Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Louisiana man recently released from life sentence based on wrongful conviction

The criminal justice system is not perfect. Sometimes mistakes are made. Sometimes people are convicted and put in prison for crimes they didn't commit. That is part of why it is so important for the accused to have the best defense possible, particularly for crimes with serious consequences.

A 51-year-old man was released from a life sentenced last month after he spent more than a decade in prison on a drug conviction. The man had been convicted under Louisiana's habitual offender law, but it was reportedly a simple undetected typo in police paperwork that resulted in the conviction.

The federal judge that overturned the convicted noted in her September decision to overturn the conviction that no reasonable judge or jury would have found the man guilty of the crime since a written police statement named another man as the one officer found attempting to put cocaine in his mouth back in 1998.

The man referred to in the paperwork had been arrested by the same two officers several hours prior to the innocent man's arrest, and the officers mistakenly typed the first man's name into a report about the second.

What is surprising is that inaccurate reporting was later approved by the officers' supervisor and accepted by the New Orleans Police Department as the basis of the innocent man's prosecution, and nobody noticed the mistake. That mistake put an innocent man in prison for 10 years.

The two officers who made the arrest are apparently still on active duty, but there has apparently been confusion and finger-pointing as to whether the officers perjured themselves at trial. The District Attorney office has said it has no plans to prosecute the officers, but the latter were apparently exposed as liars for a time.

Once again, police and prosecutors make mistakes and do not always act appropriately in the criminal justice system. That is why the accused need defense.

Source: Nola.com, "Finger-pointing over botched prosecution leaves bruises," John Simerman, December 28, 2011.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

Need Help From An Experienced Team Of Trial Attorneys?

Use the form below to contact our attorneys directly. Contact us right now.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Our lawyers have over 50 years of combined experience and are AV-rated* under Martindale Hubbell's peer review rating system.

*CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Ratings fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

8048 One Calais Avenue | Suite A | Baton Rouge, LA 70809-3483 | Phone: 225-250-1812 | Fax: 225-769-0195 | Baton Rouge Criminal Law Office