Originally published in TIME Magazine’s INNOCENT—The Fight Against Wrongful Convictions.
Mark Godsey, who directed the Innocence Project team that freed Ricky Jackson, began his exoneration career as a skeptic. He begrudgingly agreed to supervise the Kentucky Innocence Project in 2001 while an assistant professor at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law, just a few miles from downtown Cincinnati. Early in his tenure he met with two students who had just visited Herman May, an inmate whose case the innocence team had taken on. “When they told me how they looked into [May’s] eyes and just knew he was innocent, I thought, ‘Come on,’ ” Godsey recalls, describing his cynical eyeroll at the students’ apparent naïveté. (read more)
Originally posted on The Baltimore Sun on February 10, 2016.
The trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter generated worldwide publicity, and more than 100 journalists vied for a courthouse seat. Yet despite all the coverage, misconceptions and inaccuracies about the trial continue unabated, feeding public anxiety.
Many believe that Officer Porter “got off” on criminal charges connected to his role in the death of Freddie Gray because the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision after two weeks of testimony, arguments and legal instruction. That’s a difficult result for many to appreciate, especially when they didn’t see evidence the jurors saw. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com on December 23, 2012
Ten years ago, Sharon Rocha was expecting her pregnant daughter, Laci Peterson, at dinner on Christmas Eve. Instead, she received a call that Laci was missing.
Teams of police and community members scoured the woods and fields near Modesto, California, that night, again on Christmas Day, and for weeks afterward, but there was no sign of her. Four months later, her body washed ashore 90 miles away in the San Francisco Bay. She was 27. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com on November 20, 2010
A South Florida jury found former World Series hero Jim Leyritz guilty of driving drunk Saturday but acquitted him of a more serious charge of DUI manslaughter.
An emotional Leyritz was handcuffed until the verdict was read, then went over to thank each of the six jurors and was later released on bond. The ex-baseball player could still face a maximum of six months in prison, but that’s far short of the 15 years he could have faced for hitting and killing 30-year-old Freida Veitch while driving drunk. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com on October 8, 2010
A young man who was 14 when he shot and killed his family on a New Mexico ranch owned by newsman Sam Donaldson has been freed, a spokeswoman for the state’s youth and families agency said Saturday.
Cody Posey had just finished the eighth grade when he was arrested on July 7, 2004, in connection with the slayings of his father, stepmother and stepsister. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com’s InSession Blog on September 3, 2010
I had a rare opportunity earlier this week to sit down with Rachel Wade. After lengthy negotiations, the jail personnel agreed to an in-person meeting and selected a cavernous room that looked like a small warehouse within the jail complex for us to meet. A “contact” visit is a break from the normal procedures. Daily visits by family and friends of the inmates are by video conference only. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com on December 31, 2009
Off the coast of Algiers one day in 1944, a young Navy officer plea-bargained with God as his torpedoed ship, the USS Lansdale, took on water.
If he survived, he vowed, he would dedicate his life to public service. (read more)
Originally published on CNN.com on August 21, 2009
A man who was obsessed with the Columbine High School massacre was found guilty of murder Friday and sentenced to life without parole for gunning down his father before opening fire at a North Carolina high school three years ago.
Alvaro Castillo, 21, has been medicated during the trial and showed little reaction as the first verdict was read — guilty of the first-degree murder of his father. (read more)