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.
11 February 2015
EXI client Lavell Jones was convicted of a 1997 Albany homicide he did not commit based solely on his false confession, obtained after more than 30 hours of interrogation, which he later recanted. No witnesses or physical evidence tied him to the crime. Now, another man has confessed to detectives, in detail, that he alone committed the murder for which Lavell and his codefendant were convicted. Hopefully this new development will finally ensure justice for the two men, who have maintained their innocence for the past 18 years.
Read More in the Albany Times Union
Watch Video of the News Coverage
25 November 2014
Richard is now serving the 18th year of a 25-to-life sentence for a 1996 Bronx murder which occurred when he was 1,000 miles away in Florida - an alibi confirmed by 13 witnesses. Among them: a sheriff's deputy, a pastor, and a federal corrections officer. EXI filed a motion to exonerate Richard on March 28, 2014, based on the alibi and other exculpatory evidence which was never brought out at Richard's 1998 trial. Litigation on the case is ongoing. In the meantime, Dateline NBC's Dan Slepian has been investigating the case... that Dateline episode won't air until Spring, but NBC News gave us a snapshot of what is to come when it featured Richard's case last week.
Watch the NBC News piece and read the full story