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Innocence Project Co-Director calls for reform in West Virginia

Posted: June 12, 2008 1:20 pm

Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck said in a speech last night that West Virginia – and dozens of other states – were ready for bipartisan criminal justice reforms to prevent future wrongful convictions. Scheck spoke at an Innocence Project fundraiser in Charleston last night and this afternoon at a West Virginia lawyers’ conference.

We are heading into (a judicial reform) era right now," Scheck said. "The Innocence Project is something Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives can both support.

"It's all about public safety and all about getting things right."

One of the events sponsors, attorney Troy Giatras, said he was proud to help the organization, which he called a worthy cause.

"It's a shame that there needs to be such an organization, but the Innocence Project does great work," Giatras said. "It helps address one of the worst nightmares a victim of the American legal system can face, being wrongfully convicted."

Read the full story here. (West Virginia Record, 06/12/08)
View our interactive map for a snapshot of West Virginia exonerations and criminal justice policies – or in your state.

Click here for advice on organizing an Innocence Project event or fundraiser in your area

Tags: West Virginia



Virginia Man Celebrates Almost 20 Years Since Exoneration

Posted: January 9, 2009 4:00 pm

After supposedly confessing to a crime he did not commit and serving four years in prison, David Vasquez was exonerated 19 years ago when DNA testing proved he could not have been responsible for other similar murders.

Officially exonerated in 1989, Vasquez previously pled guilty to the murder of a woman in Arlington County, Virginia, and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Vasquez made “dream statements” about the crime, which officers turned into a confession even though he was considered to be borderline mentally impaired. Prosecutors depended heavily on forensic evidence found on the victim that supposedly matched Vasquez, and told Vasquez they had two eyewitnesses that placed him at the scene of the crime.

It was only after multiple DNA tests that police linked the murder for which Vasquez was convicted to another string of crimes. The tests eventually concluded that there was no match between Vasquez and the evidence found at the scene of the crime, at which time the prosecution secured a pardon for Vasquez and pursued a case against the actual perpetrator.

Other exoneree anniversaries this week:

Sunday: Larry Holdren West Virginia (Served 15 Years, Exonerated, 2000)
Tuesday: Mark Diaz Bravo California (Served 3 Years, Exonerated, 1994) 


Tags: California, Virginia, West Virginia, Mark Diaz Bravo, Larry Holdren, David Vasquez



Innocence Project Submits New Evidence of Innocence in West Virginia Case

Posted: June 5, 2012 5:45 pm

The Innocence Project recently filed a petition presenting new DNA evidence that clears Joseph Buffey, of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Buffey pled guilty of the rape and robbery of an elderly woman in 2001 after having falsely confessed to the crime. Recent DNA tests on crime scene evidence definitively exclude Buffey, yet local officials have denied requests to enter the DNA profile into a national database to see if it matches any known criminals.
One week after the rape and robbery, Buffey and two other men were arrested in connection to a string of robberies. After being questioned for nearly eight hours, Buffey confessed to the rape, then recanted minutes later. The Gazette-Mail reports:

Minutes after giving his confession, Buffey recanted it, the petition states. The officers went back into the interrogation room, and Matheny told Buffey that he was going to give him an opportunity "to sing."
"You really want to know the truth?" Buffey asked, according to the petition.
"Yeah, we want the truth," was the reply.
"I didn't do it."

The petition also states that at trial, the lead detective presented at least four pieces of blatant false information as facts to the grand jury. The Innocence Project has requested a hearing to consider the petition and seeks to vacate Buffey’s conviction.
Read the full article.
Understand The Causes: How False Confessions Happen
Read more about False Confessions & Mandatory Recording of Interrogations

Tags: West Virginia



West Virginia University Law School Opens Innocence Clinic

Posted: October 15, 2012 12:45 pm

Tags: West Virginia, Innocence Network



Science Thursday - December 6, 2012

Posted: December 6, 2012 2:30 pm

Tags: Massachusetts, Nebraska, West Virginia, Washington



DNA Evidence Proves West Virginia Man's Innocence, Implicates Real Perpetrator

Posted: December 13, 2012 5:55 pm

Tags: West Virginia, Joseph Buffey



DNA Evidence Proves West Virginia Man's Innocence, But He Remains Behind Bars

Posted: January 4, 2013 4:30 pm

Tags: West Virginia, DNA Databases, Joseph Buffey



Innocence Project Continues to Fight for West Virginia Man's Freedom

Posted: July 10, 2013 2:05 pm

Tags: West Virginia, Joseph Buffey



Retired West Virginia Judge Calls for Uniform Mandatory Electronic Recording of Interrogations

Posted: October 22, 2013 11:00 am

Tags: West Virginia, False Confessions



West Virginia Man Claims Innocence of 1996 Rape, Seeks Release from Prison

Posted: December 13, 2013 4:40 pm

Tags: West Virginia



West Virginia Considers Recording Bill

Posted: February 3, 2014 4:45 pm

Tags: West Virginia, False Confessions, False Confessions



Innocence Project Will Appeal Decision by West Virginia Court Refusing to Reverse Guilty Plea despite DNA Evidence of Innocence

Posted: June 3, 2014 5:35 am

Tags: West Virginia, Joseph Buffey



West Virginia Police Agencies Possibly Delayed in Adopting Eyewitness Identification Policies

Posted: September 2, 2014 6:00 pm

Tags: West Virginia, Eyewitness Identification



Prosecutors Urge West Virginia Supreme Court to Reverse Conviction of Joseph Buffey

Posted: December 8, 2014 12:00 pm

Tags: West Virginia, Joseph Buffey