The Exoneration Initiative screens hundreds of cases and handles them at all phases of the exoneration process. Two cases in active litigation are featured here. They are representative of the types of cases we select for partnering with New York-area law firms who have shown excellence in and dedication to pro bono criminal defense.
The Case of Derrick Deacon
Derrick Deacon was convicted for a 1989 murder in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and has served nearly 20 years in prison.
Newly discovered evidence established that the victim's actual killer was a member of a notorious gang that controlled the Brooklyn neighborhood where the murder occurred. This evidence surfaced during a federal investigation and prosecution of other gang members, when a witness, who cooperated with federal authorities, revealed that he was present when the robbery that led to the murder was planned and that a gang member had confessed the murder to him mere minutes after it occurred. The true killer, unlike Mr. Deacon, also matched the description provided to the police by an eyewitness to the murder.
Based upon this newly discovered evidence, post-conviction motions seeking a dismissal of the indictment or a new trial were briefed by Glenn A. Garber, P.C. and co-counsel, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP on Mr. Deacon's behalf. An evidentiary hearing was granted by the Court.
The Case of Selwyn Days
After a half a day of police interrogation, Mr. Days falsely confessed to an unsolved double homicide that occurred in Eastchester, New York in 1996. The principle evidence against him was his confession, key elements of which were suggested to him by police investigators.
While Mr. Days languished in jail, alibi evidence was discovered that he was in North Carolina when the murders occurred. Mr. Days’s attorney, John Brian Macreery of Deren, Genett & Macreery, sought the assistance of EXI to fight his case in court.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and EXI – working pro bono – recently supplemented an ineffective assistance of counsel claim with a constitutional claim of actual innocence and a newly discovered evidence claim. A hearing was granted and will soon be held in furtherance of Mr. Days’s request for dismissal or a new trial.
20 November 2014
After nearly 30 years in prison for a Brooklyn murder he did not commit, EXI client Freddie Cox has been released on parole. EXI advocated for him before the parole board, asking them not to hold his claim of innocence against him. Now, Freddie is free and can join EXI on the outside as we fight for his exoneration.
Check out the NYTimes article and compelling video of Freddie's interview
06 November 2014
EXI's Inaugural Benefit dinner, held on November 4, 2014, was a huge success. Host Daymond John spoke about his personal connection to EXI's mission of exonerating the actually innocent. A number of EXI clients were able to attend with their families, and the event was a wonderful opportunity for the community to share in a celebration of their freedom. View photos of the benefit on Facebook
Special thanks to our Host Committee: Bob Balaban, Mia Farrow, Cynthia Nixon, Sister Helen Prejean, Susan Sarandon and Sam Waterston.