3 Things You Can Do to End Police Killings and Fix the Criminal Justice System

Huffington Post
December 10, 2014
Matthew Cooke and Adrian Grenier

We're doing a lot of talking. That's good. Now let's make them accountable.

Since the shooting of Mike Brown, more than 14 black teens have been killed by the police, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a boy in Cleveland, Ohio who was murdered less than two seconds after police arrived at a playground to answer a 911 call related to a black child carrying a pellet gun.

If you're a black teenager you're 21 times more likely to be shot by a police officer than if you're white. So we've been talking about racism.


Exonerated but not free: What do we owe the wrongfully convicted?

November 9, 2014 at 4:00 PM EST
Hari Sreenivasan

The toll of the justice system on the wrongfully convicted
The toll of varied laws for compensation for the wrongfully convicted is examined.

In the US, state laws governing compensation for wrongfully convicted people vary significantly. While some states offer sizable packages for the exonerated, at least 20 offer nothing. And even for those that do, it may not be enough to make up for the emotional damage on those who've been wrongfully convicted. Hari Sreenivasan reports.


Deskovic Wins Wrongful Conviction Verdict

Mark Hamblett, New York Law Journal, October 24, 2014
Jeffrey Deskovic Thursday won a $41.65 million verdict against Putnam County for his wrongful conviction for the rape and murder of a high school classmate that cost him 16 years behind bars.

Nick Brustin and Emma Freudenberger, partners with Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, said it took a federal jury about an hour and a half to reach a verdict, awarding Deskovic $25 million for time in prison, $15 million for pain and suffering and $1.65 million in lost wages. Deskovic's recovery, however, was limited to $10 million by a complicated side agreement between the parties.


Life, friendship and death after exoneration

The Washington Post By Radley Balko, October 9, 2014

The rash of exonerations we’ve seen over the last 20 years is a unique phenomenon in modern U.S. history. It’s the product of an especially punitive era of criminal justice policy that began in the early 1980s, combined with the DNA technology that came long about 15 years later. Parole has been around for a long time.
Over at The Intercept, Liliana Segura has written a piece about William Lopez and Jeff Deskovic, two wrongly convicted men who became best friends after their release from prison.


A Wrongful Conviction Robbed William Lopez of his Freedom, and Then His Life


On a snowy evening in late March, just over a year after walking out of prison, where he had spent 23 years for a crime he didn’t commit, William Lopez entered a CVS in the Bronx and did something inexplicable. After paying for a prescription at the pharmacy counter, he paused to grab some other things—two sticks of Old Spice deodorant and some allergy medicine. Then, without paying, and in full view of a security guard, he walked out. Police were called and Lopez was arrested.


William Lopez, In Memoriam

William Lopez Passes Away


New York Times N.Y. / REGION
William Lopez, Prisoner Exonerated After 23 Years, Dies at 55


Man exonerated after 23 years in prison dies at 55

Matthew Diebel, USATODAY 12:46 p.m. EDT September 22, 2014

A New York City man freed last year after serving 23 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit has died just before his $124 million federal lawsuit against the city was due to start.

William Lopez died suddenly from a massive asthma attack over the weekend, the New York Post reported.


You Could Be Imprisoned Today for Something You Didn't Do and Spend 20 Years There

Policy.Mic By Laura Dimon April 24, 2014
In January 1990, when Jeffrey Deskovic was 16 years old, he was arrested for the rape and murder of his classmate, 15-year-old Angela Correa in Peeskill, N.Y. He was not guilty of the crimes but became a suspect after he was late to school the following day and after he cried openly at her funeral.


Exonerated. Now What?

It had been a while since Jeffrey Deskovic hosted one of his weekday evening singalongs, so last month he made a few calls and brought some friends together at the Karaoke Cave, a noisy little bar on East 13th Street in Manhattan. At 6 p.m. the place was filled with young professionals sipping beers and shouting into microphones in an undemanding, if embarrassing, environment. But to Mr. Deskovic and the men who joined him, standing up in public and singing cheesy pop songs was more than an innocent release.


Exonerated Mercy Alum Helping Others Gain Freedom

Murder suspect William Lopez spent 23 years in prison fighting to prove his innocence. Letters and appeals fell on deaf ears. Then on a cold day in January, a judge finally believed him, and said, “You are free to go.” Suddenly, after years of adjusting to the rules and accepting the unfairness of life behind bars, he could go home.

Michele DeBella, Features Editor • The Impact, March 17, 2013


Brooklyn man jailed for 22 years released after overturned conviction

William Lopez's murder conviction was thrown out by a federal judge because of failings of his trial lawyer. The Brooklyn District Attorney's office is appealing the judge's decision and may re-try Lopez.

BY Oren Yaniv , John Marzulli
Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 8:54 PM


A matter of innocence debated

By Casey Seiler, Times Union
Updated 3:48 pm, Thursday, May 31, 2012

ALBANY — The Innocence Project and the state Bar Association came to the Capitol on Wednesday to push for the expansion of videotaped interrogations and reforms to lineup procedures, arguing that the changes will protect everyone involved — the accused, the victims and the public at large.


Trial and Error: Houston, We've Got a Problem

Lynne Glasner
Writer, Editor, New York City
The Huffington Post

Posted: 11/09/2009

In the latest example of a justice system gone awry, new evidence indicates that a Texas man who was convicted of arson and murder and executed in 2004 was likely innocent of the crime. In an odd juxtaposition of facts, Texas leads the nation in executions and exonerations.


Procedure versus innocence, letter from America

June 12, 2009
Fernanda Santos, International Herald Tribune

Jeffrey Deskovic heard a TV talk show host announce President Barack Obama's nominee for the Supreme Court last month, and his mind raced. That name; he remembered that name. He got out of bed and riffled through the boxes of motions, appeals and letters he had accumulated in the 16 years he spent in a New York prison for a rape and murder he did not commit.


Inmate Enters Guilty Plea in ’89 Killing

Published: March 15, 2007
The New York Times

Correction Appended

WHITE PLAINS, March 14 — A convicted killer serving a lengthy sentence pleaded guilty on Wednesday to another murder, for which one of the victim’s high school classmates was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years.


DNA Evidence Frees a Man Imprisoned for Half His Life

Published: September 21, 2006
The New York Times

Correction Appended

WHITE PLAINS, Sept. 20 — Jeffrey Mark Deskovic came of age in a maximum-security prison, doing time for a crime he did not commit.

Sixteen years ago, Mr. Deskovic was convicted of raping, beating and strangling a Peekskill High School classmate in a jealous fit of rage. DNA evidence presented at his trial showed that semen in the victim’s body was not his, but the police testified that he had confessed.


United States: DNA clears man of 1989 rape

Montreal Gazette (Canada)
September 21, 2006

A man convicted as a 16-year-old in the 1989 rape and murder of a high school classmate was freed yesterday after DNA evidence implicated another man. Jeffrey Deskovic's release came after attorney Janet DiFiore joined the legal aid group The Innocence Project in calling for his conviction to be overturned.