Topic

Wrongful Convictions

138 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Ralph Northam

Together in solidarity asking to grant Clemency for Michael Gardner wrongfully convicted

My brother is currently incarcerated, serving a 53-year sentence for robbery. He has been imprisoned for the past 21 years, forcing him to spend the remainder of his adolescent years and much of his adulthood in captivity. In January of 1998, Michael was brought into the Norfolk County Police Department by two detectives. While at the station, Michael was subject to beatings, repeatedly tortured, and coerced into admitting his    involvement in a string of robberies that he was not involved in. Michael cooperated with the detectives. He read and recited statements that had been presented to him by the detectives. Michael was told that he should make the statements sound as natural as possible in order to be given leniency.Because of this, Michael is requesting commutation. While being incarcerated, Michael has made many positive adjustments. He is the co-founder of Believe in Change, which is a foundation, and the co-author of a curriculum entitled Giving Girls a Voice. Also, Michael has been enrolled into several courses that would provide him with numerous certification, thus giving him many avenues of gaining employment upon his release. Currently, Michael is employed as a barber, which he enjoys. Once he is released, he plans to open his own business, where he will work as a barber, mentor troubled youth, and become more involved in his foundation.I pray that you can find it in your heart to forgive my brother and give him a second chance at life. Michael is capable of making positive contributions to society. Please sign this petition to help give Michael his second chance. 

Lashae Talley
681 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Ralph Northam, Mark Herring, Mark D. Obenshain, Tony Wilt, B.J. Rosen, Vered Rabia, Marvin Anderson, Dr. Eric Lander, Harold W. Clarke, Saman Aghaebrahim, Clark Mercer, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Kelly Thomasson

Help Bring Dustin Home

Anthony Dustin McMillan has been sitting in prison for the last 16 years with another decade looming over his head. He has a son who was born the same year he was sentenced, and has never gotten to raise him as he so desperately wants. All the other defendants are out of prison right now. In 2000 Dustin took in a friend who was homeless. Unfortunately, his new friend had a drug addiction and as it turned out later, this former friend was convicted of robbery and several incidents of vandalism, for which a detective claimed Dustin was also present. A short time after this person was arrested, the detective arrested Dustin and assumed guilt by association, despite two alibis stating he was home with them. Dustin was convicted of the robbery that took place in Penn Laird, Virginia on the primary evidence that a detective claimed Dustin gave a full confession that Dustin participated in the crimes. However, the detective did not record the alleged confession; he did not have Dustin fill out a Miranda written statement document; nor did he have Dustin sign the detective's own hand written notes that the detective took during the alleged confession. Furthermore, the detective destroyed the hand written notes that had been taken during the alleged confession the day after the notes were written (even though the detective claims he normally saves his notes until after a case is closed). Dustin claimed he asked for a lawyer during initial questioning; the detective said Dustin did not. The eye-witness clerk at the convenience store could not identify Dustin as being there. The finger print evidence came back inconclusive, but only after that part of the trial was over. The pants the prosecution was going to use to tie Dustin to the crime had to be thrown out as evidence because no one was wearing pants like those during the robbery, the eye witness and video footage proved.  Due to judiciary time limits Dustin is virtually barred from relief through court proceedings. In Dustin's case he was forced to prove he did not confess to a crime he did not commit. Is this justice? Recently the Innocence Project had to close a year-long investigation into Dustin's case because there was no newly discovered evidence that could get him back into court. They reached out to the co-defendant who said he would make it up to Dustin and state the truth: that Dustin was not in fact there, but he became unreachable. It was pointed out to Dustin by the Innocence Project Rep that all the errors in his case are in violation of laws and rights, but it was on his lawyer at the beginning of his case in 2001 to cite and properly handle, a lawyer who has had disciplinary review and charged with several drug charges over the years. Dustin was even told that from the prosecution’s point of view a violation of Dustin's rights is "a means to justify the ends". In the time Dustin has spent in prison he has completed his G.E.D., he has completed the Custodial Maintenance and Carpentry vocational trade programs. He has not committed any acts of violence while incarcerated, remaining on good behavior with no ties to gangs.  Dustin has remained employed almost every day since 2004, doing jobs ranging from houseman (equivalent to a janitor), library aide, Rosette Stone aide, Library clerk, and prison newsletter reporter/composer. Dustin has family and friends awaiting his return to the free world, many of whom will ensure an easy and productive transition back into society. He has a knack for creativity, building original design model robots out of cardboard and stuff that many would consider garbage. He has even made board games while incarcerated & has a list of ideas and products he intends to create in an effort to one day build a business that his family and friends can participate in, to build something that future generations of his family can build upon. One of the most important things that Dustin seeks to be involved in is the life of his son. Dustin has stated many times the trouble his heart feels at not having the opportunity to be a proper father.  He hopes to make up for this with his son when he is free. It is with this petition that we hope to find Dustin an early release from prison. He currently has a petition in for clemency to seek a reduction of his sentence to have two years left to serve. Again, it should be noted that the three other individuals involved in the case all received 16 years or less, and one individual had 5 separate cases and at least 6 more charges than Dustin.Those individuals are all free now, yet Dustin received 31 years and has many more to serve. You do not have to sign this petition because you have an opinion on Dustin's guilt or innocence, you can sign simply because you feel Dustin should be released from prison, that he has served enough time and deserves a second chance in free society. Please help bring Dustin home.  Any Questions you'd like to ask him directly: Anthony D. Mcmillan #1042366 LVCC 82-204 1607 Planters Rd. Lawrenceville, VA 23868-3350 Or on jpay.com, Inmate: Anthony McMillian (they spelled his name wrong- with an 'i'). If using jpay, out of courtesy please consider sending a prepaid stamp back. Also, facebook is not regularly used, but you can see his pictures and drawings: https://www.facebook.com/anthonydmcmillan

Alison Bruns
941 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Bill Haslam

Clemency for Cyntoia Brown

Cyntoia Brown was only 16 years old when she received a prison sentence of 51 years for first-degree murder. She murdered a man named Johnny Allen, who had been sexually abusing her. She was a victim of sex trafficking and was later sold to the man she had killed. She feared for her life and believed that he would kill her first, so she killed him before he could kill her. Recently, The Tennessee Supreme Court decided that Cyntoia would have to serve at least 51 years in prison before she's eligible for release. Very sad, considering she’s already lost most of her life & that’s basically still life in prison. I pray that this petition helps grant Cyntoia clemency. It’s so many young girls & women of all races & ages, are going through things like this on a daily basis & not by choice. Sex trafficking is happening everyday & destroying our people. Throwing people in a prison for the rest of their life, after suffering so much pain already, is not going to solve this problem. Please sign this petition, asking governor Bill Haslam, to grant her clemency. He has the power to make a powerful change in someone’s life. This is a very sad story, especially due to the fact that she was only a child when it happened. Going through the things she went through at such a young age is very traumatizing. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, no one can ever understand what that does to a child’s mindset. If she didn't build up the courage and take a risk to save herself, she would still be going through the same thing or sadly, dead. Our laws really need to change to stop letting people like Johnny get away with things like this. Cyntoia needed help after what she went through, not her life taken away from her once again. Sign this petition calling for her re-trial! #JusticeForCyntoiaBrown

Kenosha B
348,680 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, Oklahoma Former Governor Brad Henry, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, KFOR-TV Channel 4, KOCO-TV Channel 5, Kevin Stitt, Matt Pinnell, KOKH-TV , The Hon. David Holt

Free Daniel Holtzclaw, an innocent man wrongfully convicted!

On Jan. 21, 2016, our son, brother, and friend Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer, was sentenced to 263 years in prison after a jury wrongfully convicted him of sexually assaulting seven women and one teenager, despite the fact that no physical evidence of crime was found, patrol car Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data failed to match crucial accusations, numerous discrepancies occurred in the accusers' testimony, and detectives gathered almost all of the accusers (ten out of thirteen) by selectively seeking out and questioning only African American women with histories of prostitution or drug use with whom Daniel had interacted during his routine police duties. Daniel Holtzclaw is innocent and was wrongfully convicted of crimes he never committed. Daniel put his life on the line daily as a police officer for the justice he served and also deserved in his trial but was denied. Please sign our petition to urge Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, Governor-Elect Kevin Stitt, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Matt Pinnell, the Hon. David Holt (Mayor of Oklahoma City), former Governor Brad Henry, and Oklahoma news media to investigate the police misconduct and mishandling of Daniel's case that led to his convictions for multiple sexual assaults he did not commit, and to respectfully request that Governor Fallin grant clemency by exonerating Daniel because he is innocent.  You can learn more about who Daniel Holtzclaw is by visiting www.FreeDanielHoltzclaw.com. The evidence supports Daniel's innocence. The only forensic finding linking Daniel to any accuser in the entire trial was DNA from a 17-year-old teenager who said the officer searched her purse, pat searched her, then raped her, yet the prosecution's own DNA analyst acknowledged the evidence was consistent with non-intimate, indirect transfer of skin cell DNA, such as from the purse to the officer's hands, then to his uniform pants while using the restroom. The State's forensic analyst failed to disclose during the trial that all four DNA samples from the fly of the uniform pants also included DNA from at least one male, which supports the non-intimate transfer explanation. The DNA did NOT derive from semen.  No DNA matching any other accuser besides the 17-year-old girl was found on the fly of Daniel's uniform pants, which police detectives took on June 18, 2014, along with his belt as their only evidence from Daniel. This was just hours after Daniel's night shift during which detectives eventually claimed he sexually assaulted not just the teenager through the unzipped fly of the buckled uniform pants, but also two other individuals including Jannie Ligons, whose unsubstantiated accusations sparked the investigation targeting Daniel. No vaginal fluid was seen on the fly of Daniel's uniform pants by the State's forensic analyst, who used a very bright light and a magnifying glass. Only the fly area of Daniel's uniform pants was tested for DNA, and the uniform pants were NOT tested for saliva, semen, or vaginal fluid to determine the source of the DNA, even though “in legal proceedings, a proper and reliable determination of the source of isolated DNA is essential and an error in identification may result in grave legal consequences” (Jakubowska et al. (2011) Problems of Forensic Sciences, 87: 204-215).  Despite these facts, Prosecutor Gayland Gieger claimed falsely during his closing argument that it was a "fact" that DNA from the walls of the teenager's vagina "was transferred in vaginal fluids" (Transcript p. 4307). Prosecutor Gieger also claimed falsely after the trial that "the skin cells were transferred through the body fluids of a 17-year-old girl after he raped her. That's what the evidence was, that's what the jury heard, and certainly that's what they convicted him of. They [the defense] tried to explain DNA from a 17-year-old girl that ends up inside his pants at the areas where his privates are. Quite frankly, their explanation was not believable because you can't explain that" (Erielle Reshef, KOKO 5 News, "Prosecutors who helped convict Daniel Holtzclaw speak,” Feb. 5, 2016). In reality, article after article has shown that skin cell DNA can transfer indirectly ("secondary" or "tertiary" transfer) from a person, via intermediaries, to an object without any direct contact. If DNA on the fly of your pants were evidence of a crime, then every one of us could be convicted. As early as 2010, forensic researchers reported their discovery that DNA can transfer from a woman through non-intimate social contact to a man's hands, and then to his underpants and even genitals during urination, such that her DNA will be found on a penile swab (Hulme, J. (2010) Science and Justice, 50: 100-109). This research was recently corroborated by Jones et al. (2016) DNA transfer through nonintimate social contact, Science and Justice, 56: 90-95. Prosecutor Gieger not only misrepresented the DNA evidence from the 17-year-old girl, but also did not fully inform the jury about exculpatory evidence that challenged her credibility. Just months after the teenager accused Daniel of sexually assaulting her, this same young woman, A.G., was arrested for using a machete to attack a man on June 10, 2015, after she claimed to police that the man had used the weapon to assault her but “police were not convinced she was telling the truth since she did not appear to have any injuries” (Dallas Franklin, KFOR.com, “Man allegedly attacked at home, 2 arrested,” June 11, 2015). A.G., who similarly accused Daniel of a heinous crime, was booked for assault with a deadly weapon, and on April 18, 2016, she pleaded guilty to two other violent crimes, including domestic assault and battery (Muskogee OK - Case CM-2015-00199 and Case CF-2016-00031). None of the accusations against Daniel Holtzclaw were supported by any solid evidence of crime. No evidence, for example, supported the first accusation targeting Daniel, which occurred on June 18, 2014, when Daniel performed an off-duty traffic stop of the swerving car with tinted windows that prevented him from seeing the occupant at 2 a.m. that morning. The driver, Jannie Ligons, had lacked a valid license for more than 30 years and later admitted to police that, before driving, she had taken sleep-inducing PM medication and smoked marijuana, which can cause paranoia and hallucinations. She said she placed her hands on the hood of the patrol car while Daniel pat searched her, then she sat in the backseat of the patrol car. Here, she said, Daniel procured lewd exhibition and orally sodomized her through the fly of his pants, with his hands on the car's roof. She also said that Daniel touched her phone. The SANE exam of Jannie Ligons came back negative. No DNA, sperm, or seminal fluid from Daniel was found in or around Ms. Ligons' mouth. No DNA match to Ms. Ligons was found on the fly of his uniform pants. No fingerprints or DNA from Ms. Ligons or Daniel were found on the patrol car's hood or roof to corroborate her claims. No DNA from Daniel was found on her phone, but the DNA from Ms. Ligons and some unknown individual was, showing that DNA does indeed transfer from people to things they touch. No pubic hair or DNA from Daniel was found inside the patrol car, and the surveillance video of the traffic stop, which was too far away to display fine details, showed no wrongdoing. Although the police detectives were investigating a sexual assault, the only evidence they took from Daniel was his uniform pants and belt. Detectives did not even take Daniel's underwear, and they never issued a search warrant for his home, personal car, or phone to obtain evidence which could have been used to help support Daniel's innocence. What the male detective did do is put his bare hand in the evidence bag, which can lead to DNA contamination. Daniel answered all the detectives' questions and asked them to analyze his DNA as quickly as possible so that he could clear his name. Daniel also agreed to take a polygraph test, an offer that the jury was never allowed to hear. Daniel Holtzclaw has maintained his innocence since the very beginning, June 18, 2014, when police detectives first questioned Daniel and claimed, untruthfully, that they had found pubic hairs in his patrol car and had incriminating surveillance video of the traffic stop Daniel performed that morning at the end of his shift. Despite the lack of evidence, and even though Ms. Ligons had no history of criminal convictions or warrants for her arrest and the traffic stop of her car with dark-tinted windows at night could not have resulted from any knowledge that the occupant was African American, police detectives concocted a theory that Daniel targeted African American women with histories of prostitution and drugs such that they would be too afraid to report alleged sexual crimes for fear of not being believed. Police detectives then searched for more accusers by selectively contacting over 40 African American females with histories of prostitution or drug arrests with whom Daniel had interacted during his routine police duties, which often involved intervening in cases of drug use and prostitution in the lower income neighborhood he patrolled.  Any black woman who had been stopped by Daniel because of her drug use or prostitution would have a chance to make allegations against the young police officer who had tried to halt her criminal activities.  ALMOST 98% OF THE INDIVIDUALS QUESTIONED BY DETECTIVES WERE AFRICAN AMERICAN FEMALES, showing that detectives, not Daniel, were the ones who targeted black females with criminal histories of prostitution or drug use. Detectives solicited testimony by telling these women that police had received a “tip” that the women “may have been sexually assaulted by a police officer,” which was blatant leading of potential witnesses. In one case, the police detective actually called the officer a "very bad guy" with "lots of victims" before a woman identified him after she first denied seven times that any officer had treated her inappropriately, and she stated, "There's only one officer that I know a few years back: he was a black cop, he used to come around here, and he exposed his self to me." The police department and news media at this time were also broadcasting information about Daniel as a suspect, including showing his face, such that the people in the neighborhood he had patrolled knew he was under suspicion.  In this wrongful manner that encouraged false allegations, the police thus found 10 individuals, including the 17-year-old A.G., who made accusations that were used to charge Daniel with sexual assault.  This gave a total of 13 accusers including the three black women who reported a crime on their own:  the initial female driver (Jannie Ligons, whose allegations were never substantiated), another woman who came forward to claim the officer had sexually assaulted her in the hospital room after she overdosed on PCP (Daniel was found not guilty of her accusations), and a third woman who reported that she had been sexually assaulted but could not positively identify the officer (Daniel was also found not guilty of her accusations).  Seven other individuals, including one man, claimed the officer had sexually assaulted them, but their allegations were deemed too absurd or simply impossible (such as not matching Daniel's work schedule) to result in charges, and they recanted when confronted with evidence that they were lying. One of those individuals, Shaneice Barksdale, admitted in a videotaped police interview that she had made up her allegations to try to help the case and was convicted of falsely reporting a crime (State of Oklahoma v. Shaneice Barksdale, Case No. CM-2015-1413). Research by acclaimed eyewitness expert, Dr. Gary L. Wells, has shown that eyewitnesses' memories of events can be altered by suggestion and positive feedback, often leading to wrongful convictions. The validity of accusers' testimony in Daniel's trial should not have been accepted as fact, not only because of the leading, suggestive manner in which police detectives found accusers until they had a total of thirteen, but also because at least five of the accusers knew each other, and many of the women were using hallucinogenic drugs (cocaine, crack, PCP, marijuana) at the time they alleged Daniel assaulted them, which could cause them to accuse an innocent man of actions he did not commit. Major inconsistencies existed in the accusers' testimony that ruled Daniel out as a suspect. For example, one woman, S.E., stated that her assailant was a short black man who stopped his patrol car in a public park/abandoned school yard, and then raped her for 5-10 minutes. Yet Daniel Holtzclaw is a tall, light-skinned, Japanese American man, and, significantly, the AVL/GPS evidence from Daniel's patrol car shows that it could only have been motionless in the school yard for less than 4 minutes, simply not enough time to do as was alleged. Nevertheless, Daniel was found guilty of her accusations. Another woman, R.G., with multiple felony convictions, said that the officer orally sodomized her on a day when she was getting high off of crack cocaine, and she said she wiped Daniel's alleged secretions from the oral sodomy onto her chair, yet Daniel's DNA was not found on the woman's chair, while the DNA from two other men was. Despite this lack of evidence, Daniel was found guilty of forcible oral sodomy.  We believe the legal system has failed Daniel miserably and a travesty of justice has occurred. You can learn more about the injustices in Daniel's trial by visiting www.FreeDanielHoltzclaw.com, a website created by Daniel's sister Jenny Holtzclaw, where donations for Daniel's legal fees are gratefully being accepted.  You can also learn more about Daniel's case at www.HoltzclawTrial.com, a website created by former defense private investigator, Brian Bates, who is posting online the facts presented in open court that the media did not report.  Please sign our petition urging Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, other officials, and the Oklahoma news media to investigate the police misconduct and mishandling of Daniel's case that led to his convictions for multiple sexual assaults he did not commit, and respectfully requesting that Governor Fallin grant clemency by exonerating Daniel because he is innocent. Daniel belongs with his family, not in prison for crimes he never committed. Please help right this wrong by signing our petition to free Daniel Holtzclaw. Sincerely and with our deepest gratitude, Daniel's family and friends

Daniel Holtzclaw's Family and Friends
27,480 supporters