Criminal Justice

Innocence Roundup


A summary of wrongful conviction news from the last several weeks.

Two Dallas men released after serving 12 years in prison. They were convicted of a 1997 murder based on false eyewitness testimony.

New York judge throws out conviction, declares Fernando Bermudez "innocent." Bermudez had served 17 years for a 1992 murder. He too was convicted largely on eyewitness testimony.

• Dewey Bozella, another New York man, was freed last month after serving 26 years for a 1977 murder. Bozella was convicted twice, thanks largely to the word of two witnesses who got reductions in their own charges in exchange for their testimony.

Judge orders a New Jersey State Police to search for evidence that may exonerate Stephen Brooks, convicted of rape in 1985. The New Jersey State Police say they've lost the file that includes the DNA from Brooks' case.

• Another New York man was released from prison last week after serving 22 years for a murder he, the murder victim's mother, and other say he didn't commit. Lebrew Jones wasn't exonerated, but was released on parole after his first interview.

NEXT: Health Care Hits the Senate

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  1. Great instead of every Monday he’s saving them all up for a grand mother of all Monday morning kicks to what’s left of my belief in humanity.

    1. “Kicks” should have been “boost.” I’m just so used to shitty news it was an instinctual reaction.

  2. Radley
    Any info on whether they’ll be justly compensated for their agony? Texas does have a shiny new law that sounds very reasonable to me.

    1. I have never seen him answer a question on here. I could be wrong.

  3. Any comments on Patterico.Com?

    1. Other than yours?

  4. Ark. cop suspended after using Taser on girl, 10

    The money shot:

    “OZARK, Ark. ? A police officer who used a stun gun on an unruly 10-year-old girl after he said her mother gave him permission has been suspended ? not for using the Taser but for not having a video camera attached when he used it.”…..gD9C2M41G0

    1. Suspended with pay, too. For those who don’t want to go to the link.

      1. I really, really don’t want to go to the link.

    2. Even better: “Police were called to the home Nov. 11 after the girl’s mother couldn’t get her to take a shower.”

    3. He should have tased the mother.

  5. thanks largely to the word of two witnesses who got reductions in their own charges in exchange for their testimony.

    A couple of years ago, the November Coalition had a persuasive article about how offering sentence reduction in exchange for testimony was a violation of the federal prohibition against offering anything of value in exchange for testimony. The incentives the practice creates should be obvious to anyone, but it still persists.

  6. Privatize the prison sysytem, and we’ll never hear about another wrongful conviction.

    1. How will that help? All private businesses need their raw materials in order to grow. In this case, inmates are the raw material.
      And what effect would privatization have on the “public” justice system?

  7. Edward, kill yourself.

  8. Isolated incident. New York and New Jersey have the word ‘new’ in them and Dallas would have been called New Dallas if there was a Dallas in England, so it’s really one isolated incident.

  9. Part of the problem is that we have allowed “beyond a reasonable doubt” to have withered and die.

    For example, if the courts are to be held to their duty, i.e., upholding liberty as the pre-eminent value enshrined by the framers, then no conviction could be predicated upon such things as (1) eye-witness testimony from folks who got charges dropped or sentences reduced; (2) the testimony of just one witness and (3) so-called circumstantial evidence.

    1. Sometimes the preponderence of circumstantial evidence is the best proof that the alleged did, in fact, commit the crime.

  10. Not so fast, Libertymike. I agree with you on (1) and (2), but “circumstantial evidence” is everything except eyewitness evidence.

    1. Perhaps I was a little too all encompassing or broad.

      However, I am getting at the type of homocide cases where there is no witness, no weapon, no body, etc. Also, the judicial approval/endorsement of permitting a factfinder(judge or jury) to infer from the circumstances. IMO, if a guilty verdict is based on permitted inferences and not direct proof, then we are not being true to the proof beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

      I know that many cases are complex and that a verdict may not be necessarily tied exclusively to permitted inferences. But, in black and white terms, if a verdict rests exclusively on permitted inferences, then, IMO, proof beyond a reasonable doubt is tossed aside.

      1. IMO, proof beyond a reasonable doubt necessarily precludes convictions based upon anything but direct evidence. That means two or more witnesses who testify that they observed the accused engaging in the proscribed conduct or documentation the accused knowingly authored or video-tape evidence showing that the accused perpetrated the action in question, etc.

  11. ‘. . . Dallas . . . New York . . . New York . . . New Jersey . . . New York . . .’


    1. Dallas has a new DA that’s been really kicking ass on this front after a long string of corrupt Republicans, and the Innocence Project does a lot of work in Texas.

  12. What’s this? A Radley post with good news? On a dark, rainy DC Monday?
    Thanks, man, I really needed this.

    1. It’s kind of sick to consider it good news to hear about people having served decades in prison being released upon ascertaining the prosecutors did some funny business to drum up convictions for their re-election. Radley, make me despair some more.

  13. Parole while claiming innocence?

    Isn’t that one of the tools they use to get admission of guilt from the innocent that you cannot get parole until you admit your guilt?

    1. Can’t speak for other states, but that’s the way it is in Oklahoma. Don’t admit guilt, the Pardon and Parole Board doesn’t recommend parole.

  14. At a minimum, no prosecuter should be allowed to run for any public office for at least 15 years after their term of service as prosecuter.

    Regards, Don

  15. When will we ever see a prosecutor go to jail for misconduct instead of ascend to public office and a life of gravitas and honoraria?

    1. How about people beyond the prosecutor, such as police officers or “so called” experts? Has everyone forgotten Joyce Gilchrist in Oklahoma or the Mississippi medical examiner boondoggle? If there were real justice, those people would be behind bars for a long, long time.

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