Its just a sad injustice all the way around.. Convicted but innocent: wrongful conviction and public policy. The 378 cases mostly low-level drug and traffic offenses relied on the work of 13 police officers who were later convicted of crimes. Seven have been exonerated since his first term began in November 2017, but two others were exonerated while Gonzalez was acting DA. From 2014 until Thompsons death in the fall of 2016, Brooklyns unit exonerated 21 people. Elizabeth Felber, supervising attorney for the Legal Aid Societys Wrongful Conviction Unit, said she hopes the next head of the unit, Hales replacement, comes from the defense community, as has been the practice in other jurisdictions in New York, such as Queens and Westchester. Conviction Review Unit. (Sullivan did not respond to a request for comment.). Even if he was not part of the review process, youre still asking a subordinate to make a finding about his superior., Conviction review units, said Sims, should not even be housed in prosecutors offices. Phone. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island Trial Offices, the Homicide Defense Task Force Unit, Wrongful Conviction Unit, Parole Revocation Unit, and the Criminal Appeals Bureau. Include a mailing address for the CRU to contact the convicted person or their attorney. In a statement responding to questions sent to the DAs office by New York Focus, spokesperson Yaniv characterized Sims account as novel. 199 Water Street. Alfonzo Riley, Case Handler (left), Elizabeth Felber, Supervising Attorney (center), Thomas McCall, Investigator (right), members of The Legal Aid Society Wrongful Conviction Unit. Historically, the parole boards routinely denied parole to people who maintained their innocence because they were not accepting responsibility for crimes they did not commit. This is why our office consented to a hearing that would allow Mr. Sims to argue his claim of innocence before a judge, including a new contention, not made in previous motions, that his good friend was the alleged perpetrator and then conspired to frame him., But at trial, Sims defense counsel said that Graves, not Sims, was the perpetrator. Tainted Testimony. On Wednesday, Eric Gonzalez, the district attorney in Brooklyn, asked a state judge to vacate the first 15 convictions under his purview, all of which involved felonies and several of which resulted in prison time, according to the prosecutors office and the Legal Aid Society. Graves testimony was essential for the prosecutions case. This article has also been updated to clarify that the CRU also moved to vacate 90 convictions based on the testimony of disgraced NYPD narcotics detective Joseph Franco. INTRODUCTION The Clerk has sent to the Court for review a pro se civil.20230302561 Sims said he told his trial counsel that he saw Graves commit the crime and asked to testify, but that the lawyer advised him not to testify. Campos was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life. He previously worked for WNYC and Gothamist, and has published stories with NPR, ProPublica, Esquire, and The Intercept among other outlets. I never got a chance to tell my story, Sims told New York Focus. The Legal Aid Society Wrongful Conviction Unit Jan 2021 - Present 2 years 2 months. These convictions continue to hang around people and impact them in all kinds of ways, Mr. Gonzalez said. All Rights Reserved, Wrongful Convictions, Appeals, Clemency & Sealing, Empowering People with Disability & Health Issues, Lifting the Voices of Children & Adolescents, Supporting Survivors of Violence & Navigating Divorce, Discrimination Based on Arrest & Conviction Records, What You Need to Know About Marijuana Legalization in New York, What You Need to Know About Marijuana Expungement, What You Need to Know About Loitering & Prostitution Records, What You Need to Know About Sealing Your Criminal Convictions, What You Need to Know After Your Convictions Have Been Sealed, What You Need to Know About Discrimination Based on Arrest and Conviction Records. So its easy to sweep things under the rug, its easy to rubber stamp things., Sims was 24 when he was convicted. Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering (Warren L. McCabe; Julian C. Smith; Peter Harriott) . The Cop Accountability Project (CAP) of the Criminal Defense Practices Law Reform and Special Litigation Unit empowers organizations and communities across New York City to hold police accountable for human rights violations. I. In response to that request, Katz, who formed a conviction integrity unit when she took office as district attorney last year, launched a review and found that 10 of the 22 flagged officers had contributed to convictions in Queens. Elizabeth Felber, director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society, said the people whose cases were tossed endured "hardships that should have never been allowed to happen . The grant will be managed by the Research Foundation of CUNY. The Wrongful Conviction Unit continues to grow in size and outreach since its inception in 2019. . c/o The Legal Aid Society Clemency However, three days into the trial, Hale told the judge that Graves was nowhere to be found and asked for a material witness order, which allows law enforcement to take a witness into custody to ensure that they appear in court. All Rights Reserved. Units 1 and 2- Heritage and Rights and Freedoms Types of public and private law categories Public: Criminal, Consitiutional, Adminastrative Private: Tort, Labour, Family, Property, Contract, Early history of law - who the people were (Hammurabi, Moses etc. damages against the individual defendants in an amount to be determined at trial; b. award plaintiffs, and the members of the class they seek to represent, reasonable. The Project can also tell you if you are eligible for the many other types of record relief that can help to end the perpetual punishment of a conviction record. The Legal Aid Society's Wrongful Conviction Unit represents those wrongfully committed once all appeals have been exhausted. The Wrongful Conviction Unit was created to address the population of prisoners who have exhausted all possible avenues of defense and are still fighting for their freedom. Riley was incarcerated for his role in a 1988 drug deal that ended in a homicide. If you are innocent and have exhausted all appeals for a conviction in New York City, write to The Wrongful Conviction Unit and request our questionnaire to be considered for representation: The Wrongful Conviction Unit New York Focus Find and save resources 24/7 from anywhere!' Hochul Projects Horse Racing Renaissance, Declines to Share Evidence. To me that's just an inherent dual loyalty," said Elizabeth Felber, a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society's wrongful conviction unit. A PRDU Staff Attorney represents clients accused of violating their conditions of release at administrative parole revocation hearings and recognizance hearings held in the criminal courts, federal detention facilities, hospital prison wards and, where applicable, local correctional . Legal Services NYC. Professors and Defenders Clinic Co-Directors Steve Zeidman (left) and Nicole Smith-Futrell (right) discuss their work on clemency. The representative is charged with ensuring equal protection of the law in police surveillance and police investigations and reporting any systematic and repeated violations of individuals civil [], In the summer of 2016, in the course of representing an Uzbek client who had been questioned by FBI agents, CUNYs Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility Clinic (CLEAR) learned of Akram Djumaevs ordeal. Research shows challenges to wrongful convictions have extremely low success rates; even defendants who were later exonerated by DNA evidence had their appeals rejected in more than 90 percent of cases, one study. (2) "Certificate of inspection" means an unsworn statement, declaration, verification, or certificate made in accordance with the requirements of chapter 5.50 RCW by a qualified inspector that states that the landlord has not failed to fulfill any substantial obligation imposed under RCW 59.18.060 that endangers or impairs the health or safety of a tenant, including (a) structural members that . , the Brooklyn DAs office has claimed that Hale did not review Sims case. Graves did not respond to multiple requests for comment from New York Focus. After three days of deliberations, the jury sent a note to the court saying that they were deadlocked. The Defenders Clinic is on a mission to loosen the crushing hold of incarceration and criminalization in New York State by educating law students to be tireless and skilled criminal legal advocates. Elizabeth Felber, supervising attorney with the wrongful conviction unit at the Legal Aid Society a lawyers organization that represents 11 defendants whose cases will be vacated and dismissed this week noted several collateral consequences of the convictions: loss of public housing, barriers to employment, and deportation. 5. After taking office in 2014, Thompson expanded the Conviction Review Unit, . 155, 156 taxation 148 trade union members, prohibited list of 365 trade unions, against 323, 394, 406 wrongful dismissal see under wrongful dismissal see also compensation declarations 58, 59, 274, 301, 366 agency workers 65 detriment: trade unionism . (Yes!)" Section III presents several recom-mendations that research shows will minimize the likelihood of wrongful convictions and that are important for police departments to adopt. Strong legal professional with a . Cooper said he felt he could not have the CRU review his case when Hale was running it. At the time, all we knew was that he had been forced to give up his green card. 4 The National Registry of Exonerations, "Basic Patterns" (Nov. 2016). At trial, the States star witness was Graves, who testified that Sims had shot the victim. | translate }}. And in Manhattan, more than 140 ongoing cases and convictions that Mr. Franco was central to have also been tossed out. The CRU will contact the convicted . The Wrongful Conviction Unit continues to grow in size and outreach since its inception in 2019. The site contains instructions and forms for applying for commutations and pardons. In court filings and statements to the media, the Brooklyn DAs office has said Hale recused himself from reviewing Sims case. Wrongful conviction lawyers have submitted the case to the Queens DA's Conviction Integrity Unit. The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) provides direct legal services to taxpayers who have personal income tax disputes with the Internal Revenue Service or the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The Worker Justice Project, an initiative of The Legal Aid Societys Criminal Defense Practice, combats discrimination faced by workers with arrest or conviction records living in New York City. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of . At his sentencing hearing, he professed his innocence. All Rights Reserved. For Scandal-Plagued For-Profit Colleges, No State Is More Welcoming Than New York. Students gain knowledge and first-hand practice experience in various criminal legal contexts, such as trial, post-conviction, parole, clemency, and reentry cases. I would just hear them screaming Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!. 199 Water Street In that case, officers were found to have planted evidence, falsified records and rewarded informants with drugs. The article has been updated to account for the one exoneration produced in that year. To Jabbar Collins, that conflict of interest makes it imperative that a CRU is led by someone outside the office. The Clinic has had tremendous success in securing parole release and sentence commutation. Hale disclosed none of this to Coopers defense counsel, according to Coopers civil complaint. Donate. If you were convicted of a criminal offense as a result of having been sex or labor trafficked, you may be eligible to have your record sealed. Provided direct support to NYC Department of Social Services (DSS) Commissioner - former long-time attorney-in-chief of NYC Legal Aid Society - including assisting with City Hall and senior staff . The average condemned person spends six-and-a-half years on Death Row as their case . All of the other officers were also convicted of crimes that involved abuse of power, prosecutors said mostly during undercover work and street level policing. The Legal Aid Society will be hosting its Wrongful Conviction Day event over Zoom on Oct. 6. Defense attorneys point to Hales control of the unit as a key reason for the slow pace of exonerations, New York Focus and The Appeal reported in May. Emily Niedzwiecki. In a statement through his attorneys, he told New York Focus that he thought if he accused Graves in the letter, it would just seem like I was looking for a scapegoat., I wrote in bold letters, I AM INNOCENT, Sims said in his statement to New York Focus. 5 The National Registry of Exonerations, "Exonerations in 2018" (Apr. The lawsuit, against the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), the New York State Department of Homes and Community Renewal (DHCR), and individual landlords, now includes . {{ 'All my collections' | translate }} {{ 'Resources for Pro members' | translate }}, {{ 'Free marketing materials' | translate }}, {{ 'Frequently Asked Questions' | translate }}, {{ 'And x more' | translate: { count: (tagsWithinArea.length - 4)} }}, {{ "Add or edit resources" | translate }}, {{ 'Community Learning Hub' | translate }}, 2023 One Degree, {{ 'a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.' His son began to sob. Their scientists will collaborate with the Delivering Justice Project to determine the most appropriate DNA testing and analysis. Then, he was unmasked as a quack. Chao Tzee Cheng was the son of a professor in cultural studies and a school principal.Of Cantonese origin, he later migrated to Singapore with his parents and received his education at Catholic High School and Victoria Continuation School. If the true focus of the CRU is to do justice, you need someone whos not going to get everything from a prosecutorial perspective and look at ways to save the conviction, said Collins, a legal analyst with Horizon Research Services. Rarely did any of the 167 inmates he testified against escape the death penalty. The justice system can be overwhelming. This case presents a number of disputed factual and legal issues which are appropriately resolved in a court of law and not in the media, the statement said. After being in prison for three decades, he was finally granted clemency and released in early 2019. The Innocence Network is an coalition of organizations dedicated to providing pro bono legal and investigative services to individuals seeking to prove innocence of crimes for which they have been convicted, working to redress the causes of wrongful convictions, and supporting the exonerated after they are freed. Since 2015, the DNA Unit of the Legal Aid Society in New York City has held an annual, two-day forensic conference for defense attorneys called Questioning Forensics. In April, the CRU also moved to vacate 90 convictions based on the testimony of disgraced NYPD narcotics detective Joseph Franco. Identifying and understanding the causes of wrongful convictions is critical to maintaining the integrity of our justice system. In 2018, a record number of exonerations involved misconduct by government officials. After spending 17 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit, Brooklyn man James Davis is finally coming home. The hundreds of convictions thrown out in the Bronx involved Mr. Franco. One witness for the prosecution, who was under arrest for an unrelated attempted murder, repeatedly told police he had no information on Coopers alleged involvement in the murder, according to Coopers civil complaint. Hes now 46. t the time, his sons were 4 and 5-years-old. His conviction was dismissed August 4. Freeing the innocent and preventing wrongful convictions worldwide. Additionally, each year, the Defenders Clinic hosts an experienced attorney on leave from The Legal Aid Society as a Fellow and Supervising Attorney. We seek to be a beacon of hope for those who feel neglected . Mr. Bowens, now 56, was the central police officer in 134 of the cases that the Brooklyn prosecutors aim to dismiss. Citizens of society put their trust in the courts to keep communities safe. 2023 The Legal Aid Society. On appeal, the conviction was overturned due to the wrongful admission of the interrogation. Visit website. Individuals who believe they qualify for clemency should apply online with the Governor's Office. It was based almost entirely on Julius Graves recantation of his testimony in 2002. Iowa State Public Defender Wrongful Conviction Division Des Moines, IA. When he was convicted, she told New York Focus, she thought that was the end of my world., In 2013, controversy over Hynes tactics helped Kenneth Thompson defeat Hynes. The truth is gonna come out eventually.. Under New Yorks 2021 legalization law, several old and new penal law marijuana convictions will be automatically expunged. Although offered a scholarship to read engineering in the United States, he decided to take up medicine at University of . 40 Worth Street, Suite 606. Students in the Defenders Clinic advocate for transformative justice in the face of mass incarceration. If you are innocent and have exhausted all appeals for a conviction in New York City, write to The Wrongful Conviction Unit and request our questionnaire to be considered for representation: The Wrongful Conviction Unit Legal Services NYC Website. A PRDU Staff Attorney represents clients accused of violating their conditions of release at administrative parole revocation hearings and recognizance hearings held in the criminal courts, federal detention facilities, hospital prison wards and, where applicable, local . One of the social forces that convictions uses is the human need for safety and serving justice. The Clinic frequently works with the Criminal Trials, Appeals and Case Closed units of The Legal Aid Society. Mr. Franco, who was fired by the Police Department, is awaiting trial in Manhattan. Sims with his sons, Antoine and Anthony Jr., in 2015 | Keisha Sims. Sims told him he couldnt think like that. Graves only agreed to testify after his fiance was arrested, according to a statement he gave in 2002, which he has since recanted. Experienced Litigation Support Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the legal services sector. Update (9/4): This article previously stated that the Brooklyn CRU exonerated seven people during DA Gonzalezs current tenure. At a virtual hearing on Monday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz successfully petitioned a judge to expunge 60 convictions linked to three NYPD officers who were found to have committed crimes and fabricated evidence in other cases in years past. At the Legal Aid Society, Riley is part of a team that reviews claims of innocence, working to help to those who were wrongfully convicted achieve the vindication they seek and deserve. According to Sims attorneys, Hale never disclosed this information to the defense. In fact, Hale told the jury during closing arguments: Now you heard the summation of the defense Mr. Tims [Sim defense attorney] wants you to believe that Julius Graves is the perpetrator of this crime., In Sims 2016 letter to the CRUwhich he wrote himself, without legal counselhe said that he was innocent and included Graves recantation, but did not say he had witnessed Graves kill the victim. 207 followers 207 connections. The U.S. Department of Justice has granted CUNY School of Law, in partnership with The Legal Aid Society, nearly $500,000 to establish a project that will review and litigate select wrongful conviction claims of New Yorkers incarcerated in state prisons. Our work is guided by science and grounded in anti-racism. Hopefully they will follow the lead of social media and start bringing more wrongful convictions to light. But the CRUs preliminary review may have been undermined by a fundamental conflict of interest: Mark Hale, who led the unit from its creation in January 2014 until July of this year, was the lead prosecutor in Sims murder trial. 212-577-3300. Supervising Attorney - Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society Sidwell Friends High School, Northwestern University, Benjamin Cardozo School of Law View profile View profile badges Section II looks at the role cognitive biases play in wrongful convictions. By Rebecca Davis OBrien and Troy Closson. To find out if The Exploitation Intervention Project is able to assist you in having your trafficking-related convictions vacated and the records sealed, contact Leigh Latimer at 646-385-5025 or
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