The latest developments in potentially wrongful convictions, public policy and more.
Judge Won’t Formally Declare Former Death Row Inmate Innocent
A Chicago-area judge wrote a lengthy decision that denied a certificate of innocence to Nathson Fields and questioned the credibility of the ex-death row inmate who was released in 2003. Read the full story here.
New Evidence Discovered in Texas Execution Case
Ten years after Texas executed a man who was convicted of murdering his daughters by setting his house on fire, new evidence was discovered that raises questions about the conviction. Read the full story here.
Convicted Murderer Asks for DNA Evidence to be Retested
A Washington state man who is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl in 1996 is requesting the DNA evidence be retested using up-to-date technology. Read the full story here.
Murder Conviction Overturned by New York State Court of Appeals
The court ordered a new trial and ruled police used “highly coercive deceptions” during their interrogation of Adrian Thomas, who was convicted of second-degree murder after his 4-month-old son died of a head injury. Read the full story here.
Wrongly Convicted Former Police Captain Files Federal Lawsuit
After serving nearly 15 years of his life sentence before new DNA evidence freed him, a former Akron police captain filed a federal suit against the city and some of the police officers and expert witnesses involved in his case, claiming he was framed for murder. Read the full story here.
Virginia Man Cleared of Rape Conviction
A circuit judge ruled that Edgar Coker Jr., falsely accused of rape in 2007 when he was a teenager, will no longer be on the sex offender registry. Read the full story here.
Connecticut Rethinking Eyewitness Identification Test
The Connecticut Supreme Court is reconsidering the use of eyewitness identification as evidence in court after recent research shows eyewitness identification can be unreliable. Read the full story here.
Wrongly Accused Man Sues City, Detective
After DNA tests pointed to another suspect, an East St. Louis man who was wrongly accused of robbery and rape filed a federal lawsuit against the city and a former detective he says coerced his false confession. Read the full story here.
Two Canadians Granted Appeals in Shaken-Baby Syndrome Cases
Due to new understandings of shaken-baby syndrome, an Ontario Court of Appeal judge ruled two defendants who were found guilty in separate shaken-baby syndrome cases can appeal their convictions. Read the full story here.
Three Former Illinois Inmates Receive Certificates of Innocence
A Cook County judge exonerated three ex-inmates who all said they falsely confessed after drawn-out interrogations with Chicago police. Read the full story here.
Michigan Closes Case Against Man Wrongly Convicted of Arson
The Michigan attorney general’s office won’t pursue a second trial against a Michigan man who was freed from prison in July 2013 after serving time for an arson conviction. Read the full story here.
New Orleans Judge Grants New Trial to Man Convicted in 1993 Shooting
Jerome Morgan was granted a new trial and released from Angola penitentiary after two witnesses recanted their original testimony and the defense found new evidence that questioned his conviction. Read the full story here.
Hair Analysis Under Review in Texas
The Texas Forensic Science Commission unanimously voted to conduct the country’s first statewide investigation of criminal cases in which a conviction included microscopic hair analysis. Read the full story here.
Registry Shows Cases of Prosecutorial Misconduct
The Center for Prosecutor Integrity, a nonprofit organization working to enhance prosecutorial ethics, published a collection of cases where misconduct by federal prosecutors was found by the courts. Read the full story here.
San Francisco Man’s Murder Conviction Overturned
A state appeals court overturned an Oakland man’s murder conviction, saying a prosecutor made an unsubstantiated claim during closing arguments that a key witness risked her life by testifying against the defendant. Read the full story here.
Philadelphia Police Change Interrogation Policies
The new policies are meant to protect the rights of people who are interviewed by police and come from a collaboration among top officials at the Philadelphia Police Department, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Read the full story here.
Wrongly Convicted North Carolina Man Receives Governor’s Pardon
LaMonte Armstrong, a Chapel Hill man who spent 17 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, is Gov. Pat McCrory’s first pardon of his term. Read the full story here.
Former Judge Asks to Free a Man He Convicted
A former Brooklyn judge said a racial bias led him to wrongfully convict a man of murder 15 years ago and testified to ask that the man be freed. Read the full story here.
Chicago Police Work to Reduce Reliance on Lineups for Eyewitness Identifications
After learning other big-city police departments use different methods to get witnesses to identify suspects, Chicago police creates a pilot program on the South Side to decrease its reliance on physical lineups. Read the full story here.
Wrongly Convicted Florida Man Freed From Prison
A Tampa man spent more than nine years in prison before being released due to new DNA evidence that pointed to his innocence. Read the full story here.
Police Departments Urged to Adopt New Investigation Guidelines
Police chiefs, the Justice Department and the Innocence Project encourage police nationwide to employ new investigative practices to prevent wrongful convictions. Read the full story here.