The Los Angeles Police Department is being sued for purportedly fabricating evidence that led to an individual improperly being convicted of murder. This individual ended up spending 34 years in prison.
This man was arrested when he was 18-years-old for his alleged role in an armed robbery that resulted in the death of a 79-year-old man. The arrested man lived close to where the robbery took place and was living with his mother and older brother at the time.
Police claimed pants taken from his apartment contained a spot of blood which was claimed to be Type O. Though this may have played a role in his conviction, approximately 45 percent of all Americans have Type O blood. There apparently was also no forensic evidence that would have linked the young man to the crime.
There appeared to also be problems in the manner in which this individual was identified as the alleged culprit. This would have included coercion and direct suggestion to obtain identification. And neither of the two individuals that identified him appeared to be credible witnesses. Evidence that the identifications were false was also covered up. In fact, it was the sister of one of the claimed witnesses who revealed the extent of this cover up.
Even in criminal defense matters where misconduct has not taken place mistakes can be made. Accusations of violent crime can result in decades of imprisonment. Unfortunately it’s impossible to take back the time that is served. Those accused of crimes are entitled to representation by a capable criminal defense attorney and to have their side of the story told.
The wrongfully accused man was not released until November 2013. Presumably the individual who actually performed the crime was never arrested for what occurred.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “34 Years for Wrongful Conviction, Man Says,” Matt Reynolds, June 18, 2014