Entries tagged with “Philadelphia, PA

Policy Issues

Costs

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Innocence

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Nov 14, 2023

$9.1 mil­lion wrong­ful con­vic­tion set­tle­ment for Pennsylvania death row exoneree Walter Ogrod

Death-row exoneree Walter Ogrod’s fed­er­al law­suit against the City of Philadelphia and mem­bers of the Philadelphia Police Department was set­tled for $9.1 mil­lion on November 3, 2023. Mr. Ogrod, who was exon­er­at­ed in 2020 after 23 years on death row, was ini­tial­ly con­vict­ed in 1996 based on a coerced con­fes­sion and false tes­ti­mo­ny from jail­house infor­mants in a case fur­ther taint­ed by police and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct and inad­e­quate legal rep­re­sen­ta­tion at tri­al. In a state­ment con­firm­ing the set­tle­ment, offi­cials said The city remains com­mit­ted to trans­paren­cy in the pur­suit of…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Race

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Nov 18, 2005

122nd Inmate Freed From Death Row

Harold Wilson is the 6th Person Exonerated in Pennsylvania More than 16 years after a Pennsylvania jury returned three death sen­tences against Harold Wilson, new DNA evi­dence has led to his acquit­tal. During Wilson’s 1989 cap­i­tal tri­al, the pros­e­cu­tion used racial­ly dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices in select­ing the jury. In 1999, Wilson’s death sen­tence was over­turned when a court deter­mined that his defense coun­sel had failed to inves­ti­gate and present mit­i­gat­ing evi­dence dur­ing his orig­i­nal tri­al. A lat­er appeal led to the over­turn­ing of his con­vic­tion and a new tri­al because of…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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May 01, 2017

BOOKS: The Trials of Walter Ogrod” Chronicles Pennsylvania Possible Innocence Case

Walter Ogrod was con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death in Philadelphia in 1996 for the 1988 mur­der of a 4‑year-old girl, whose body was found in a dis­card­ed tele­vi­sion box. Ogrod, who is devel­op­men­tal­ly dis­abled, has long main­tained his inno­cence, but despite sig­nif­i­cant irreg­u­lar­i­ties in the case and amidst alle­ga­tions of offi­cial mis­con­duct, local pros­e­cu­tors have fought efforts to obtain DNA test­ing of the phys­i­cal evi­dence and to inves­ti­gate the role a dis­cred­it­ed prison infor­mant played in impli­cat­ing Ogrod.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Sentencing Data

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Executions Overview

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Jun 06, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of June 12020

NEWS (6/​5/​20) — North Carolina: The North Carolina Supreme Court has struck down the state leg­is­la­ture’s attempt­ed retroac­tive repeal of the state’s Racial Justice Act, restor­ing the rights of approx­i­mate­ly 130 death-row pris­on­ers to seek redress of death sen­tences that they had claimed were sub­stan­tial­ly affect­ed by racial bias.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Mar 01, 2024

Death-Sentenced Philadelphia Prisoner Daniel Gwynn Exonerated After Nearly 30 Years

On February 27, 2024, Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara A. McDermott approved a motion from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to dis­miss first-degree mur­der, arson, and aggra­vat­ed assault charges against 54-year-old death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Daniel Gwynn. Mr. Gwynn is the 197th per­son exon­er­at­ed after being sen­tenced to death since 1973, accord­ing to DPIC’s Innocence Database. Today is most­ly for us a day of tremen­dous relief and sad­ness, a guy like him, an inno­cent soul spent that amount of time wait­ing for his exe­cu­tion lan­guish­ing in jail,” said Mr. Gwynn’s defense attorney…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Aug 06, 2021

DPIC Analysis: 13 Exonerated in 2020 From Convictions Obtained by Wrongful Threat or Pursuit of the Death Penalty

A Death Penalty Information Center analy­sis of data from the National Registry of Exonerations has found that law enforce­ment use or threat of cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion against sus­pects or wit­ness­es con­tributed to the wrong­ful con­vic­tions of 10% of the peo­ple exon­er­at­ed in the United States and more than one-fifth of all mur­der exon­er­a­tions in 2020.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Aug 26, 2022

DPIC Analysis: At Least a Dozen Exonerations in 2021 Involved the Wrongful Threat or Pursuit of the Death Penalty

A Death Penalty Information Center review of data from the National Registry of Exonerations has found that the pur­suit or threat­ened use of the death penal­ty by police or pros­e­cu­tors in nine dif­fer­ent states led to the wrong­ful mur­der con­vic­tions of at least twelve inno­cent peo­ple who were exon­er­at­ed in 2021.

Policy Issues

Costs

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Race

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Sentencing Data

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Nov 16, 2018

DPIC Analysis: The Decline of the Death Penalty in Philadelphia

During his elec­tion cam­paign, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner described the eco­nom­ic waste­ful­ness of city pros­e­cu­tors’ pur­suit of the death penal­ty as light­ing mon­ey on fire.” A DPIC analy­sis of the out­comes of the more than 200 death sen­tences imposed in the city since 1978 (click here to enlarge image) and the last sev­en years of cap­i­tal pros­e­cu­tion out­comes pro­vides strong sup­port for Krasner’s claim.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Representation

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Dec 29, 2016

First-Degree Murder Charges Dropped Against Two Former Pennsylvania Death Row Prisoners With Innocence Claims

On December 22, 2016, Pennsylvania pros­e­cu­tors dropped first-degree mur­der charges against two for­mer Pennsylvania death row pris­on­ers who have assert­ed their inno­cence for decades. In court­rooms 100 miles apart, Tyrone Moore and James Dennis entered no-con­test pleas to charges of third-degree mur­der, avoid­ing retri­als on the charges that had ini­tial­ly sent the men to death row and paving the way for their release.

Policy Issues

Costs

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Innocence

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Jul 15, 2021

Hidden Costs: Liability Judgments for Wrongful Capital Prosecutions Cost Taxpayers in Death-Penalty States Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Studies have con­sis­tent­ly found that a sys­tem of crim­i­nal law in which the death penal­ty is avail­able as a pun­ish­ment is far more expen­sive than a sys­tem in which the most severe pun­ish­ment is life with­out parole or a long prison term. Now, as the num­ber of mur­der exon­er­a­tions mounts across the United States, a pre­vi­ous­ly hid­den cost is emerg­ing: the cost of lia­bil­i­ty for police and pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct asso­ci­at­ed with the wrong­ful use or threat­ened use of the death penalty.

Facts & Research

Public Opinion

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May 20, 2021

In Election Seen as Referendum on Reform Prosecutors, Larry Krasner Renominated for Second Term as Philadelphia District Attorney

In a pri­ma­ry elec­tion wide­ly con­sid­ered a ref­er­en­dum on reform pros­e­cu­tors, incum­bent Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner eas­i­ly secured a vic­to­ry against for­mer Philadelphia homi­cide pros­e­cu­tor Carlos Vega. Krasner won the May 18, 2021 elec­tion on a plat­form of con­tin­u­ing the reform he began four years ago when he was first elect­ed: eschew­ing use of the death penal­ty, ini­ti­at­ing sys­temic crim­i­nal jus­tice reforms, and end­ing mass incar­cer­a­tion. Krasner’s Democratic pri­ma­ry win all but ensures that he will be re-elect­ed in the November gen­er­al elec­tion in the heav­i­ly Democratic city.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Jul 06, 2020

Kareem Johnson Becomes Nation’s 170th Death-Row Exoneree Since 1973

Former Pennsylvania death-row pris­on­er Kareem Johnson has been exon­er­at­ed, thir­teen years after being wrong­ful­ly con­vict­ed and sen­tenced to death by a Philadelphia jury. On July 1, 2020, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas com­plet­ed his exon­er­a­tion, for­mal­ly enter­ing an order dis­miss­ing all charges against him in his cap­i­tal case. On May 19, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had barred his repros­e­cu­tion because of pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al mis­con­duct that exhib­it­ed a con­scious and reck­less dis­re­gard for his right to a fair trial .

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Aug 16, 2021

NBC’s Dateline’ Investigates the Wrongful Capital Conviction of Death-Row Exoneree Walter Ogrod

NBC’s true crime series, Dateline, fea­tured an episode on August 13, 2021 on the wrong­ful con­vic­tion and even­tu­al exon­er­a­tion of for­mer Philadelphia death-row pris­on­er Walter Ogrod (pic­tured). The episode, enti­tled The Investigation,” is part of an NBC News series called Justice for All” that reports on wrong­ful con­vic­tions and the U.S. crim­i­nal legal system.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Representation

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Jul 07, 2021

NEW BOOK — Marc Bookman’s A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Death Penalty in 12 Essays

The more peo­ple know about how the sys­tem of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment real­ly works, the less sup­port they will have for that pol­i­cy,” says Marc Bookman, the author of A Descending Spiral: Exposing the Death Penalty in 12 Essays. Bookman’s crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed col­lec­tion of essays — described by Publishers Weekly as a cogent and har­row­ing primer on what’s wrong with cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment” — chan­nels his decades of cap­i­tal lit­i­ga­tion expe­ri­ence into 12 sto­ries that exem­pli­fy the sys­temic fail­ings of the death penal­ty, from racial bias and an inca­pac­i­ty to come to…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Jan 09, 2023

Philadelphia Death-Row Survivor Christopher Williams Shot to Death at Funeral Less Than Two Years After Double Exoneration

Less than two years after being exon­er­at­ed in two dif­fer­ent cas­es, Philadelphia death-row exoneree Christopher Williams (pic­tured) has been mur­dered. Williams, who spent near­ly three decades in prison, includ­ing 25 years on death row, for sep­a­rate wrong­ful mur­der con­vic­tions, was fatal­ly shot after attend­ing the funer­al of Tyree Little, anoth­er for­mer­ly incar­cer­at­ed man, in North Philadelphia on December 162022.

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Race

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Representation

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New Voices

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Jul 18, 2019

Philadelphia District Attorney Asks Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Strike Down State’s Death Penalty

Citing race dis­par­i­ties, inef­fec­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion by court-appoint­ed lawyers, and arbi­trary case out­comes, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to strike down the state’s death penal­ty. In a brief filed on July 15, 2019 in the con­sol­i­dat­ed appeals of Philadelphia death-row pris­on­er Jermont Cox and Northumberland Countys Kevin Marinelli, the District Attorney’s office argued that Pennsylvania’s death penal­ty has repeat­ed­ly been hand­ed out in an unre­li­able and arbi­trary man­ner” and urged the court to rule that the death penal­ty, as it has been applied, vio­lates the…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Jun 09, 2020

Walter Ogrod Exonerated After 23 Years on Pennsylvania’s Death Row

Twenty-eight years after Philadelphia pros­e­cu­tors first sought to take his life for the mur­der of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn, Walter Ogrod (pic­tured, sec­ond from right, with mem­bers of his defense team) has been exon­er­at­ed from Pennsylvanias death row.