Topic

wrongfully convicted

4 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Kim Foxx, Bruce Rauner

New trial for an innocent man

Detective Richard Zuley may be most famous for his notorious interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, but he first learned his torture techniques in the interrogation rooms of Chicago. Now, this 30-year veteran of the Chicago PD is under investigation for using illegal methods to coerce confessions that have put several possibly innocent people behind bars. One of his cases has already been overturned, and a man who spent 23 years in prison is now finally free. But while officials slowly make their way through the pages of evidence against this corrupt cop, my friend Lee Harris -- another of Zuley’s many victims -- still wastes away in prison.   My name is Robert. From 2000-2001, I shared a cell with Lee. We became good friends. Like a lot of people in prison, he would go on about how he was innocent and how he had been wrongly accused, but I never knew what to believe. However, when I received letters from the “witness” who put him away, apologizing for lying on the stand, I started digging: Lee’s conviction doesn’t add up. And now that I am on the outside, I am doing everything I can to get him a new trial so he can prove his innocence. I am asking Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial, so he can prove his innocence. He shouldn’t spend one more day behind bars while the true criminal is allowed to walk free. At first, Lee collaborated with Detective Zuley to help him find the real killer in the crime he is doing time for. Facing public pressure to find the killer, they pressed Lee for information using both threats and rewards. In one instance, Zuley offered him a $20,000 reward, and in another, he threatened to stop providing protection for his family, exposing them to retaliation. When they couldn’t find the real killer, they turned on their informant and charged him with the crime. They had no murder weapon or evidence connecting Lee to the crime. Yet, even with all these legal missteps and the lack of evidence, they still threw Lee behind bars for 90 years. He remains in jail to this day for a crime I am sure he didn’t commit. And I am not the only one: Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, who has won more exonerations than any other lawyer in the US, is now taking a closer look at Harris’ conviction. It’s time to grant my friend Lee Harris a new trial and let true justice be served. We cannot continue to keep this man behind bars while the real killer could be walking the streets. Please sign my petition and help me fight for justice for Lee Harris.

Robert Chattler
64,316 supporters
Update posted 3 months 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

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, 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.holtzclawtrial.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 fly of the 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. Ms. Ligons' DNA was not 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.HoltzclawTrial.com, a website created by former defense private investigator, Brian Bates, who is now posting online the facts presented in open court that the media did not report. Daniel's sister, Jenny Holtzclaw, has also created a webpage www.justicefordanielholtzclaw.com where donations for Daniel's appeal are gratefully being accepted as well as at www.FreeDanielHoltzclaw.com Please sign our petition urging Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, former Gov. 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 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

Family and Friends of Daniel Holtzclaw
6,000 supporters
Started 9 months ago

Petition to Wisconsin Supreme Court, Wisconsin Circuit Court

Wrongfully Convicted

I was wrongful convicted and after 11 years I am still fighting for the Truth and for my Freedom!! Please sign this petition to the WI Courts requesting them to overturn my sexual assault conviction based on the new DNA evidence. If you would like to see more information on the details of my case, I have started a Facebook page to shed light on some of the issues in my case. https://www.facebook.com/Not-Guilty-But-Not-Totally-Innocent-697971020352364 I am 35 years old, I was born March 26, 1981 in Chicago, IL, on the far Southside in a neighborhood called the Jeffrey Manor. My Mother and Father were barely teenagers when they had me so they didn’t know much about raising a new born child with them being children themselves. Around 5 years old my Mother sent me to go live with my Father cause she thought it would be best for my Father to raise me. My Mother was dealing with a drug addiction so she felt my Father could care for me best. I remember my Mother doing her best to take care of me. I hated when she would lick her thumb and use the saliva to clean something from my face. My Father was married and had a new family with his wife. My Father was a workaholic at a young age so I never got to hang out with him much. I remember a time my Father taught me how to box with boxing gloves. That was the only thing he ever taught me cause a few days after that he shipped me out his house to my Grandmother with my one brown paper bag, social security card and birth certificate. That’s where I called home for most of my life. My grandma wasn’t no joke! She was smart and wise with it. Everybody came to her if they needed a place to stay or just her advice. Granny was the only person in the world that truly loved me and had my back. Sadly she died April 15, 2008 while I was in prison so I never got to say goodbye. My heart still hurts from her loss. I am mad at myself because I couldn’t be there for her in her time of need as she was always right there for me no matter the situation. With all her love and prayers she couldn’t keep me from running the streets with gangs and selling drugs and doing what I wanted to do cause I thought couldn’t nobody tell me nothing. Thinking back, if I would have stayed in school and out them streets, I am sure I would have been somebody boss. I am now in prison with 37 years for a crime I didn’t commit. I’ve done all kinds of things in my life but I did not commit the crime that I am in prison for right now. I think God is punishing me for everything I didn’t get caught for in my past. That may sound crazy but that’s my theory. I met a young lady walking down the street in Chicago who turned out to be 17 years old and a runaway prostitute, prostituting on the street for the past 3 months. At the time, she told me that she was 22 years old and needed a fresh start because she was sick of some pimp dude taking her money. I ended up getting a hotel room and we had sex then later that night we drove to Wisconsin. During that time we engaged in a lot of sex with each other and in group sex. Drugs were being used as well. I was a drug dealer so I kept a lot of it around. After having group sex with the 2 women on my case I left to make a run to sell some drugs. I left both women alone in my apartment for almost 3 hours. When I returned home, I went to look for my drugs and found that it was gone so I beat up one of the girls until she told me what she did with it. She finally told me what she did with it and after that I put both women out of my apartment. They both left and came back at different times. I allowed the 17 year old to use the bathroom and I told her she had to go after she was done. When she left she went to call the police and told them I held her for 2 weeks and raped her repeatedly and that I beat her for stealing my drugs. The other woman who engaged in drug use and group sex with us came back to my apartment while the police were there and she told them she had the wrong apartment. She left and called me to let me know the police were there. Fast forward… I was charged with 3 counts of sexual assault, 1 count of child abuse, 2 counts of false imprisonment, 1 count of intimidating a victim and 1 count misdemeanor battery. I NEVER RAPED ANYBODY. I did however beat up one of the women until she told me where my drugs were at. I would like all of you to view the records of my trial and you see if I received a fair trial and please share your opinion. I want young people to read my story because my situation could re-direct them from going down the wrong path, and hopefully by sharing my story, I can help them make a better decision in their lives. I am trying everything in my power to get my case overturned so that I can move forward in life and make my Grandmother proud. Again, I take full responsibility for my actions when it comes down to the beating of the young lady. It’s never cool for a man to put his hands on a woman or anyone for that matter. I have a young daughter that is 10 years old and I don’t want no man putting his hands on her, period. I am on appeal right now awaiting a decision on my case.   Thank you, Anthony Wallace

Anthony Wallace
27 supporters
Update posted 10 months ago

Petition to John McCain, Jack Reed, Jeff Sessions, James Inhofe, Roger Wicker, Deb Fischer, Tom Cotton, Mike Rounds, Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Daniel Sullivan, David Perdue, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Benjamin Sasse, Gary Peters, Elizabeth Warren, Martin Heinrich, Angus King, Tim Kaine, Mazie Hirono, Joe Donnelly, Richard Blumenthal, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeanne Shaheen, Claire McCaskill, Bill Nelson

Save the Heros, Jail the Liars

Do you have a soldier in your family that has been wrongfully accused and convicted?  If so, do you strongly believe that the accuser should be punished to the full extent of the law for making such FALSE allegations?  Do you hate that these women can make all the accusations they want and not show any proof of these allegations just to have our soldiers locked up for God knows how long for something they didn't do?  Also, these women get a decent "victims" pay every month. Who is the REAL victim here?  If you feel you agree please sign this petition. I'm tired of these women being able to freely get our soldiers locked up simply because the wind blew the wrong way. We as a nation MUST stand behind our soldiers. These young men and (I'm sure some women ) signed up to fight and serve their country willingly to have it all come crashing down because of these vindictive women. Our soldiers go through so much as it is by being away from their families, friends, children, and spouses. Why is it ok to take away their life as they once knew it?  We have to fight for our soldiers. A lot of these families do not have the means to hire a private attorney to help fight this battle. These attorneys cost 1000's of dollars. So we, as the American, people must take a stand to help fight for our soldiers.  By signing this petition it will show these women that families like myself and others will NO LONGER stand for them taking our soldiers down. We want our son home and/or able to continue serving their country like they so selflessly wanted to do. Would you please take a stand with me and help our soldiers get the freedom they deserve and fight back against these women who deliberately make these false allegations to lock up our soldiers. 

Rebecca Compton
11 supporters