Criminal-Justice News

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The latest developments in potentially wrongful convictions, public policy and more.



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Philadelphia District Attorney Creates Office to Review Convictions

The Conviction Review Unit, a new office in Philadelphia that reinvestigates homicide cases with wrongful conviction claims, will be led by a veteran homicide prosecutor. Read the full story here.

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Former Ohio Attorney General Asks Judge to Hold Hearing for Inmate

After reviewing potential wrongful conviction cases, James Petro, the state’s attorney general from 2003 to 2007, is asking a U.S. District Court judge to hold a hearing for an inmate who was convicted in a 1991 murder. Read the full story here.

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Wrongly Convicted New York Man Set Free

A judge released Jonathan Fleming from prison after the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit found new evidence that points to his innocence in a 1989 murder. Read the full story here.

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Wrongly Convicted Ohio Men to be Compensated

The city of Cleveland agreed to pay $1.3 million to two ex-inmates who spent 13 years in prison for a 1997 murder they didn’t commit. Read the full story here.

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Defendant Found Not Guilty of Murder in Shaken-Baby Syndrome Case

A jury found a Montana woman not guilty of deliberate homicide but guilty of assault on a minor in the 2012 death of her 6-month-old daughter. Read the full story here.

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Longest-Serving Death Row Inmate Freed in Japan

Iwao Hakamada, a now 78-year-old man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1968, was freed from prison after the courts questioned evidence that led to his conviction and ordered a retrial. Read the full story here.

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Mississippi Court Rules on Compensation Law

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled wrongly convicted people who served time in prison—and not under house arrest—are qualified to receive money from the state’s wrongly convicted compensation fund. Read the full story here.

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New DNA Tests Ordered in Virginia Rape Case

A Norfolk judge orders additional DNA testing in the 1996 rape case that sentenced two men each to more than 150 years in prison. Read the full story here.

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Judge Frees Woman Serving Life Sentence

Nearly twelve years into her life sentence for a roadside assault on a Washington state woman, an Idaho woman was freed after a judge amended her sentence to time served. Read the full story here.

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Louisiana Death Row Inmate Exonerated

After serving 30 years for a murder he didn’t commit, Glenn Ford was freed when a judge vacated his conviction based on new evidence that points to Ford’s innocence. Read the full story here.

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Wyoming Bill to Compensate Exonerees Dies

A bill to compensate wrongly convicted people who were exonerated due to DNA evidence died in the Wyoming Legislature after the House and Senate failed to agree on the terms. Read the full story here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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