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Members of Norfolk Four in Court Again, Pursuing Exoneration

Posted: Apr 17, 2015 05:15 PM

In an article reported yesterday by the Associated Press (AP), there are new developments in the case of the now-infamous Norfolk Four—four U.S. Navy veterans who were wrongly convicted based on false confessions—a story that the Innocence Blog has been following and documenting for nearly eight years.

According to the AP, two of the Norfolk Four—Danial Williams and Joseph Dick Jr.—testified at a evidentiary hearing held yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, in an effort to get their convictions overturned in the rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko.

In 1997, Moore-Bosko was found stabbed to death in her Norkolk home. Williams, who was Moore-Bosco’s neighbor, became a target because he supposedly had a crush on the victim.  The police took him in for questioning. He was interrogated for more than 11 grueling hours. Confused and overwhelmed, Williams eventually confessed, but only after he was forced by the police to rehearse the confession several times before making a recorded statement.

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Innocence Project Lauds Colorado’s Enactment of Eyewitness ID Reform

Posted: Apr 17, 2015 12:45 PM

(Denver, Colo – April 17, 2015) – Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday signed into law bipartisan legislation (SB 15-058) that will require all Colorado law enforcement agencies to implement eyewitness identification policies that have been scientifically proven to reduce the chances of misidentification. Eyewitness misidentification is the leading contributor to wrongful conviction, nationally, playing a role in 72 percent of such cases overturned by DNA evidence. SB 15-058 would mandate eyewitness ID policies that are recommended by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Colorado Best Practices Committee and a diverse array of other law enforcement, prosecutorial and criminal justice organizations. 

“This is truly a momentous occasion, and Colorado should be proud that it acted to protect its citizenry from misidentification and the dangers of wrongful conviction. I want to thank Gov. Hickenlooper for signing this important legislation, members of the legislature for passing this bill, and the members of the Best Practices Committee who took a leadership role in tackling this important issue,” said Amshula Jayaram, Innocence Project state policy advocate.  

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Three Ohio Innocence Project Clients Released Pending New Trial

Posted: Apr 16, 2015 05:11 PM

According to a story published on Wednesday by City Beat, Ohio Innocence Project clients Eugene Johnson, Laurese Glover and Derrick Wheatt were released from prison late last month after serving nearly 20 years for a murder which new evidence shows they did not commit.

Johnson, Glover and Wheatt were convicted in 1996 of the shooting death of 19-year-old Clifton Hudson Jr. in East Cleveland. The case hinged on the testimony of Tamika Harris, who was 14 years old at the time of the trial. Harris testified that she saw a man jump out of a truck, shoot the victim, and jump back into the truck. She admitted she could not see his face, but during the trial she positively identified Johnson as the shooter. Wheatt and Johnson were sentenced to 18 years to life in prison; Glover was sentenced to 15 years to life.

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In Davontae Sanford Case, Evidence of Innocence is Repeatedly Ignored

Posted: Apr 15, 2015 04:54 PM

An article published Tuesday by the Marshall Project takes a detailed look at the case of Davontae Sanford who at just 14 years old was convicted of a 2007 quadruple murder in Michigan. According to the Marshall Project, Sanford’s lawyers stood before a judge yesterday evening to ask for a new trial for Sanford—the latest development in his case after multiple appeals for a new trial were previously denied.

The Marshall Project writes that Sanford was taken to the police station on September 17, 2007 after four people were murdered on Runyon Street in his Detroit neighborhood. Sanford, a youth with a developmental disability, was questioned by police twice without the presence of his parents or an attorney. He eventually offered up two statements; an initial statement in which he denied involvement but suggested he may have known who committed the crime, and a later statement in which he identified details of the crime and implicated himself as one of the shooters. According to the Marshall Project, once Sanford was charged with murder, “he told a psychologist that he had made it all up because the police had told him he could go home if he would ‘just [tell] them something.’”

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Marching 2 Justice: Mass Incarceration and the Innocent

Posted: Apr 14, 2015 05:35 PM

By Marguerite Sacerdote, Communications Assistant

On Monday I had the privilege of joining Justice League NYC and other supporters on the first leg of what will be a week-long journey from New York to Washington D.C. The March 2 Justice is an effort to mobilize support in pushing Congress to pass a “justice package” of criminal justice reform.

Marching from Staten Island to Newark with March 2 Justice marked my re-entry into public action since joining the Innocence Project in January. While I was involved in similar actions this past fall, my work here has certainly broadened my understanding of how our criminal justice system not only fails those who have committed crimes, but also how it continuously fails those who have done nothing wrong.

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