Pardon and compensate an innocent man who served 40 years for a crime he did not commit

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This petition seeks to have the Governor of Maryland pardon Jesse Barnes, who spent forty years in prison for a crime he did not commit.  The petition also seeks fair compensation for Jesse's wrongful conviction.

In 1971, the police in Baltimore, Maryland arrested Jesse, who was seventeen at the time, in connection with the murder of his girlfriend.  The police had no evidence linking Jesse to the murder, and they ignored his alibi even though multiple witnesses told the police they were with Jesse around the time of the murder. 

Jesse was subsequently convicted based only on a statement that the police wrote and that Jesse, a high school drop-out, signed after a lengthy interrogation.  The prosecution did not present any evidence corroborating the statement.  The jury was never told about Jesse's alibi or the many other facts demonstrating that his statement was untrue. 

After spending the next several decades in prison, Jesse eventually found new lawyers to take up his case.  His lawyers presented DNA and other newly uncovered evidence that discredited the story told in Jesse’s statement and that established his innocence.  After this evidence surfaced, the State of Maryland agreed to release Jesse from prison, and, in December 2011, he walked out of a Baltimore courthouse as a free man for the first time since 1971.  (The photo is from the day Jesse was released.  He is on the left, hugging his brother.)

Jesse is now 62 years old and lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, a childhood friend whom he married in 2012.  He has led a stable and quiet life since his release.  But while Jesse is no longer in prison, he remains -- in the eyes of the law -- guilty of a horrific crime he did not commit.  Jesse deserves to be fully exonerated, and he deserves compensation for the injustice he suffered. 

Please sign this petition, and ask the Governor of Maryland to pardon Jesse and provide him with fair compensation for his wrongful conviction.