Midweek News Roundup

A Former Detective Speaks Out About False Confessions

For the vast majority of us who have never experienced a police interrogation, it’s difficult to imagine confessing to a crime you didn’t commit.

However, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, 12% of the 1,900 wrongful convictions in their database were caused, at least in part, by a false confession. Jim Trainum, a former Washington D.C. homicide detective, authored “How the Police Generate False Confessions” after recognizing that he unintentionally elicited a false confession from a suspect. Among other things, Trainum's new book discusses how false confessions start in the interrogation room and continue, unchecked and unchanged, to the courtroom. 

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Adnan Syed, Subject of 'Serial,' Asks to be Released on Bail

Adnan Syed, who has been incarcerated for seventeen years for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, has asked a judge to release him on bail. Syed’s case was explored extensively in the first season of the wildly popular podcast, Serial (which became the most downloaded podcast of all time). Syed is currently waiting to go to trial — again. This summer, a judge agreed that Syed's defense attorney had mishandled his case during his initial murder trial in 2000, and granted a new trial.

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In a New Twist in the Rosenberg Spy Drama, Sons Seek Mother's Exoneration

In 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on charges of being Soviet spies. Now, their sons are asking President Obama to fully exonerate their mother after decades of work towards proving her innocence, citing recently disclosed 'proof' that she was framed. Attention surrounding Ethel’s case heightened when a segment aired on 60 Minutes all but proving that she was not, in fact, a spy. So far, 13,000 people have signed a petition calling for her exoneration.

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$6 Million Settlement for Wrongfully Convicted North Carolina Man

The Greensboro, North Carolina City Council voted to settle Lamonte Armstrong’s civil lawsuit against the city for $6.42 million. Thanks to evidence contrived by Greensboro Police, Lamonte was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 17 years in prison. The City Council worked to protect taxpayers, to the extent possible, from financial liability, and to offer fair compensation for wrongs done to Lamonte in the city’s name.

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Federal Judge Exonerates Two (More) of the Norfolk Four

On Monday, a federal judge vacated the convictions of Danial Williams and Joseph Dick, two of the four Navy sailors known as the Norfolk Four, who were wrongfully convicted of a 1997 rape and murder. The two other members of the Norfolk Four are Derek Tice and Eric Wilson. Tice had his conviction overturned in 2009, but Wilson, who was convicted only of the rape, has been unable to persuade courts to do the same, since he has already completed his sentence.

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Victor Rosario Keeps Fighting

Our client Victor Rosario was featured in the Boston Globe last week, speaking about his continued fight for full exoneration. Victor spent 32 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of intentionally setting a 1982 house fire in Lowell, Massachusetts. Two years after a judge freed Victor, now 59, he's leading a new life as a pastor and a dedicated long-distance runner. Victor’s fight for freedom is not over yet-- on November 8th, just two days after he runs the New York Marathon, he'll be back in court.

Read the Globe story here