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INNOCENCE

NETWORK
EXONERATIONS

2009
CONTENTS
I. LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT...................................................................3
BOARD OF DIRECTORS II. THE CASES (IN ORDER OF EXONERATION DATE).............................. 4
Erika Applebaum
Innocence Project of Minnesota 1. STEVEN BARNES.................................................................................................4

Shawn Armbrust 2. ALAN BEAMAN..................................................................................................4


Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project,
Board Secretary 3. JOSEPH FEARS, JR.............................................................................................4

Justin Brooks 4. MIGUEL ROMAN................................................................................................5


California and Hawai’i Innocence Project
5. TIMOTHY COLE..................................................................................................5
Tucker Carrington
Mississippi Innocence Project 6. REGGIE COLE....................................................................................................6

Maddy deLone 7. THADDEUS JIMENEZ...........................................................................................6


Innocence Project,
Board Treasurer 8. PAUL HOUSE......................................................................................................6
Steve Drizin 9. CHAUNTE OTT....................................................................................................7
Center on Wrongful Convictions
10. JOSEPH ALLEN.................................................................................................7
Keith Findley
Wisconsin Innocence Project, 11. NANCY SMITH..................................................................................................7
Board President
12. RONALD KITCHEN...........................................................................................8
Mark Godsey
Ohio Innocence Project 13. ROBERT LEE STINSON.......................................................................................8
Larry Golden 14. DESHAWN REED..............................................................................................8
Downstate Illinois Innocence Project
15. MARVIN REED..................................................................................................8
Emily Maw
Innocence Project New Orleans 16. WILLIAM RICHARDS.........................................................................................9
Jackie McMurtrie 17. KENNETH IRELAND...........................................................................................9
Innocence Project Northwest Clinic
18. RALPH ARMSTRONG.....................................................................................10
Daniel Medwed
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney 19. JOSEPH ABBITT...............................................................................................10
College of Law
20. RAFAEL MADRIGAL, JR.................................................................................10
Theresa Newman
North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence
21. JAMES LEE WOODARD.................................................................................11
John Pray
Wisconsin Innocence Project
22. EDWIN CHANDLER........................................................................................11

Cookie Ridolfi
23. CHRISTOPHER SCOTT....................................................................................12
Northern California Innocence Project,
Board Secretary 24. CLAUDE SIMMONS........................................................................................12

Barry Scheck 25. FOREST SHOMBERG......................................................................................12


Innocence Project
26. MICHAEL MARSHALL.....................................................................................12
Robert Schehr
Northern Arizona Justice Project 27. JAMES BAIN...................................................................................................13

Rob Warden III. NETWORK MEMBERS.........................................................................14


Center on Wrongful Convictions

Lynne Weathered COVER: Joseph Fears, Jr., was exonerated on March 10, 2009, with the help of the Ohio Innocence
Griffith University Innocence Project Project. Read more about his case on page 4 (Shari Lewis/Columbus Dispatch).
27 LIVES
AND SO MANY MORE

Each individual in this report endured an Innocence Network members include


injustice that is impossible to imagine. Every one thriving clinics that have operated for
of these people was convicted of a serious crime many years at some of the nation’s most
he or she did not commit, then served years or respected universities, full-fledged nonprofit
decades in prison. All of them insisted they were organizations with a solid staff and base of
innocent – but it didn’t matter. Finally, years or funding, and small clinics at law schools that
decades into lengthy prison sentences, the truth are still setting up a process to review cases.
came out and they were freed. From Mississippi to Michigan, from Florida
to Idaho, Innocence Network organizations
Every one of these cases had ripple effects well serve virtually every part of the country. You
beyond the innocent person who was in prison. can learn more about the Innocence Network
Entire families are forever changed when a or find an organization near you at www.
loved one is wrongfully convicted. Victims of innocencenetwork.org.
crime, jurors, and others in the legal system
are unwitting participants in flawed trials and In addition to helping overturn wrongful
convictions – and suffer when justice is not convictions, Innocence Network organizations
done. increasingly work to reform the criminal justice
system. Our organizations know first-hand the
Each case in this report represents countless toll of wrongful convictions in our communities,
hours, even years, of zealous advocacy by and we can be powerful local advocates for
Innocence Network attorneys, paralegals, policies and practices that can make our system
investigators and students. Each case also of justice stronger and more reliable.
represents thousands of others who are still
waiting for help, or still mired in appeals trying Take a few minutes to read about the
to prove their innocence. exonerations secured by Innocence Network
members in 2009. And as you learn about these
In 2009, the Innocence Network grew to cases, remember that they represent thousands
include 54 member organizations, 45 of which of others – people who are still trying to find
are in the United States. Each organization help, or whose cases are still being pursued.
operates independently, but we coordinate to
share information and expertise. In just a few
short years since it was formed, the Innocence — KEITH FINDLEY
Network has grown into a vibrant and vital WISCONSIN INNOCENCE PROJECT CO-DIRECTOR,
CLINICAL PROFESSOR UNIVERSITY
resource for the wrongfully convicted and their OF WISCONSIN LAW SCHOOL,
families. INNOCENCE NETWORK BOARD PRESIDENT

LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT 3


THE CASES
1 2
Steven Barnes Alan Beaman
Innocence Project Center on Wrongful Convictions
In 1989, Steven Barnes was convicted Alan Beaman, who spent 13 years
in upstate New York of a murder he didn’t in prison for a 1993 murder in Illinois,
commit based on questionable eyewitness was exonerated on January 29, 2009. The
identifications and three types of unvalidated prosecution dropped the charges against him
forensic science. Nearly two decades later, DNA in the face of evidence that he could not have
testing obtained by the Innocence Project committed the crime because it occurred in
proved his innocence. Bloomington when he was 130 miles away in
Rockford. Beaman was convicted of murdering
A 16-year-old girl from upstate New York was an Illinois woman (whom he once dated) on
found raped and strangled to death in 1985. purely circumstantial evidence, with no physical
Eyewitnesses told authorities that they saw evidence, eyewitnesses or confession introduced
Barnes’ truck near the busy street where the at trial. Beaman reached out to the Center
victim was last seen walking. Despite evidence on Wrongful Convictions, which is affiliated
that Barnes was at a local bowling alley when with the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern
the crime occurred, he was questioned for over University School of Law, for help.
12 hours and eventually released.
Center attorneys found evidence that the
Two years later, Barnes was arrested and prosecution had failed to inform Beaman’s
charged with rape, sodomy and murder. original defense attorneys about evidence
Although there was no evidence to implicate pointing to another suspect in the case, and
Barnes, a forensic analyst at his trial testified also deliberately misinformed and confused
that two hairs collected from his truck were critical timeline facts in its presentation to jury
microscopically similar to the victim’s. The members.
same analyst testified that soil samples taken
from the truck had “similar characteristics” as Upon hearing the center’s revelations and
dirt samples taken from the crime scene a year after deciding the evidence against Beaman
after the murder, and linked patterns of fabric was insufficient, the Illinois Supreme Court
taken from the victim’s jeans to those found on reversed the conviction on the grounds
the truck. Barnes was convicted and sentenced that the prosecutor misbehaved and thus
to 25 years to life in prison. The Innocence violated Beaman’s constitutional rights. The
Project, which is affiliated with Benjamin N. prosecution dropped the charges against him
Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, eight months later.

3
secured DNA testing on Barnes’ behalf in 1996
but the tests proved inconclusive. Joseph Fears
Ohio Innocence Project
By 2007, more advanced DNA testing became
available and the new tests proved Barnes’ Joseph Fears, Jr.’s, rape conviction
innocence. He was freed late 2008. Barnes’ led to more than 25 years of wrongful
exoneration became official on January 9, 2009. imprisonment in Ohio prisons until a joint
effort between the Ohio Innocence Project

4 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


and the Columbus Dispatch helped exonerate was promptly excluded as the perpetrator, with
him. Fears was charged with rape in two attacks the DNA results now implicating registered sex
that allegedly happened nine days apart offender Pedro Miranda.
in Columbus in 1983. Fears acknowledged
meeting the first victim in a bar but denied Miranda was subsequently charged with
leaving with her. In the second case, he the killing and also with the murders of
admitted being in the woman’s apartment but two other women in the 1980s. Roman was
said that he did not rape her. finally released in late 2008 and was officially
exonerated April 2, 2009.

5
Initially, the biological evidence in Fears’ case
could not be located. But when DNA testing Timothy Cole
exonerated another Ohio inmate, the Franklin Innocence Project of Texas, Innocence
County District Attorney’s Office conducted a Project
more thorough review of all stored evidence. Timothy Cole died in prison of heart
DNA testing eventually proved Fears’ complications caused by asthma in 1999
innocence in the first case and implicated a while imprisoned for the 1985 rape of a
deceased former Michigan prisoner as the Texas woman. It wasn’t until 23 years after his
assailant. His conviction in this particular case conviction that, with help from the Innocence
was vacated and dismissed. Project of Texas, DNA evidence proved his
No male DNA was detected on the victim’s innocence.
clothing from the second case, but Fears had Michele Mallin, a young university student,
already served out his sentence in the second was parking her car when an African-American
case. He was released and officially exonerated man forced himself into her car and raped
in the first case on March 10, 2009, and her. She was shown an unusual photo lineup in
remains on parole for the second case. which Cole’s photo stood out and was the only

4
Polaroid photo amidst a series of mug shots.
Miguel Roman Mallin identified Cole as her attacker, and he
Connecticut Innocence Project was soon arrested and convicted of aggravated
Miguel Roman was charged with the sexual assault.
1988 murder of a pregnant woman. After more
than 18 years in prison, Roman was exonerated Cole’s initial appeals were denied and he died
when DNA testing proved another man without ever learning that another man, Jerry
committed the crime. Wayne Johnson, had confessed to the crime.
Eventually, however, Johnson’s confessions
Before the trial, DNA testing was conducted on reached the Innocence Project of Texas and
the semen recovered from the victim’s body. Cole’s family. Nearly a decade after Cole’s
Even then, Roman was excluded as a possible death, DNA testing conducted on semen from
contributor. Prosecutors nonetheless speculated the crime scene excluded Cole and implicated
that the victim could have had sex with someone Johnson as the perpetrator. Mallin joined
else, but that Roman still killed her. Cole’s family and attorneys in seeking Cole’s
posthumous exoneration.
Prosecutors proceeded with the case, using
circumstantial evidence and testimony from a Cole was cleared by DNA tests in 2008, and
jailhouse informant. was fully exonerated at an unprecedented
posthumous hearing on April 7, 2009. The
In 2008, the Connecticut Innocence Project Innocence Project joined the Innocence
obtained new DNA testing that revealed the Project of Texas as co-counsel.
same male profile on every piece of evidence:
samples from the rape kit, the cloth used to
bind the victim and the murder weapon. Roman

CASES 5
6
Reggie Cole a videotaped confession to the crime made
California Innocence Project by another young man, but the judge found
Having spent 14 years in prison for a it inadmissible. No forensic evidence was ever
crime he consistently said he didn’t commit, introduced.
Reggie Cole was exonerated on April 15, As Jimenez began serving out his 45-year
2009, after it was revealed that eyewitnesses sentence, the Center on Wrongful Convictions
misidentified him as the perpetrator and that and the law firm of Katten Muchin took his
prosecutors withheld evidence of his innocence. case. Since the original trial, both witnesses who
Cole was convicted for a 1994 Los Angeles-area testified against him recanted their testimony,
shooting death after two eyewitnesses identified now saying that Jimenez was not the shooter.
him in court. John Jones testified that he saw Prosecutors were compelled to reopen the case
Cole shoot the victim and run from the scene and ultimately agreed to vacate the conviction.
of the crime. It was not until 2007 when Cole Jimenez was released from prison in May
was being tried for killing a fellow inmate (who 2009, after more than 16 years of wrongful
Cole stabbed in self-defense during a prison imprisonment. Prosecutors have since indicted
fight) that Cole’s legal counsel revisited the the same young man who had previously
witness testimony from his original trial. confessed on videotape. Jimenez was officially
exonerated in Chicago on May 1, 2009.

8
Attorney Christopher Plourd and the
California Innocence Project found that Jones Paul House
hadn’t actually seen the crime, but rather his Innocence Project
daughters had. Thirteen years after her father Paul House served 20 years on death
misidentified Cole, one of the daughters row before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that
testified that she had seen the perpetrator again he was entitled to a new hearing.
after the shooting, but Cole would have been in
police custody at that time. The second witness, Authorities claimed House lured a woman
who had actually led investigating officers to from her Tennessee home, then assaulted
Cole, also came forward and admitted that his and murdered her, dumping her body
original testimony was mistaken. in a gutter; he was convicted in 1986. In
consultation with the Innocence Project on
In early 2009, attorneys petitioned for Cole’s forensic issues, House’s appellate attorneys
release. Three months later, the District used DNA testing to show that someone else
Attorney’s Office conceded that Cole received committed the crime. After a series of appeals,
ineffective assistance of counsel and the court the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that
vacated the murder conviction. Although he House was entitled to a new hearing in federal
remains in prison (a result of his altercation court because post-conviction DNA testing
while in prison) the prosecutors dropped all invalidated the prosecution’s theory, marking
charges and exonerated Cole of the murder. the first time since DNA testing became widely

7
available that the Supreme Court has looked at
Thaddeus Jimenez standards for reopening death penalty cases.
Center on Wrongful Convictions
Thaddeus Jimenez was arrested when Testing completed in early 2009 confirmed that
he was 13 years old for a 1993 gang-related House’s jeans had two bloodstains from the
murder he did not commit. Jimenez’s first trial victim but failed to find any DNA from House.
was thrown out when it was revealed that there In fact, one of the bloodstains also contained
were mistakes made during jury selection, DNA from an unknown male. Other forensic
but he was convicted at his second trial after samples taken from the crime scene, including
eyewitnesses identified him as the shooter. blood from under the victim’s fingernails and
His attorneys had attempted to show the jury a hair found in her hand, also excluded House
while identifying an unknown male.

6 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


House, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and authorities now believe is a serial killer who has
is confined to a wheelchair, was released under been murdering women for the last 20 years.

10
house arrest until prosecutors in Tennessee
dropped all pending charges. He was officially Joseph Allen
exonerated on May 12, 2009. Ohio Innocence Project

9 11
Chaunte Ott Nancy Smith
Wisconsin Innocence Project Ohio Innocence Project
Chaunte Ott served more than 12 Joseph Allen and Nancy Smith
years in prison for the murder of 16-year-old both served more than 14 years in prison
Jessica Payne before DNA testing obtained by for multiple counts of sexual assault against
the Wisconsin Innocence Project proved his four-and-five-year-old children. The Ohio
innocence and led to his release. Innocence Project, which is affiliated with the
University of Cincinnati College of Law, helped
Two men implicated Ott in the murder, and
exonerate them.
both testified against him; one pled to a
lesser crime and the other was not charged Smith was a single mother working as a bus
in exchange for their testimony. The only driver and was first suspected when the mother
physical evidence at trial were two box cutters of a child from her bus route accused her of
and a knife that police discovered among Ott’s inappropriately touching her daughter. Soon,
possessions. A medical examiner concluded more parents brought complaints forward
that the knife could be consistent with the against Smith and an unknown male who
murder weapon. Ott was wrongfully convicted allegedly joined her in sexually abusing the
and sentenced to life in prison with the children.
possibility of parole.
Allen, who had a previous sexual offense, was
In 2002, the Wisconsin Innocence Project was put in a police lineup when he happened to
able to test samples from the victim’s rape kit, be at the station one day reporting that his
which excluded Ott and the two men who bike had been stolen. Video from the lineup
testified against him; they did not exonerate showed that children were not able to pick
Ott because he had not been convicted of out Allen and depicted parents leading or
sexual assault. scaring their children into identifying him as
Smith’s accomplice. Without physical evidence,
Five years later, prosecutors informed Ott
though, the original investigator decided to
that the DNA found at the crime scene
drop the case.
actually matched DNA found on the bodies
of two other women murdered in the same Under political pressure, a new investigator
neighborhood after Ott’s arrest. Despite this, was assigned and charges were brought
prosecutors refused to retry him. In 2008, against Allen and Smith. Despite the fact that
the Wisconsin Court of Appeals overturned they didn’t appear to know each other, they
the conviction and ordered a new trial. In were tried together on the grounds that they
response, the Milwaukee County District lived within a few blocks of each other. Both
Attorney’s Office announced that it would were convicted based on the testimony of the
not seek a new trial. Ott was freed and later children.
exonerated on June 5, 2009.
Armed with the line-up video, the Ohio
DNA recovered from the victim, and from the Innocence Project was able to accumulate and
two other murders that exonerated Ott, has eventually present evidence establishing Allen
since been matched to numerous other murders and Smith’s innocence. Odometer readings
in Milwaukee. DNA from all these murders showed that Smith did not stray from her bus
points to a man named Walter Ellis, who route and attendance records showed each

CASES 7
13
child was present at their preschool program Robert Lee Stinson
on the supposed days of the attacks. Records Wisconsin Innocence Project
also showed that Smith had clocked in at When a 62-year-old woman was
her second job right after she dropped the found dead in an alley near her home, Robert
children off at school on each of the days of Lee Stinson was wrongfully arrested and
the supposed attacks and therefore could not convicted for a murder he knew nothing about.
have had time to commit the crimes.
Forensic analysts found eight distinct bite
Both Allen and Smith were a granted a new marks on the victim. At trial, two forensic
trial. On June 24, 2009, they were acquitted dentists testified that Stinson’s teeth were a
because of a lack of evidence. match to the bite marks, adding that there was

12
“no margin of error.” Stinson was convicted
Ronald Kitchen and sentenced to life in prison in 1985.
Center on Wrongful Convictions
Along with his co-defendant, On Stinson’s behalf, the Wisconsin Innocence
Marvin Reeves, Ronald Kitchen was convicted Project contacted the Milwaukee County
for the deaths of two women and three District Attorney’s Office for access to the
children. Kitchen had falsely confessed to the physical evidence in 2004. Attorneys had
crime, a confession he claimed was a result four dental experts independently examine
of intense physical harassment and injury the evidence. After comparing results with
during an interrogation. The case was handled technology unavailable during the original
by Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his trial, all four agreed that Stinson could not
department, who have since been implicated have left the bite marks.
in a pattern of misconduct. Kitchen was In addition to the new bite mark analysis,
sentenced to death and Reeves to life in prison. newfound DNA evidence helped prove
The prosecution’s case was bolstered with Stinson’s innocence when the analysts found
testimony from a jailhouse informant who told saliva on the victim’s sweater and were able
prosecutors that both Kitchen and Reeves had to conclusively exclude Stinson as the source.
confessed to the murders. In exchange for his After 23 years behind bars for a murder he did
testimony, prosecutors offered the informant not commit, Robert Lee Stinson was released
early release from jail, yet they failed to reveal in January 2009 and was fully exonerated on
this to Kitchen’s attorneys. The informant has July 27, 2009.

14
since admitted that he lied when he testified
against Kitchen and Reeves. Deshawn Reed
Michigan Innocence Clinic

15
Both Kitchen and Reeves spent 21 years
in prison but were freed after prosecutors Marvin Reed
reopened the investigation and decided that Michigan Innocence Clinic
the evidence was insufficient to retry. The
Illinois Attorney General joined the Center After being incarcerated for
on Wrongful Convictions and the law firm more than 8 years for a 2000 shooting that left
of Baker & McKenzie in requesting that the the victim paralyzed, Deshawn Reed and his
charges be dismissed, and a judge subsequently uncle, Marvin Reed, were exonerated with the
overturned their cases. Attorneys with the law help of the University of Michigan Innocence
firm of Mayer Brown represented Reeves. Clinic.

Kitchen and Reeves were officially exonerated The defense presented two eyewitnesses to the
on July 27, 2009. crime, both of whom contradicted the victim’s
testimony that the Reeds shot at him from a
white car. The eyewitnesses instead testified

8 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


that the real shooter was standing in an alley, At trial, prosecutors argued that Richards was
and one of them identified the shooter as a the only possible suspect since there was no
man named Tyrone Allen. In addition, six one else near the crime scene. The California
alibi witnesses testified that the Reeds were Innocence Project obtained DNA testing
elsewhere at the time of the shooting. In spite on the weapon, as well as mitochondrial
of this, the prosecution secured a conviction DNA testing of hair found under one of the
based solely on the victim’s eyewitness victim’s fingernails. The results revealed
testimony. DNA profiles that did not match Pamela or
William Richards, proving that there was an
The defense learned, post-conviction, that unidentified attacker. In addition to DNA
Tyrone Allen had been killed while committing testing, attorneys argued that a cluster of fibers
a carjacking and that police found him with a found under the victim’s fingernail may have
firearm similar to the one used in the Reeds’ been planted. Prosecutors originally argued
case. Michigan State Police later tested and that the fibers matched those of the shirt
confirmed the gun to be the same one used in Richards was wearing the night of the murder,
the Reeds’ case. Additionally, Allen’s girlfriend but photos taken just after the victim’s autopsy
had reported him to the police, saying that he showed no fibers in the fingernail.
had confessed to the crime. When attorneys
were granted an evidentiary hearing, the Bite marks, which the state’s witness argued
victim himself admitted that he never actually could have only come from two percent of
saw where the shot came from, and that he the population—including Richards—were
had implicated the Reeds after his family and also reevaluated. Authorities on bite mark
friends visited him in the hospital and suggested evidence refuted that testimony, stating that
that the Reeds were likely responsible. In the conclusion was based on incomplete
addition, clinic students found and presented information and distorted photos. By
several other witnesses, including an off-duty correcting the distortion in the photos, experts
police officer, who had spoken with the victim were able to testify that Richards could not
immediately after the shooting and before the have left the bite mark. In face of the new
victim’s family and friends visited him in the evidence, a judge reversed Richards’ murder
hospital. All of these new witnesses confirmed conviction on August 10, 2009.

17
that the victim initially said that he did not see
where the shot came from. Kenneth Ireland
Connecticut Innocence Project
As result, a judge decided that the newly
discovered evidence seriously undermined Kenneth Ireland was wrongfully
the case against the Reeds. Both Deshawn and convicted in 1988 of the rape and murder of a
Marvin were released and exonerated on July 30-year-old mother of four and sent to prison
31, 2009, when prosecutors dismissed all of the at the age of 20. After serving nearly 21 years,
charges against them. Ireland was exonerated when DNA testing

16
proved his innocence.
William Richards Ireland’s conviction was based on blood
California Innocence Project typing and informant testimony. Two witnesses
After two trials ending in hung first implicated Ireland, telling investigating
juries and one in mistrial, William Richards officers that Ireland confessed to the crime.
was convicted in 1997 of murdering his wife, Preliminary DNA testing was inconclusive, but
Pamela Richards. Richards spent eight years forensic analysts testified at trial that Ireland’s
in prison for murder based on an alleged bite blood type, along with 20% of the general
mark and a cluster of fibers found under one population, matched the sample.
of the victim’s fingernails.

CASES 9
19
Ireland reached out to the Connecticut Joseph Abbitt
Innocence Project for help, and the attorneys North Carolina Center
were able to convince a judge to grant a new on Actual Innocence
trial based on more recent DNA testing. This
time, the tests conclusively proved Ireland’s Two teenaged sisters were raped at knifepoint
innocence. Ireland was soon released from and identified their attacker from a photo
prison and was formally exonerated on August lineup as Joseph Abbitt. He spent 14 years
19, 2009. imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit until
DNA evidence cleared his name.

18
Ralph Armstrong Prior to the lineup, the two sisters told police
Innocence Project officers that they believed the man who raped
Ralph Armstrong was wrongfully them was Abbitt, who had visited their Winston-
convicted for the rape and murder of a fellow Salem home before. While under investigation,
University of Wisconsin-Madison student in Abbitt offered compelling alibi evidence that
1981. The Innocence Project worked with local he was at work when the crime occurred. Initial
attorneys Jerome Buting and Keith Belzer to DNA testing of the rape kit was inconclusive;
overturn his conviction in spite of misconduct however, testing of semen located on a piece
by the prosecution. Armstrong was exonerated of clothing excluded Abbitt. Law enforcement
on August 19, 2009. and the victims were uncertain whether the
piece of clothing was involved in the rapes.
In 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court
overturned Armstrong’s conviction and Nonetheless, Abbitt was convicted of the rapes
granted him a new trial after DNA testing in 1995 and sentenced to two consecutive life
excluded him as the source of hair and semen sentences plus 110 years. In 2005, he applied
from the crime scene. Armstrong remained in to the North Carolina Center on Actual
custody awaiting retrial for years. Meanwhile, Innocence to assist with his claim. Although
prosecutors violated a court order by ordering much of the evidence collected in the case
additional DNA testing on the biological had been destroyed, the Winston-Salem Police
evidence without notifying the defense. This Department eventually located the rape kit.
round of testing used up all the remaining
evidence, rendering it useless for further Updated DNA technology conclusively
testing. excluded Joseph Abbitt as the perpetrator of
the rapes. Abbitt was exonerated on September
Furthermore, while the case was on appeal in 2, 2009. Efforts are underway to identify the
1995, the prosecution received a call alleging true perpetrator of the crimes.

20
that Armstrong’s brother, who was visiting him
at the time of the murder, confessed to the Rafael Madrigal, Jr.
crime. Prosecutors never informed the defense California Innocence Project
about the call, and Armstrong’s brother has Rafael Madrigal, Jr., spent seven
since died. years in prison for a gang-related shooting but
Based on the prosecutorial misconduct, a was released when the California Innocence
Wisconsin judge dismissed charges against Project and co-counsel Eric Multhaup showed
Armstrong, who has been transferred to New Madrigal could not have committed the crime.
Mexico where he was on parole for unrelated Madrigal was convicted of attempted murder
charges when he was arrested for the murder for a July 2000 shooting. He consistently
that he didn’t commit. told investigators that he could not have
been at the crime scene at the time of the
shooting because he worked at a packing plant
approximately 35 miles away.

10 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


22
At an evidentiary hearing held in 2008 to Edwin Chandler
evaluate charges of ineffective representation, Kentucky Innocence Project
the California Innocence Project established
Madrigal’s alibi with testimony from his Edwin Chandler was wrongfully
supervisor, who told the court that production convicted of the robbery and shooting death
at the plant would have been stalled had of a Louisville convenience store employee
Madrigal not been at work since he was the in 1995. However, new evidence uncovered
only one trained to use a particular machine. by the Kentucky Innocence Project led to his
exoneration of all charges.
The California Innocence Project also
introduced an audio tape of a phone call At the time of the shooting, Chandler was on
between Madrigal’s co-defendant and work release for a misdemeanor, and he did
girlfriend that had never been entered as not report back to jail as required. A young
evidence in which the co-defendant admits neighbor of Chandler’s told police that she
that Madrigal was not present at the time of had seen him the night of the robbery wearing
the shooting. Madrigal’s conviction was soon a stocking mask similar to the one police said
overturned and prosecutors dropped all the shooter was wearing.
charges. Madrigal was released from prison on After a long interrogation, in which police
September 3, 2009. threatened to have his sister arrested for

21
harboring a fugitive and take her kids away,
James Lee Woodard Chandler confessed to the shooting. At trial,
Innocence Project of Texas the prosecution depended heavily on the
James Lee Woodard was neighbor’s testimony. However, another
wrongfully convicted for murdering his prosecution witness testified that he actually
girlfriend. During the trial, prosecutors saw the shooter enter the store and that it was
withheld key evidence from the defense. For not Chandler. The surveillance video of the
example, the jury never learned that the victim store from that night had been accidentally
was seen with three other men on the night erased by police. Chandler was sentenced to a
of her death. (Two of these men were later total of 30 years for robbery and manslaughter.
convicted of sexual assault crimes.) Woodard
was sentenced to life in prison in 1981 in Kentucky Innocence Project attorneys
what the Dallas County District Attorney’s identified a string of evidence of their client’s
Office Conviction Integrity Unit now calls a innocence. Digital testing showed that
“fundamentally unfair” trial. fingerprints left on a beer bottle did not match
Chandler and instead implicated a known
Both the Innocence Project of Texas and the felon. In addition, photos recovered from
Dallas County District Attorney’s Office worked the surveillance tape did not appear to have
together on Woodard’s case, interviewing Chandler in them.
witnesses and conducting DNA testing on a
rape kit, the results of which confirmed that Chandler was fully exonerated on October
Woodard was innocent when a forensic analyst 13, 2009. He had served nine years in prison
determined that whoever committed the rape and another seven on parole. The alternative
also committed the murder. suspect has been indicted.

Woodard was released after serving more than


27 years in prison. He was freed in April 2008
and exonerated on September 30, 2009.

CASES 11
23
Christopher Scott sketch and identified Shomberg. However,
University of Texas three alibi witnesses placed Shomberg 30
Actual Innocence Clinic blocks away from where the attack occurred.

24
Claude Simmons Jr. Shomberg went to trial without a jury and the
University of Texas judge in the case disregarded the alibi, finding
Actual Innocence Clinic him guilty. Halfway into his sentence, the
Wisconsin Innocence Project was able to test
Claude Simmons, Jr., and Christopher Scott evidence collected from the victim and found
were wrongfully imprisoned on death row four samples of DNA on an article of clothing
for 12 years. Evidence now proves that they through “touch” DNA testing, which can detect
were wrongfully convicted, and the alleged DNA left behind by a person’s touch. None
perpetrators have been apprehended. of the samples matched Shomberg, although
Simmons and Scott were charged with the they revealed the presence of unknown male
shooting death of Alfonso Aguilar during a DNA. Attorneys also introduced research on
home-invasion robbery. There was no forensic the unreliability of composite sketches and
evidence introduced in their original trial; testimony from eyewitness experts, arguing that
instead, their convictions were based primarily both witnesses picked Shomberg because he
on the eyewitness testimony of the victim’s wife. was the only suspect who most closely matched
The wife had identified Scott as a shooter when their descriptions in a lineup where all the
she saw him handcuffed in a police station. men had disparate physical attributes.

As a result of the work of the University of Texas On November 13, 2009, the same judge who
at Arlington’s Innocence Network and the found Shomberg guilty concluded that new
University of Texas Actual Innocence Clinic, evidence was compelling enough to overturn
attorneys found a Texas man who confessed the wrongful conviction and exonerate him.

26
to having committed the crime with an
accomplice. Soon after, the alleged accomplice Michael Marshall
was arrested and charged with capital murder. Georgia Innocence Project

With cooperation from the Dallas District Police officers investigating the
Attorney’s Office, Scott and Simmons were gunpoint robbery of a truck thought that
released and exonerated on October 23, 2009. Michael Marshall resembled the composite

25
sketch of the perpetrator. Marshall was
Forest Shomberg homeless at the time and was discovered
Wisconsin Innocence Project sleeping in an apartment hallway 10 days after
the crime. A witness was then brought to the
Forest Shomberg was exonerated
apartment where he misidentified Marshall as
after the Wisconsin Innocence Project secured
the thief, and Marshall was arrested. He pled
DNA testing and strong evidence of eyewitness
guilty in exchange for a four-year sentence
misidentification.
and served nearly two years before the Georgia
Shomberg was sentenced to 12 years in prison Innocence Project helped him prove his
for a 2002 sexual assault. The assailant fled the innocence through DNA testing.
crime scene when a security guard heard the
Three items of evidence belonging to the
victim cry for help. She provided police with a
perpetrator were tested: a gray T-shirt, cell
description of her assailant, as did the security
phone and a cell phone case. A single DNA
guard, which officers then used to create a
profile emerged that did not belong to Marshall.
composite sketch.
Instead, the identity of the real perpetrator was
The investigation turned to Shomberg when revealed through a DNA database hit.
two people contacted police after they saw the

12 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


Marshall was wrongfully convicted in early 2008
and exonerated on December 14, 2009, when a
judge accepted Marshall’s motion to withdraw
his guilty plea and prosecutors dropped the
indictment against him.

27
James Bain
Innocence Project of Florida
James Bain was exonerated on
December 17, 2009, after 35 years of wrongful
imprisonment in Florida. Bain has spent
more years in prison for a crime he didn’t
commit than any other person exonerated
through DNA testing in the United States.
The Innocence Project of Florida helped Bain
prove his innocence of the 1974 rape of a
young boy.
The nine-year-old victim was kidnapped from his
home, dragged to a baseball field and raped by
a man he described as having bushy sideburns
and a mustache. A relative of the victim’s
thought that the description sounded like James
Bain. Bain’s photo was included in a lineup
and the victim misidentified him. Based largely
on the strength of this identification, Bain was
convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Still a teenager when he was wrongfully
convicted, Bain was 54 years old by the time he
was exonerated. He began seeking DNA testing
in 2001 but was denied multiple times until the
Innocence Project of Florida came to his aid.

CASES 13
NETWORK MEMBERS
Alaska Innocence Project Innocence Project
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law,
Arizona Justice Project Yeshiva University
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Innocence Project Arkansas
Association in Defence of the Wrongly University of Arkansas School of Law
Convicted
Innocence Project at UVA School of Law
California & Hawaii Innocence Project
California Western School of Law Institute Innocence Project New Orleans
for Criminal Defense Advocacy
Innocence Project New Zealand
Center on Wrongful Convictions School of Psychology, Victoria University
Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University of Wellington
School of Law
Innocence Project Northwest Clinic
Connecticut Innocence Project University of Washington School of Law
State of Connecticut Public Defender Services
Innocence Project of Florida
Cooley Innocence Project
Thomas M. Cooley Law School Innocence Project of Iowa

Downstate Illinois Innocence Project Innocence Project of Minnesota


Institute for Legal and Policy Studies at the Hamline University School of Law
University of Illinois at Springfield
Innocence Project of South Dakota
Georgia Innocence Project University of South Dakota School of Law
Griffith University Innocence Project Innocence Project of Texas
Griffith Law School
Justice Brandeis Innocence Project
Idaho Innocence Project Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism
Boise State University at Brandeis University
Indiana University School of Law Clinic, Kentucky Innocence Project
Wrongful Conviction Component Department of Public Advocacy
Indiana University School of Law—
Indianapolis Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Innocence Project
Innocence Institute of Point Park University
Medill Innocence Project
Innocence Network UK (INUK) Medill School of Journalism
University of Bristol School of Law

14 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


Michigan Innocence Clinic Ohio Innocence Project
University of Michigan University of Cincinnati College of Law

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project Pace Post-Conviction Project


Barbara C. Salken Criminal Justice Clinic
Midwestern Innocence Project
Mississippi Innocence Project Pennsylvania Innocence Project
University of Mississippi School of Law Temple University Beasley School of Law

Montana Innocence Project Reinvestigation Project


Office of the Appellate Defender
Nebraska Innocence Project
Rocky Mountain Innocence Center
New England Innocence Project University of Utah—S.J. Quinney College of Law
Goodwin Procter LLP
Texas Center for Actual Innocence
North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence University of Texas School of Law
Northern Arizona Justice Project Texas Innocence Network
Northern Arizona University University of Houston Law School
Department of Criminal Justice
The University of Leeds Innocence Project
Northern California Innocence Project The University of Leeds School of Law
Santa Clara University Law School
University of British Columbia Law
Office of the Public Defender Innocence Project
for the State of Maryland
Wisconsin Innocence Project
Office of the Public Defender, University of Wisconsin Law School
State of Delaware

NETWORK MEMBERS 15
INNOCENCE NETWORK
T
he Innocence Network is an affiliation of 54 member organizations
dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to
individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have
been convicted and working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions.

For more on the Innocence Network and for information on how to contact
member organizations, please visit www.innocencenetwork.org.

16 INNOCENCE NETWORK EXONERATIONS 2009


STEVEN BARNES

ALAN BEAMAN

JOSEPH FEARS, JR.

MIGUEL ROMAN

TIMOTHY COLE

REGGIE COLE

THADDEUS JIMENEZ

PAUL HOUSE

CHAUNTE OTT

JOSEPH ALLEN

NANCY SMITH

RONALD KITCHEN

ROBERT LEE STINSON

DESHAWN REED

MARVIN REED

WILLIAM RICHARDS

KENNETH IRELAND

RALPH ARMSTRONG

JOSEPH ABBITT

RAFAEL MADRIGAL, JR.

JAMES LEE WOODARD

EDWIN CHANDLER

CHRISTOPHER SCOTT

CLAUDE SIMMONS

FOREST SHOMBERG

MICHAEL MARSHALL

JAMES BAIN

WWW.INNOCENCENETWORK.ORG