(old)LATEST NEWS -
16 March 2005. President Bush reiterates his suppport for DNA technology to be "absolutely certain" of guilt or innocence.
In the New York Times coverage of the President's news conference, President Bush states, "...one of the things we've got to make sure is that we use, in this case, technology, DNA technology, is to make sure that we're absolutely certain about the innocence or guilt of a person accused." (page A13, 17 March.)[A retrial is the way to be "absolutely certain" of justice in this case.]
10 February 2005 (New Yorker article, 17 Jan. 2005, "Killer Instincts")
This article by Jeffrey Toobin is about Kenneth Peasley, the former Arizona prosecutor who was "disbarred for intentionally presenting false evidence in death penalty cases - something that has never happened to an American prosecutor."
"Rob Warden, director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at the Northwestern University School of Law, whose staff members were involved in eleven of the eighteen recent exonerations on Illinois' death row: 'I have never seen a case where I believed the prosecutors set out to prosecute someone whom they believed to be innocent. They just get wedded to a theory and then ignore the evidence that doesn't fit.' "
end of the article, Peasley is quoted, "...I worked real hard and,
frankly, every case I handled was prosecuted with integrity. And for twenty-seven
years I did it, and one case, basically, is the definition of what I've
done. I mean, the best that I can hope to be remembered as is the guy
who screwed up the triple-murder case."
4 February 2005. Notes from Georgia Innocence Project director Aimee Maxell in Atlanta.
With an inmate population of 50,000 (compared to approximately 150,000 in the Federal system operated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons), the Georgia Innocence project has received letters requesting help from 1,835 inmates. Included in that number are the 300 responses received from the 1,500 inmates convicted of rape. The GA Innocence Project is investigating 400 of the cases and actively working with 7, all of which are DNA-related. So far, one inmate, Clarence Harrison, was freed due to the Project's efforts. (See "Links to Articles" on this website, for 31 August 2004).
One Georgia Inmate, Calvin Johnson, was freed due to the efforts of the NY-based Innocence Project in 1999, and he is a member of the Georgia Innocence Project Board of Directors, and is making a presentation to the Mass. Bar Association in March. (See "Coming Events"). His book, Exit to Freedom, is the only 1st-person account of a wrongful conviction overturned by DNA testing.
The Georgia Innocence Project was started in August, 2002, with 70 $1,000 contributions from 70 lawyers, with a matching grant from the Georgia Bar Association. Another organizational sponsor is the Georgia Assn. of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Also at the Georgia Innocence Project office were three law students and a volunteer.
[For more information about Calvin Johnson, see "Calvin C. Johnson Jr. talks about life after prison" from the Athens, Georgia, Banner-Herald.]
8 May 2004 Massachusetts may be creating Commission to investigate wrongful convictions.
Responding to the Boston Herald's three part series on the 22 wrongfully convicted men who have been exonerated over the past 22 years, Massachusetts "Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Robert Cordy said a statewide review of the problem is needed. ' It's time for that,' Cordy said, adding that he is not wedded to any particular model - such as an SJC-sponsored "Innocence Commission:" - but said something must be done. 'There needs to be a reassessment of how we go about doing our business in the criminal justice system,' Cordy said." (Boston Herald, Saturday, May 8, 2004)
6 May 2004 New England Innocence Project honored for correcting wrongful convictions.
At the Marriott Hotel in Newton, Mass., the Suffolk Lawyers for Justice held an award dinner for the New England Innocence Project. Present were 10 of the then-22 Massachusetts exonerees and Scott Hornoff, exonerated in Rhode Island and Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley. "The evening was an inspiration to all in attendance and SLJ hopes it will serve as a vehicle for educating people on the injustices currently existing in our justice system and the organizations and individuals who are successfully fighting to improve the quality of justice in Massachusetts." [The New England Innocence Project is related to the New York-based Innocence Project. ]
22 February 2004. Rule 30 of the Mass. Rules of Criminal Procedure.
This is not a "latest news" as this Rule 30, for "post conviction relief" was last revised in Massachusetts in October 2001. Since then, several wrongfully convicted inmates have secured their freedom through the use of this rule.
The Massachusetts Rule of Criminal Procedure which provides a right to a new trial "at any time if it appears that justice may not have been done."
[As Alfred was prosecuted and tried in Federal Court, this rule does not apply to his trial, but the use of the rule in Massachusetts courts has led to approximately 24 exonerations there, and a broad awareness that justice sometimes goes wrong.]
Mass Rule of Criminal Procedure Rule 30 (b) New Trial. "The trial judge upon motion in writing may grant a new trial at any time if it appears that justice may not have been done. Upon the motion the trial judge shall make such findings of fact as are necessary to resolve the defendant's allegations of error of law." For the complete rule, see Rule 30.
24 January, Saturday 2004. Judges/Lawyer conference in Boston on "Preventing Wrongful Convictions"
This conference was part of the annual meeting of the Mass. Bar Association.
Over 400 lawyers and judges attended. Coincidentally, that very morning, the "Boston Globe" announced yet another Massachusetts release of a "wrongfully convicted innocent". See Links to Articles.
Among the speakers were Larry Hammond, President of the American Judicature Society, Justice Robert Cordy of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Justices Elspeth Cypher and Gordon Doerfer of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, District Attorneys Martha Coakley and William Bennett (who prosecute murder cases in Massachusetts, prominent defense attorney Jay Carney, and Saul Kassin, Williams College professor.
The American Judicature Society is an organization of lawyers and judges who are dedicated to improvements in the justice system.
High profile cases in which people were convicted of crimes they did not commit have led law enforcement officials to examine how they determine guilt.
"We must look at how we can prevent the conviction of innocent people," former attorney general Janet Reno said yesterday.
Reno led off a three-day conference that brought prosecutors, lawmakers, police, educators, and judges to look at ways to avoid convicting the innocent.
"We all share the same goal, making sure innocent people aren't convicted," said Justice Robert Orr of the North Carolina Supreme Court, a member of a new state commission studying how people sometimes are wrongly convicted and how to free them once evidence proves their innocence.
The conference comes shortly after Illinois Governor George Ryan ended his term by commuting 157 death sentences out of concern that some on death row were wrongly convicted , and a month after a New York judge threw out the convictions of five men for the rape and beating of a female jogger in Central Park.
Recent scientific advances, such as DNA testing, have provided ways to determine the innocence, or guild, of some of those arrested. The American Judicature Society, a Chicago-based educational and research organization, said DNA testing has shown that more than 100 people convicted of serious crimes were innocent.
"DNA has shown unequivocably that we are convicting a lot more innocent people than we thought we were," Reno said.
20 October 1996 Ceremony dedicating memorial to Jeremiah Hurley in Wolcott Square, Readville, Hyde Park.
The granite monument says
Boston Police Officer
Jeremiah Hurley, Jr.
Killed in the line of duty
Oct. 28 1991
"Taking the first step with a good thought,
the second with a good word,
and the third with a good deed,
I enter paradise."