Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report

Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report
curi56March 4, 2018UncategorizedEdit
“Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report”

Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report
Anne Branigin
Today 11:32amFiled to: Criminal Justice

Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report

Post navigation

Former Texas Prosecutor Withheld Email that Could Have Prevented Innocent Man from Landing on Death Row: Report

Anne Branigin
Today 11:32amFiled to: Criminal Justice

Bildergebnis für Alfred Dewayne BrownFoto:


Bildergebnis für Alfred Dewayne Brown

In an announcement late Friday, Harris County, Texas, District Attorney Kim Ogg revealed that a former prosecutor had withheld a key email that could have prevented Alfred Dewayne Brown from receiving the death penalty.
As the Houston Chronicle writes, the email helped establish “a clear alibi” for Brown, who was convicted in a high-profile murder case in 2005 that landed him a death sentence.

Brown always maintained his innocence, and spent nearly 10 years on death row before his case was dismissed in 2015 and his conviction overturned. According the Chronicle, the 36-year-old Brown later sued a slew of Harris County officials, including the DA’s office, the prosecutor and police officer who handled the murder case, accusing them of hiding and falsifying evidence against him and violating his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial.
The new e-mail, which came to light because of Brown’s lawsuit, backs up his claims, showing that the prosecutor at the time, Dan Rizzo, was aware of evidence that could exculpate Brown.
Some necessary context: Brown was accused and convicted of killing a Houston police officer and a store clerk during a robbery at a check-cashing store. But Brown maintained that there was no way he could have done the crime since he was at his girlfriend’s house at the time of the murders.

And he could prove that he was at his girlfriend’s house, Brown said, because he had placed a call to her at work from her house phone during the time of the murders. But as the Chronicle reports, for years, officials claimed they had no record of such a call.
That changed in 2014, when an investigator, Breck McDaniel found phone records in his garage that supported Brown’s alibi. The discovery was enough to overturn Brown’s death row conviction. At the time, the Chronicle writes, the DA claimed the phone records had simply been “inadvertently misplaced.”
The newly released e-mail refutes that claim. A day after Brown’s girlfriend testified before a grand jury that Brown had called her from her apartment, McDaniel wrote to then-prosecutor Rizzo about the phone records.

From the Chronicle:
“I was hoping that it would clearly refute Erica’s claim that she received a call at work,” McDaniel wrote, later continuing: “But, it looks like the call detail records from the apartment shows that the home phone dialed Erica’s place of employment on Hartwick Street at about 8:30 a.m. and again at 10:08 a.m.”
Rizzo didn’t share the evidence with Brown’s legal team or the jury—a clear Brady violation.

In light of the evidence, Brown’s lawyers want the current Harris County DA, Ogg, to formally declare their client “actually innocent”—a label that would allow Brown to get compensation from the state for his wrongful conviction.
Following his overturned sentence in 2015, Brown petitioned the state for nearly $2 million in compensation for the years he spent on death row, but the request was denied by state officials because he hadn’t met the eligibility requirement since Brown was never found “actually innocent.”
That phrase ended up pushing Brown to sue Harris County officials for their denial of his due process rights. The civil lawsuit has born certainly borne fruit, without it, the email would have never come out, and the public wouldn’t know that not only was Brown actually telling the truth the whole time, but that the real criminals may actually be the Harris County DA’s office.

“Vindication,” tweeted Brian Stolarz, one of Brown’s attorneys when he appealed his criminal case.
“Only now, after a civil lawsuit, does the whole truth finally come out,” Stolarz added in a statement, according to the Chronicle. “I am sickened and disheartened, but encouraged that Dewayne is vindicated and his long journey to justice is near the end.”…






Two Chicagoans exonerated by DNA evidence and evidence of police coercion



Two Chicagoans exonerated by DNA evidence and evidence of police coercion

On January 30, with the consent of the Office of the Special State’s Attorney for Cook County, a Cook County Court dismissed the murder convictions of Kevin Bailey and Corey Batchelor based on DNA and other evidence that the two men, teenagers at the time, were physically coerced into falsely confessing. Bailey, who has served 28 years for the crime, was released hours after his exoneration. Batchelor was released in 2004 after 15 years in prison.
“As we’ve seen over and over again with these cases, sufficient force and coercion will force anyone to crack under pressure,” Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Bryce Benjet said.

“But that doesn’t solve crimes. It destroys the lives of those like Mr. Bailey and Mr. Batchelor who are wrongly convicted and their families, further harms victims who are also denied justice and sacrifices everyone’s safety.”

Learn more.

Bailey has created an Amazon wishlist for those willing to contribute.

(Photo of Batchelor and Bailey by Zoran Orlic)

Welcome Mr. Alexander home after 38 unjust years in prison


Welcome Mr. Alexander home after 38 unjust years in prison


On January 30, Malcolm Alexander became our longest serving client to be exonerated when a Jefferson Parish district judge dismissed the rape indictment against him and ordered his release.

He spent nearly 38 years in Louisiana’s Angola prison for the crime that DNA evidence proved he didn’t commit.

“The stakes, in this case, couldn’t have been higher for Mr. Alexander who faced a mandatory sentence of life without parole, yet the attorney that he entrusted with his life did next to nothing to defend him,” said Vanessa Potkin, post-conviction litigation director at the Innocence Project, “It is simply unconscionable. Mr. Alexander was just 21 years old when he was convicted after a trial that began and ended all in the same day. We know there are many more innocent people in prison today because their lawyers did not provide effective representation, or did not have the resources to put on an adequate defense. Without effective defense counsel, our system is nothing more than a conviction mill.”

The day after Alexander was released, he was reunited with his 9-month puppy Inn, short for Innocence, who he raised on the Angola farm. Watch the video of their reunion.

A fundraiser has been set up to help Mr. Alexander transition home for those willing to contribute.

Innocence Project <>


Will you take a stand for racial justice this Black History Month? Stand with us in making a commitment to show up for racial justice this month.

Will you take a stand for racial justice this Black History Month?

Stand with us in making a commitment
to show up for racial justice this month.

Sign the pledge

Test your knowledge.

Further your understanding of how wrongful convictions
unfairly target black men.

Take the quiz

Tell your friends.


‎1‎. ‎Feb um ‎19‎:‎01

Dear Annamaria,

Nearly 30 years ago, Raymond Santana, Korey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray and I went from being teenagers with big dreams to becoming the Central Park Five overnight. The press, the city and the whole world instantly believed we were guilty of attacking and nearly killing a white female jogger in Central Park. We never had a chance to prove our innocence.

Despite the horror we endured—we were branded as monsters and rapists, high-profile New Yorkers called for our execution, and we lost a combined 33.5 years of our youth in prison—but we still consider ourselves lucky. We lost years of our lives, but thanks to the DNA evidence proving our innocence, we made it to freedom on the other side. I’m afraid to even think of the thousands of men and women who will never live to see this side.

That’s why today—the first day of Black History Month—I’m asking you to stand with me in making a commitment to show up for racial justice this year. Will you sign the Innocence Project’s pledge for racial justice?

Sign the pledge

Our case has become an important example of the many systemic failures of the criminal justice system. Working with the Innocence Project and other organizations, we’ve become advocates for essential reforms to prevent future injustice. We’re here to tell our story and fight harder than ever to prevent the pervasiveness of racial bias from instantly deeming black and brown people as guilty, without a chance of proving their innocence.

Black History Month is a chance to speak up even louder for our brothers and sisters who are no longer here to share their truth—Kalief Browder, Ledell Lee, Troy Davis and countless others who never had a fair trial, adequate defense, or the chance to access DNA testing that could have proven their innocence.

We can’t sit back and allow one more innocent black person to be punished, or worse, executed for the color of their skin. Will you stand with me in fighting against racial bias in our criminal justice system?

Thank you for support,

Yusef Salaam





Louisiana man freed after 37yrs in prison for crime he didn’t commit

RTQuestion more

15:12 GMT, Jan 31, 2018


HomeUS News

Matthew Hinton

Malcolm Alexander released after almost 38 years of life sentence by judge for ‘ineffective assistance of counsel’ in one day rape trial in 1980. @Innocence Project said ‘flawed eyewitness identification procedure’ @theadvocateno @wwltv

Louisiana man freed after 37yrs in prison for crime he didn’t commit
Published time: 30 Jan, 2018 22:00
Edited time: 31 Jan, 2018 10:39
Get short URL

© Dario Pignatelli / Reuters

A Louisiana man, who for 37 years maintained his innocence in a rape case, has been freed after a Jefferson Parish judge overturned his conviction.
Judge June Darensberg vacated Malcolm Alexander’s 1980 conviction based on the Innocence Project’s application arguing that his counsel provided “ineffective assistance.” The effort was bolstered by DNA testing that excluded Alexander as a suspect, according to Innocence Project Director Barry Scheck.
“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting my child out of that place,” Alexander’s mother, Maudra, 82, who is wheelchair bound, told attorneys from the Innocence Project, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune.

Alexander, an African-American, was charged with the November 8, 1979 rape of a 39-year-old woman who was working in an antique shop in Jefferson Parish. The woman told police her attacker raped her twice in a bathroom while armed with a gun, according to court records.
The victim identified Alexander in a March 1980 photo line-up, after looking through “hundreds of photos” and at least five other photographic lineups, according to court documents.
The victim only “tentatively” identified Alexander and was uncertain that he was her attacker after an in-person lineup, according to the Innocence Project.
DNA evidence from the case, once thought lost, was rediscovered in 2013 and also played a key role in reversing the conviction, his lawyers said. The evidence consisted of pubic hairs gathered from the crime scene. DNA testing showed the hairs matched each other, but did not belong to the victim or Alexander, bolstering the argument he was not the attacker.

During his one-day trial, Alexander’s attorney Joseph Tosh didn’t offer an opening statement and didn’t call any witnesses, court records showed.
“His trial lawyer did virtually nothing to defend him,” Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin said, declaring that Tosh failed to mention the victim was unsure of her identification. “That was really pivotal because of this entire case rested on a single identification.”
Alexander was convicted of aggravated rape and sentence to life in prison on December 10, 1980.
Tosh was permanently disbarred in 1999 for a number of infractions, including engaging in deceit, dishonesty, and fraud and lack of competence and diligence, court documents showed.


via Call for Papers Innocence Network Conference: — Wrongful Convictions Blog

The Innocence Scholarship Committee of the Innocence Network is seeking high-quality social science and legal scholarship for presentation at the 2018 Innocence Network Conference in Memphis, Tennessee on March 23-24 Areas of research are open but should touch upon the multifaceted causes, implications, and/or remedies of wrongful conviction. International papers are welcome but must be […]

via Call for Papers Innocence Network Conference: — Wrongful Convictions Blog