases that meet the following criteria:

A claim of actual innocence: The person seeking assistance must be in no way responsible for the crimes of which he or she was convicted.
Post-conviction status: The trial must be completed and have resulted in a conviction and sentence.
If you believe that your claim fits these criteria, please send us a letter to the address below. The letter should briefly summarize the events that led to your current incarceration.

Center on Wrongful Convictions
Northwestern University School of Law
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

All requests must be sent through the mail. The CWC will not consider requests for representation received via email or over the phone. Please note that all requests must come directly from the person seeking representation, although we will accept supplemental materials from third parties.

The review process for requests for representation can take several months or longer. During this process, the CWC will not provide phone or mail updates about the status of the review. We thank you for your patience. The CWC will send a letter after the review process has been completed.

The CWC does not handle the following types of cases: (1) sentence reduction requests; (2) civil lawsuits.

Other Resources
Legal Representation
The Innocence Network is an affiliation of organizations, with a membership list organized by state, dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove their innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, as well as working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.

See http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/assistance/ for more.

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Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed, was convicted of first degree murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in January 1999.

The conviction was based on the testimony of Jay Wilds, who claimed he had helped Syed bury Lee’s body and dispose of her car, and cellphone evidence.

Syed’s lawyer has stated that “the cell tower evidence was misleading and should have never been admitted at trial.”

On November 6th, 2015 judge Martin P Welch ordered an appeals court to consider testimony from Asia McClain, who claimed to have seen him around the time of Lee’s disappearance, but whose account was never brought before the court by Syed’s lawyer at the time.

Welch also granted Syed’s petition to include a rediscovered document that casts doubt on cellphone-tower evidence that was critical to the prosecution’s case in 2000.

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6 July 2016 New trial granted

Michael Cassidy

Michael Cassidy has been incarcerated at Wakulla Correctional Institution, Crawfordville, Florida since 2011.

On testimony provided by his ex-wife, her sister, her sister’s daughter, and one of the daughter’s friends, Michael was accused, arrested, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated,

Initially, based on their reputations in Chipley, the local police did not believe their stories, so, they had to search for a police department that would believe their accusations, and eventually found believers in Okaloosa County.

Michael has provided evidence, official US Air Force documents, that support his innocence, in that he was attending military courses in New Mexico at the time.

Thus it was impossible for him to be in Florida on the dates manufactured by prosecutor, Christine Bosau, with the perjured testimony of Michael’s ex-wife’s sister and her daughter.

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Russ Faria Not Guilty

A judge in Missouri has found Russ Faria not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of his wife.

After Judge Steven Ohmer of St. Louis Circuit Court delivered his verdict, Faria fell into the arms of one of his defense attorneys as his family began to cry in the courtroom.

Judge Ohmer called the investigation into the case “disturbing.”

A jury had convicted Faria of first degree murder in 2013. His wife Betsy was found stabbed 55 times on December 27th, 2011 in the couple’s home just outside Troy, Missouri.

After serving more than two years in prison, a judge granted Faria a new trial this past June, citing new evidence not presented at the first trial that could have changed the jurors’ minds, including information about Pamela Hupp, who the defense contended was a possible alternate suspect.

Hupp was reportedly the last person to see Betsy alive. She collected $150,000 in life insurance after becoming Betsy’s beneficiary several days before the killing. Hupp has denied any involvement in Betsy’s death.

In the retrial, neither side called Hupp, though she had testified at the first trial. In a bizarre twist, a detective testified Thursday that Hupp told police for the first time this summer that she and Betsy had been lovers.

Other evidence presented included a pair of Faria’s slippers, which were found in a closet the night of the murder with Betsy’s blood on them, and a note found on a laptop stating the author, purportedly Betsy, was “afraid” of her husband. The defense maintains both were being used to frame Faria and could have easily been planted by the real killer.

Four alibi witnesses testified that Faria was with them, miles away from his and Betsy’s home, during the time she likely died.

Faria has always maintained his innocence, telling Keith Morrison in a 2014 Dateline report, “I know that I didn’t do it. I love my wife and I didn’t kill her.”

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/dateline/judge-acquits-russ-faria-retrial-wifes-murder-n458916

Donald Tolliver

Updated case description ( July 2016 ) :

Don Tolliver accused of shooting a girlfriend in 2011 while his children slept upstairs. Family and friends hope to present evidence not shown in court,and clarify why he testified “I was afraid of her” at the 2014 trial. Don, a single father, no domestic violence in his background, worked sixty to seventy hours a week to ensure his four children had a good home. The hardworking dad had a steady job of twelve years, twice divorced granted custody of his children after each one. He lived with this woman three months, charged with attempted murder and shooting with intent to kill.

On December 27th, 2011 Don, shaken at the police station denied shooting her after his arrest. Hospitalized, the “victim” released with non life-threatening injuries walking out with a band-aid , confirmed what he said was true. Promising to tell the District Attorney after she admitted it happened, fearing Don was leaving her. Confiding to our mother, she had no place to go or car to drive, Don’s vehicle, trailer and everything he owned, loaned to her. Mad because we started asking for the car back months later, screaming you shot me after waiting 45 minutes to see Don at the Delaware County jail. The car sold with a forged signature, trailer walls, kicked in, nothing inside. Don spent everyday with his children, bail money not raised. A mental health specialist found Don incompetent. A judge examined the evidence and suggested sending him home after treating him for depression.

The public defender revealed at the trial the “victims” ever changing affidavits, prosecutor found putting false information in the case file, confident Don was going home encouraging him to agree, act remorseful minutes before the trial started. During the trial jurors heard rehearsed state’s witnesses, family of the victim,  (examples) Don stole her money planning to flee the country. A loaded gun kept in a kitchen drawer with his two young boys in the house. The District Attorney the only reason why the case went as far as it did, concluded he shot her, ran downstairs, laid the gloves he was wearing side by side neatly on the bed and left. Don argued and said it did not happen that way, the public defender raised few objections, sat there doodling 90% of the time. Calling no one in Don’s defense, closing statement, ” Do the right thing.” Don found guilty, sentence 35 years. Don deserves a fair trial. Our requests for the OSBI to investigate misconduct in the Delaware County Sheriffs office, that did everything in their power to violate Don’s civil rights turned down by the District Attorney.

Original case description:

Don was a single parent of 5 children. He had been married twice before the 1st for 5 years 2nd 8 years. One of these was not his biological but he took her, her mother was doing drugs. Don left his first wife for this. He worked sometimes 6 or 7 days a week. He was a maintenance supervisor. He worked there 12 years.

He started seeing this girl. His home was not big enough so he rented a home for all his children and her and her daughter who was pregnant. Within a few weeks two of his children moved in with our parents because she was pushed off her dad’s lap. The other one had heard this woman making a drug deal in the bathroom of this house. Don started distancing his self from our family. When he would come around my mother would start asking questions about his girlfriend. He told my mom he was going to marry her. We could not believe it. She was twice his size and didn’t like his children.

On December 28th, 2011, Don watched this woman make a drug deal in their front yard. I believe somewhere in the newspapers he said “rat pusher” in court this is the reasoning for that. My brother hates drugs. It ruined his first marriage. After he saw her do this he went downstairs to their bedroom and was getting some clothes out. He was gonna get his children up and bring them to my mom. This happened at 6:30 in the morning. There was a fight. My brother does not fight. He is one of those people that just don’t say anything he will just leave. This women got his gun out of a locked box downstairs and told him “if you leave I will kill myself” there was no clip in the gun but there was a single bullet in it. He didn’t know that. He kept his guns downstairs because he didn’t trust his boys around them.He tried to grab it out her hand. Why? He said she hit him on the top of the head with it. The bullet went through the skin on the back of her neck.

It scared him when she was shot. He left and drove his car a couple of miles and parked trying to think about what he should do. He said he was not thinking clearly. Don had been in bad car wreck a couple of years before this and was life lighted in critical condition because of head trauma we almost lost him. He had a goose egg on the top of his head where she hit him. At this point he couldn’t see really straight so he got a ride into town and tried to get into the courthouse but it was closed for the holidays. He was walking down to my parents home where he was arrested.

The day of the trial she turned it all around. He tied her up. He got the gun out of a kitchen drawer and shot her. He stole all her money. His public defender told Don you will probably be going home the first day of the trial. She changed her affidavits so many times. Everything that came out of the DA’s mouth was a lie. The assistant DA wanted the DA job the position was up for election. Don was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

My brother worked long hours. He made over 20 dollars and hour. I have the rent receipt where he paid the rent and the engagement rings he bought her still. She said he was so jealous he synced their phones. She did this because her daughter was going to have a baby and Don owned the only car that was running, her car was broken down in the yard. We have since learned this girl has had her arm broken and police called to her home before because she was fighting with who ever she was living with at the time, she is a serial abuser. Don did not have one person there for his defence. Not one. The whole trial was awful. We thought he would come home. We also think she got caught with drugs on her and testified against Don because she was gonna get in trouble for the drugs. Our family is sick over this. I have a list of everything that DA lied about. There is not just a few. There are many. Don is in granite prison his job is a teachers assistant. He helps inmates get their GED’s.

Case description supplied by Malissa Orns, Don’s sister.

News report

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Sam Sheppard

Samuel Holmes “Sam” Sheppard (December 29, 1923 – April 6, 1970) was an American osteopathic physician and, toward the end of his life, a professional wrestler. He was convicted of the brutal murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn Reese Sheppard on July 4, 1954, at their Bay Village, Ohio, home. He spent almost a decade in prison, mostly at the Ohio Penitentiary, before a retrial was ordered, where he was acquitted in 1966.

On June 6, 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, struck down the murder conviction. The decision noted, among other factors, that a “carnival atmosphere” had permeated the trial, and that the trial judge Edward J. Blythin, was clearly biased against Sheppard because Judge Blythin had refused to sequester the jury, did not order the jury to ignore and disregard media reports of the case, and when speaking to newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen shortly before the trial started said, “Well, he’s guilty as hell. There’s no question about it.”

Source: wikipedia

There is new evidence published October 30, 2015, showing the murder was committed by Edward Wayne Edwards :

This is the last page of a letter Edward Edwards sent to Dr. Sam Sheppard’s father Richard, July 13th 1954, just after he had killed pregnant Marilyn Sheppard in her bed while she slept, and set-up her husband Dr. Sam Sheppard. I didn’t know it existed until last week. Just like in the 2009 Christopher Coleman case in Illinois, Edwards left a clue on the P.S. at the end of the letter as to who the real killer was. He left the number 4 in mirror image as a clue to 4 Ds to his name, and 2 Es.

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