Tag Archives: Catholics

Convicted by False Forensic Evidence, Eddie Lee Howard, Jr. Exonerated From Mississippi Death Row After 26 Years

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Eddie Lee Howard, Jr., convicted and sentenced to death based on the false forensic testimony of a since disgraced prosecution expert witness, has been exonerated after nearly 26 years on Mississippi’s death row. He is the 174th

former death-row prisoner exonerated in the U.S. since 1973 and the sixth in Mississippi.

The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned Howard’s conviction in August 2020, 26 years after he was first sentenced to death for the 1992 murder and alleged rape of an 84-year-old white woman. In an 8-1 decision, the court held that discredited bite-mark testimony, exculpatory DNA evidence, “and the paucity of other evidence linking Howard to the murder” entitled him to a new trial. Howard was freed pending retrial in December 2020 (see picture).

On January 8, 2021, the trial court granted a motion by Lowndes County District Attorney Scott Colom to dismiss all charges against Howard. “After reading the supreme court’s opinion, reading the trial transcripts from the two trials, reviewing the investigative files and case files of the case, I decided that we didn’t have even remotely close to sufficient evidence to convict Mr. Howard beyond a reasonable doubt,” Colom said.

Howard was represented by lawyers from the Mississippi Innocence Project and the national Innocence Project. The Mississippi Innocence Project’s founding director, Tucker Carrington, called Howard’s exoneration “a bittersweet victory.” “We’re thrilled that Mr. Howard will finally have his freedom and some semblance of justice,” Carrington said, “but he has lost nearly three decades of his life facing execution because the system failed. His case reminds us that there is still much work to be done to support Mr. Howard and others like him who have lost precious years of their lives to wrongful convictions.”

AFRICA – Covid-19: WHO explains the factors that have led to the low number of cases in Africa

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Brazzaville – “The spread of COVID-19 in Africa has been marked by a relatively low number of infections, which have decreased in the past two months due to various socio-ecological factors and early public health measures by governments across the region”, says a report by the World Health Organization , which seeks to explain the low prevalence of the pandemic in most African Countries.
One of the factors considered is the high proportion of young people in the African population. “About 91 percent of COVID-19 cases in sub-Saharan Africa affect people under the age of 60, and more than 80 percent of cases are asymptomatic”, it said.
In addition, a number of socio-ecological factors such as low population density and mobility, hot and humid climate contribute to the development observed in Africa.
There has been a sustained decline in new COVID-19 cases in the region since July 20. 77,147 new infections were reported in the past four weeks, compared to 131,647 in the previous four weeks.
Some of the hardest hit Countries, including Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa, have all seen a weekly decrease in infections over the past two months. The number of COVID-19-related deaths also remained low in the region.
“The downward trend that we have seen in Africa over the past few months is undoubtedly a positive development and testament to the determined and decisive action taken by governments across the region in the area of public health”, said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for WHO Africa. “Other parts of the world have seen similar trends and have found that as soon as public health and social measures are eased, cases increase again”.
“Africa has not experienced the exponential spread of COVID-19 as many originally feared”, said Dr. Moeti. “However, the slower spread of the infection in the region means that we expect the pandemic to continue to spread for some time, with occasional outbreaks”.
“The measures in African Countries must be adapted to the situation in each Country, as we see different infection patterns even within the same Country. Targeted and local responses based on what works best in a given area will become even more important as States ease restrictions and open up their economies. It is not possible to adopt generalized approaches to the region or to the countries”, concludes Dr. Moeti.

Former Florida Death-Row Prisoner Robert DuBoise Freed After DNA Proves His Innocence

A Florida trial court has freed a former death-row prisoner after local prosecutors said new DNA evidence had proven his innocence of the rape and murder for which he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death 37 years ago.

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A Florida

trial court has freed a former death-row prisoner after local prosecutors said new DNA evidence had proven his innocence of the rape and murder for which he was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death 37 years ago.

Based on junk-science bite-mark evidence and false testimony from a prison informant, Robert DuBoise (pictured with his mother, Myra, following his release) was convicted of raping and murdering 19-year-old Barbara Grams. The jury unanimously recommended that DuBoise be sentenced to life, but his trial judge, Henry Lee Coe III, overrode their recommendation and sentenced DuBoise to be executed in Florida’s electric chair.

DuBoise was released from the Hardee Correctional Institution in Bowling Green, Florida, August 27, 2020, one day after Hillsborough prosecutors and lawyers from the national Innocence Project and the Innocence Project of Florida presented Circuit Judge Christopher Nash with evidence of his innocence. Working with State Attorney Andrew Warren’s Conviction Integrity Unit, the parties told the court that there was in fact no bite mark and that DNA evidence from an untested rape kit excluded DuBoise and implicated two other men.

In February 1988, the Florida Supreme Court overturned DuBoise’s death sentence, ruling that the trial court should not have overridden the jury’s sentencing recommendation and directing that DuBoise be resentenced to life imprisonment. Judge Nash reduced that sentence to time served and set a September 14 hearing date for the presentation of evidence to overturn his conviction.

DuBoise was greeted outside the prison by his mother, Myra, his sister, Harriet, and Innocence Project lawyer, Susan Friedman. After hugging his mother, he spoke to an assemblage of reporters and cameras.

“It’s a beautiful day,” he said.

AFRICA/CAMEROON – Capuchin friars produce and donate protective masks to the poorest

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Yaoundé – Face masks with a thousand colors to protect the most disadvantaged sections of the population from coronavirus infection. The initiative was launched by the Capuchin friars of Cameroon, one of the African nations most affected by Covid-19. In the Country, the infection is spreading very quickly. According to data from the monitoring site of John Hopkins University, in early April, the infections were 509, in twenty days they reached over a thousand with 42 deaths.
Faced with the epidemic, the government of Yaoundé, like most African countries, has closed its borders and suspended all academic activities. Unlike other Countries, however, it has not imposed a strict quarantine and nightly curfew.
“Our active case search strategy is starting to pay off”, said Premier Dion Nguthe. “We did 800 tests and over 200 tested positive but asymptomatic. We decided to let them live in their communities and take care of them”.
In outlining the government’s strategy to deal with the pandemic, the Ministry of Health has taken a number of main measures: massive and generalized tests, placement in solitary confinement and immediate treatment of cases, active surveillance of suspects. The government has also decided to bet on the training of the population regarding good hygiene practices and on the spread of medical devices .
“With the increasing daily number of patients, the premier has made the use of face masks mandatory for everyone”, the Cameroonian Capuchin friars explain to Fides. “For those who do not comply with the directive, the fines are “high”: 6,000 Cameroonian francs for those who do not wear it and 2,000 francs for those who have it, but do not wear it. Knowing how much it is difficult to buy face masks, whose demand has soared in recent days, and that many do not have the economic resources to buy them due to the financial difficulties they are in, we have decided to produce some locally”.
The friars asked some tailors to weave them. “The initial “capital” – they observe – was provided to us by the Missionary Center of the Capuchin Friars of Milan which raised funds through its benefactors. The Center has been of great help to us given the difficult times we are living, between the Covid-19 epidemic and the civil war going on in the English-speaking provinces “.
The first face masks were made in the past few days and distribution began immediately. The first beneficiaries were the displaced persons hosted in the communities of the Capuchin friars. “We distributed the face masks in Shisong, Mbuluf and Mbohtong”, say the friars in a message sent to Fides.
“We hope that the epidemic will pass quickly so that Cameroonians can resume their normal life without the danger of becoming infected. We also hope that the fighting between English speaking rebels and Yaoundé law enforcement officers, which are currently suspended thanks to a truce, will not resume anymore”.

AMERICA/MEXICO – “No” to violence against women: on 8 March the statues of saints covered in church, while on 9 March it is “women’s strike”

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Mexico City – The parish of Saints Cosme and Damián in Mexico City has covered the images and statues of saints and virgins as a symbolic gesture in support of women’s rights and to draw attention to the vast phenomenon of violence against women. Thus the Church in Mexico is preparing to live March 8, international women’s day, to remember the urgency of promoting the dignity of women, in the Church and in society. Inside the temple, the saints and virgins are covered with purple cloaks, usually used to cover all the images during Holy Week.
José de Jesús Aguilar, deputy director of the radio and television of the archdiocese of Mexico said in a note sent to Agenzia Fides: “We strongly support women; it is a support for their deeper dignity, and we are not in favor of any political group”. “In the Lent season in which we find ourselves – the priest explained – covering the images of saints and after 40 days of reflection and prayer, we will be able to rediscover the role of women in our society”.
Father Aguilar adds: “We must remind everyone that violence against women is to be condemned, like other sins committed against them. It is not only a civil offense, but it is a sin to discriminate against them, violate them, abuse their rights, and above all kill them with impunity”, as tragically happens in many cases.
March 8, 2020 will be celebrated in a different manner compared to other years: countless organizations have called a march for International Women’s Day and a “National Women’s Strike” has been called for next Monday 9 March.
The goal is to ensure that there is not even one woman in offices or schools. No women in restaurants, shops and even in public transport. The idea is to present a country without women for a day. The proposal was born from feminist groups, but it has aroused the support of many institutions including the Catholic Church, to give the country a strong and public sign, for the urgent need to end violence against women and change the male-dominated mentality, rooted in society in Mexico. The event is expected to become an important landmark in Mexico’s modern history.
The Bishops of Mexico spoke out in favor of this initiative with a statement that states: “As Mexican Episcopal Conference, we express our support for the #UnDíaSinNosotras initiative which will take place on March 9. This motivation derives from the real tragedies that recently have deeply damaged women, who lead us to reflection on the current challenges of fundamental human rights in our country. As a Catholic Church, we also reaffirm our commitment and take responsibility for building a Mexico in peace, free from violence.”

Stay of Execution Granted for Sole Native American on Federal Death Row

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has granted a stay of execution for federal death row prisoner Lezmond Mitchell to prevent the U.S. government from executing him before the court can review an on-going appeal concerning possible anti-Native American bias in his case. Mitchell, who was scheduled to be executed on December 11, 2019, is a member of the Navajo Nation and the only Native American on federal death row. His case is one of several in the past year highlighting the tension between tribal sovereignty and the pursuit of the death penalty by state and federal officials.

When the Department of Justice announced in July its intention to execute Mitchell and four other federal death-row prisoners in a five-week span from December 9, 2019 through January 15, 2020, it falsely claimed that the prisoners had all exhausted their appeals and that it was carrying out the executions to advance the interests of the victims’ families. In fact, although Mitchell’s initial appeals had been denied, he was in the midst of litigation in the federal courts and had been granted a “certificate of appealability,” meaning that the courts considered the issues he raised to be worthy of further judicial review. Both the Navajo Nation and the victims’ family told federal prosecutors at the time of trial that they opposed the government seeking the death penalty in the case.

Mitchell’s attorneys argued that his scheduled execution would interfere with continuing legal challenges to the constitutionality of his death sentence. They asked “for a stay of execution such that he may litigate his appeal [concerning anti-Native American bias] to conclusion.” A split panel of the federal appeals court voted 2-1 on October 4 to grant the stay so that briefing could be completed in the case and scheduled argument on the appeal for December 13.

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado that statements by jurors that their verdict was influenced by racial stereotypes or animus were admissible to challenge the constitutionality of a defendant’s conviction. Mitchell’s lawyers sought to interview jurors about potential racial bias in his case, citing bias in the charging decision, the exclusion of Native American prospective jurors, and a closing argument that “was riddled with comment” disparaging Mitchell’s “religious beliefs and Navajo culture.” The district court refused to permit Mitchell to talk to jurors, relying on an Arizona procedural rule barring juror interviews. Mitchell then asked the Ninth Circuit for permission to appeal. On April 25, the Ninth Circuit found that he had presented sufficient basis for appeal and set a briefing schedule for the case. Notwithstanding this ruling, Attorney General Barr announced Mitchell’s execution date on July 25.

Federal Appeals Court Overturns Mother’s Conviction in Texas Child Murder Case That May Have Been an Accidental Death

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Citing trial court interference in her right to present a defense, a federal appeals court has overturned the conviction of a Texas mother who was sentenced to death on charges that she had murdered her two-year-old daughter. In an unpublished, unsigned opinion issued on July 29, 2019, a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said that trial court rulings that blocked Melissa Elizabeth Lucio (pictured) from calling an expert witness to challenge the reliability of statements she gave to police violated Lucio’s right to present a “complete defense.” The appeals court reversed a federal district court decision that had upheld Lucio’s conviction and death sentence and returned the case to the lower court to grant Lucio a new trial.

The prosecution alleged that Lucia had physically abused her daughter, Mariah, over a period of time and that the child had been beaten to death by her mother. Lucia’s lawyers contested the cause of death, presenting expert testimony from a neurosurgeon that Mariah may instead have died from head trauma caused by falling down a flight of stairs. The primary evidence implicating Lucio was a recording of statements she made to police during lengthy interrogation the night her daughter died. During that interrogation, Lucio admitted to spanking Mariah, but denied ever having abused her. Late into the night, after hours of continuous interrogation, Texas Ranger Victor Escalon pressured Lucio to say more. She responded with: “I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m responsible for it.” When Escalon later asked her about specific bruises on her daughter’s body, Lucio said, “I guess I did it. I guess I did it.”

The prosecution characterized Lucio’s interrogation as evidence that she had abused her daughter, and therefore must have killed her. Lucio’s lawyers sought to present testimony from a psychologist to explain the coercive effect of the police interrogation on Lucio, whom Dr. John Pinkerman described as a “battered woman” who “takes blame for everything that goes on in the family.” The trial court barred Pinkerman from testifying, asserting that his testimony was irrelevant because Lucio had “denied ever having anything to do with the killing of the child.”

The Fifth Circuit rejected the factual and legal basis for the trial court’s finding, holding that the exclusion of the evidence was “of such a magnitude or so egregious that [it] render[ed] the trial fundamentally unfair.”

Alabama Woman Impregnated While in County Jail Awaiting Death-Penalty Trial

An Alabama woman who may have been raped by guards has given birth after being impregnated in the Coosa County jail is awaiting trial on capital murder charges. LaToni Daniel (pictured), an honorably discharged Army National Guard veteran who has been in pretrial custody without bail for more than seventeen months, had been prescribed sedatives in the prison for a supposed seizure disorder, and the medication prolonged her sleep. She first learned she was pregnant in December 2018 after having been transferred to a new jail, and she gave birth to a baby boy in late May. Daniel’s lawyers said she had no memory of having sex while in jail.

Daniel was prescribed sedatives for the first time after she was arrested. However, according to Daniel’s brother, Terrell Ransaw, she “never had any seizures before she went to jail.” Mickey McDermott, a lawyer who is representing Daniel in a potential civil suit, said Daniel says “she has no memory of having sex at all, so what we’re assuming based on the information we have is that with some of the medication, she was knocked out and someone raped her. … She’s reported she’s a rape victim and no one is investigating.” Under Alabama law, it is illegal for jail employees to have sex with prisoners, even if it is consensual. The father of the child is unknown.

Daniel was transferred from Coosa County jail to Talladega County jail in December and Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson told Talladega officials to give Daniel a pregnancy test. Talladega County Chief Deputy Joshua Tubbs told The Appeal that Daniel had been moved as a result of “an ongoing investigation.” In March, Daniel requested bail so she could give birth and recover outside of the jail while awaiting trial, but a bail determination was not made before she gave birth. Daniel had been indicted on capital murder charges in April 2018, and Alabama law requires judges to presume capital defendants guilty for the purposes of setting bail. In capital cases, the minimum bail is $50,000. She says she was in a car when her boyfriend and co-defendant, Ladaniel Tuck, robbed and shot an elderly white man, 87-year-old Thomas Virgil Chandler. It is undisputed that Daniel – who court records describe as an alleged getaway driver – did not kill anyone, and she maintains that she did not know Tuck intended to kill Chandler. Alabama allows death sentences for accomplices in murder cases that also involve robbery, kidnapping, rape, or burglary. Jon Taylor, Daniel’s defense lawyer in the criminal case, told The Appeal he found it “somewhat surprising that it came out of the grand jury as capital murder and even more surprising they’re going after the death penalty. There’s nothing in my mind that [says] she should qualify for the death penalty. … I believe it was unknowing conduct and I believe she was acting under duress.”

The charges against Daniel are even more out of the ordinary because of the declining use of the death penalty in Alabama. Alabama imposed three death sentences in 2018, down from a peak of 25 in 1998. Coosa County prosecutors have sought only one death sentence in the last five years, and the defendant in that case was not sentenced to death. Alabama has executed 18 African-American prisoners for killing white victims and only one white prisoner for killing an African-American victim. Both Daniel and Tuck are African American.

(Lauren Gill, AN ALABAMA WOMAN GOT PREGNANT WHILE IN JAIL. SHE HAS NO MEMORY OF HAVING SEX., The Appeal, May 31, 2019; Alabama Media Group, Family of Army vet wants to know how she got pregnant in jail for murder, PopularMilitary.com, May 16, 2019; Michael Harriot, Alabama Woman Incarcerated for 17 Months Doesn’t Know How She Ended Up Pregnant, The Root, May 14, 2019; Ashley Remkus, Family of pregnant Alabama jail inmate: ‘We just want a fair investigation’, Birmingham News/al.com, May 14, 2019.) See Women.

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Ten Years After Landmark Study, Junk Science Still Pervasive in Death-Penalty Cases

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a landmark report titled Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, in which it raised significant questions about the validity of every forensic science discipline except DNA analysis. The report concluded, “no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source.” In a report for The Intercept, journalists Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith assess the meager progress in forensic science in the decade following the release of the NAS report and explore how politics, tradition, and inertia have contributed to an “ongoing crisis within forensic science that remain[s] woefully unresolved.”

Forensic science, including fingerprint analysis, hair analysis, bite mark comparison, and arson investigation, is widely used in criminal prosecutions, but it has been found to contribute to wrongful convictions in a startling number of cases. A 2017 DPIC review of 34 death-row exonerations found that junk science contributed to nearly one-third (32.4%) of those wrongful convictions. An FBI review of hair analysis found that analysts had made erroneous statements in at least 33 death penalty cases, but many of those never had an opportunity for reconsideration – by the time the report was released, nine of those defendants had been executed and five had died of other causes. Segura and Smith explain, “high-profile forensics scandals and a rising tally of exonerations have made it hard for even the most stubborn forensic experts to ignore the problem of junk science.”

In 2016, a follow-up report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology warned, “Without appropriate estimates of accuracy, an examiner’s statement that two samples are similar — or even distinguishable — is scientifically meaningless: It has no probative value and considerable potential for prejudicial impact. Nothing — not training, personal experience nor professional practices — can substitute for adequate empirical demonstration of accuracy.” Yet, to the dismay of Harry Edwards, a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia who co-authored the NAS report, law enforcement and prosecutors have actively opposed reform. “The group that surprised me the most were prosecutors,” he said. “Not just at Department of Justice, but prosecutors generally. Because I would’ve assumed, in my naïve way, that they would’ve welcomed a report saying we need more and better research to validate these practices, and to make them better. Because that serves both prosecutors and defendants well. … I think a number of them were worried that if you took the report seriously and started doubting some of what they had been doing, this would open cases that they thought were long gone.”

Edwards particularly noted the problems with bite-mark evidence. “I was flabbergasted when I listened to the person that was testifying about bite marks,” he recalled. “There were no studies of any consequence on validation, reliability, and I didn’t have to be a scientist to understand that what he was saying was fragile, at best.” Bite-mark evidence relies on two assumptions, Smith and Segura explain: “First, that human dentition, like DNA, is unique; second, that skin is a suitable medium for recording this uniqueness. The problem is that neither premise has been proven true; in fact, scientific research conducted to date has suggested the opposite — and that bite-mark matching is an entirely subjective affair.” It has been implicated in 31 wrongful convictions, and a study that asked 39 analysts certified by the American Board of Forensic Odontology to examine 100 case studies found that they unanimously agreed on whether the evidence was a human bite mark in only four cases. The Texas Forensic Science Commission concluded “there is no scientific basis for stating that a particular patterned injury can be associated to an individual’s dentition,” and recommended a moratorium on its use. Despite this evidence, several leaders in forensic odontology have dug in their heels. One dentist, Dr. Robert Dorion, called the focus on wrongful convictions “fake news,” and asserted, without evidence, that wrongful convictions connected to bite marks “had ceased.”

In the ten years since the NAS report, a few reforms have been made, including the National Commission on Forensic Science banning its practitioners from using the misleading phrase “reasonable degree of scientific certainty” in their testimony. Judge Edwards said, “we’re not where we ought to be” in terms of implementing reform. Most particularly, he is disappointed that a key recommendation from the report has not been adopted: the formation of a “national group that was independent, separate from law enforcement, that oversees forensic science. That hasn’t happened,” he said.

(Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith, BAD EVIDENCE: Ten Years After a Landmark Study Blew the Whistle on Junk Science, the Fight Over Forensics Rages On, The Intercept, May 5, 2019.) See Innocence.

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Former North Carolina Death-Row Prisoner Charles Ray Finch Freed After 43 Years

A North Carolina man wrongly convicted and sentenced to death based upon false forensic testimony and an eyewitness identification manipulated by police misconduct has been freed from prison after 43 years. On May 23, 2019, federal district court judge Terrence Boyle ordered North Carolina to release former death-row prisoner Charles Ray Finch (pictured with his members of his legal team) from custody, five months after a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit found Finch “actually innocent” of the murder. Finch, now 81 years old, was freed from Greene Correctional Institution in Maura, North Carolina, that afternoon. Finch’s daughter, Katherine Jones-Bailey, was two years old when he was convicted and sentenced to death. “I knew the miracle was going to happen,” she said about her father’s release. “I just didn’t know when.”

Following the appeals court ruling, Finch’s lawyers from the Duke Wrongful Convictions Clinic filed a motion in federal district court seeking his immediate release. The North Carolina Attorney General’s office joined in the motion. The district court formally overturned Finch’s conviction and gave Wilson County prosecutors 30 days to decide whether to retry him. With no credible evidence of guilt, a retrial is considered unlikely. If charges are not refiled, Finch will become the 166th former U.S. death-row prisoner to have been exonerated since 1973. He will be the second death-sentenced prisoner to have waited more than four decades to be exonerated. In March 2019, Clifford Williams, Jr. was exonerated in Florida 42 years after his wrongful conviction and death sentence. 

Finch was convicted in 1976 of murdering a grocery store clerk during an attempted robbery. He was sentenced to death under the mandatory death-sentencing statute then in effect in North Carolina. A state forensic witness testified at the trial that the victim had died from two shotgun wounds, and a shotgun shell was found in Finch’s car. A store employee who saw the killer flee the scene told police that the killer had been wearing a three-quarter length jacket. An eyewitness later identified Finch in three different lineups. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the sentencing statute and, in 1977, the North Carolina Supreme Court vacated Finch’s death sentence and resentenced him to life in prison.

In 2013, testimony by Dr. John Butts, then North Carolina’s Chief Medical Examiner, revealed that the victim had been killed by a pistol, not a shotgun and North Carolina State Crime Laboratory Special Agent Peter Ware, the forensic scientist manager for the lab’s firearm toolmark section, testified that the bullet found at the scene and the shell found in Finch’s car did not come from the same firearm. Finch also presented testimony that the eyewitness identification procedures had been unduly suggestive. In an interview, Finch told WNCN-TV, “[w]hen I was picked up, they didn’t question me or nothing. They put me there in a line-up. Straight in a line-up. And they put me in a line-up with a black leather coat on.” Chief Deputy Tony Owens claimed that he had put the jacket on another man in the lineup, but photos the defense had discovered showed that Finch was the only person in the three lineups wearing a coat. “That’s one of the highlights at the evidentiary hearing,” said Jim Coleman, Finch’s long-time lawyer and the director of the Duke Wrongful Convictions Clinic. “[W]e were able to expose that [Owens] had lied about the line-up and he had dressed Ray in a coat and he was the only one wearing a coat in the line-up.”

Coleman and the clinic have represented Finch for fifteen years, and Finch was the clinic’s first client. “We have students who work their hearts out on these cases,” Coleman said. “We feel an enormous sense of vindication.”

(Olivia Neeley, Judge orders Finch to be released, The Wilson Times, May 23, 2019; Ken Smith and Matthew Burns, Wrongfully convicted Wilson man freed after four decades in prison, WRAL.com, May 23, 2019; Russ Bowen, Charles Finch speaks with CBS 17 ahead of potential release from prison, WNCN, May 21, 2019. Photo by Zak Dahlheimer, WNCN; provided courtesy of Mr. Dahlheimer and WNCN.) See Innocence and Prosecutorial Misconduct.

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