Innocent Man Freed in Durham
Erick Daniels was 15 when a judge in Durham sent him to an adult prison for an armed robbery home invasion. Daniels should never have been convicted.
Identification procedures had been shaky. There had been no physical evidence tying Daniels to the crime, no testimony to corroborate the charges. The defendant's trial attorney later acknowledged that he had done an inferior job.
Juries, like the police, get it wrong on a regular basis. But here's the shocker:
Perhaps most troubling was prosecutors' failure to follow through when told that someone else -- a federal prison inmate who matched the victim's description of the suspect -- had confessed. The impression left by such lack of initiative is that for some authorities in Durham, once a conviction is obtained, there's no further obligation to make sure justice is done.
Seven years after Daniels went to prison, Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson set him free. The confession was such strong evidence of innocence that Judge Hudson didn't give the prosecution a second chance to prove Daniels' guilt. He ruled that no reasonable jury, hearing all the evidence, could find Daniels guilty. [more ...]
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