Royal Clark, Jr. was exonerated after spending 17 years, four months and 14 days in prison for an armed robbery that evidence has now proven what he’s said all along – that he is innocent.
Royal was convicted of a 2001 armed robbery of a Burger King restaurant in Terrytown, Louisiana. Royal’s exoneration was based on new evidence of his innocence –fingerprints left at the crime scene were recently linked to another man, Jessie Perry.
Royal’s case, the second exoneration in Louisiana in three months from fingerprint evidence, underscores the importance of prisoners having access to evidence that could prove their innocence, even in cases that don’t involve DNA.
Royal was convicted on his 26th birthday on June 26, 2003. He walked out of the jail in June 2019 and into the arms of his loving family, including his 17-year-old son, Royal Clark, III.
Currently, there is no clear legal right for prisoners to access non-DNA forensic databases so that truth can prevail. IPNO will continue to advocate for the creation and recognition of this important legal right before the Louisiana Supreme Court and the Louisiana Legislature.