Fourth annual review

Since the third annual review in May 2017, 2 cases have been featured bring the total to 163, and 43 cases have adopted being the total to 133, and the overall total to 296.

There were 13 exonerations (or similar), bringing the total to 50, please see the Featured and Adopted Case List for details.

There were two executions : Robert Pruett, on 12 October, 2017 and Michael Lambrix, on 5 October, 2017.

A new Facebook group Wrongful Conviction Discussion has been quite busy. Please remember that this new group does allow people to take either side of a case in a respectful and sensitive way, whereas the main group only allows that during the voting period on a proposal.

Thanks again to everyone who has voted on proposals, or contributed to the discussion.

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KC Grondin

KC Grondin was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend.

Fingerprints and DNA at the murder scene in 2011 didn’t belong to Grondin, and witnesses and cell phone triangulation  showed that he was miles away when the victim’s stolen debit card was used.

After three years in prison, in June 2018 a new trial was ordered.

 

Proposal Post | Appeal Ruling

 

Darlie Routier Key Points

Two of Darlie Routier‘s three sons were stabbed to death on June 6, 1996, around 2:30am at night. Darlie stated an intruder attacked her and the boys, but she was accused of staging the attack, convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Here are some key points about the case:

  • Darlie was very nearly killed by a knife slash to her throat, which came within 2mm of cutting her carotid artery. If it had been pierced, she would have bled to death within a few minutes.
  • As well as a slashed throat, Darlie had a stab wound to her arm and very extensive bruising.
  • A bloody fingerprint that didn’t belong to any of the family members was found on a glass table that was in the Routier home at the time of the stabbings.
  • A bloody sock was discovered 75 yards from the house. The sock had blood of both her boys on it, powerful evidence of an intruder. The boys were still alive when first responders arrived. The severity of their injuries means that Darlie did not realistically have time to perform many “staging” actions alleged by the prosecution.
  • Routier’s clothes from that night were placed in the same evidence bag as her sons’, which could have led to cross contamination.
  • Prosecution witness Tom Bevel testified the mixture of blood from Darlie and the boys in millimeter sized drops of blood on Darlie’s nightshirt was due to cast off first from the boys and then later drops of Darlie’s blood landing in exactly the same places.
  • In at least three other cases, Bevel’s testimony has led to wrongful convictions.
  • In a 2008 ruling granting a defense motion for new DNA tests, an appeal judge stated: “The theory underlying the prosecution’s case against the petitioner is as convoluted and counter-intuitive as that of any death penalty case to come before this Court.”
  • In the same ruling, the judge rejected the State’s argument that evidence of another male inside the house would merely suggest Darlie had an accomplice.
  • Greg Davis, prosecutor, stated soon after the trial that if Darlie was innocent that showed what a good lawyer he is. Although stating in public that he is 100% sure that Darlie is guilty, according to his brother, in private he has stated she may be innocent.
  • The jury played the “Silly String” video nine times. At least one juror has changed his opinion that she is guilty, and regrets his decision. The jurors admitted that they never looked at the photos showing how extensive Darlie’s injuries were.
  • At trial, the prosecution argued that the screen was cut by a bread knife from the kitchen, on the basis of microscopic glass rods. It is now known that these were likely due to contamination from finger print brushes.
  • The state of Texas offered Routier life without parole in exchange for her admitting guilt, but she refused the offer.
  • In June 2018, Vanessa Potkin, an Innocence Project attorney stated : “Darlie’s conviction rests entirely on faulty blood spatter analysis and character assassination”.
  • Two of Darlie’s pro bono attorneys launched a new website in June 2018 with details abut the case to coincide with a four-part ABC documentary about the case. The Legal Documents page has a link to the Habeas Corpus appeal which describes the case in detail.
  • As of June 2018, a petition calling for the case to be re-opened has attracted nearly 5,000 signature, and the Facebook Page “Free Darlie Routier” had more than 3,000 “Likes”.

 

 

 

David Diaz

Martha Sierra accused David Diaz of attempting to kill her boyfriend, Remberto Preciado, in the Lincoln Heights area of L.A., in front of her. According to police, Preciado was asked what neighborhood he was from during a fight over gang rivalries, and subsequently shot in the leg.

At the hospital, Sierra, then 18, was asked for information about the suspect. Detectives showed her photos of registered gang members in Lincoln Heights. She pointed to a young man, skinny with a shaved head, bushy eyebrows, and the start of a moustache. It was David Diaz.

In court, the defense presented evidence that showed Diaz was at the cinema with his family at the time of the shooting. But the jury was swayed by Sierra’s identification of Diaz as the shooter.

Nineteen years later, Sierra admits that she chose Diaz at random due to police pressure. “They told me I couldn’t go home until I identified the criminal. I told them: ‘OK, it’s this guy,’ but I didn’t know who he was,” she told Univision News.

“David Diaz was not the shooter,” said Sierra, now 39. “I feel bad because he should not be there,” she added.

Sierra says the true culprit does not even look like Diaz, but she did not see him among the pictures police showed her. “Everything happened so quickly but I remember that he was tall, with light skin, and skinny.” According to Diaz and his lawyers, the true culprit died in a gunfight.

The victim of the shooting, Remberto Preciado, declared that the accused was not the man who shot him in the leg.

“He is innocent,” Preciado wrote in a letter sent to Univision from Salinas Valley state prison, where he is serving a sentence for an unrelated incident. “In the trial, I testified that David Diaz was not the shooter. He is a victim of injustice of the Los Angeles’ courts,” he wrote.

“Nineteen years of his life have been stolen from him,” he added.

Source: https://www.univision.com/univision-news/united-states/this-man-has-been-imprisoned-for-19-years-but-the-victim-and-a-witness-say-hes-innocent

Proposal Post

Joe Bryan

Joe Bryan was convicted for the murder of his wife in 1985, a murder which according to a New York Times Editorial he “probably didn’t commit”. According to the Editorial:

“By all accounts, the Bryans had a happy marriage. On the night of his wife’s murder, Mr. Bryan was attending a principals’ conference 120 miles away. Prosecutors dismissed or ignored many pieces of potentially exculpatory evidence, like an unidentified palm print in the bedroom where Mrs. Bryan was shot to death, a cigarette butt on the kitchen floor (neither of the Bryans smoked) and the absence of any bloodstains in Mr. Bryan’s car.”

He was convicted on account of some tiny specks which may or may not have been blood, on a flashlight found in his car, which may have been planted.

Proposal Post