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July 8, 2020
S11E8: Pierre Rushing - On April 15th, 2011, an Oakland, CA drug dealer lost his iPod, and an addict lost his life. 5 weeks later, the questionable word of another addict derailed the promising musical career of a young man whom he had never met. Learn more and get involved at: https://www.change.org/p/department-of-justice-justice-for-pierre-rushing-wrongfully-convicted/u/25484884 https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
July 1, 2020
S11E7: Meek Mill - UPDATED - Since his release in April 2018 and the ultimate end to his legal troubles in August 2019, Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill is using his voice to fight on behalf of those entangled in the many trappings of the criminal legal system. He is joined by his friend, e-commerce billionaire, and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, Michael Rubin, to discuss their shared hopes for reform. Learn more and get involved at: https://reformalliance.com/ https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
June 24, 2020
S11E6: Terrel Barros - Terrel Barros, Stephen Bodden, and their friends thought they were just going out clubbing until a tragic encounter changed all that. Then, authorities compounded that tragedy by sending an innocent man to prison and setting the confessed killer free. Learn more and get involved at: http://www.change.org/freeterrelbarros https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LQPNFwumJQ https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
June 17, 2020
S11E5: Tim Howard - Tim Howard and Brian Day were best friends with drug habits to match. Brian did some deals to support his habit, ending up in debt to some nasty characters. When Brian and Shannon Day are murdered, and their 7 month old boy, Trevor, is left for dead in a duffel bag, authorities get a case of tunnel vision for the Day’s only black friend. Learn more and get involved at: http://www.proclaimjustice.org https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
June 15, 2020
On Thursday June 11, 2020 - Justice advocate and philanthropist Jason Flom moderated a forum on Facebook Live with four extraordinary leaders in civil rights, justice, and advocacy: Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; prison industry expert Bianca Tylek; Drug Policy Alliance executive director Kassandra Frederique; and civil rights lawyer and author Alec Karakatsanis. The goal of this event was to empower people to take action, find resources, and learn how to use their unique talents/resources to move us forward in the urgent fight for racial justice.This is a list of the many organizations mentioned during this discussion. Learn more and get involved at: 8 to Abolition https://www.8toabolition.com/ Black Lives Matter https://blacklivesmatter.com/ Blackout Collective https://blackoutcollective.org/ Black Youth Project 100 https://www.byp100.org/ Civil Rights Core https://www.civilrightscorps.org/ Dignity and Power Now http://dignityandpowernow.org/ Drug Policy Alliance https://www.drugpolicy.org/ Innocence Project http://www.innocenceproject.org Movement for Black Lives https://m4bl.org/ People's Budget LA http://www.peoplesbudgetLA.com Real Justice PAC https://realjusticepac.org/ Vocal New York http://www.vocal-ny.org/ Worth Rises https://worthrises.org/ https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
June 10, 2020
S11E4: Stephen Carrington - After a short stint in prison, Stephen Carrington was a newlywed father, training to be an EMT and getting his life back on track. However, his past would pique interest when the police came looking for his brother at the same address, and a detective would flippantly interchange the fates of two young black men. Learn more and get involved at: https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
June 3, 2020
S11E3: Lamonte McIntyre - This is an updated episode from season 4. On April 15th, 1994, a double homicide drug hit would begin a chain of events in which a sex extortionist police detective would exact his revenge by laying one woman’s son at the mercy of the American criminal legal system. Jason speaks with Attorney Cheryl Pilate and FBI Special Agent Al Jennerich about the underbelly of law enforcement that caused the wrongful conviction of our guest Lamonte McIntyre, who we spoke to while he was still behind bars. Learn more and get involved at: https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
May 27, 2020
S11E2: Damon Thibodeaux - In July of 1996, Damon Thibodeaux was visiting family, when his 14 year-old step cousin, Crystal, walked to the grocery store and never came back. When Crystal’s mother Dawn began to worry, Damon went looking for her daughter. Soon, neighbors and emergency workers would join the search that ended under the Huey P Long Bridge with a partially nude Crystal strangled to death. However, even before the body was found, the police already had their sights on Damon for what they thought was a rape and murder. Returning guest Innocence Project Senior Staff attorney Vanessa Potkin and death row exoneree Damon Thibodeaux tell Jason this unbelievable tale of triumph over tragedy. Learn more and get involved at: https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
May 20, 2020
S11E1: Julius Jones - In the fall of 1998, Julius Jones had the whole world ahead of him. He was a freshman who planned to study engineering and was attending the University of Oklahoma on an academic scholarship. The following summer, just three days after his 19th birthday, Julius was awakened and dragged out of bed, barefoot and shirtless, and taken into police custody as a murder suspect. In 2002, he was convicted of killing a prominent local businessman – this after eyewitness testimony that should have excluded the young man as a suspect, as well as overt racial bias both in the news media and in the jury box. Julius Jones is facing execution as early as the fall of 2020. Special guests Kim Kardashian West along with Julius’ current attorney, Dale Baich and his mother and sister, Madeline and Antoinette Jones, join Jason Flom to discuss Julius’ case and the race for the State of Oklahoma to grant him clemency before it’s too late. Learn more and get involved at: https://www.justiceforjuliusjones.com/ https://www.change.org/p/julius-jones-is-innocent-don-t-let-him-be-executed-by-the-state-of-oklahoma https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
May 13, 2020
S10E13: Peter Reilly - Why do we tell these stories? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell us the last story of season one. It’s about Peter Reilly, one of the first modern-day false confessors. In 1973, police continued to interrogate 18-year-old Peter until he started to believe he was actually guilty of murdering his own mother. But, Peter’s friends and neighbors believed in his innocence. Their small-town campaign for Peter’s freedom was eventually joined by a host of big name celebrities. Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin end Season 1 with Peter’s story because it helped launch the movement against wrongful convictions and false confessions. It inspires the work that Steve and Laura do to this day. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
May 6, 2020
S10E12: David McCallum - Am I telling the story the way the story needs to be told? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell us the story of David McCallum, one of two New York teens wrongfully convicted of murder in 1986. Luckily for David, he had incredible allies in his corner - the famous boxer, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and a district attorney, Ken Thompson, who was dedicated to real justice. Here comes the story of the DA and the Hurricane, and one of the men they saved. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
May 4, 2020
S10Bonus4 - Dr Yusef Salaam in the Time of COVID - Conflicting survival instincts and an internet full of misinformation has left many of us in disagreement over what is the best path forward. Once again, Jason Flom taps the wisdom of our wrongfully convicted community, while so many struggle.In the 4th and final interview of our mini series from Wrongful Conviction Podcasts, one of the Central Park 5, now, the Exonerated 5, Dr Yusef Salaam, pulls from a deep reservoir of philosophical and spiritual learning to guide us all in making lemonade out of the lemons that we find ourselves with today. You can hear his story in both his own interview, season 6 episode 8, through the voice of his co-defendant Raymond Santana in our podcast’s premiere episode, or in the Netflix mini series “When They See Us.”Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of LAVA For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co Co1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com .
April 29, 2020
S10E11: Chris Tapp - How could a layperson see all the problems with this interrogation when the police couldn’t? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell us about Chris Tapp, just 20 when he endured a mind-bending, 25-hour interrogation that transformed him from an innocent man into a confessed murderer. Fortunately for Chris, he found an indomitable champion... in the victim’s mother, Carol Dodge. Carol convinced police to use a revolutionary new method of DNA identification to exonerate Chris and find her own daughter’s killer. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 27, 2020
S10Bonus3 - Nick Yarris in the Time of COVID - Social distancing orders have had us on lockdown for well over a month, leaving many of us struggling with not only isolation and restricted movement, but also the looming economic implications. Jason Flom has been reaching out to our wrongfully convicted community for the kind of advice that only they can give. In the third interview of our mini series from Wrongful Conviction Podcasts, Nick Yarris draws on his experiences of escaping and returning to death row, being terrorized by violence from guards and inmates alike, memories of all the characters he met along the way, including innocent men, serial killers, and one of the DuPont heirs, as well as the very real spectre of his execution date to show us how to leave the stir craziness and existential threat behind and practice radical kindness. His story is unmatched, and you can hear it in full on our double episode 5 of season 9. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of LAVA For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co Co1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com .
April 22, 2020
S10E10: Huwe Burton - What could make someone confess to the murder of their own mother? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin take us to The Bronx in 1989. Huwe Burton was sixteen years old and charged with the murder of his own mother. Even as Huwe was bulldozed into a false confession, the real killer was living in the apartment just one floor below. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 20, 2020
S10Bonus2 - Amanda Knox in the Time of COVID - As we move into our 2nd month since COVID 19 was declared a global pandemic, many of us have been isolating for just as long, if not longer. Jason Flom has been reaching out to some experts - our wrongfully convicted community - for advice on how to cope with the dark side of isolation. In the second interview of a new mini series from Wrongful Conviction Podcasts, Jason Flom speaks with Amanda Knox, a woman who was sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison for a crime she did not commit. Her full story can be heard in the premier episode of our 2nd season. Now, Amanda tells us about her concerns for all those isolating alone, including the currently incarcerated, and what she did to make the best use of her time, as well as to combat the absence of physical touch while in prison. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of LAVA For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co Co1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com.
April 15, 2020
S10E9: Billy Wayne Cope - Could I have somehow done this and not remembered it? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin bring us the story of Billy Wayne Cope- a father and husband, a man of faith and one of many railroaded into a false confession. The interrogation techniques were so potent, Billy even started questioning his own memory. Though DNA evidence pointed to the real killer, prosecutors refused to acknowledge Billy's innocence. This case will stay with you. It certainly left a mark on Steve. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 13, 2020
S10Bonus1 - Damien Echols in the Time of COVID - COVID 19 has derailed our normal lives into that of isolation, restricted movement, anxiety, despair, and even the threat of death. Jason Flom knows a lot of people that have an intimate knowledge of all of these things and how to cope with them. In the first interview of a new mini series from Wrongful Conviction Podcasts Jason Flom speaks with Damien Echols, a man who spent 18 years on death row for a crime he did not commit. Damien tells us how he used exercise, art, structure, mental focus, and free will to not allow isolation and fear to break him plus, an epiphany that came from one man’s deadly encounter with a can of corn that continues to guide him even through our current shared reality in this time of COVID. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of LAVA For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co Co1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 8, 2020
S10E8: Hamid Hayat - How could anyone believe a confession about 1,000 pole-vaulting terrorists all dressed like Ninja Turtles? This week, Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell us a story with some of the most outlandish false confessions ever heard. And yet, California native, Hamid Hayat, was wrongfully convicted of terrorism in the years following the horrific 9/11 attacks. Investigators thought Hamid was part of a terrorist sleeper cell, though eventually they learned no such terrorist cell ever existed. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 6, 2020
S10E7.1: Bonus Episode Interview with Daniel Villegas - Laura Nirider talks with Daniel Villegas about what it was like waiting for the jury to announce its verdict, how he prepared his children for the possibility he might not be coming home, and how it feels to finally focus on the future. If you haven't heard his full story, it's right here in the podcast Feed. Just under this bonus episode. And if you've yet to watch Daniel's exoneration video, check it out on Instagram @wrongfulconviction. It's an incredible opportunity for all of us to bear witness to freedom A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
April 1, 2020
S10E7: Daniel Villegas - How can one man save the life of a perfect stranger? The case of Daniel Villegas shows how ordinary people can make an extraordinary difference in the fight against wrongful convictions. Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell the story of an unexpected hero who fought for years to turn tragedy into triumph, ending in one of the most dramatic courtroom exonerations ever seen. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
March 25, 2020
S10E5: Teina Pora - Have you heard about New Zealand's Brendan Dassey? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin take us across the globe to New Zealand with a story that hits way too close to home: a sixteen-year-old boy confessed to a rape and murder he didn’t commit. His wrongful conviction allowed the real offender, a serial rapist, to assault dozens of other women -- while Teina Pora languished behind bars for 20 years. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
March 18, 2020
S10E5: Matt Livers - What do police do when a confession starts falling apart? Double down...or fix it up? Sometimes farm life isn’t as tranquil as it seems... Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin take us to small-town Nebraska where two murders shattered a peaceful Easter Sunday. The story of Matt Livers is a major plot-twister: a coerced confession, dirty cops, planted evidence, and a mysterious clue that led police to a pair of natural born killers. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
March 11, 2020
S10E4: Thomas Cogdell - While eating a hamburger, this kid spontaneously confesses to killing his sister? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin take us to Camden, Arkansas, where a twelve-year-old boy is left to fend for himself against police officers who suspect him of murder. The interrogation tape is bad enough – but the worst parts happened off camera. This is the story of Thomas Cogdell. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com/
March 4, 2020
S10E3: Dixmoor 5 - So their theory is that a wandering necrophiliac comes across the body and defiles it? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin tell the story of how five Chicago teens were wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of their classmate - and how prosecutors tried to explain away the DNA that proved them innocent. This case happened during the early 1990s, when the media was saturated with misleading stories about youth of color committing violent crimes in groups. This "superpredator" narrative drove the wrongful prosecution of the so-called Central Park Five “wolfpack” -- but it didn’t stop there. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com This episode includes story line about and clips from Retro Report, The Superpredator Scare.
February 26, 2020
S10E2: Robert Davis - What can I say I did to get me out of this? Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin use real interrogation audio to tell the shocking story of Robert Davis, a Virginia teenager who in 2003 falsely confessed to a double murder after enduring an interrogation complete with death threats, lies about the evidence, and fact-feeding, only to tell investigators, "I’m lying to you, full front to your face." A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions, which has exonerated more than forty innocent people. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to https://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
February 19, 2020
Why would anyone confess to a crime they didn’t commit? Hosts Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin, co-directors at Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and central figures in the smash hit Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, introduce themselves, their work, their passion, and the origin story behind their tireless efforts to free the wrongfully convicted. A portion of this podcast series’ proceeds will be donated to the Center on Wrongful Convictions. To donate, learn more, or get involved, go to http://www.centeronwrongfulconvictions.org/ Wrongful Conviction: False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX. Learn more and get involved at https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com
February 12, 2020
On October 13th, 1997, Julie Rea’s nightmare would begin, when an intruder broke into her home, killed her son Joel, and the authorities would begin a bumbling, tunnel vision investigation to pin the murder on her. With their blinders on, the incompetent investigators would inadvertently destroy or fail to capture vital evidence of the intruder’s presence at the crime scene. They would ignore developing leads that implicated the 3rd party to this horrific crime of which Julie still cannot speak. The prosecution’s blood spatter “expert” who played an integral role in Julie’s conviction at her first trial would become, according to jurors, “a powerful witness for the defense” under more competent cross examination at her retrial. The state would later willfully ignore the intruder’s confession and crassly attempt to conceal the new evidence from the retrial jury. Their gross misconduct only added insult to this grave injury. Julie was acquitted in 2006 and formally exonerated in 2010 with the help of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law under the leadership of Karen Daniel to whom this episode is dedicated. Karen’s colleague and one of Julie’s attorneys, Ron Safer, joins Julie and Jason to both pay tribute to Karen and tell Julie’s terrifying story. You can read more about the life and career of Karen Daniel here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-karen-daniel-obit-20191227-h3jbt3ch3ff7naqdin6kletytu-story.html You can read the NY Times article mentioned in this episode here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/20/magazine/she-was-exonerated-of-the-murder-of-her-son-her-life-is-still-shattered.html http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
February 5, 2020
Herman Atkins was a disciplined student athlete who enjoyed refurbishing old cars, growing up in the rigid household of a California highway patrolman. On January 25th, 1986, Herman Atkins was paying an auto mechanic for an engine rebuild when an armed robber stepped to the 2 men, grabbed the cash, and fled on foot. Herman grabbed the mechanic’s gun and chased the robber, firing warning shots into the air. The robber turned a corner, and Herman heard more gunshots. When he got to the corner, there were cop cars, and several people had been wounded by gunshots, including 2 police officers. Herman ditched the gun and retreated. On April 8th, 1986, Herman Atkins is in Texas for the birth of one of his children, when an armed man entered a strip mall shoe store in Lake Elsinore, CA, forced the 23 year old female clerk to perform oral sex on him, ejaculated, leaving semen on her sweater, and stole $130 in cash and the clerk’s jewelry. When authorities caught up with Herman in November of that year while he was visiting family in Phoenix, AZ, Herman was finally made aware that he was wanted for both the January 25th incident and the Lake Elsinore kidnapping, robbery, and rape.After multiple cross racial eyewitness misidentifications, a jailhouse snitch seeking leniency, and both police and prosecutorial misconduct, Herman is wrongfully convicted, sentenced to 47 years and 8 month in prison, and shunned by his father. After hitting the law books in prison and gaining the support of the Innocence Project, the semen stained sweater was tested for DNA, excluding and exonerating Herman. Despite this and his civil litigation victories, Herman was not truly whole again until mending the rift caused by what he describes as his father’s treason against the father-son relationship.You can delve deeper into Herman’s story through the documentary “After Innocence” or in his book “Wrongfully Convicted, Rightfully Committed: The Reincarnation of Herman Atkins After 12 Years in Prison,” available soon wherever books are sold. He is also available for speaking engagements on the topics of judicial reform, the aftermath of exoneration, as well as his own story. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
January 29, 2020
On December 5th, 1984, the naked body of Theresa Fusco was pulled out of a wooded area in Lynbrook, NY - the 3rd in a string of recent disappearances, putting pressure on police to find the monster among them. The medical examiner determined that the presence of semen implied that a rape had occurred and the cause of death was ligature strangulation. Dennis Halstead had been linked to one of the victims, and in a police interview about Halstead, John Restivo inadvertently mentioned an occasional employee John Kogut. When police interrogated Kogut for 12 hours, during which interrogators lied to him about his failing a polygraph, Kogut signed a confession that was hand-written by one of the detectives and contained all of the information authorities knew at the time, looping in the 3 men as the perpetrators. With the false confession, a coerced and flipped alibi witness, evidence tampering, and the victim’s hair said to have been found in Restivo’s van, the trio were convicted and sentenced to 33 and a half years in prison. Despite years of obstruction, DNA testing would later exclude all three men and repeatedly implicate a still unknown assailant. John Restivo and Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison joined Jason at the Atlanta Innocence Network Conference to tell this amazing and terrifying tale. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
January 23, 2020
Launching February 19th, 2020, Wrongful Conviction False Confessions is a powerful 13-episode podcast that tells the story of twelve real false confessions, using actual audiotapes from inside the interrogation room and diving deep into the disturbing psychological techniques used to extract confessions from innocent suspects. Hosted by Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin, famed attorneys, co-directors at Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, and central figures in the smash global hit Netflix docuseries "Making a Murderer," the Wrongful Conviction False Confessions podcast asks – and answers – the question: why would an innocent person confess to a crime he didn’t commit? From overnight interrogations to blatant lies, false promises of freedom, and death threats, Wrongful Conviction False Confessions tells stories of ordinary people who found themselves in a criminal justice nightmare – trapped inside the interrogation room with no choice but to admit to crimes that they never committed. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction False Confessions is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
January 22, 2020
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, Stefon Morant and Scott Lewis were selling drugs for organized crime figure Frank Parise. When Frank was set to go away on a weapon’s charge, he asked Scott to take over the drug dealing arm of his criminal enterprise, but Scott wasn’t trying to go deeper into illegal activity. When he refused, Frank tapped a detective he had on the payroll, Vincent Raucci. On October 11th, 1990, former New Haven, CT alderman Ricardo Turner and his lover Lamont Fields were shot dead in their bed, and Raucci knew just who to pin it on. How would he make it stick? By extracting a false confession from Scott’s good friend Stefon - one he would never sign. His refusal to participate in Scott’s railroading sealed him to the same fate. Stefon was in the Carolinas at the time of the murders, but that didn’t matter. Raucci put the screws to another character in the New Haven drug game, Ovil Ruiz, who would name Scott and Stefon in his false confession in exchange for leniency in his own legal troubles. With the help of Raucci’s direct supervisor, Detective Sweeney, an FBI investigation, and the tireless aid of some Ivy League law school students under the tutelage of professor Brett Dignam, Scott Lewis would eventually be fully exonerated. However, the District Attorney would only allow Stefon to cop a plea, rather than be declared innocent as well. The man that was targeted for wrongful conviction simply for knowing Scott Lewis is still fighting for exoneration from the outside for the same crimes that Scott was exonerated for in 2016. The trailer for the documentary “120 Years” about Scoot and Stefon’s case can be found here: https://www.120yearsfilm.com/ http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
January 15, 2020
S9E8: The Persistence of Patrick Pursley - On April 2nd, 1993, 22 year old Andrew Ascher and Becky George sat in his parked car by her brother’s apartment building on Silent Road in Rockford, IL, when a black man in a blue ski mask approached the vehicle, announcing a stick up. While Becky frantically fished in her purse for some money, the armed robber shot Andrew twice. Both of the bullets and their casings were retrieved from the crime scene and during the autopsy. Meanwhile, across town, Patrick Pursley celebrated his son’s birthday in the apartment he shared with his girlfriend Samantha Crabtree. Over 2 months later, as the police came up empty on Andrew’s murder, an acquaintance of Patrick and Samantha’s, Marvin Windham, traded false information with the police through Crime Stoppers that implicated Patrick in exchange for leniency in his own legal matters, as well as a $2,650 reward. It was also revealed at trial that Windham had a long time crush on Samantha. Police obtained a search warrant, retrieved a Taurus 9mm from their apartment, and interrogated Samantha, threatening to take away her children if they didn’t get the story they wanted in the form of a confession and an immediate grand jury testimony - a testimony she would later recant at trial. But, with her coerced confession on the record, Windham’s “hot tip”, and conflicting expert ballistics testimony about the murder weapon and the Taurus 9mm found at the apartment, Patrick Pursley was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life without parole.In this episode, recorded in front of a live audience at ComplexCon Chicago 2019, Patrick tells Jason of his wrongful conviction and subsequent fight for freedom, including how he changed a law from inside prison in order to obtain the ballistic testing necessary to set himself free. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
January 8, 2020
At 1:15 AM on November 2nd, 1987, in Ada, Oklahoma, Donna Reed felt a gun at the back of her head as she unlocked her door. She was robbed, burglarized, and raped by an otherwise nondescript black man who had a gold tooth. While filming a Crime Stoppers video about the incident, Detective Jeff Crosby approached bystander Perry Lott. Noticing his gold tooth, Perry was brought in for questioning and a line up despite his alibi. With all the other men in the line up wearing foil to simulate a gold tooth, Perry was identified as the attacker. In absence of any other evidence beyond the eyewitness identification, Mr Lott was convicted and sentenced to 300 years in prison. After 25 years of appeals and parole hearings, the Innocence Project was able to test the 1987 rape kit for Perry’s DNA, ultimately excluding him as the perpetrator.This interview was recorded at an art gallery opening for Rob Will, another innocent man currently on death row in Texas and features Perry Lott and Eric Cullen, the private investigator who conducted the interview with Donna Reed alongside Detective Jeff Crosby where Ms Reed recanted her eyewitness identification. After 30 years in prison, Perry Lott agreed to a sentence modification in the form of time served rather than risking his fate on the Oklahoman authorities’ willingness to accept the facts in this case. He is currently on lifetime probation and fighting to clear his good name. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
December 24, 2019
Happy Holidays from everyone at Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom! Jason takes some time to reflect on all that happened this year, and wishes everyone the best in the year to come. We will be taking a 2 week break from new releases and coming back strong for 2020 on January 8th! If you’d like to brighten someone’s day and write to an inmate and this potentially more difficult time of year, please do so through: http://booksthroughbars.org/ http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
December 18, 2019
Coming of age in Honduras, Clemente “Shorty” Aguirre was faced with a choice: join MS13 or die. He moved to Nicaragua with his grandmother instead, but with no economic prospects, he chose to come to the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Life was calm for a while, as he worked as a cook and lived in a trailer park, where he had found a place in a nice community of friends. Then, on June 17th, 2004, after a long night out, Shorty dropped by a neighboring trailer shared by his friends Cheryl Williams, part-time by her daughter Samantha, and her mother Carol Bareis. They were known for always having a stockpile of beer, and Shorty was going to ask them for an early morning nightcap, when he discovered Cheryl and Carol had been stabbed and were lying in pools of their own blood. Not thinking clearly in that dramatic moment, he inserted himself into the crime scene, while he checked their bodies for signs of life. Realizing that they were gone and that making a call to the police would certainly get him deported to a country where MS13 awaited his return, he went to his own trailer to lay low. Later that day, he came forward to investigators with his discovery and became the prime suspect. With the combination of an ineffective public defender, the prosecution’s tunnel vision, and plenty of circumstantial evidence, Clemente would be tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Later, Shorty was able to get the attention of the Innocence Project who tested the 197 pieces of crime scene evidence for DNA, excluding Clemente and pointing to Cheryl’s own daughter, Samantha, as the true perpetrator - a finding corroborated by her multiple confessions to friends and neighbors.If you feel compelled to support Clemente, please go to: https://www.mightycause.com/story/Clementeaguirree2019 http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
December 11, 2019
On December 16th, 1981, Linda Mae Craig was found beaten, raped, and stabbed to death in a church parking lot about a mile and a half away from where her car was discovered. A few days later, Nick Yarris, a troubled young man linked with petty crimes and substance abuse, was pulled over for a traffic violation in a stolen car and got into an altercation with the arresting officer that included an accidental discharge of the officer’s service pistol. This incident spiraled into a laundry list of charges. Yarris had seen the news about Linda Mae Craig, and in a desperate attempt to save himself, he tried to trade false information about her attacker to garner leniency. When authorities got wind of his trickery, they turned the charges on Nick. The prosecution manipulated several eyewitness testimonies, hid or destroyed the case history, and employed misleading serology in order to obtain his wrongful conviction. However, between his first day in prison to exoneration by the biological evidence that put him there, Nick Yarris lived (and continues to live) out one of the greatest and most unbelievable stories ever told. In part 1 of Nick Yarris’ story, he tells us about surviving sexual assault, repeated run-ins with the law, getting waylaid by his own lie, his trial and conviction, “Gladiator Sundays,” and accidentally (yet successfully) escaping from death row, only to turn himself in when he reached Florida - a state where he is still not welcome as a free man. Comparing Nick Yarris’ story to a rollercoaster ride would only serve as a compliment to roller coasters. For example, in 2008, Nick Yarris sued Delaware County and won $4 million. Then, it was stolen from him, and we didn’t even cover that in this episode. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
December 11, 2019
In part 2 of the Nick Yarris story, we pick up where we left off with Nick turning himself in after his unintentional escape from death row. It’s about 3 years and 2 months after Linda Mae Craig was found beaten, raped, and stabbed to death in a church parking lot in Chichester, PA. As you’ve already heard Nick recount, he had an altercation with a police officer during a traffic stop that led to an accidental discharge of the officer’s gun, followed by a laundry list of trumped up charges. In a turn of events that he would come to sincerely regret, Nick tried to exchange false information about Linda Mae Craig’s attacker for his own freedom. When caught in his lie, the state fixed a case against him that would lead to a 22 year stint on death row. Eventually, the same biological evidence that was used to convict him became the evidence that would set him free and win him $4 million in his civil suit against Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In the 2nd half of this interview, Nick Yarris tells us about his encounters with other innocent men and serial killers alike, being the 1st to request post conviction DNA testing from death row, his education, exoneration, botched release, and his life, post exoneration. His incredible story has served to inform a truly unique, yet relatable, perspective. Nick Yarris is currently available for speaking engagements and can be reached on social media or through his website: http://www.nickyarris.org. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
December 4, 2019
This is an updated episode from season 8 with 22 minutes of new content. In 1985, Derek and Nancy Haysom were found brutally stabbed to death in their Bedford County, VA home - both nearly decapitated. When their daughter Elizabeth Haysom became a prime suspect, she and her boyfriend, Jens Soering, the son of a German diplomat, fled the country. The authorities finally caught up with them in London, and if extradited and found guilty, Elizabeth would face the electric chair. Under the illusion that his father’s diplomatic status would protect him from facing the death penalty in Virginia, Jens sacrificed himself for Elizabeth and gave a false confession that was riddled with inconsistencies. Upon learning of his misunderstanding and before being extradited to the US for trial, Jens fought and won a landmark judgment (Soering v UK) in the European Court of Human Rights, protecting himself from facing the death penalty upon his deliverance to Virginia. At Jens’ trial, prosecutor Jim Updike told the jury that Soering's confession was corroborated by several drops of type O blood at the crime scene - Jens’ blood type. None of the Haysoms had type O, so the blood had to be his. Updike repeated this claim 26 times. Jens was sentenced to 2 consecutive life terms. Elizabeth was convicted as an accessory. After almost 30 years in prison, DNA testing eliminated Jens Soering as a possible source of the type O blood at the scene. In 2017, two independent DNA scientists confirmed these findings, and they also found DNA evidence showing the presence of a second unknown man with type AB blood. The crime remains unsolved; however, Jens Soering’s wrongful conviction remains on his record. After over 33 years in prison, he was paroled on November 25th, 2019, along with Elizabeth Haysom. In this episode, you will hear excerpts of the original interview with Jens Soering, novelist John Grisham, and Sheriff J.E. "Chip” Harding of Albemarle County, VA. Then, Jens and Jason go over parole board strategy with Dr Phil, and finally, we hear reactions from Amanda Knox and Sheriff Harding - both of whom worked so hard on Jens’ behalf. Thanks to the amazing Small Town Big Crime podcast for providing additional audio. Thanks to the very generous Freedom Wynn for additional engineering. http://wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
November 27, 2019
At 2 AM, on June 18th, 2014, Daniel Holtzclaw finished up his shift as an Oklahoma City police officer and made his way home in his all black cruiser. He saw a car swerving and pulled over 57-year-old daycare provider Jannie Ligons. About 3 hours later, Ms Ligons would claim that Officer Holtzclaw forced her to perform oral sodomy through the fly of his uniform pants from the back seat of his squad car. Her mouth swab would come up empty for Daniel’s DNA, as would a search of his uniform for hers, but nonetheless, an investigation would be launched into Daniel Holtzclaw’s field contacts with at risk African American women, soliciting stories of sexual impropriety. 21 accusers made allegations, and a media circus ensued, bolstering a grim and growing narrative of law enforcement officers abusing their authority. 8 of those 21 claims were immediately dismissed by investigators, and they still moved forward with the 13 other questionable or otherwise ill-fitting claims. Through the misconstruing of DNA evidence, 8 of the remaining 13 allegations resulted in 18 convictions. Former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw is currently serving a 263 year sentence in an undisclosed correctional facility under an assumed name for crimes he did not commit. Please listen to our coverage and find out more at: http://www.freedanielholtzclaw.com. Sign the petition in support of Daniel’s freedom at: https://www.change.org/p/free-daniel-holtzclaw-an-innocent-man-wrongfully-convicted https://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com/ Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts, in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 20, 2019
Bobbie Jean Johnson was given up for adoption at birth, survived abuse in foster care, and ran away into the sex trade of New Orleans as a teenager. In 1977, a New Orleans antiquities dealer, Arthur Samson, was shot in the stomach and stabbed approximately 100 times inside his shop at 1130 St Charles Ave. His store was ransacked, and the safe was missing about $2,000. A month later police stopped 2 men and Bobbie Jean Johnson for a traffic violation in a stolen car. At the time Johnson was not a suspect, but police were on the lookout for a .32 caliber revolver. They found one in Bobbie Jean’s purse. She endured a violent interrogation that resulted in a tape recorded false confession, riddled with inconsistencies. One of the men that had been in the car with Johnson told police that he had slipped the gun into her purse while they were being pulled over, but his statement was both ignored by the prosecution and hidden from the defense. To make matters worse, her trial lawyer, Thomas Baumler, had been described as a “warm body”. In 1978, Bobbie Jean Johnson was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. After serving 41 years behind bars, Bobbie Jean continued to maintain her innocence; however, she was forced to plead guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery in order to obtain her freedom in February of 2018. To make this story even more tragic, Bobbie Jean spent less than 18 months as a free woman before passing away. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 16, 2019
Stacey Stites and Police Officer Jimmy Fennell were engaged, but Stacey was having an affair with Rodney Reed. On April 23rd, 1996, Stacey’s lifeless body was discovered, lying face up next to a dirt road near Bastrop, TX. Jimmy Fennell was a prime suspect until 3 spermatozoa found in Stacey’s body were matched to Rodney Reed. The state alleged that Rodney did not know Ms. Stites, intercepted her on her 3AM drive to work, raped and strangled her, and left her on the side of that dirt road, while abandoning the truck in a high school parking lot. With no other evidence of Rodney found in the truck, on the body, or at the scene; the state’s forensic experts incorrectly asserting that intact spermatozoa could not survive passed 24 hours; and Stacey’s whereabouts being known for the 24 hours prior to 3AM; Rodney Reed was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1998. The state’s forensic experts have since disavowed their testimony, and Rodney Reed continues to maintain that the presence of his semen was a result of consensual intercourse from late in the night of the 21st (early morning, 22nd). In this premiere episode of the 9th season of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, we go to death row to speak with Rodney Reed. His attorney Bryce Benjet talks to us about the case. His brother Rodrick Reed tells us about his advocacy for his brother and the Reed Justice Initiative. And, forensic pathology legend Dr. Michael Baden retells his sworn testimony given at a hearing for a new trial in October 2017, disputing the time of death. The corrected time of death places Ms Stites in her apartment with Fennell when she died, according to his testimony at trial. When asked about this discrepancy, Mr. Fennell invoked his 5th amendment rights.Rodney Reed was granted an indefinite stay of execution from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, saving him from his November 20th, 2019 execution date, but his future is still in danger. He still needs our help.This Episode of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom was produced in partnership with NowThis. https://nowthisnews.com/ Additional engineering for Dr Phil and Jason Flom’s interview by Freedom Wynn. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 15, 2019
Stacey Stites and Police Officer Jimmy Fennell were engaged, but Stacey was having an affair with Rodney Reed. On April 23rd, 1996, Stacey’s lifeless body was discovered, lying face up next to a dirt road near Bastrop, TX. Jimmy Fennell was a prime suspect until 3 spermatozoa found in Stacey’s body were matched to Rodney Reed. The state alleged that Rodney did not know Ms. Stites, intercepted her on her 3AM drive to work, raped and strangled her, and left her on the side of that dirt road, while abandoning the truck in a high school parking lot. With no other evidence of Rodney found in the truck, on the body, or at the scene; the state’s forensic experts incorrectly asserting that intact spermatozoa could not survive passed 24 hours; and Stacey’s whereabouts being known for the 24 hours prior to 3AM; Rodney Reed was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1998. The state’s forensic experts have since disavowed their testimony, and Rodney Reed continues to maintain that the presence of his semen was a result of consensual intercourse from late in the night of the 21st (early morning, 22nd). In this premiere episode of the 9th season of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, we go to death row to speak with Rodney Reed. His attorney Bryce Benjet talks to us about the case. His brother Rodrick Reed tells us about his advocacy for his brother and the Reed Justice Initiative. And, forensic pathology legend Dr. Michael Baden retells his sworn testimony given at a hearing for a new trial in October 2017, disputing the time of death. The corrected time of death places Ms Stites in her apartment with Fennell when she died, according to his testimony at trial. When asked about this discrepancy, Mr. Fennell invoked his 5th amendment rights.Rodney Reed is scheduled for execution on November 20th, 2019.This Episode of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom was produced in partnership with NowThis. https://nowthisnews.com/ Additional engineering for Dr Phil and Jason Flom’s interview by Freedom Wynn. http://www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 13, 2019
Stacey Stites and Police Officer Jimmy Fennell were engaged, but Stacey was having an affair with Rodney Reed. On April 23rd, 1996, Stacey’s lifeless body was discovered, lying face up next to a dirt road near Bastrop, TX. Jimmy Fennell was a prime suspect until 3 spermatozoa found in Stacey’s body were matched to Rodney Reed. The state alleged that Rodney did not know Ms. Stites, intercepted her on her 3AM drive to work, raped and strangled her, and left her on the side of that dirt road, while abandoning the truck in a high school parking lot. With no other evidence of Rodney found in the truck, on the body, or at the scene; the state’s forensic experts incorrectly asserting that intact spermatozoa could not survive passed 24 hours; and Stacey’s whereabouts being known for the 24 hours prior to 3AM; Rodney Reed was found guilty and sentenced to death in 1998. The state’s forensic experts have since disavowed their testimony, and Rodney Reed continues to maintain that the presence of his semen was a result of consensual intercourse from late in the night of the 21st (early morning, 22nd). In this premiere episode of the 9th season of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, we go to death row to speak with Rodney Reed. His attorney Bryce Benjet talks to us about the case. His brother Rodrick Reed tells us about his advocacy for his brother and the Reed Justice Initiative. And, forensic pathology legend Dr. Michael Baden retells his sworn testimony given at a hearing for a new trial in October 2017, disputing the time of death. The corrected time of death places Ms Stites in her apartment with Fennell when she died, according to his testimony at trial. When asked about this discrepancy, Mr. Fennell invoked his 5th amendment rights. Rodney Reed is scheduled for execution on November 20th, 2019. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 8, 2019
Jason Flom visited Rodney Reed on death row in Texas. Despite overwhelming scientific and alibi evidence, Rodney remains scheduled to be executed on November 20th, 2019 for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites - a crime he did not commit. The evidence points directly at Stacey's fiancee, Jimmy Fennell, a police officer, who later allegedly confessed to her murder to another inmate while he was in prison for a separate violent crime - a kidnapping and rape - a crime he committed while on duty, in uniform. Time is running out to save the life of this innocent man and bring Rodney home where he belongs. On November 13th, we will release the interview Jason did with Rodney and tell the story of his unfathomable situation. We also speak with his attorney Bryce Benjet, his brother Rodrick, and world renowned forensic pathologist Dr Michael Baden. Rodney Reed's case is receiving massive support from Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Police Officer Associations, Colin Kaepernick, Shaun King, and bi-partisan political support. This may be the most important and urgent episode of Wrongful Conviction yet. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co No1 and PRX.
November 6, 2019
Although Valentino Dixon has never played golf, he wouldn’t have survived 27 years in prison–for a crime he did not commit–without it. A few years into his sentence of 39 years to life, Valentino returned to his childhood passion of art to help him cope. He began sketching landscapes of golf courses with color pencils. His breathtakingly detailed sketches led to a profile in Golf Digestmagazine. That article in Golf Digest, helped bring other media attention to Valentino’s case and prompted students at Georgetown to help appeal his sentence. On September 19, 2018, Valentino Dixon was released after the court determined that he, in fact, was not responsible for the murder of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner in 1991. In this compelling interview, Valentino shares how his art served as a shield in prison, protecting his mind and comforting his soul. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
October 30, 2019
On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in New York’s Central Park. She was found unconscious with her skull fractured, and 75 percent of her blood drained from her body. Five teens from Harlem—all between the ages of 14 and 16-years-old—were tried and convicted of the crime in one of the most frenzied cases in the city’s history. The woman was dubbed the “Central Park jogger” and the accused teens became known collectively as the “Central Park Five.” One of those boys, Yusef Salaam, was just 15 years old when he was tried as a juvenile and convicted of rape and assault. He was sentenced to five to ten years in prison. In early 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist, admitted that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. Reyes had already committed another rape near Central Park days earlier in 1989, using the same modus operandi. Although the police had Reyes’s name on file, they failed to connect Reyes to the rape and assault of the Central Park jogger. Eventually, the evidence from the crime was subjected to DNA testing and matched the profile of Reyes, who is currently serving a life sentence. On December 19, 2002, on the recommendation of the Manhattan District Attorney, the convictions of the five men were overturned. Yusef Salaam had served nearly seven years for a crime he did not commit. Since his release, he has become a family man, father, poet, activist and inspirational speaker. He has committed himself to advocating for and educating people on the issues of mass incarceration, police brutality and misconduct, false confessions, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system, especially for young men of color. He is featured in the 2019 hit Netflix series When They See Us. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.comWrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
October 23, 2019
Amanda Knox was convicted of the murder of a 21-year-old British exchange student, Meredith Kercher, who died from knife wounds in the apartment she shared with Ms. Knox in Perugia, Italy in 2007. Ms. Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were both found guilty of killing Kercher, receiving 26- and 25-year prison sentences, respectively. Their convictions were subsequently overturned in 2011, and she was released from prison after serving four years. In early 2014, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that they should both stand trial again, and she and Sollecito were re-convicted. Finally, in March 2015, the Italian Supreme Court overturned both murder convictions, ending their eight-year ordeal.
October 16, 2019
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a podcast about tragedy, triumph, unequal justice and actual innocence. Based on the files of the lawyers who freed them, Wrongful Conviction features interviews with men and women who have spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit - some of them had even been sentenced to death. These are their stories. Episode 1 features an interview with Raymond Santana, who served 7 years in prison after being falsely accused of the rape and brutal beating of the Central Park Jogger in 1989. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com www.revolverpodcasts.com
October 9, 2019
On October 22, 1991, when 17 year old Chedell Williams and a friend went to Fern Rock subway station in North Philadelphia, 2 men approached them and demanded Chedell’s earrings. She refused and ran. One of the men chased her to nearby 10th Street and Nedro Avenue, where he snatched the earrings and shot her in the throat. Her friend was left unharmed. The 2 men joined a 3rd man who was waiting in a 1978 Chevy Malibu. Chedell died at a hospital less than an hour later.  The pressure was on the police and prosecutors to solve the crime, when some local “stick-up boys” named 21 year old, burgeoning R&B vocalist Jimmy Dennis as a potential culprit. Hearing of this, Mr. Dennis went to the police to confront the rumors, maintaining that he was on a bus miles away at the time of the murder with eye witnesses to corroborate his claim. Neither the gun nor earrings were ever recovered. No forensic evidence tying Dennis to the crime was ever developed, and evidence and eyewitness accounts that proved his innocence were suppressed. In this emotional interview, we hear the story of a promising musical career curtailed and a 25 year long battle with a wrongful conviction from death row.
October 2, 2019
This special edition of Wrongful Conviction features Jason Flom’s exclusive interview with Brendan Dassey from behind bars—the only interview ever conducted with Brendan.   The case against Brendan, and his uncle Steven Avery, is the subject of Netflix’s hit series Making a Murderer.  In 2006, 16 year old Wisconsin special education student Brendan Dassey gave a videotaped confession to the murder and sexual assault of a young woman named Teresa Halbach.  That confession – extracted from Brendan after four interrogations over a 48 hour period – has been widely recognized as false and coerced due to Brendan’s inability to describe the crime accurately without being told the "right" answers by his interrogators.  In fact, Brendan recanted his confession immediately, and no evidence connects him to Halbach’s disappearance. Nonetheless, he was convicted based on that confession and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole before 2048. In 2016, two courts threw out Brendan's confession and overturned his conviction – and Brendan came within twelve hours of release – before a federal appeals court reversed course on legal grounds.  After visiting Brendan in prison, Jason Flom and Brendan’s attorney, Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, unravel the case as Brendan joins them by phone from behind bars. Their conversation touches on hope, resilience, and the fact that Brendan – who will turn 30 on October 19, 2019 – has already lost fourteen of his life to wrongful imprisonment. www.wrongfulconvictionpodcast.com Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.
April 22, 2019
In the late 80’s and early 90’s, the US found itself wrapped up in the “Satanic Panic” - a general state of fear revolving around Satanism and satanic ritual, real or imagined. On May 5th, 1993, three 8 year old boys - Steven Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers - were reported missing. Their lifeless bodies were found the following day in a Robin Hood Hills creek, naked and hogtied. Christopher Byers had suffered lacerations, and his genitals had been mutilated. Details of the bizarre and brutal scene in Robin Hood Hills brought Satanic Panic to a fever pitch in the largely conservative Christian city of West Memphis, Arkansas.  Coming off their first film success with “Brother’s Keeper,” documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were tapped by HBO documentaries to head down to get the story. Joe Berlinger sits with Jason and recalls his experience of the case, the moments that inspired his fight for criminal justice reform, and the films and events that have helped shape public opinion of wrongful convictions.
April 15, 2019
On December 5th, 1997, 2 armed and disguised men robbed a beauty salon and its patrons in Norfolk, Virginia. On December 19th, Messiah Johnson was misidentified as the culprit and arrested. In the absence of any physical evidence and in spite of his corroborated alibi, Messiah Johnson was convicted on 26 counts of armed robbery, abduction, and related gun charges. He was sentenced to 132 years in prison.  On this episode of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, Messiah Johnson tells Jason about how his life unraveled and his subsequent fight for freedom. Messiah is a graphic designer and still lives in Virginia, as he continues to fight to clear his name. You can find him on Instagram @messiahaladar johnson. If you’d like to show him support, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/rc8d4-welcome-home-messiah-johnson
April 8, 2019
On December 9th, 1981, Stephen DeSantis and Gary Masse, disguised as telephone repair men, gained entry to the suburban home of Sacramento coin collector Ed Davies. They hogtied Ed and his wife Grace, ransacked the house, and came up with 6 suitcases full of silver before murdering the older couple. There had been a string of robberies connected to area coin shops, and Ed Davies was a customer at the coin store where law student Gloria Killian had worked. When an anonymous tip sent police in search of DeSantis and Masse, Joanne Masse named Killian as the mastermind to her husband’s crimes, an assertion that was repeated through the anonymous tip line. However, without sufficient evidence the charges against Killian were dropped. Upon being convicted Gary Masse offered his testimony, naming Killian as the mastermind of his criminal enterprise, in exchange for sentencing leniency and other perks. This deal was concealed from the defense and the jury. In absence of corroborating evidence, Gloria Killian was sentenced to 32 years to life solely upon Masse’s incentivized testimony. Killian spent 17 years in prison until evidence surfaced, exposing the prosecution’s machinations and Masse’s false testimony. In this episode of ​Wrongful Conviction​, Gloria tells Jason her story alongside Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Nina Morrison. Gloria Killian was released in August of 2002 and currently advocates for women in prison. You can support Gloria Killian’s efforts by visiting the Action Committee for Women in Prison at acwip.net. Also, check us and Jason out on instagram @wrongfulconviction and @itsjasonflom for pics and video from this and every episode of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom.
April 1, 2019
On October 22, 1991, when 17 year old Chedell Williams and a friend went to Fern Rock subway station in North Philadelphia, 2 men approached them and demanded Chedell’s earrings. She refused and ran. One of the men chased her to nearby 10th Street and Nedro Avenue, where he snatched the earrings and shot her in the throat. Her friend was left unharmed. The 2 men joined a 3rd man who was waiting in a 1978 Chevy Malibu. Chedell died at a hospital less than an hour later.  The pressure was on the police and prosecutors to solve the crime, when some local “stick-up boys” named 21 year old, burgeoning R&B vocalist Jimmy Dennis as a potential culprit. Hearing of this, Mr. Dennis went to the police to confront the rumors, maintaining that he was on a bus miles away at the time of the murder with eye witnesses to corroborate his claim. Neither the gun nor earrings were ever recovered. No forensic evidence tying Dennis to the crime was ever developed, and evidence and eyewitness accounts that proved his innocence were suppressed. In this emotional interview, we hear the story of a promising musical career curtailed and a 25 year long battle with a wrongful conviction from death row.
March 25, 2019
On March 18, 2001, Jamie Penich—an American exchange student in South Korea—was brutally murdered in her motel room after a night of partying with friends from the program. Her bloodied nude body was found on the floor. She was stomped to death. Her face was covered with a black fleece jacket. Kenzi Snider, a 19 year-old student from Marshall University, in West Virginia, was one of the friends Jamie was with. About a half dozen exchange students had traveled from campus into the city, where they celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a bar filled with locals and US soldiers. Korean police and army investigators were unable to solve this horrific crime. One year later, in February 2002, FBI agents contacted Kenzi out of the blue. She was back in school in West Virginia. They wanted to talk—alone. She met with three agents on three consecutive days for several hours.  The sessions were grueling. When it was done, Kenzi had confessed. She murdered her friend, she said, in the context of a drunken sexual encounter. Kenzi was promptly arrested, incarcerated in a local jail for ten months, and extradited to Korea to stand trial. There, she then spent another six months in jail. Then a panel of judges found her not guilty. The prosecutor appealed the verdict but months later an appeals court confirmed: Not guilty. In 2006, five years after the crime, in response to yet another appeal, the Supreme Court of Korea once again affirmed: NOT GUILTY. This was eighteen years ago. Today we know a whole lot more than we did then about false confessions. Kenzi Snider has been fully acquitted in court. Yet her confession haunts her—and leads some people still to question her actual innocence. Jason Flom is joined by Kenzi Snider, renowned psychologist Saul Kassin best known for his groundbreaking work on false confessions, and his student Patty Sanchez. Sanchez is currently studying the effect of podcasts and media influence on the outcome of legal cases.
March 18, 2019
Harold“House”Moore was on top the world–he was one of the stars on the Fox award-winning series“Atlanta”and had just played Dr. Dre in the 2Pac bio-pic“AllEyes on Me.’ Moore’s career was blossoming, but all of that changed when he was railroaded, maliciously and falsely accused and convicted of child molestation.  He was sentenced to 6 to 12 years but was released after 2 years and granted a motion for a new trial, after a failed judicial process and intentionally suppressed evidence that would have proved his innocence threatened to surface.  He is paving his way now as a fighter for judicial equality and criminal justice reform. In his first interview since his release, Moore is sharing his story with the hope that his journey will help inspire others to fight on behalf of the wrongfully convicted.  Connect with Harold“House”Moore: Instagram Facebook Connect with Jason Flom: Instagram Twitter Follow Wrongful Conviction: Instagram Twitter
March 11, 2019
Matthew Charles’ life has seen some extraordinary turns recently. After spending 21 years in prison on a 35-year sentence, he was released in 2016. He walked out of prison with nothing, but soon created a full life for himself. It turned out, though, that his release was a mistake, and in May of 2018, he was sent back to serve out the rest of his sentence—more than a decade left to go. But on January 3 of this year, Matthew became one of the very first people to benefit from the First Step Act and was released again. On a visit to Washington, D.C., he got a chance to thank many of the lawmakers and people in the White House administration who supported the bill’s passage, including senators, Vice President Pence, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner. And through it all, Matthew has stayed remarkably grounded. Childhood was rough for Matthew Charles and his brothers and sisters. His family lived in cramped public housing in North Carolina, and his father was violent with Matthew and his brothers. Matthew got out of the chaos as soon as he could, joining the Army at age 18. When he was discharged, though, it seemed he hadn’t really left any of that dysfunction and hopelessness behind him, and he started dealing drugs. What followed was nearly a decade during which he was, in his own words, a “dangerous criminal.” He spent about five years in prison. At age 30, he was arrested for selling 216 grams of crack cocaine to an informant and illegally possessing a gun. He was given a 35-year sentence. At his sentencing in 1996, the judge described him as “a danger to society who should simply be off the streets.” There would be few people who would disagree. But then something happened. In prison Matthew could easily have crawled deeper into his shell of anger. But he didn’t. In fact, for the next two decades, Matthew didn’t receive a single disciplinary infraction. His prison life was directed at what the judge who resentenced him all those years later called “exemplary rehabilitation.” He immersed himself in Bible studies. He became a regular at the law library — but not just to work on his own case. He helped illiterate prisoners understand the letters they received from the courts, and he drafted filings for them. He took college courses and became a law clerk. And most important, Matthew became “genuinely repentant of his life before encountering the Grace of Christ, not offering empty excuses about his past, but taking ownership,” as a pastor would later describe him. In 2013, Matthew applied for a sentence modification because the Sentencing Commission had retroactively lowered guideline ranges for drug offenses. At his resentencing hearing, Judge Kevin Sharp commended his rehabilitation and reduced Matthew’s sentence. Matthew left prison in 2016. He didn’t have much to call his own at that point, but the positive outlook that he’d honed over decades behind bars helped him gain traction. He moved to Nashville, got a job as a driver, reconnected with his family, volunteered weekly at a food pantry called the Little Pantry That Could, and became deeply involved in his church. His boss praised his work as “meticulous,” and at the food pantry, the director said that Matthew was “one of the most amiable and friendly participants we have ever had.” But after a year and half of freedom, the court reversed the reduction in sentence, citing an error in his release. Remarkably, Matthew was sent back to prison. He was determined to keep bitterness at bay, but going back to prison was incredibly difficult for Matthew—and many people felt the same way. A local reporter told his sad story, and celebrities and advocacy groups threw their support to his cause, hoping he might receive executive clemency. In the end, though, it was the First Step Act that saved Matthew from decades more behind bars. Signed into law by President Trump December 21, 2018, the bill includes a provision to apply the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively, which the government agreed would allow for Matthew’s immediate release. On January 3, 2019, he left prison. A man of few words, he noneth ction. Would you like to join them and help FAMM work for reform that will impact people still serving absurdly long sentences? Click here to become a FAMM Advocate today and support the amazing work they do every day.  *This episode was produced and edited by Conor Hall
March 4, 2019
Darnell Phillips served 28 years for a crime he did not commit. In this compelling interview, Phillips shares the devastating story of his conviction and his hopes for his future as a free man. They are also joined by Lisa Spees, Director of Virginians for Judicial Reform. From University of Virginia, School of Law:  September 26, 2018 Eric Williamson In a light rain, Darnell Phillips raised his hands to the heavens on Tuesday. The man who was sentenced to 100 years in prison for the 1990 rape of a child in Virginia Beach was paroled earlier in the day, about three years after new evidence was uncovered in the case by the Innocence Project Clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law. He was free. Clinic Directors Jennifer Givens and Deirdre Enright ’92, and students met with their client at around noon at a Virginia Beach probation and parole office, following his morning release from the Greensville Correctional Center. They joined Phillips’ mother, sisters and fiancé to welcome him home. Some wore rain jackets, but Phillips didn’t mind feeling the weather. He was all smiles as he gave and received hugs. The jubilant mood, however, was colored by the fact that Phillips was at the office to register as a sex offender. He has not been officially cleared of the crime. Phillips’ brow was furrowed as he spoke to press about his ordeal.   Prior to the decision by the Virginia Parole Board to release him, made six months ago, the clinic uncovered DNA evidence and received a sworn affidavit from the victim, both of which support Phillips’ long-standing claim of innocence. In 2015, the clinic found the physical evidence that set them down the path to DNA testing. They discovered that a rape kit and garments from the original investigation had been in storage at a Virginia Beach courthouse evidence room but had never been tested. After two labs failed to come up with anything conclusive from the time-denigrated samples, a third lab in California found evidence during the summer of 2017 that at least two men had touched the garments, and neither man was Phillips. In her affidavit, the victim said police told her that Phillips had assaulted other children, that his alibi did not check out and that her blood was found on his underwear at his home. “None of these statements was true,” said Enright, the clinic’s director of investigation. Givens, the clinic’s legal director, said Phillips was a model prisoner. “He had been in prison 28 years, and he didn’t have an infraction,” she said. “He’s been an exceptional inmate.” Phillips completed the required re-entry classes prior to his release. “He will be in supervised parole unless he receives a pardon or relief in the court,” Givens added. The clinic filed a petition for writ of actual innocence with the Virginia Supreme Court in 2017. Dennis Barrett ’09, an attorney with Schaner & Lubitz who was a member of the original Innocence Project Clinic and the first student to work on Phillips’ case, was among the additional well-wishers, which included current members. Students in the yearlong clinic investigate and litigate wrongful convictions of inmates throughout Virginia. “Dennis has monitored the progress in Darnell’s case ever since he graduated, and drove from Washington, D.C., to be present for his release,” Enright said. *This episode was edited by Conor Hall.
February 25, 2019
In this compelling interview, Vincent Atchity and Kelly Grimes join Jason Flom for a candid discussion about the criminal justice system and how it fails to support Americans with mental health challenges.  Vincent Atchity has served as Executive Director of The Equitas Project since 2015. Vincent is an advocate for public health and health equity, a population health management strategist, and a builder of communications bridges connecting communities and community partners with better health outcomes and more efficiently managed costs. Kelly Grimes is a graduate of the Manhattan Mental Health Court, where CASES provides case management services, including treatment, planning and reporting on clients’ progress to the court. Kelly is now a certified peer specialist with CASES, as the peer specialist for the Manhattan Mental Health Court team. She has moved from being a client of the court to serving clients of the court.  The Equitas Project, an initiative of the David and Laura Merage Foundation, envisions an America rededicated to liberty and justice for all, where there is a commonly held expectation that jails and prisons should not continue to serve as the nation’s warehouses for people with unmet mental health needs. Equitas is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization which promotes mental health awareness, and champions laws, policies, and practices that prioritize improved population health outcomes, sensible use of resources, and the decriminalization of mental illness. We are committed to disentangling mental health and criminal justice. To learn more about our work and mission, please visit www.equitasproject.org, and follow us on Twitter @EquitasProject and Instagram. *This episode was edited by Conor Hall.
February 18, 2019
Update: Since this episode was recorded Fred Clay was awarded a $1 million settlement from the state, the highest amount allowed under Massachusetts state law. The settlement with the Massachusetts Attorney General was finalized Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, the same courthouse where Clay’s conviction was vacated in 2017 and his freedom granted at age 53. In 1981, at only 16-years-old, Frederick Claywas arrested, charged as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder. In August 2017, a Suffolk Superior Court judge exonerated Clay based on new evidence that revealed he had been misidentified. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting(NECIR)and WGBH co-published a four-part seriesfor radio by Chris Burrell about Clay, who spent 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit The four-part series largely focuses on Clay’s life post-exoneration, which has been met with many challenges. Without any support from the state, Clay has struggled with emotional trauma and finding a good-paying job and affordable housing. As Burrell writes, Clay’s newly-won freedom has become“astruggle for basic survival.” Read/listen to parts 1 and 2 of the series hereand parts 3 and 4 of the series here. Research in these cases from The Brennan Center for Justice and New York University Law School and the Innocence Project.
February 11, 2019
In this special edition of Wrongful Conviction, Jason Flom is joined by John Grisham to discuss his work with the Innocence Project, his commitment to criminal justice reform, and his Netflix series, The Innocent Man, the documentary adaptation of his only nonfiction book about two murders in Ada, Oklahoma.  ---------- For ten years John Grisham practiced law in a small town in Mississippi, much like Jake Brigance in A Time To Kill. He also served two terms in the State House of Representatives. In 1990, he gave up both the law and politics to write full-time, and since then has published at least one book a year.   He has written one collection of short stories, one work of non-fiction, three books about sports, one comic novel, seven editions of his Theodore Boone series for children, a childhood memoir, and, at last count, more than twenty legal thrillers. Nine of his books have been adapted to film.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Innocence Project in New York, and the Focused Ultrasound Foundation in Charlottesville, Virginia.   John and his wife, Renee, live on a farm in rural Albemarle County, Virginia.
February 4, 2019
Jens Soering is serving two consecutive life terms for a case of double homicide, the murders of Derek and Nancy Haysom in 1985–a crime he says he did not commit. On June 8, 1986, Jens Soering, the son of a former German diplomat Jens Soering falsely confessed to killing Haysoms. He also told police he cut his hand in the process. Soering "took the rap" for his girlfriend, Elizabeth Haysom, to save her from the death penalty for killing her parents. At Soering's trial, prosecutor Jim Updike told the jury that Soering's confession was corroborated by several drops of type O blood at the crime scene. Soering had type O, none of the other people involved in the crime did, so the blood had to be his. Updike repeated this claim 26 times. A comparison of lab reports showed that DNA tests had eliminated Jens Soering as a possible source of the type O blood at the scene. The same blood that in 1990 suggested his guilt now proved his innocence. He could not have cut his hand while killing the Haysoms, as he had "confessed" in 1986, because the type O blood had a different genetic profile than his. Another (unknown) man had cut himself and bled at the scene. In 2017 two independent DNA scientists confirmed these findings: Dr. Moses Schanfield of George Washington University and Dr. Thomas McClintock of Liberty University. They also found DNA evidence showing the presence of a second unknown man with type AB blood. The crime remains unsolved and Jens Soering has remained behind bars for over 32 years. In this gripping interview with Jens Soering, Jason Flom is joined by novelist John Grisham and Sheriff J.E. "Chip” Harding of Albemarle County, Va, both of whom have advocated on Soering’s behalf.
February 2, 2019
Season 8 Premieres, Monday. Feb. 4 2019. Tune in for an interview with Jens Soering. Soering was only 18 years old when he went to prison for murder. He is still behind bars–32 years later–for a crime he says he didn’t commit.
January 28, 2019
Marty Tankleff had just turned 17 when he was arrested for murdering his parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff in September 1988. Based on an unsigned “confession" extracted from him following many long hours of interrogation by notorious Suffolk County detective K. James McCready, Marty was convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. After serving 17 years, Marty's conviction was vacated by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, in December of 2007. On July 22, 2008, a judge signed off on a motion by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to dismiss all charges against Marty. Marty graduated from law school and he now works to help free other people who have been wrongfully convicted. Along with students at Georgetown University, Marty recently helped exonerate Valentino Dixon, who was a guest earlier this season.
January 22, 2019
In 1990, Jeffrey Deskovic was wrongfully convicted of the brutal rape and murder of his 15-year-old classmate, Angela Correa. Mr. Deskovic was only 16 at the time of the crime with no prior record. Police claimed that Mr. Deskovic was overly upset at the victim’s funeral and were certain they had their man. They interrogated him for over seven and a half hours, without his mother or legal counsel present. After browbeating and intimidating him, they ultimately extracted a false confession after promising that he could go home after he confessed. He had also been told that if his DNA did not match the semen in the rape kit, he would be cleared as a suspect. In January 1991, Jeffrey Deskovic was convicted by jury of 1st degree rape and 2nd degree murder, despite DNA results showing that he was not the source of semen in the victim’s rape kit. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. In 2006, post-conviction DNA testing done by the Innocence Project both proved Mr. Deskovic's innocence and identified the real perpetrator, convicted murderer Steven Cunningham, who subsequently confessed to the crime. On November 2nd, 2006, Jeffrey Deskovic’s indictment was dismissed on grounds of actual innocence and he was released after serving 16 years in prison. Since his release, he has started The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, which investigates wrongful conviction cases and provides support for exonerees once they are released. For additional information: http://www.thejeffreydeskovicfoundationforjustice.org YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/deskovicfoundation  Jeffrey Deskovic: https://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.deskovic  The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation: https://www.facebook.com/thejeffreydeskovicfoundation/ Twitter: https://www.youtube.com/user/deskovicfoundation  Instagram: http://www.Instagram.com/jeffreydeskovic
January 14, 2019
Dusty Turner was a 20-year-old Navy SEAL trainee when he was arrested for the murder and abduction of Jennifer Evans. On June 19th, 1995, Dusty Turner was out at a bar with some friends in Virginia Beach, VA including his roommate and training partner, Billy Brown. Dusty Turner and Jennifer Evans were sitting in his car waiting for Evans’s friends to join them when an extremely intoxicated Billy Brown forced his way into the back seat and began insulting Evans and pulling her hair. When she tried to defend herself, Brown suddenly attacked her, wrapped his arms around her neck in a forceful choke hold, and killed her instantly. All the while Dusty Turner had been prying and clawing Brown’s hand off of Evans, pleading with him to stop. Finally realizing that she was dead, Dusty Turner panicked and reacted to his intensive SEAL training that demanded“alwaysprotect your swim buddy” regardless of the cost. Mr. Turner’s instinct for survival and misplaced loyalty to Brown took over as he drove out of the parking lot and helped Brown hide the victim’s body in a nearby wooded area. Eight days later, Mr. Turner confessed the entire story to his commanding officer and agreed to take the police to the body after being assured that he would only be used as a witness during the trial. During Billy Brown’s trial in 1996, Brown testified against Mr. Turner to receive a lesser sentence of 72 years in prison. Three months later, with an outraged community and media frenzy surrounding the case, Dusty Turner was convicted of first degree murder and abduction, and sentenced to 82 years in prison. In 2002, Billy Brown confessed to Jennifer Evans’ murder and said that Dusty Turner played no part in it. The testimony he gave matches the story Mr. Turner told his commanding officer and also matches the physical evidence that the police had at the time of the crime. Dusty Turner petitioned for a“writof actual innocence” and his conviction was overturned by a three-judge panel of the Virginia State Court of Appeals. However, the State Attorney General’s Office quickly appealed this decision and the original Court of Appeals ruling was overturned. Since he first told his story to his commanding officer, Mr. Turner has steadfastly maintained his innocence, acknowledging that he was guilty only of being an accessory-after-the-fact, which is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 12 months in jail. To date, Dusty Turner has served nearly 22 years in prison, over half of his life. Link to watch the documentary for free online: https://vimeo.com/143034674/21eed7bd0f  Amazon Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Navy-SEAL-Murderer-Framed-Opportunity/dp/B01LZHH8D5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1485566809&sr=8-1&keywords=Target+of+opportunity  iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/navy-seal-murderer-framed/id937936629 Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/targetofopportunity2  Link to the Change.org petition: https://www.change.org/p/tell-virginia-governor-terry-mcauliffe-it-is-time-to-free-dusty-turner  Twitter: www.Twitter.com/FreeDustyTurner  Instagram: www.Instagram.com/FreeDustyTurner  Facebook: www.Facebook.com/VAForJustice & www.Facebook.com/FreeDustyTurner  Website: www.FreeDusty.org
January 8, 2019
We are going to announce the premiere of our new season very soon, but until then we are revisiting some of the show's greatest episodes. In 1976, Sonia 'Sunny’' Jacobs was sentenced to death for the murders of Florida Highway Patrol officer Phillip Black and Donald Irwin, a visiting Canadian constable. The officers were killed during a traffic stop where Sunny was traveling with her boyfriend, Jesse Tafero, and her two children, Eric, nine, and Christina, 10 months, in a car driven by Walter Rhodes. After officers approached the vehicle, Rhodes fired shots at them, a gun battle ensued, and chaos erupted. Sunny and Jesse were arrested, and both of their children were taken away by the state. Rhodes negotiated a plea bargain with the state, claiming Jesse and Sunny had pulled the triggers, in exchange for a life sentence. In 1990, Jesse was executed by the state of Florida in horrific circumstances. Sunny spent five years in isolation on Florida’s Death Row and a total of 17 years in a maximum-security prison before her conviction was overturned. Sunny was freed in 1992 when she was 45 years old. In this episode, Jason talks with Sunny, her current husband, exoneree Peter Pringle, and her daughter Christina who as a child was also a victim of this tragic injustice. After her exoneration Sunny married and Peter Pringle, they were each sentenced to death for crimes of which they were innocent. Jacobs spent 17 years in prison in the United States, and Pringle spent 15 years in prison in Ireland. Both were exonerated after their convictions were overturned. Today they are dedicated to the healing of those that have been wrongfully incarcerated. Together they started The Sunny Center with this mission in mind in Ireland. The Sunny Center is a sanctuary, providing exonerees with immediate, spiritual, emotional and physical support, with the goal of assisting them with overcoming the trauma, isolation, and disconnection resulting from wrongful incarceration.
December 17, 2018
Wrongful Conviction returns with new episodes on January 21, 2019, but until then we are revisiting some of the show’s greatest episodes. In this devastating interview, Crystal Weimer shares the unbelievable story of how she ended up serving more than a decade behind bars for the murder of Curtis Haith–a crime she did not commit. Her story is emblematic of the problems with the public defense system across the state of Philadelphia. This report from WHYY revisits Ms. Weimer’s case and looks at how little has changed since she was first arrested in the state.  Curtis Haith was beaten to death and shot outside of his home in western Pennsylvania. Police determined that the evening before Haith had attended a party in Uniontown, PA. Crystal Weimer, whose sisters hosted the party, and her cousin had driven Haith home and returned directly to the party. Ms. Weimer became the focus of the investigation after an ex-boyfriend told authorities she confessed. The charges were dropped when he recanted, but police re-filed the charges in 2004 with the use of statements given by Joseph Stenger, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy of homicide oh Haith while he was serving time for unrelated robbery charges. Stenger testified that Ms. Weimer had an earlier physical altercation with Haith and she enlisted Stenger and two unidentified black men to return to Haith’s house after where she lured him outside and they beat him to death and shot him in the face. At her trial in 2006, the only physical evidence that directly tied Ms. Weimer to the crime scene was an alleged bite mark on the victim’s arm. Expert odonatologist Dr. Constantine Karazulas told the jury that a mark on the victim’s hand was a bite mark made minutes before he died and that Ms. Weimer is the one who bit him. During closing argument, the prosecution told the jury that the jailhouse informants who testified against her at the trial had not asked for any leniency on their own cases in return for their testimony. Crystal Weimer was convicted of third-degree murder and conspiracy to commit homicide and sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison. She continued to fight for her innocence, acting as her own lawyer and filing motions for post-conviction relief, but all were denied until a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed on her behalf. In December 2014, Joseph Stenger ultimately recanted all of his statements and admitted that prosecutors dropped more serious charges against him in exchange for his testimony against Ms. Weimer. In early 2015, Dr. Constantine Karazulas, that same expert declared his own trial testimony "junk science" and "invalid." In February 2015, Ms. Weimer, represented pro bono by the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and the firm of Jones Day, filed a motion for a new trial based on the discredited bite mark evidence and the recantations of key witnesses. Her lawyers had also discovered that the prosecution had failed to disclose to Ms. Weimer’s trial counsel that the jailhouse informants had written letters to the prosecution requesting favorable treatment, which showed that the informants had testified falsely at trial when they denied they sought deals for their testimony. A new trial was ordered on October 1st, 2015, and Crystal Weimer was released the same day on bond after serving 11 years in prison. She was forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet for another nine months until the judge dismissed the charges with prejudice and she was finally exonerated in June 2016. Ms. Weimer is joined by one of her attorneys from the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, Nilaam Sanghvi, in this episode.
November 20, 2018
Tim Tyler was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence in federal prison for selling LSD while traveling around the country following the Grateful Dead. He was 25 years old when he was sentenced and has spent nearly half of his life behind bars. Tim grew up in Connecticut with his mother, but moved to Florida to live with his father when he was a teenager. After graduating from high school, Tim traveled around the country following the Grateful Dead, and became a heavy user of LSD. Unfortunately, he developed mental health problems and was hospitalized multiple times as a teenager and young adult. He also became entangled in the criminal justice system. In 1991, Tim was arrested twice for selling LSD and received probation both times. Then, in May 1992, Tim sold marijuana and LSD to a confidential informant. Over the next two months, Tim mailed packages containing LSD to the informant. He was arrested in August and charged along with three codefendants, including his father. Tim pled guilty to possession with intent to deliver LSD and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute LSD. In March 1994, 25-year-old Tim was sentenced to mandatory life without parole in federal prison. Tim’s codefendants received five and 10 year sentences. Timothy’s father died in prison while serving his 10-year prison term. Read Rolling Stone‘s“TheNation’s Shame: The Injustice of Mandatory Minimums,” which features Tim Tyler’s story A Note on Tim's Sentence Calculation  Tim’s life sentence was determined by two factors: his two prior drug offenses and the amount of LSD he was convicted of selling, which included the“carrier”weight of the paper the LSD was placed on. Ten grams or more of LSD(includingthe weight of the carrier) on a third offense triggers a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. Without the mandatory minimum), Timothy would have received a sentence of 262-327 months under the federal sentencing guidelines. Instead, taxpayers will continue to finance the incarceration of a nonviolent drug offender – at $28,000 a year and rising – for the rest of his life. To Connect with Tim Tyler please visit his Facebook Page.  To learn more about Families Against Mandatory Minimums, or make a donation, please visit their website, FAMM.org.  Research Courtesy of FAMM.  Stay Tuned after Wrongful Conviction for a special preview for "Legal Wars" - Introducing: Legal Wars The courtroom can be a battlefield over money, people’s rights, and even their lives. For some cases, the consequences can affect us long after the verdict is read. Based on extensive interviews and court transcripts, Wondery’s new podcast LEGAL WARS puts you inside the jury box of some of the most famous court cases in American history. Subscribe to Legal Wars today at wondery.fm/
November 12, 2018
Following in the footsteps of his beloved and iconic grandfather, Ndaba Mandela has taken the torch and run with it. Today, Nelson Mandela’s legacy continues as Ndaba keeps its beacon of hope bright, fueling his message that one person can make a difference. Ndaba is a man passionate about Africa, its people and concerned about its future. In this candid interview, Ndaba discusses his passion for criminal justice reform and his commitment to a new generation of young Africans that he hopes will be at the forefront of Africa’s development. Connect with Ndaba Mandela: Twitter Facebook Instagram Find out more about Ndaba’s foundation, Africa Rising, here.
November 5, 2018
Although Valentino Dixon has never played golf, he wouldn’t have survived 27 years in prison–for a crime he did not commit–without it. A few years into his sentence of 39 years to life, Dixon returned to his childhood passion of art to help him cope. He began sketching landscapes of golf courses with color pencils. His breathtakingly detailed sketches led to a profile in Golf Digest magazine. That article in Golf Digest, helped bring other media attention to Dixon’s case and prompted students at Georgetown to help appeal Dixon’s sentence. On September 19, 2018, Dixon was released after the court determined that Dixon, in fact, was not responsible for the murder of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner in 1991. In this compelling interview, Dixon shares how his art served as a shield in prison, protecting his mind and comforting his soul.  Connect with Valentino Dixon: @ValentinoDixon To help support Valentino please visit this GoFundMe campaign that was created to give   https://www.gofundme.com/support-valentino-dixon
October 30, 2018
In her new book Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction Lara Bazelon makes a powerful argument for adopting a model of restorative justice as part of the Innocence Movement so exonerees, crime victims, and their communities can come together to heal. Tony Wright is one of those exonerees.  Wright endured two trials and 25 years in prison before a jury found him not  guilty for the rape, sodomy and murder of Louise Talley, a 77-year-old woman in  Philadelphia. Mr. Wright, who was only 20 years old when he was arrested in 1993,  signed a confession after being beaten and threatened by the interrogating detectives. He was sentenced to life in prison—he narrowly escaped the death penalty after the jury voted against it 7 to 5. Later DNA testing of he rape kit not only excluded Mr. Wright as a suspect, but also identified Ronnie Byrd as the real assailant. On August 23, 2016, Tony Wright was exonerated, and he became the 344th DNA exoneree in the nation.  Talley’s niece, Shannon Coleman, fought to get Tony Wright behind bars until her daughter Lauren showed her a Rolling Stone article questioning his role in the crime. Coleman then became Wright’s staunchest advocate. More information about Bazelon’s new book is available here. Connect with Lara Bazelon: Twitter
October 22, 2018
In forty-eight other states and in federal courts across the country, a conviction requires a unanimous vote – all jurors must agree on whether a prosecutor has met the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. For hundreds of years, dating back to common law before the constitution, the trial by jury has been repeatedly described by Justice Antonin Scalia, quoting Sir William Blackstone, as: “the most transcendent privilege which any subject can enjoy, or wish for, that he cannot be affected either in his property, his liberty, or his person, but by the unanimous consent of twelve of his neighbours and equals.” Louisiana is the only state where someone can be sentenced to life without parole without a unanimous decision of a jury. Non-unanimous juries allow conviction even where two citizens have reasonable doubts about the evidence. They are, as a result, unreliable. More than forty percent of all those who have been recently exonerated were (mistakenly) found guilty by non-unanimous juries.  On November 6th, Louisiana voters will have a chance to change that. Amendment 2, a ballot initiative, would require unanimous agreement by jurors for all felony trials. Jason is joined by with Doug Dilosa of Rising Foundations and Chris Pourciau the Deputy Director of the Unanimous Jury Coalition, through the Promise of Justice Initiative.  Doug Dilosa is himself a victim of non-unanimous jury. DiLosa was wrongfully convicted of second degree murder in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole with less than a unanimous consensus of his guilt. Based on the information and evidence Doug was able to gather on his case, in 2000 the Federal Court reversed his conviction and he was released from prison in January of 2001. For more information about his case please listen to Dilosa’s first interview on Wrongful Conviction, which you can find here.  For more information on how you can help please visit www.unanimousjury.org Connect with the organization: https://twitter.com/UnanimousJuryLA https://www.facebook.com/UnanimousJuryLA/
October 15, 2018
In this special edition of Wrongful Conviction, Jason Flom is joined by Sadhguru to discuss his revolutionary work that has helped reform prisons throughout India.  Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author who ranked amongst the 50 most influential people in India by India Today. Sadhguru has been conferred the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2017, the highest civilian award of the year, accorded for exceptional and distinguished service. Probing and passionate, insightful, logical and unfailingly witty, Sadhguru's is a renowned and celebrated speaker. He has headlined talks at the United Nations World Headquarters, the Hindustan Leadership Summit, the Australian Leadership Retreat, Indian Economic Summit, and TED. He is a regular at the World Economic Forum and has also been invited to speak at leading educational institutions, including Oxford, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, and MIT among others. Three decades ago, Sadhguru founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization with human well-being at its core commitment, supported by over seven million volunteers in over 250 centers worldwide. Connect with Sadhguru: @Sadhguru
October 9, 2018
Rafael Madrigal and co-defendant Francisco Olivares were charged with committing a drive-by shooting in East Los Angeles on behalf of the Ford Maravilla gang and convicted in January of 2002. Witnesses testified that Madrigal and Olivares committed the July 2000 shooting. Madrigal contended his innocence from the beginning; at the time of the shooting he was at work at Proactive Packaging & Display in Rancho Cucamonga, approximately 35 miles away. The petition submitted on Madrigal’s behalf established his alibi and argued that his trial counsel was ineffective in his representation, failing to call an alibi witness or properly investigate the case. During an evidentiary hearing on November 3, 2008, alibi witness Robert Howards, Madrigal’s direct supervisor at Proactive, testified that the production line would have shut down had Madrigal not been at work. Madrigal was the only employee trained to operate the laminating machine and his failure to operate that piece of machinery would have impacted production. Howards was never called as a witness, despite his submission of a notarized alibi statement in Madrigal’s defense. An audio tape was also produced during the evidentiary hearing. On the tape was a telephone conversation between Olivares and his girlfriend. In the conversation, Olivares admits that Madrigal was not involved in the shooting, nor did he know any details of the crime. The audio tape was never entered as evidence. The alibi witness and audio tape prove Madrigal’s innocence. Together, both pieces of evidence were crucial in the reversal of Madrigal’s conviction. “Rafael should never have been convicted of this crime,” says Justin P. Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project and Professor of Law at California Western School of Law.“Iam so pleased that the truth has come out. He is another innocent victim of a flawed justice system.” U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feess granted a petition filed by the California Innocence Project and Attorney Eric Multhaup, effectively reversing the 2002 murder conviction of Rafael Madrigal. The decision follows the recommendation of U.S. Magistrate Judge Marc Goldman. Madrigal is the third person in three months to be exonerated by the California Innocence Project, based at California Western School of Law in San Diego. CaliforniaInnocenceProject.org Make a GIFTto California Innocence Project here.
October 1, 2018
DAMIEN ECHOLS was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. His wrongful conviction, sentencing, and eventual release as part of the West Memphis Three case is the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh.  The West Memphis Three are three men who – while teenagers – were tried and convicted, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. During the trial, the prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual. In July 2007, new forensic evidence was presented in the case. A status report jointly issued by the state and the defense team stated: "Although most of the genetic material recovered from the scene was attributable to the victims of the offenses, some of it cannot be attributed to either the victims or the defendants." On October 29, 2007, the defense filed a Second Amended Writ of Habeas Corpus, outlining the new evidence. Following a 2010 decision by the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding newly produced DNA evidence and potential juror misconduct, the West Memphis Three negotiated a plea bargain with prosecutors. On August 19, 2011, they entered Alford pleas, which allowed them to assert their innocence while acknowledging that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict them. Judge David Laser accepted the pleas and sentenced the three to time served. They were released with 10-year suspended sentences, having served 18 years and 78 days in prison. While in prison, Damien was ordained into the Rinzai Zen Buddhist tradition. Today he teaches classes on Magick around the country and works as a visual artist. He and wife Lorri live in New York City with their three cats. Damien is also the author of High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row and the New York Times bestseller Life After Death and Yours For Eternity (with his wife Lorri Davis).   Connect with Damien Echols - @DamienEchols Instagram Facebook Twitter www.DamienEchols.com www.churchofrockandroll.com This episode was recorded live in front of a studio audience at the opening of The Church of Rock & Roll
September 24, 2018
Noura Jackson was egregiously framed and wrongfully convicted of murdering her mother, Jennifer Jackson, in Memphis, TN in 2005. Amazingly she spent over three years in jail awaiting trial before being sentenced to 20 years and nine months in prison. No physical evidence linked Ms. Jackson to the murder, and DNA testing not only excluded her as a suspect, but it also suggested that two or three different people were present at the crime scene. The Supreme Court of Tennessee overturned her conviction, unanimously in 2014, and in their 5-0 decision they made strong statements about the misconduct that took place during her trial. The prosecutors threatened to retry Ms. Jackson, and she was faced with little choice but to accept an Alford Plea in 2015. Noura Jackson was then sent back to prison for 15 months before she was finally released in 2016, after serving 11 years in prison. She is joined by one of her lawyers, Bryce Benjet, Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project, in this episode.
September 17, 2018
It’s been over 10 years since the murder of Meredith Kercher, British exchange student killer while studying abroad in Italy. That crime sent an innocent American student named Amanda Knox to prison for four years . At just 20 years old Knox became embroiled in an international scandal that captivated the world. The guilty verdict at Knox's initial trial and her 26-year sentence caused international controversy, as U.S. forensic experts thought evidence at the crime scene didn’t make sense. After her eventual release, Amanda returned to the United States to rebuild her life. Amanda was the first guest on season 2 of Wrongful Conviction as we begin this, our seventh season, we are looking back. Please make sure to check out Amanda’s new show“The Scarlett Letter Reports” available on Facebook Watch. Amanda sits down with women from all of walks of life to discuss the deeply personal journey of being sexualized, scrutinized, and demonized by the media — and how they’ve rebuilt their lives after their most personal details have been made public.
September 10, 2018
Susan King served nearly seven years behind bars for a crime she didn’t commit. Then in 2012, another man confessed to that crime. In November 1998, a fisherman found the body of 40-year-old Kyle Breeden in the Kentucky River near Gratz, Kentucky. He had been shot in the head twice with .22 caliber magnum bullets and his legs were bound with guitar amplifier cord. He had last been seen October 26, 1998. Kentucky State Police was never able to solve the crime. Almost eight years later, Detective Todd Harwood made it his mission to solve the cold case. He pinned the murder on Susan King who had dated Breeden on and off for some time. The detective claimed King threw a 200-pound body over a bridge. But that was impossible because King only has one leg and she only weighed 90 pounds. Then in 2012, the actual murderer confessed to the crime.
September 5, 2018
Kim Kardashian West first heard about Alice Marie Johnson through a short video about Johnson’s life behind bars on Twitter. Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old-great-grandmother, was given a life sentence for a first-time-nonviolent-drug-related crime and was not eligible for parole. At the time, Johnson had already been in prison for 21 years. Kardashian West retweeted that video from Mic.com saying “This is so unfair” on October 25, 2017. That single tweet and Johnson’s story moved Kardashian West and ignited a passion in her for criminal justice reform. It became her mission to help free Johnson and reunite her with the family she missed so much. Kardashian West’s journey took her to the White House where she personally petitioned for a pardon of Johnson’s criminal offenses and on June 6, 2018, President Donald Trump granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson. In this special edition of Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, Kardashian West discusses her commitment to criminal justice reform and how she plans to continue using her voice to advocate on behalf of those behind bars.
September 4, 2018
Listen to a special preview of Jason Flom’s interview of Kim Kardashian West as she discusses her involvement in Alice Johnson’s release and her advocacy for criminal justice reform and clemency. The full episode will be available Wednesday, September 5th.
August 27, 2018
It’s been almost 30 years since the brutal rape and beating of the Central Park Jogger that sent five innocent men to prison they were known as the Central Park Five. This case and their stories captivated New Yorkers. This season we heard from one of the five: the incredible Yusef Salaam. But the first guest on Wrongful Conviction was Raymond Santana, and as the sixth season of Wrongful Conviction comes to an end, we are looking back. Raymond was only 14 years old when he was wrongfully convicted of the rape and assault of the Central Park jogger in 1990.  SOCIAL: Raymond Santana Instagram: @SanatanaRaymond and @ParkMadisonNYC
August 20, 2018
In 1999 Luis Vargas was convicted and sentenced to fifty-five years to life in prison for three sexual assaults. He was accused of being the notorious“teardroprapist,” a methodical serial rapist that terrorized women in Los Angeles.  Before being sentenced Vargas stated,“…Iwill pray for God’s mercy on all of you…but as far as I’m concerned, as far as I’m concerned[the]individual[who]really did these crimes might really be raping someone out there, might really be killing someone out there.” Unfortunately for Luis and the people of Los Angeles, Luis was right. The real“teardroprapist” would attack over 30 victims.  Mr. Vargas is joined by his lawyer, Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. In 2013 Mr. Miles identified 12 clients with strong claims to exoneration: the“California12.” Mr. Brooks walked 712 miles from San Diego to Sacramento to deliver clemency positions to Gov. Jerry Brown on behalf of the“California12.” Connect with Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project: Twitter
August 13, 2018
Since his release in April 2018, Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill is using his voice and freedom to fight on behalf of those still behind bars. In this special interview, Mill is joined by his friend and ally Michael Rubin, e-commerce billionaire and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, to discuss their hopes for criminal justice reform.  SOCIAL:  Follow Meek Mill and Michael Rubin: Meek Mill: Instagram and Twitter Michael Rubin: Instagram and Twitter
August 6, 2018
On December 27, 1996, before the sun had risen, 35-year-old Tyrone Camp was fatally shot in the head and back as he was warming up his truck at Active Transportation Co. in Louisville, Kentucky. The murder was witnessed by Kenneth Brown, who told police he had seen the assailant running away, but that he could not identify him.  The first suspect in Camp’s murder was his wife Cecilia’s former husband, Juan Leotis Sanders. But the focus shifted to Kerry Porter Porter, who had also once been married to Cecilia Camp after the victim’s brother showed the witness a picture of Porter. Brown identified Porter was the assailant on two separate occasions.  Kerry Porter was eventually convicted of the murder of Tyrone Camp and sentenced to 60 years in prison.  Porter’s devastating conviction was built on mistaken witness identification, perjury and a false accusation. He was exonerated in 2011 thanks in part to the Innocence Project and–in a strange turn– the television show“BayWatch.” But ultimately what freed Porter was his unwavering faith and commitment to proving his innocence.
July 30, 2018
Calvin Johnson was just 25-years-old when he was wrongfully convicted for the rape of a woman in 1983. Johnson served 16 years for that crime. In 1999 a judge ordered a new trial for Johnson DNA tests were done on samples collected from the rape kit. The DNA testing concluded that Johnson was not the perpetrator. The District Attorney decided to drop the charges against Johnson after looking at the DNA test result. Johnson was the first man freed exonerated in part to DNA evidence in the state of Georgia. Calvin Johnson is now on the inaugural board of directors for the Innocence Project. He also serves on the board of the Georgia Innocence Project. In September 2003, his book Exit To Freedom was published by the University of Georgia Press. Co-authored by Dr. Greg Hampikian, the book chronicles Johnson’s wrongful arrest, conviction, imprisonment, and the events that led to his exoneration. To purchase his book “Exit to Freedom” please click here. To contact Calvin Johnson please reach out to him via email: exitofree@yahoo.com
July 23, 2018
On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger was brutally attacked and raped in New York’s Central Park. She was found unconscious with her skull fractured, her body temperature at 84 degrees, and 75 percent of her blood drained from her body. Five teens from Harlem—all between the ages of 14 and 16-years-old—were tried and convicted of the crime in one of the most frenzied cases in the city’s history.  The woman was dubbed the “Central Park jogger” and the accused teens became known collectively as the “Central Park Five.” One of those boys, Yusef Salaam, was just 15-years-old when he was tried as a juvenile and convicted of rape and assault. Mr. Salaam was sentenced to five to ten years in prison.  In early 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and rapist, admitted that he alone was responsible for the attack on the Central Park jogger. Reyes had already committed another rape near Central Park days earlier in 1989, using the same modus operandi. Although the police had Reyes’s name on file, they failed to connect Reyes to the rape and assault of the Central Park jogger. Eventually, the evidence from the crime was subjected to DNA testing and matched the profile of Reyes, who is currently serving a life sentence. On December 19, 2002, on the recommendation of the Manhattan District Attorney, the convictions of the five men were overturned. Yusef Salaam had served nearly seven years for a crime he did not commit.  Since his release, Mr. Salaam has become a family man, father, poet, activist and inspirational speaker. He has committed himself to advocating for and educating people on the issues of mass incarceration, police brutality and misconduct, false confessions, press ethics and bias, race and law, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system, especially for young men of color.  To watch Mr. Salaam’s video collaboration with the Marshall Project mentioned in this episode available here. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU9vxxKnzLw) .  For more information on how to book him for public speaking, visit https://yusefspeaks.com. Connect with Yusef Salaam on Social: Facebook Twitter Instagram
July 16, 2018
On January 11, 1988, shortly after 10 p.m., Fitzgerald Clarke and Steven Hewitt were fatally shot in Brooklyn, NY outside of a building where they sold drugs. Shabaka Shakur, a friend of both victims, was brought in for questioning after a witness told officers that Shakur harbored a dispute over money he owned Hewitt. Another witness told police that Shakur admitted to committing the crime before he was arrested, but this witness never testified and recanted in 2014. In Detective Phillip Mahony’s initial interview with Shakur, he denied any involvement in the crime. But after Mahony, Shakur was interviewed by the now disgraced Detective Louis Scarcella, who claimed that Shakur confessed to shooting the victims. Detective Louis Scarcellais an infamous, retired NYPD detective who rose to prominence in the 1980s and 90s due to his unmatched ability to get suspects to confess.  As of May 2018, there have been 13 exonerations connected to him. Despite all of the exonerations and criticisms of his tactics, Scarcella maintains that he has“doneabsolutely nothing wrong.” Shakur was convicted on two counts of second degree murder and he was sentenced to 20 years to life. After 27 years–and in large part to his determination–Shakur was exonerated. Since his exoneration, alongside fellow exoneree and Scarcella victim Derrick Hamilton, Shakur has opened“718Live,” a restaurant and event space in Brooklyn. Shakur is joined by his defense attorney, Ron Kuby. Kuby is the star of a new series“WrongMan” on STARZ. The series follows a team of esteemed experts as they re-investigate the cases of three inmates who have been locked up for decades and claim they're innocent. The series is available hereand through the STARZ app. Connect with Shabaka Shakur: Facebook
July 9, 2018
In 1999 Guy Miles was convicted of robbery and sentenced 75 years to life. He was placed at the scene of a crime by eyewitness identifications. According to the California Innocent Project, stranger eyewitness identifications are the single leading cause of wrongful convictions in the world. Despite a high rate of error(roughly1 in 4 stranger eyewitness identifications are wrong), they are still considered the most powerful evidence against a suspect. It was exactly these kinds of misidentifications that sent Guy Miles to prison. On June 29, 1998, three men committed an armed robbery at a Fidelity Financial institution in Fullerton, CA. Two bank employees chose Mr. Miles from faulty photo arrays and later testified that he was one of the robbers in court. But Mr. Miles could not have been involved with the robbery because he wasn’t even in California when it happened. Mr. Miles had six alibi witnesses at trial who all testified that he was in Las Vegas–an almost four-hour drive away–when the robbery occurred.  With the help of the California Innocence Project, Mr. Miles was freed after 18 years in prison. Their investigation found the three men responsible for committing that crime: Jason Stewart, Harold Bailey and Bernard Teamer. After admitting to the robbery, they cleared Guy and said that he was not involved. Mr. Miles is joined by his lawyer, Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. In 2013 Mr. Miles identified 12 clients with strong claims to exoneration: the“California12.” Mr. Brooks walked 712 miles from San Diego to Sacramento to deliver clemency positions to Gov. Jerry Brown on behalf of the“California12. Connect with Guy Miles: Facebook Connect with Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project: Twitter Donate to the California Innocence Project here.
July 2, 2018
De’Marchoe Carpenter and Malcolm Scott were 17-years-old when Tulsa police arrested them in connection to a gang-related shooting that killed 19-year-old Karen Summers, the mother of a 4-month-old baby, outside a house party in 1994. Neither teen was found with the murder weapon or the getaway car and no DNA linked either of them to the crime scene. Days after the murder occurred, a Tulsa homicide supervisor visited Michael Lee Wilson, a known member of the Bloods, who had the murder weapon, the car, and the motive. Prosecutors offered Wilson a plea deal in exchange for testifying against De’Marchoe Carpenter and Malcolm Scott, and Wilson was released on $5,000 bond. While he was free, he brutally butchered Richard Yost, a night clerk at a Tulsa convenience store in February 1995. That crime was so heinous that Wilson and his co-defendant Billy Alverson both received the death penalty. Two eyewitnesses who placed Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Scott at the scene, and who provided inconsistent statements to investigators, later recanted and claimed detectives had coerced their testimony by threatening them with charges. After their three-day trial, Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Scott were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison on the murder conviction, plus 170 years for two counts of shooting with intent to kill, and one count of using a vehicle to facilitate the discharge of a weapon. Days before Wilson was set to die by lethal injection in 2011, he provided a videotaped confession to the Oklahoma Innocence Project. In the footage, he claimed that he was the one who killed Summers, and that he’d allowed cops to suspect Mr. Scott and Mr. Carpenter. Almost 22 years later, on May 9, 2016, a judge finally vacated their convictions and declared them factually innocent. SOCIAL: Connect with Malcolm Scott: Instagram: @ MrSwaggah764 Facebook Connect with De’Marchoe Carpenter: Instagram: @BuriedAlive22 Facebook
June 25, 2018
In 1998, Peter Ouko was taken to Kamiti Maximum Prison in Kenya and was sentenced to death in 2001. His sentence would later be commuted to life imprisonment by Kenya’s former President Mwai Kibaki in 2009. Instead of bitterness, Mr. Ouko decided to forgive his tormentors and make the best of his time in prison, becoming the first inmate to graduate with a University of London Diploma in Law while behind bars. He is currently in his final year as an LLB student in the same University. Peter later won his freedom in October 2016 and continues to support and advocate for those individuals who remain on remand. In his dual role as an Ambassador of the African Prisons Project and Founder of the Youth Safety Awareness Initiative, Pete Ouko today champions access to justice for inmates and the indolent in society while using social enterprise to advocate for a crime free world. Connect with Peter Ouko: Pete’s personal website His organization Crime Si Poa His twitter  His Facebook
June 18, 2018
In March 1988, Steven Barnes was arrested and charged with the rape, sodomy, and murder of 16-year-old Kimberly Simon in upstate New York. He was tried by a jury in Utica beginning on May 15, 1989. Questionable eyewitness identifications and three forms of unvalidated forensic science were used against Mr. Barnes at trial. He was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Nearly two decades later, on November 25, 2008, DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project proved his innocence and Steven Barnes walked out of the Utica courthouse a free man.
June 11, 2018
Calvin Buari served 22 years for a double murder in the Bronx, even though someone else confessed to the crime. In the early 1990s, Calvin Buari was a well-known crack cocaine distributor in the Bronx, and authorities blamed him for a spasm of bloodshed there; the press reported that he practiced "black magic" and was a murderous thug. In 1992, a disgruntled drug associate who had recently shot Mr. Buari implicated him in the murder of Elijah and Salhaddin Harris, who were parked when a gunman walked up and fired about a dozen rounds into their car. Mr. Buari was charged with the double murder and six rival drug dealers testified against him at his 1995 murder trial. No physical evidence connected him to the crime. A jury took only two hours to convict Mr. Buari of murder, and he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Calvin Buari never stopped fighting for his freedom, and the case took a turn with a 2003 affidavit from the key witness against him, Dwight Robinson, who confessed to the crime, stating that he “pinned this double murder on Calvin Buari because of a dispute between Calvin and me, and because I wanted complete control of my drug spot.” Journalist Steve Fishman followed Mr. Buari’s story for seven years and eyewitnesses, first interviewed by Fishman, testified in court in 2015 that Mr. Buari was not the murderer. By May 2017, a judge overturned the conviction and ordered 46-year-old Mr. Buari freed. In this episode, Calvin Buari is joined by Steve Fishman, who chronicles his journey for justice in the hit podcast Empire on Blood. Follow Calvin Buari and Steve Fishman on social media and check out their businesses: Steve on Twitter: @stevemfishman Calvin on Facebook: Teambuari Calvin on Instagram: @ryderz_van_service, and @teambuari.  Company websites: www.ryderzvanservice.com and www.blackmagicstudio.com.  Read more on Cal's new business at this article
May 14, 2018
Andre Hatchett spent half of his life in prison for a murder he did not commit largely due to inadequate defense, a single unreliable witness, and exculpatory evidence that was not disclosed to the defense. He was the 19th person to be exonerated under Brooklyn D.A. Ken Thompson's Conviction Integrity Unit. Andre Hatchett is joined by Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project Seema Saifee and his brother Jerry Hatchett in this episode.
May 7, 2018
Angel Cordero was convicted in 1999 of attempted murder and robbery of then-Boston University freshman Jason Mercado, who was attacked and stabbed by strangers while walking in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx. Four plainclothes Bronx Gang Unit cops driving by the scene observed the tail end of the assault and quickly arrested five men out of the crowd, including Angel Cordero, who at age 26 had no prior criminal record, and his brother, Ramon Rivas. Three of the five young men pleaded guilty in exchange for lesser sentences, but Angel Cordero and Ramon Rivas refused to plead guilty and went to trial. At trial, multiple people testified that a man named Dario Rodriguez had committed the stabbing. In addition, the three confessed assailants also told police that Mr. Cordero and his brother were not involved. Both brothers were found guilty of second-degree attempted murder, robbery in the first degree, and assault in the first degree, and they were both sentenced to 15 years in prison. Ramon Rivas won his appeal due to judicially inappropriate actions made by the court and was released 6 years into his sentence. Angel Cordero served 13 years in prison despite numerous statements from witnesses that he was not involved, as well as the 2007 confession of longtime drug dealer Dario Rodriguez, who admitted he actually committed the crime. Mr. Cordero was released on parole in 2012, and he is still fighting for exoneration with his attorneys at the Innocence Project. In this episode, he is joined by his biggest supporter, his wife Michelle Cordero, who married him while he was still in prison. Welcomehomepictures.com http://angelcorderoisinnocent.com/ Please tag Michelle and Angel as follow: Angel: https://www.facebook.com/angel.cordero.9400 fighting_off_the_ropes   Michelle: https://www.facebook.com/michelle.cordero.9803 misia0417
April 30, 2018
In December 1979, a triple murder shook the small town of St. Albans, West Virginia. John Moss III was convicted in 1983 and sentenced to life in prison, and he has since served 38 years for this crime that he did not commit. Jason Flom teams up with Georgetown University Professor of Government and Law, Marc Howard, and his student, Jessica Scoratow, to interview John Moss from behind bars in West Virginia and unravel the saga behind this tragic miscarriage of justice. On December 13th, 1979, in St. Albans, West Virginia, twenty-six-year-old Vanessa Reggettz and her two young children, Paul Eric and Bernadette, were strangled to death by electrical cords. The murders were gruesome–Vanessa was brutally beaten and stabbed with scissors, Paul Eric was left in a bathtub, and Bernadette was hung from a door. Paul Reggettz, the husband of Vanessa and the father of Bernadette and Paul Eric, was immediately taken into custody and after being interrogated for hours, he confessed in graphic detail and reenacted the crime for investigators. Reggettz was indicted on three counts of first-degree murder and held in pre-trial detention for eleven months. Charges were dropped, however, when John Moss, a 17-year-old former neighbor, was arrested for the murders instead. In October 1980, West Virginia State Police investigators traveled to interview John Moss in Ohio, where he was being held in juvenile detention for an unrelated crime. Mr. Moss denied any involvement in the murders, and the troopers took a blood sample from him without his parents’ consent or a court order. They returned to pick him up five months later to take him into custody. The policemen in the car claimed that Mr. Moss confessed to the murders. He then gave a tape-recorded confession. The police stated that Mr. Moss confessed again a third time, but there is no recording or written record of the confession. Mr. Moss maintains that he was coerced, beaten, and threatened during interrogations. Armed with these confessions, however, Kanawha County, West Virginia authorities charged John Moss with three counts of first degree murder and brought him to Charleston to stand trial for the Reggettz slayings in 1985. Importantly, there was blood at the scene of the crime that did not match any of the family members, and the blood was found to match Moss’s blood type. The blood sample was tested by Fred Zain, the infamous lab technician later convicted of falsifying blood evidence in over 134 cases spanning decades, and later destroyed after the conviction. Zain also testified at Mr. Moss’ trial, but the West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that any testimony given by Zain should be discounted. On April 30, 1983, John Moss was convicted of the murders after fourteen hours of jury deliberation and sentenced to three life sentences without the possibility of parole in 1985. He was convicted again in 1990 after his first trial was thrown out for judicial errors in jury polling and prosecutorial misconduct. John Moss has been incarcerated in West Virginia for 38 years, filing numerous appeals alleging ineffective assistance of counsel and challenging Fred Zain's testimony, the validity of his confessions, and arguments about the purportedly stolen items. His appeals have thus far been unsuccessful, and without new evidence, his options for further appeals are limited. For more information visit https://www.justiceforjohnmoss.com Please link to his social, website and petition on our social channels: Website - www.justiceforjohnmoss.com Facebook - Justice for John Moss Instagram - justice_forjohn Twitter - justice_forjohn  Change.org petition link: https://www.change.org/p/charles-t-miller-free-john-moss-wrongfully-convicted-of-murder-38-years-ago?recruiter=391384965&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page
April 23, 2018
Rodney Roberts was arrested in 1996 in Newark, New Jersey, after an altercation with a friend. After several days in custody, he found himself charged with the kidnapping and rape of a 17-year-old girl. His court appointed attorney advised him to plead guilty or spend the rest of his life in prison. Mr. Roberts had a good job and had recently moved with his young son into a new apartment. Hoping to get back to his son as soon as possible, Rodney Roberts pleaded guilty to the crime in exchange for a seven-year sentence. He would end up spending 18 years in custody before DNA evidence excluded him as a perpetrator and he was exonerated and released in 2014. Please link to Rodney’s gofundme:  https://www.gofundme.com/rodney-roberts-foundation https://www.facebook.com/groups/575988949170442/
April 16, 2018
Blaise Lobato was twice convicted of the gruesome murder of a 44-year-old homeless man named Duran Bailey, whose body was found behind a dumpster off the Las Vegas Strip just after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2001, covered in a thin layer of trash. Bailey’s teeth had been knocked out and his eyes were bloodied and swollen shut; his carotid artery had been slashed, his rectum stabbed, and his penis amputated. It was found among the trash nearby. Despite a crime scene rich with potential evidence, Las Vegas detectives Thomas Thowsen and James LaRochelle ignored obvious leads and instead focused their investigation on 18-year-old Blaise Lobato, based solely on a third-hand rumor. Ms. Lobato became a suspect because of an attack she fended off in Las Vegas in May 2001. A man attempted to rape her, and she fought him off with a knife, slashing him in the groin area before escaping in her car. In July, police drove up to the small town of Panaca to interview Ms. Lobato about the incident. On the day of the crime, she was at home with her parents in Panaca, which was nearly three hours northeast of Las Vegas near the Utah state line. She was forthcoming with police and described an incident entirely different from Bailey’s murder. When the police told her that the man had died, she mistakenly believed it was the same man that had attacked her, and she expressed remorse, which the police took to be a confession. Even though there was not a shred of physical evidence linking Blaise Lobato to the crime scene, on May 18, 2002, she was convicted of first degree murder and sexual penetration of a dead body and sentenced to 40 to 100 years. The state’s theory of the crime fell apart in October 2017, when Vanessa Potkin, Director of Post-Conviction Litigation at the Innocence Project, and a team of attorneys presented nearly a week’s worth of testimony from several renowned entomologists and a medical examiner, each of whom demonstrated why the state’s narrative never made any scientific sense. On December 19, 2017, the judge vacated Ms. Lobato’s conviction and ordered a new trial. The grounds were inadequate legal defense for failing to call an expert to challenge the time of death, given that it was such a pivotal issue. Ten days later, the prosecution dropped all charges, and Blaise Lobato was freed after serving almost 16 years on prison. In this episode she is joined by two of her Innocence Project attorneys, Jane Putcher & Adnan Salter. Please link to Blaise's gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/kirstinlobatolibertyfund
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