West Virginia IP Client Joseph Lavigne Granted Parole

West Virginia IP Client Joseph Lavigne Granted Parole

West Virginia Innocence Project Joseph Lavigne, a client of the West Virginia Innocence Project at the WVU College of Law, has been granted parole. He was released from Huttonsville Correctional Center on Nov. 15, after serving 20 years in prison. In 1997, Lavigne was convicted of one count each of sexual abuse in the first degree, child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, and incest. The victim was his 5-year-old daughter. For 20 years, she and her mother have maintained Lavigne’s innocence. No physical DNA evidence was submitted at Lavigne’s trial but witnesses testified that his daughter said she was assaulted by her father. Lavigne argued that his daughter said she was assaulted by a man who looked like her father. Read...
IP New Orleans Client Wilbert Jones Freed

IP New Orleans Client Wilbert Jones Freed

Innocence Project New Orleans Wilbert Jones walked through the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison gate around noon Wednesday and into the arms of his brother, sister-in-law and niece — free for the first time in almost 46 years after his 1974 rape conviction was overturned. “I just want to be free,” the 64-year-old said, with a smile on his face and family embracing him. “I thank God for my family, I thank God for my legal team and I thank God for God.” His brother Plem Jones gave him a long hug, later wiping tears from his eyes. “I never gave up on him, I knew that he didn’t do it,” Plem Jones said Wednesday. “It was nothing but a matter of time, I knew he was going to be free one day.” In the almost 46 years his brother was incarcerated, Plem Jones said he can remember missing only two opportunities to visit him. Jones traveled from his Baton Rouge home two weekends a month to Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, and additionally on a month’s rare fifth weekend, to talk, to cry with his brother, he said. In his earlier years, he brought his daughter with him, and more recently, he brought his grandchildren. Read...
CPCS Innocence Program Client Darrell Jones Freed

CPCS Innocence Program Client Darrell Jones Freed

CPCS Innocence Program Darrell Jones, who has been in prison for 32 years for a murder he has always denied committing, was released on bail Thursday evening. Two days after another judge ruled Jones would receive a new trial, Plymouth County Superior Court Associate Judge Robert Cosgrove freed the Boston man on $5,000 bail. In a 39-page ruling Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire said Jones did not get a fair trial when he was convicted in 1986 of killing a Brockton drug dealer. McGuire cited new evidence that the lead detective gave false testimony and purposefully altered video of an alleged eyewitness that McGuire said “could have affected the jury’s judgment.” “I stayed in prison a long time, not just the fact it’s something I didn’t do, but it was hard to get people to hear you,” Jones said at the courthouse Thursday. “So, I’m trying to get everybody here to understand one point: There’s somebody else back at that jail that nobody’s listening to, that’s probably innocent, and trying to fight like I’ve been trying to fight.” Read...
Michigan Innocence Clinic Client Raymond McCann II Exonerated

Michigan Innocence Clinic Client Raymond McCann II Exonerated

Michigan Innocence Clinic More than a decade after Jodi Parrack was murdered in her hometown, Ray McCann II has finally cleared his name. St. Joseph County Circuit Judge Paul Stutesman on Thursday set aside his conviction of perjury. McCann already had served 20 months behind bars after pleading no contest to that charge. The Michigan Innocence Clinic said that St. Joseph County Prosecutor John McDonough agreed that the charges should be dropped. “It is ironic that after serving time in the county jail and being threatened with a potential life sentence, Ray McCann pleaded no contest to a charge of perjury when, in fact, he had told the truth and the charge itself was based on police fabrications,” said Michigan Innocence Clinic Director David Moran. “I am grateful that Mr. McDonough chose to do the right thing and exonerate him.” Read...
Exoneration Project Client John Horton Exonerated

Exoneration Project Client John Horton Exonerated

Exoneration Project Charges were dropped today against a Rockford man who was freed from prison after more than two decades behind bars for a killing he didn’t commit. Outside of a Winnebago County courtroom, John W. Horton Jr., 41, hugged family members and a cadre of supporters who spent years trying to clear his name. “I’m blessed. I’m truly blessed. I’m grateful,” said Horton, the father of two daughters. He said he feels “a lot of hurt starting to go away.” Horton was convicted of the Sept. 19, 1993, murder and armed robbery of Arthur Castaneda in Rockford. Horton was 17 years old at the time Castaneda was fatally shot during a robbery at a McDonald’s restaurant, located at that time at 2715 Charles St. He was sentenced in 1995 to natural life in prison without parole. Read...
Mid-Atlantic IP Client Lamar Johnson Exonerated

Mid-Atlantic IP Client Lamar Johnson Exonerated

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project After 13 years in prison for first-degree murder, a Baltimore man walked free Tuesday afternoon as the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office joined his defense team in asking for his exoneration. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby formally apologized at a news conference to Lamar Johnson and his family for what her office now believes was his wrongful conviction. The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project, which investigates suspected wrongful convictions, began looking into Johnson’s case in 2010. Last year, the project presenting its findings to the state’s attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit — the first of its kind in Maryland — which, after its own investigation, agreed that Johnson was innocent. Read...