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NC Innocence Inquiry Commision sets innocent man free

Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:50 am
by brian
Feb 18, 2010: Historic steps lead Taylor to freedom
RALEIGH, NC -- Gregory Taylor walked into freedom Wednesday with baby steps trained by leg shackles.
He stepped into freedom after serving 17 years of a life sentence for murder; three judges declared him, clearly and emphatically, innocent. He was the first man freed by a new process propelled by the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission, the first of its kind in the nation.
He was out of options in 2004 when he dispatched a letter to Christine Mumma, director for the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, a nonprofit that works to secure relief for inmates who are innocent. It uses law students to help review the cases. (For a related story, see story on the Medill Innocence Project: Prosecutors Try to Turn Tables on Student Journalists)
Taylor's plight inspired Mumma in 2006 to help push the legislature to create the truth-seeking agency to review claims of innocence. As she celebrated the creation of the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission over dinner with a handful of judges and legislators in 2006, Mumma spent half the evening talking about Taylor's case.
Problems with Evidence
Taylor's hearing laid bare how North Carolina's criminal justice system can fail to find the truth. A State Bureau of Investigation agent withheld evidence that ruled out the presence of blood on Taylor's truck; jurors had been told dozens of times at the 1993 trial that blood stained Taylor's fender. A police dog said to have tracked Thomas' scent to Taylor's truck likely signaled the opposite. A prosecutor secured damning testimony from a prostitute who faced a 10-year prison term; her sentence was cut in half. And an embezzler whom Taylor may have met in jail relayed to police a concocted, implausible confession from Taylor in the hope of avoiding prison.
See the News and Observer Story Historic steps lead Taylor to freedom

Re: NC Innocence Inquiry Commision sets innocent man free

Posted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:35 am
by brian
Feb 22, 2010: Taylor case brings commision renoun. The phones have been ringing constantly at the NC Innocence Inquiry Commision since it won its historic first case last week. The innocence commission was established as an independent state agency to give it more power. It has the legal authority to subpoena information that other innocence projects cannot always get. In Taylor's case, the commission obtained old State Bureau of Investigation lab test results that helped win him exoneration.
See the NC News and Observer article Taylor case brings commision renoun
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For related information on the need to check the work of lab technicians see Lab technicians are not infallible!