Justice for Kiera Newsome

Justice for Kiera Newsome

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Chris Hawthorne started this petition to The People of Los Angeles County

On April 16, 2001, in Los Angeles, California, Christian Henton was murdered by a single shot to the neck.  Because the murder took place in the territory of the Bloc Crips, the police assumed the shooting was carried out by a member of the 11 Deuce Hoovers.  Quickly, they focused on 17 year-old Kiera Newsome.  Her motive:  revenge for the murder of her boyfriend, Marquell Norman.

Except at the time of the murder, Kiera wasn't anywhere near the scene of the crime - she was at school, nearly 10 miles away.  Her presence at school was well-documented, with hourly attendance logs, in-class assignments, and strict rules that would have made it impossible for her to leave without being noticed.  Her teacher, Rebecca Woodruff, remembered Kiera attending school that day - the day after Easter.

None of that stopped police or prosecutors from putting Kiera on trial.  Witness intimidation, incentivized eyewitness testimony and racial bias all played a part in Kiera's wrongful conviction, leading to a 60 years to life sentence.

The criminal justice system forgot about Kiera, but her family and friends did not.  In 2012, the Juvenile Innocence & Fair Sentencing (JIFS) Clinic at Loyola Law School began investigating Kiera's case.  In 2013, the JIFS Clinic, together with the California Innocence Project, submitted a clemency petition to Governor Jerry Brown.  On Christmas 2018, Governor Brown ordered Kiera immediately eligible for parole.  On April 7, 2020, she walked out of prison.

Kiera is still guilty in the eyes of the law.  To be truly exonerated, a judge must declare her factually innocent.  Luckily, the new Los Angeles DA, George Gascon, has pledged to revitalize the District Attorney's Conviction Integrity Unit and overturn hundreds of wrongful convictions like Kiera's.  

For the whole story, and to hear from Kiera herself, listen to Jason Flom's Wrongful Conviction podcast, where Kiera's story premieres in February 2021. 

Write to the District Attorney and demand justice for Kiera Newsome, and let her clear her name once and for all.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 5,000!
At 5,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!