Truth in Justice
Newsletter - July, 2004
This month's exonerations were a long time
coming, so it is probably inappropriate to call them "recent".
They are nonetheless sweet to these two men.
Nathaniel Lewis did not rape a fellow University
Akron (Ohio) freshman. It
took his accuser's diary, a five-year prison stay and nearly two
years of waiting for courts, but Lewis has at last been vindicated.
Wayne Carr will not
be retried for murder and arson in the death of his wife. His
conviction was originally overturned in 1997, when the Georgia Supreme
Court cited the unreliability of evidence that a trained dog found a
fire accelerant at the scene. The Court also rebuked
Nancy Grace -- now host of Court TV's
"Closing Arguments" -- of engaging in "inappropriate and, in some
cases, illegal conduct in the course of the trial."
Roper's case has all the hallmarks of a wrongful conviction -- shaky
eyewitness identification, jailhouse "snitch" testimony and no physical
evidence connecting him to the murder of an Akron, Ohio convenience
store owner. At his 4th trial the jury convicted him, but they
know another suspect closely resembles Roper.
1995 in Hattiesburg, MS, Stephanie phoned surgeon Dr.
David Stephens' wife of 32 years, Karen, and disclosed that she and the
doctor had been having an affair for years. A few hours later,
Karen was rushed to the hospital with a self-inflicted gunshot wound;
she died three months later. Stephanie married Dr.
Stephens. She was crippled in a car accident the next year.
By the spring of 2001, Dr. Stephens, already a diabetic, was terminally
ill with liver disease. When he died, a drug used for anesthesia
was found in his blood. Stephanie was subsequently convicted of
her husband's murder. But was she convicted on the basis of sound
evidence, or because she was the "other woman"?
people who donated to Macomb County
Prosecutor Carl Marlinga’s campaign for Congress visited two separate
bank branches on the same day and illegally divided thousands of
dollars into smaller cashier’s checks to disguise campaign
contributions, according to government documents. Similar schemes
are documented in checks and bank statements
totaling $87,000. How Marlinga Hid the
Convicted of rape and exonerated after 13 years in
prison, Michael Green of Cleveland, Ohio sued the city for $10
million. He settled his case for $1.6 million -- and re-opening of
more than 100
included testimony from Joseph Serowik, the same
forensics lab worker
testified in Green's trial. Doing
the Right Thing
|Suspect Identities: A
History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification
by Simon Cole
Simon Cole reveals
that the history of criminal identification is far murkier than we have
been led to believe. Cole traces the modern system of fingerprint
identification to the nineteenth-century bureaucratic state, and its
desire to track and control increasingly mobile, diverse populations
whose race or ethnicity made them suspect in the eyes of authorities.
In an intriguing history that traverses the globe, taking us to India,
Argentina, France, England, and the United States, Cole excavates the
forgotten history of criminal identification--from photography to
exotic anthropometric systems based on measuring body parts, from
fingerprinting to DNA typing. He reveals how fingerprinting ultimately
won the trust of the public and the law only after a long battle
against rival identification systems.
Projects provide representation
and/or investigative assistance to prison inmates who claim to be
of the crimes for which they were convicted. There is now at least one
innocence project serving each state except Hawaii, North Dakota and
South Dakota. Most of these innocence projects are new and overwhelmed
with applications, so waiting time between application and acceptance
is long. Wrongfully convicted
persons should not be dissuaded from applying to Innocence Projects
of this, but should have realistic expectations regarding acceptance
time lags. Check the list for the innocence project in your area;
we update it regularly.
Update: South Dakota has its own innocence project! 48
down, 2 to go!
The links pages at Truth in Justice are frequently
updated. Be sure to check them for resources, "must" reading,
websites of inmates with compelling innocence claims and more.
Start at http://truthinjustice.org/links.htm
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And remember, YOU can make a difference!
Sheila and Doug Berry