15 Inmates Freed Due to Drug Informant's Lies
A federal judge in Cleveland has ordered 15 inmates released from long prison terms and more may be coming, due to an DEA informant's lies.
Collectively, the men have served at least 30 years behind bars. They were sentenced to a combined 86 years. Federal public defender Dennis Terez called the release of so many people at one time unprecedented.
Fallout from the case is expected to spread beyond the federal courthouses in Cleveland and Akron, where the men were convicted of dealing crack cocaine in Mansfield.
Uncorroborated snitch testimony is inherently unreliable and our system has depended on it for far too long.
The case is a blow to the federal justice system, which relies heavily on informant-based testimony, lawyers said. The men, some with no prior run-ins with the law, were given long prison sentences based almost exclusively on the word of informant Jerrell Bray and Lee Lucas, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who supervised Bray.
An investigation is ongoing into the conduct of the DEA Agent Lee Lucas who supervised the informant.
Also revealing is that most of the inmates to be released pleaded guilty. Here's why. [more...]
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