Free Innocent Philly Teen Serving Life Sentence

Free Innocent Philly Teen Serving Life Sentence

1,514 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
Petition to
Larry Krasner and

Why this petition matters

Started by Vidal G

How could an innocent nineteen-year-old be wrongly convicted of a homicide based on hearsay and manipulated testimony? Of the many cases of fraudulent convictions in the Philadelphia judicial system this one truly stands out. First, because of the multitude of blunders in both the investigation and court proceedings, and second because sadly, it has yet to receive any public attention whatsoever.

For the past twelve years Joanilee 'Chino' Montanez has been struggling to regain his freedom, a struggle that continues to fall upon deaf ears. In 2009 Mr. Montanez was arrested and charged with the murder of Brian Jubilee. The night of 10/31/09 Mr. Jubilee was involved in an altercation with a group of individuals which ultimately resulted in his death. Many of the people known to have been involved were never brought in for questioning.  The question is, why is Mr. Montanez sitting in prison for the crime while those involved were never questioned?  Had homicide detectives bothered to question the others, their statements would have shown that Mr. Montanez was not the perpetrator.

Evidence presented by the Medical Examiner (M.E.), Dr. Marlon Osbourne gave two contradictory findings about the autopsy of the deceased. In other instances, for example, the case of Ervin Spuriel, the same M.E. exhibited questionable conduct, claiming responsibility for an autopsy he did not perform.  In the Montanez case, the M.E. submitted what he claimed to be evidence of a bullet. That “bullet” was later determined by experts to be nothing more than metal found in a garbage disposal. 

No murder weapon, no video footage, no eyewitness reports or any other solid evidence links Mr. Montanez to this crime. Those testifying against him changed their stories on different occasions and offered only statements based on hearsay. There actually exists eyewitness testimony, not presented at trial, that Mr. Montanez, rather than being the perpetrator, was actually the person who broke up a fight Mr. Jubilee had with another individual the night of the homicide. In terms of court mismanagement, one of the jurors who voted to convict Mr. Montanez was allowed to continue to sit on the jury after it was found that he lied to the judge.  That same juror withheld information regarding his ability to be objective if asked to consider statements given by police versus defendants. Mr. Montanez’s public defender even told him that he could submit a claim of ineffective counsel.

In both state and federal appeals Mr. Montanez has fought to prove his innocence, but to no avail. Receiving a life sentence at age 19, without the possibility for parole, would be hard enough to endure for any person who was actually guilty of homicide.  However, when an innocent person must withstand such a harsh life sentence, that is the real crime.  Regrettably, in this instance, it is the criminal justice system that is the real guilty party.  Please make your voice heard in demanding justice for Joanilee Montanez by supporting his cause. 

1,514 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!