CrimProf Blog

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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Exoneration Roundup

Cuffs_4 DNA identified the actual perpetrator, a convicted rapist serving life, of two Virginia rapes for which innocent defendants each spent over 20 years in prison; in spite of the DNA evidence, an eyewitness still insists that one of the men is guilty.  The cases led the governor to order a review, expected to be completed soon, of DNA in cases where the evidence still exists. Canadian Thomas Sophonow, wrongfully convicted of murder and imprisoned for four years, received the last of his $2.6 million payment (report of official inquiry here).  76 year old Robert Coney spent 40 years in prison before convicing a judge that he was beaten into confessing; he was rearrested on a warrant charging him with a 1959 prison escape from Georgia.  Californian Kevin Baruxes expects to receive $100 a day for his seven year wrongful imprisonment in a rape case; when the case fell apart, the court issued a declaration of innocence.  A California fire captain had rape charges against him dropped when his 15 year old daughter recanted before trial; he still faces child pornography charges, and the county sheriff says that the complainant was under "tremendous pressure" to recant.  Florida's Learie Leo Alford serving time for a 1973 rape/murder got the DNA test he wanted--guess what: he's guilty.  Why, CrimProf asks, would someone who did it ask for a test? Three New Zealand girls wrongfully convicted of robbery and incarcerated for seven months declined an offer of $160K each and will go to court seeking more. A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate whether there was culpable wrongdoing in the Kenneth Wyniemko case in Michigan; he served several years in prison before being cleared by DNA. [Jack Chin]

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