Category Archives: Coerced False Confession

Daniel Gwynn

Daniel Gwynn was convicted of first degree murder, arson and aggravated assault in 1995. The primary evidence against him was an incriminating police-written statement that he signed. In this statement Mr. Gwynn is supposed to have started the fire at that killed Marcia Smith, one of the six homeless residents there, who refused to jump out of a third floor residence. The other five residents survived. Two of the residents testified that on the day before the fire they had an altercation with someone known as ‘Rick’ who fought with them for seventy minutes before being forced to flee the residence and threatened revenge. The five homeless residents told police that they believed ‘Rick” had to have started the fire – even though they did not see who started the fire.

According to false confession expert Dr. Richard Leo, “There is no objective record of what occurred and therefore no way of ruling out that Mr. Gwynn was not educated about those facts that he got correct, a phenomenon known as ‘contamination’ that is not uncommon in police interrogations, especially those leading to false confessions.”

Source: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/125/358/722/free-daniel-gwynn-an-innocent-man-on-death-row/

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Charles Johnson and Larod Styles

In July 2016, Cook County Judge Domenica A. Stephenson vacated the murder convictions of Charles Johnson, 39, and Larod Styles, 36, who, as teenagers, received life sentences in the December 1995 deaths of Yousef Ali and Khalid Ibrahim. Both men were fatally shot during a robbery at Elegant Auto Sales at 75th and Western.

After eight years of legal wrangling, which included an appellate court decision in their favor, attorneys representing the men said the day would not be possible if Illinois weren’t the only state in the nation to allow post-conviction fingerprint testing for defendants.

Matching fingerprints were found on a car at the used car lot and on the adhesive side of a price sticker that was torn off of one of two cars that was stolen from the lot, said defense attorney Steven Drizin, of Northwestern University’s Center On Wrongful Convictions.

The same prints were also found on the stolen cars themselves — which were abandoned about five miles from the crime scene. And the kicker, defense attorneys claim, is the fact that the fingerprints, when run through a law enforcement data base that was not available to detectives at the time of the original investigation, returned a match: a man with a lengthy criminal record who lives a short walk from where the stolen cars were found. According to a source, the man has since been interviewed by investigators.

“We are here today because we were able to use that database to not only exclude our clients . . . but to match those fingerprints to one person in particular who has nothing to do with our clients,” said Drizin, who discounted confessions the men gave to police.

In September 2016, Charles Johnson was freed on $50,000 bond, Styles was unable to post bond. Cook County prosecutors said they will retry both Johnson and Styles.

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February 15, 2017 Charges Dropped

Andrew Krivak

Anthony DiPippo and Andrew Krivak were arrested in July 1996 after DiPippo’s ex-girlfriend, Denise Rose, claimed she had been with them in a van and saw them rape and kill Josette Wright. She told police the men gagged Wright with her underwear and dropped her body off in the woods in Fields Lane in Patterson, which was where police had found her remains. DiPippo and Krivak were both found guilty of second-degree murder and first-degree rape in 1997. Krivak is serving a 25-to-life sentence in state prison and isn’t eligible for parole until 2021. DiPippo was acquitted by a jury after three trials in October 2016.

Krivak signed a lengthy statement in which he admitted raping Josette but not killing her and implicating DiPippo in the murder. Krivak did not testify at his own trial but has always insisted he fabricated the confession under pressure from the investigators.

In September 2016, Krivak filed to introduce the new evidence that led to DiPippo’s acquittal. “New evidence shows that Krivak is likely innocent of the crimes, that false evidence was used at his trial and that he deserves a new trial,” one of his lawyers, Adele Bernhard, wrote in court papers. Bernhard, a former Pace Law School professor, teaches at New York Law School, where she supervises the Post-Conviction Innocence Clinic.

Krivak’s filing relied on several of the details that got DiPippo his new trial — particularly that Putnam sheriff investigators coerced witnesses and that a Connecticut sex offender, Howard Gombert, is Josette’s killer and implicated himself in statements made to a fellow inmate in 2011. At DiPippo’s trial on in September 2016,  Joseph Santoro testified as a defense witness how Gombert claimed to have sex with Josette at the time she disappeared and that he suggested he had gotten away with murder because two “suckers” were convicted.

On Tuesday December 20, 2016 Krivak’s motion was denied by State Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri, who said Krivak and DiPippo’s cases are different, and the new evidence isn’t likely to change the verdict because of Krivak’s “detailed, voluntary confession” to the police after his arrest in 1996.

Krivak’s attorney, Adele Bernhard, called the judge’s ruling “surprising” and “disappointing.”, and said that Krivak’s confession has “the hallmarks of a false confession.” The new evidence, his lawyers say, points to Howard Gombert, who is serving time in Connecticut for sexual assault, as the girl’s likely killer, not Krivak and DiPippo, who were convicted of the crime in separate trials in 1997.

“One of the things the police are supposed to do in trying to get them to confess is to get them to talk about evidence that isn’t already known,” Bernhard said. “So for example, if they can get the suspect to say the victim was wearing purple underwear and no one knows that except police. But everything in the alleged confession was already known from the crime scene.”

Bernhard said the defense team will file an appeal of the judge’s decision early in 2017.

“We’re going to ask the appellate division to review the judge’s decision, and I’m sure that they will,” she said. “We just want to give the jury an opportunity to consider all the evidence. The jury didn’t get to do that.”

The Putnam Sheriff’s Investigator, Daniel Stevens, that helped secure Krivak’s disputed  confession through the use of a lie detector was the same detective that gave Jeffrey Deskovic the lie detector test that preceded his false coerced confession. Deskovic was exonerated by DNA evidence and the taped confession of the actual perpetrator.

Sources: News reports 30 September, 201620 December, 2016DiPoppo Exoneration Report at the National Registry of Exonerations.

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The 8th and H thirteen

On October 1, 1984, in a rain-soaked alley in Washington, D.C., a street vendor found a tiny woman lying dead on the floor of a garage. She was Catherine Fuller, a mother of six, who left home to run a quick errand and never came back. She had been beaten, sexually assaulted and killed all within sight of a busy public street.

Thirteen individuals were indicted. Harry Bennett and Calvin Alston, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify for the government. Bennett pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery, Alston to second-degree murder. James Campbell, whose case was severed for trial after his attorney became ill, eventually pleaded guilty as well.  In 1985, after a jury trial, Alphonzo Harris and Felicia Ruffin were found not guilty, Charles S. Turner, Christopher D. Turner, Russell L. Overton, Levy Rouse, Clifton E. Yarborough, Kelvin D. Smith, Timothy Catlett and Steven Webb were convicted. Webb died in prison, the other seven appealed in 2012 after the discovery of favorable “Brady” evidence withheld by the government. Overton, Smith, Christopher Turner, Charles Turner, and Rouse put on alibi defenses.

In 2011, Barry Pollack, lawyer for Christopher Turner said “The jury did not know that there was substantial medical and forensic evidence that the crime was committed by a single assailant, and compelling evidence that the perpetrator was someone who was never charged.”

At trial in 1985, William Freeman, the street vendor who discovered Fuller’s body, testified that as he waited for the police to come, he saw two men run into the alley from 9th Street and stand very close to the garage for a few minutes. Freeman earlier had seen the two men walking up and down 8th Street. One of the men appeared to be concealing an object under his coat. When the police arrived, the two men ran away up the alley towards I Street. However the government did not disclose the identity of the two men. Freeman identified them to the police as James McMillan and Gerald Merkerson. It was McMillan who appeared to be hiding something under his coat.

Two other witnesses, not disclosed to the defense, told police they saw him at the alley at the same time Freeman did, and they confirmed Freeman’s observations of his suspicious behavior. In addition, the police knew that McMillan lived on 8th Street about three doors down from the alley and that he had violently assaulted and robbed two other middle-aged women walking in the vicinity three weeks after Fuller’s death.

McMillan committed the first of these robberies on October 24, 1984, in an alley behind the 1100 block of K Street Northeast. He approached the victim from behind, knocked her to the ground, grabbed her purse and fled. The next day, McMillan and a companion assaulted a woman in the 600 block of 12th Street Northeast. One of the two struck her in the face, breaking her nose, and stole the bag she was carrying.

At a hearing in 2012, the defense presented information about McMillan’s subsequent activities following his conviction of the two robberies that he committed in October 1984. McMillan was sentenced to serve eight to twenty-five years in prison. Two months after he was released from prison in July 1992, he killed a 22-year-old woman (“A.M.”) in an alley behind the 500 block of 8th Street Northeast, only a few blocks from where Fuller was murdered. This crime had some striking similarities to the attack on Fuller: McMillan abducted A.M. as she walked down the street and dragged her to a secluded spot in the alley, ransacking her personal belongings and leaving them strewn along the path of abduction. After forcing A.M. into a narrow space behind a parked car, McMillan stripped off her underwear, beat her ferociously, and sodomized her. A.M. suffered grievous injuries and died three days later. McMillan was convicted of her murder and remains incarcerated.

At the same 2012 hearing, the defense called two experts. Dr. Richard Callery, a forensic pathologist, testified that the cause of death for both Fuller and A.M. was blunt force trauma to the head and torso, and that each victim had suffered a traumatic anal sodomization resulting in severe internal injuries. Dr. Callery testified that, in his experience, anal sodomy with an object occurred in considerably less than one percent of homicide cases. In addition to Dr. Callery’s testimony, the defense presented a stipulation that, if he were called, an expert in sexual dysfunctions would testify that someone who commits an act of violent anal sodomy is likely to commit the act more than once.

The second witness was Larry McCann, an experienced homicide investigator who testified as an expert in violent crime analysis and crime scene reconstruction. It was McCann’s opinion, based on the autopsy report, crime scene photos and other investigation records, that the attack on Fuller was more likely committed by a single offender than by a large group of individuals acting together. Had there been multiple offenders, McCann testified, he would have expected to see the victim’s clothing stretched, torn, or ripped, grab marks or abrasions on her ankles, legs, and wrists, more injuries, and multiple sexual assaults rather than the one. McCann conceded that, even in a group attack, some assailants might only strike minor glancing blows.

The prosecution case

No fingerprint, DNA, or other forensic evidence implicated any defendant. Yarborough gave a confession, subsequently retracted. Although Bennett and Alston told similar stories, while Bennett testified that Yarborough did not accompany the group into the alley, Alston recalled that Yarborough actively participated in kicking Fuller as she lay on the ground there,while Bennett remembered that Alston and defendant Webb held Fuller’s legs as Rouse sodomized her, Alston thought defendants Overton and Charles Turner did so. In addition, Bennett and Alston each had made prior inconsistent statements to the police and the grand jury regarding who was present in the park and who participated in attacking Fuller.

Both Bennett and Alson subsequently recanted. To support the credibility of Alston’s and Bennett’s recantations, the defense called other witnesses who testified to the detectives’ heavy-handed interrogation tactics. In addition, over the government’s objection, appellants called an expert on the subject of false confessions. Dr. Richard Leo, opined that certain features of the interrogations of Alston and Bennett, such as the detectives’ use of deception, yelling, and threats or promises, were associated with a heightened risk of inducing false confessions. According to Dr. Leo, the errors and incongruities in the confessions of Alston and Bennett could be taken as “indicia of unreliability.”

The government did not disclose grand jury testimony supporting the alibi of a man named Lamont Bobbit, who Alston testified was present in the park and in the alley when Fuller was murdered. Bobbitt told the police he was elsewhere that evening, and in testimony before the grand jury, six witnesses corroborated his alibi. The prosecutors did not believe the alibi because of contradictions in the testimony, but they decided they nonetheless lacked sufficient evidence to charge Bobbitt with Fuller’s murder.

Four witnesses corroborated Bennett and Alston’s account. Two of them, Carrie Eleby and Linda Jacobs had significant credibility problems. Both were PCP users. Eleby contradicted herself, could not keep names and dates straight, and claimed she did not remember anything she had told the police or the grand jury. Jacobs contradicted herself on the stand and had trouble answering questions. Moreover, each witness’s account was impeached or contradicted by other testimony.

The third witness Melvin Montgomery only saw the group, not any crime, leaving the State’s case reliant on fourteen-year-old Maurice Thomas. Thomas testified that he passed the alley and saw a group of people surrounding and assaulting a woman. The prosecution did not disclose to the defense  evidence that could have been used to impeach Thomas. At trial, Thomas testified that after he witnessed the attack in the alley, he ran home and told his aunt “Barbara” what he had seen. He claimed that Barbara told him not to say anything to anyone else. The police interviewed Barbara (whose real name was Dorothy Harris), and she said that she did not recall Thomas ever telling her anything about the attack.

Source: June 2015 Ruling and various news articles.

In December 2016, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear arguments.

Briefs are available here including amicus briefs submitted by the Innocence Network and a group of former prosecutors.

Featured case #159Discussion | Proposal Post

March 22, 2017 Article : Harmless Errors ( Marshall Project )

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Vanessa Cameron

Vanessa Cameron was convicted of murder of her son’s father in 2012. She was sentenced to 70 years. There was no physical evidence. Just a false confession from Vanessa and the testimony of the co-defendant Lakisha Brown. The alleged shooter was acquitted of murder. The real shooter plead guilty and received 25 years. The real shooter is Vanessa’s older sister Susan Sutton. All facts of the case can be read on www.freevanessa.com.

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Joseph Buffey

In 2002, Innocence Project client Joseph Buffey pleaded guilty to the rape and robbery of an elderly woman in Harrison County, West Virginia.

Six weeks prior to the final plea hearing, the state crime lab completed DNA testing that excluded Buffey as the perpetrator—but prosecutors never gave the report to either Buffey or his lawyer.

In 2012 when lawyers won the right to retest the DNA found inside the victim, the results produced a match, but it wasn’t Buffey’s. It belonged to a man named Adam Bowers who was 16 at the time of the attack and lived a few blocks from the victim.Bowers was found guilty in May of 2013 but, instead of releasing Buffey, prosecutors argued that Bowers and Buffey both committed the crime, despite the victims’s testimony that she was attacked by only one man.

Buffey  was told he would likely receive a 15-year sentence, but if he didn’t confess he could get 300 years. When the sentence was handed down, it was a crushing blow: 70 to 110 years in a tiny prison cell.

Buffey confessed that he “broke into this old lady’s house” after nine hours of interrogations without food. Within minutes he took it back but it was too late. “You really want to know the truth?” the 19-year-old can be heard saying on tape. “I didn’t do it. I made up a story (because you were) breathing down my neck, telling me I did it.”

Starting on October 11th, 2016, a team of West Virginia and Innocence Project lawyers will be in court with Buffey, backed by science and the facts of the case, to fight for the verdict he deserves: not guilty.

Sources: Jan 2016 news report | Innocence Project

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Arturo Reyes and Gabriel Solache

Imprisoned since 2000, Arturo Reyes and Gabriel Solache are serving life sentences stemming from a bizarre case in which a couple was murdered and their two young children abducted. Reyes and Solache were arrested when they brought the children to a police station after learning their identities from a news broadcast. They were held for two days, one arm handcuffed to a wall.

Their housemate, Adriana Mejia, pled guilty to the crimes (she’s also serving a life sentence) after the victims’ blood was found on her shoes, and under questioning from Guevara she implicated Reyes, who then named Solache as an accomplice.

No physical evidence linked Reyes or Solache to the crime.

Both Reyes and Solache testified at their trial that they confessed only after sustained beatings by Guevara. Reyes said the detective would slap him every time he didn’t like an answer Reyes gave; Solache said beatings to his head caused him to lose his hearing in one ear. In a pretrial hearing, Mejia testified that she saw Guevara slap Solache; Guevara denied any physical abuse took place.

In 2003 the two men filed post-conviction petitions which were dismissed by the trial judge, but in 2006 an appeals court reversed that decision, ruling that new evidence of a pattern of abuse by Guevera added credibility to their claims of coerced confessions.

An amended petition filed in 2008 on Solache’s behalf by Northwestern’s Center on Wrongful Convictions laid out dozens of cases of misconduct by Guevara that had come to light in the intervening years, including a distinct pattern of manipulating witnesses and coercing confessions to win convictions in murder cases where no physical evidence existed.  The state moved to dismiss the petition, and another round of legal wrangling took place.

Finally in February 2013 an evidentiary hearing began (it stretched over two years) on their petition for post-conviction relief.  The defense presented witnesses and testimony from other cases spelling out 20 instances of Guevara’s misconduct, including the testimony of a retired detective who said he told his supervisor that Guevara had manipulated a photo array.  A murder charge in that case was subsequently dropped.

Guevara was called to the stand but refused to testify, taking the Fifth Amendment dozens of times.  That’s a problem, as Circuit Court Judge James M. Obbish noted in his June 29 ruling, since it left every credible allegation against him unrebutted.

Source

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Matthew Livers and Nicholas Sampson

Shortly after the 2006 shotgun slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock in their rural Cass County farmhouse, investigating officers zeroed in on Matthew Livers and his cousin Nicholas Sampson as prime suspects.

Livers, nephew of the murder victims, was 28 years old at the time of the murder and had no criminal record or exposure to the criminal justice system. Livers had been a special education student, and his IQ test score of 63 placed “his intellectual functioning below 99 percent of the population at large,” according to the suit.

Separated from his family and without a lawyer present, Livers was interrogated for 11 hours by investigators from the Cass County Sheriff’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol. Livers repeatedly denied any involvement in the crime. But after several hours of increasingly harsh and threatening questioning and being told his refusal to confess would result in the death penalty, Livers believed telling the officers what they wanted to hear would allow him to go home, and he finally implicated himself and Sampson in the murders. The following day, he recanted the confession.

Initially, no evidence linked either Livers or Sampson to the murders. Several weeks into the investigation, lawsuit Defendant David Kofoed, then head of the Douglas County (Neb.) Sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigation Unit claimed to have found victim Wayne Stock’s blood in a car, linked to Livers and Sampson, that investigators theorized was used in the murders.

At the murder scene, investigators found a marijuana pipe, a ring with an inscription and a flashlight that did not belong to the Stocks and likely had been left behind by the killers. After Livers’ confession, a Douglas County forensic investigator, who is not a defendant in the suit, was able to trace the ring to a Wisconsin man, who had left the ring in the glovebox of his truck. His truck had been stolen by Wisconsin residents Gregory Fester and Jessica Reid, who were in a Wisconsin jail in connection with that theft. They later confessed to killing the Stocks, and their confessions were supported by DNA evidence on the ring and pipe and by blood found on their clothing.

Officers in Nebraska attempted to cover their tracks by fabricating additional evidence against Livers and Sampson. They attempted to coerce and manipulate Reid, Fester and at least one other witness into implicating Livers and Sampson as co-conspirators in the murders. They continued to claim that the blood evidence supposedly found by Kofoed supported their case against Livers and Sampson.fter more than seven months in jail, the Cass County Attorney dismissed the charge and gave Livers his freedom. Dismissal of the case followed a State expert’s finding that psychological coercion was used to obtain the false confession and that Livers was especially vulnerable to heavy-handed tactics.

After the charges were dismissed against Livers and Sampson, David Kofoed was charged with evidence tampering in connection with the bogus finding of blood in the suspect vehicle. Kofoed was convicted and sentenced to prison. He was released after serving 18 months. Kofoed’s conviction was been affirmed by the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Livers  settled his civil suit against the Nebraska State Patrol investigators and Cass County, Nebraska, Sheriff’s Deputies for coercing him to confess falsely to the brutal murder of his aunt and uncle and fabricating evidence to make the false charges stick.  Under the settlement, Livers received a total of $1.65 million as compensation for his seven months of pretrial incarceration while the false charges were pending.

Source: www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/macarthur/projects/wrongful/livers.html

Ray Meyers

Ray Meyers was told to plead guilty to a child molestation case in Riverside County CA, by a court appointed attorney.

He is innocent, doc report came back with no physical evidence.

He is a cancer patient or was, almost paralyzed due to his extensive treatment. He had a stem cell transplant years ago but because of his on going medical issues, he is in a state prison hospital in Stockton.

He was helping out a friend of his who was homeless and living in a van with his two kids, my friend offered to help him out by opening up his home and offered to watch the two kids while the parents went/looked for work.

This is how he was repaid by being accused of molesting the little girl!

Scared and not having any money due to his disability, he listened to the lawyer because the lawyer told him if he plead guilty he would get a lesser sentence, this did not happen even though they had no evidence he is wasting away in prison and supporters are afraid he will die there without the proper care he needs.

He is coming up for his first parole, his sentence is 80 to life.

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Billy Wayne Cope

DNA proved that a complete stranger, a serial lone wolf sexual predator raped and killed Billy Wayne Cope’s daughter. But a jury convicted Cope even though his coerced confession never named the true perpetrator — James Earl Sanders.

Cope and Sanders never met. And why would they? Cope was an obese, loner, who lived at home in Rock Hill with his wife and three daughters and was active in a local evangelical church. Sanders was a black, recently released criminal from NC who in the span of six weeks attempted to assault or assaulted five women, including Amanda Cope who he also murdered.

The idea sold to this jury — that Cope conspired with Sanders and pimped out his own daughter to him — is so absurd that no right-thinking person could believe it.

But 12 jurors in SC did and two SC courts affirmed their decision. Hopefully, his new post-conviction lawyers can right this wrong before going to federal court.

Source

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On 9th February, Billy died before he could be exonerated.

Corey Williams

Why did Corey Williams end up imprisoned for a crime he almost certainly did not commit while Nathan and Moore remain free? All evidence pointed to the other three men as the perpetrators—yet Williams confessed to the murder, and the other men’s detailed testimonies corroborated his confession. Why would Williams confess to a murder he didn’t perpetrate? And if his confession was false, how could the other men’s testimony so accurately corroborate it?

The solution to this puzzle is both simple and outrageous—so outrageous that the state concealed it for more than 15 years. That’s how long prosecutors refused to release transcripts of interrogations conducted the night of the murder. It’s easy to see why they stalled. These transcripts, finally obtained by Williams’ defense this year, explain the central mystery of the case. Williams didn’t commit the crime; his testimony was coerced. The other men didn’t corroborate his confession; they refuted it. But when detectives presented them with Williams’ false confession, they quickly molded their story to fit with it. The prosecutor who sent Williams to death row—then fought to keep him there despite his intellectual disability—was aware of all this. He didn’t report it or inform the defense. Instead, he kept the transcripts hidden.

Source

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Richard Allen Masterson

Richard Masterton was wrongly convicted of the 2001 murder of Darin Honeycutt.

Richard met Honeycutt at a Houston, Texas, bar. The two men went back to Honeycutt’s apartment. Richard is accused of strangling Honeycutt in order to rob him. Richard testified they were having sex, and he did not intend Honeycutt’s death.

The medical examiner was a fraud, and the cause of death was a heart attack and not strangulation. Richard also gave a coerced false confession, and also became severely depressed and suicidal while in jail, which contributed to his wrongful conviction.

Because Richard’s lawyers failed him, the court system will not provide relief to him. His last chance to avoid execution on January 20, 2016 is executive clemency.

Clemency Petition January 5, 2016

Featured case #118Proposal Post | Website | Facebook Page | Petition at Change.org

Richard’s appeals were all denied, he was executed on January 20, 2016.

 

 

Lamarr Monson

Lamarr Monson was convicted of brutally killing a 12-year-old girl in 1996.

He was tricked into a confessing that he stabbed the girl, but in fact it wasn’t true. A year later, the homicide inspector who oversaw Monson’s interrogation was removed for illegally obtaining confessions.

Now the finger-prints of someone who confessed to his girl friend have been matched to the likely murder weapon, a toilet seat.

The Michigan Innocence Clinic has filed a motion, arguing this new evidence is grounds for Lamarr Monson to get a new trial.

It’s been nearly 20 years since he went to prison.

“I knew he was innocent. But everywhere I went, I could get no help. No help. Nobody believed,” says Delores Monson, Lamarr’s mother.

Source

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News

Jan 30, 2017: Lamarr Monson, convicted of killing Detroit girl in 1996, granted new trial 

Feb 2, 2017 Released on Bond.

Aug 25, 2017 Case Dismissed

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.

Source

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Davontae Sanford

No one in Wayne County’s legal system can even pretend at this point that Davontae Sanford committed the four murders he supposedly confessed to when he was 14-years-old.

The real murderer has admitted he was hired to carry out the drug hit, and Sanford, now 22, played no role.

Why Sanford, then an illiterate and partially blind teen, confessed is anyone’s guess. That he was so eagerly believed by cops and prosecutors and has been kept behind bars for so long despite the compelling evidence of his innocence speaks to a prosecutorial culture that leaves no room for admitting a mistake was made.

So at great expense to taxpayers, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy continues to fight to keep Sanford locked up.

Meanwhile, confessed hitman Vincent Smothers says he committed the 2007 murders in a drug house on Runyon Street in Detroit, and even told cops where to find the .45 caliber pistol used in the slayings. Smothers is serving time for other homicides.

Attorneys for the University of Michigan’s Innocence clinic and a similar project at Northwestern University were in court this week with a mountain of evidence that Sanford was wrongfully convicted.

Source: Detroit News April 17, 2015

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Detroit man who confessed to quadruple homicide at age 14 to be freed June 8, 2016

Johnny Hincapie

On September 2, 1990, 18-year old Juan Carlos “Johnny” Hincapie was part of a large group of teenagers leaving a Midtown subway for a concert. Unbeknownst to Johnny and the group, six of the youths ran back into the subway, robbing and murdering 22-year old Brian Watkins. Johnny and his friend Luis Montero, who were last seen leaving the subway while the crime took place, were brought to the precinct, and beaten in an effort to force them to make a false confession. At the subsequent trial:

  • • The six culprits had said no one else was involved
    • No witness could positively place Johnny at the crime
    • No physical evidence – no blood, no weapon, no fingerprints
    • The Watkins family could not identify Johnny during multiple line-ups.
    • Luis Montero, who was kept in prison for 18 months after refusing to make a false statement, was exonerated.
    Johnny’s false confession was used as evidence against him.

Post conviction numerous witness statements, physical evidence, and Luis Montero’s key testimony has been obtained. These key pieces, along with the contested forced confession, form the basis of Hincapie’s actual innocence claim.

Here is some newspaper coverage of the hearings thus far:
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-prison-subway-murder-support-witness-article-1.2122087

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/new-witness-johnny-hincapie-article-1.2161036

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/inmate-claims-cops-beat-admitted-1990-murder-article-1.2128301

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News

Judge Orders New Trial for Johnny Hincapie, Convicted in 1990 Subway Killing Oct 6, 2015

John Hincapie’s exoneration shows false confessions and convictions can be prevented, say advocates Oct 7, 2015

Charges dropped Jan 25, 2017

Howard Guidry

“Unlike Lay and Skilling, however, Guidry was totally innocent. The only evidence used to convict Guidry was the coerced confession and hearsay testimony from the suspected killer’s girlfriend. Both pieces of evidence were thrown out in September 2003 by Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who ordered Harris County in Houston to release or retry Guidry within 180 days.”

Source : Death row prisoner Howard Guidry By Gloria Rubac, Houston, Published Jun 4, 2006 1:52 PM

News 20 July 2015

Attorneys for Howard Guidry accuse Former Texas Prosecutor Kelly Siegler of withholding evidence in Guidry’s 1995 murder trial just a week after another man prosecuted by Siegler, David Mark Temple, had his conviction overturned for the same reason…

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Chris Tapp

Chris Tapp was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of Angie Dodge of Idaho Falls, Idaho in 1997, after making a false confession. The investigator then and now mayor Fuhriman promised Chris complete immunity after the 40 hrs of questioning. Dna left on and around Miss Dodges body does NOT MATCH Chris Tapp.

Supported by the Idaho Innocence Project.

Video published Published on 19 Sep 2015

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News

Judges for Justice launch campaign to overturn Tapp conviction September 24, 2015

Chris Tapp to be released from prison March 20, 2015

 

Brian Davis

Brian Davis made a false confession to save his wife after she was involved in a murder.

In Brian’s false confession, he stated that the murder occurred on Sat August 10, 1991 at around 3-4 am, however the Medical Investigator who inspected the body around 2:30pm on August 13, stated that the body was in full rigor mortis and death had occurred within the last 12 hours. Thus Brian’s confession cannot have been true.

There is no physical evidence linking Brian to the crime. In 2011 DNA tests showed that two unidentified males were at the scene.

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Melissa Calusinski

This young lady confessed after 6 hours of grueling questioning and even apologized for getting upset with the investigators. At the end of the 6 hours, she wanted to know when she could go home and see her parents and her puppy.

With an IQ of approx 80, Melissa didn’t understand what was happening to her.

She did not harm the child at the day care. The child died from an old injury.

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Blaming Melissa : 48 hours, Sunday  July 19, 2015 ( Video + Transcript )

News

Wins Court Victory 21st September, 2015 “There were tears from Calusinski’s family after a judge ruled Lake County prosecutors need to answer new evidence that could overturn her murder conviction.”