Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project

Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (MAIP) is dedicated to correcting and preventing the conviction of innocent people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
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The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project is a non-profit organization that provides free investigative and legal assistance to people who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The Project was founded in 2000 and has in-house attorneys and an investigator who investigate cases and represent individuals with pro bono lawyers.

The Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project is a non-profit organization that provides free investigative and legal assistance to people who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The Project was founded in 2000 and has in-house attorneys and an investigator who investigate cases and represent individuals with pro bono lawyers.

Mission: Our mission is to seek the exoneration and release of persons who have been convicted of crimes that they did not commit in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Operating as usual

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special prosecutor who led the Breonna Taylor investigation, has been hard...
10/15/2020
The Breonna Taylor case proves that prosecutors have too much power

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the special prosecutor who led the Breonna Taylor investigation, has been hard-pressed to keep a juror from speaking publicly about the grand jury proceedings. 

On October 8, an attorney for the anonymous juror argued before a judge that all recordings, transcripts, and files be released, and that the juror be allowed to “talk about their service” on the grand jury. In response, Cameron filed a motion to prevent the juror from speaking publicly while he appeals the case.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron didn’t pursue murder charges for the cops who killed Breonna Taylor. Here’s how that happened.

Imagine losing your freedom, locked up behind bars while your pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. For three Baltimore ...
10/08/2020
Even Though They Are Free, Harlem Park Three Struggle To Adjust To Life After Prison

Imagine losing your freedom, locked up behind bars while your pleas of innocence fall on deaf ears. For three Baltimore men and many others this was a reality.

We continue looking into the lives of the Harlem Park Three Tuesday night, grown men who as teenagers were wrongfully convicted of a murder they did not commit.

After 36 years wrongly imprisoned, the Harlem Park Three are struggling to adjust to life, connect with their family and feel like they lost so much of their life.

You might remember the celebrated release of the Harlem Park Three last year. Now grown men, in 1983 at age 16, they wer...
10/06/2020
In Their Own Words: Exonerated Harlem Park Three Recall Their 1983 Murder Arrests, Say More Innocent People Are 'Wasting Away' In Prison

You might remember the celebrated release of the Harlem Park Three last year. Now grown men, in 1983 at age 16, they were wrongfully convicted of murder.

Their release was a victory thanks to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s office and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

In an exclusive interview, the Harlem Park Three share what it was like to be wrongfully convicted and the freed more than 30 years later.

This #WrongfulConvictionDay, sign the pledge to demand police accountability.As we collectively demand change, the Innoc...
10/02/2020
Justice and Accountability

This #WrongfulConvictionDay, sign the pledge to demand police accountability.

As we collectively demand change, the Innocence community also reflects on how the dehumanization of Black and brown people not only translates into police violence, but also into wrongful convictions.

Massive protests across the world ignited this past year with clarion calls for police accountability in the wake of George Floyd's death. As we collectively demand change, the Innocence community also reflects on how the dehumanization of Black and brown people not only translates into police viole...

#WrongfulConvictionDay is this Friday, October 2. It's time we do something about how race plays a part in wrongful conv...
09/30/2020

#WrongfulConvictionDay is this Friday, October 2. It's time we do something about how race plays a part in wrongful convictions.

Maryland legislators and law enforcement officials debated Thursday whether lawmakers should repeal or repair the state’...
09/25/2020
Repair vs. Repeal: Maryland legislators debate future of Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights

Maryland legislators and law enforcement officials debated Thursday whether lawmakers should repeal or repair the state’s Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, the controversial decades-old document that outlines the due process procedure for investigating and disciplining police misconduct.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has debated 13 other police reform bills over the past two days, leaving two for the final day of hearings: One would make a number of changes to the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights and the other would repeal it entirely.

Lawmakers and law enforcement officials butted heads over whether to end sweeping legal protections that some say protect wayward and even criminal police officers from being swiftly disciplined.

Congrats to Charles Jason Lively on his exoneration, and to the West Virginia Innocence Project and MAIP Board member An...
09/23/2020
Lively a free man after 2006 murder conviction overturned in "Doc" Whitley case

Congrats to Charles Jason Lively on his exoneration, and to the West Virginia Innocence Project and MAIP Board member Andrew George on helping right this 15 year wrong!

PRINCETON – After serving about 15 years in prison, a McDowell County man walked into a Mercer County courtroom and emerged from it as a free man after his 2006

As Maryland lawmakers consider policing reforms, local prosecutors are pushing to maintain their authority to prosecute ...
09/19/2020
Maryland prosecutors say they’re best equipped to prosecute police misconduct

As Maryland lawmakers consider policing reforms, local prosecutors are pushing to maintain their authority to prosecute cases of police misconduct.

Elected state’s attorneys told a group of lawmakers Thursday that they are better suited to take problem officers to court — not the attorney general, the state prosecutor or another entity.

As Maryland lawmakers consider policing reforms, local prosecutors are pushing to maintain their authority to prosecute cases of police misconduct.

The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR) is a state law that controls the disciplinary process of police off...
09/18/2020
Opinion | One step Maryland can take to improve policing

The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR) is a state law that controls the disciplinary process of police officers. The LEOBR gives police officers special rights that ordinary residents and state employees do not get, and it prevents communities from investigating misconduct that could lead to discipline. The LEOBR thwarts transparency and accountability.

These special rights range from expungement of disciplinary records to limits on what discipline can be imposed for certain infractions. This law started in Maryland in 1972. Since then, it has spread to other states. Maryland’s LEOBR is considered one of the most extreme.

The police are policing themselves and letting themselves off the hook. It’s time to end that.

But despite the boom in implicit bias training, there has been little real-life research into whether it actually change...
09/17/2020
NYPD Study: Implicit Bias Training Changes Minds, Not Necessarily Behavior

But despite the boom in implicit bias training, there has been little real-life research into whether it actually changes what police officers do on the job.

"It's like I'm offering you a pill to fix some disease, and I haven't tested to see whether it actually works," says Joshua Correll, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he studies racial bias. "Expecting that we can take people in and train them to reduce their implicit bias — I don't think it's been supported by the literature."

The NYPD has released the biggest study to date of the effectiveness of implicit bias training. The results suggest the popular training can change attitudes but not necessarily how policing is done.

But Bradford said that he believes opposition from police unions, who argued the bill was biased, proved to be too power...
09/16/2020
California failed to pass a major police reform bill. Here's what experts say that could mean for the rest of the nation

But Bradford said that he believes opposition from police unions, who argued the bill was biased, proved to be too powerful to overcome and was the reason his bill didn't come to a vote.

"The problem was the union, and we all know the police have major sway, not only here in California but across the country," Bradford told CNN. "And it forces people many times to, you know, move away from what they truly believe in under intense pressure."

Last week, California State Sen. Steven Bradford said he was confident that "the votes were there" for his proposed bill.

After 37 years behind bars, a Florida man was formally cleared Monday of a 1983 rape and murder that DNA evidence proved...
09/15/2020
Robert DuBoise exonerated: DNA evidence clears Tampa man of rape, murder after 37 years

After 37 years behind bars, a Florida man was formally cleared Monday of a 1983 rape and murder that DNA evidence proved he did not commit after a long-ago trial that relied on a sketchy jailhouse informant and faulty bite mark analysis.

Robert DuBoise was formally cleared Monday of the 1983 rape and murder of Barbara Grams in Tampa. DNA evidence cleared him 37 years after a trial that relied on a sketchy jailhouse informant and faulty bite mark analysis. Prosecutors and the Innocence Project worked together to get the exoneration.

In one exchange, Justice Laura Denvir Stith asked Assistant Attorney General Frank Jung, “Are you suggesting … even if w...
09/14/2020
Missouri Attorney General’s Office Pushes To Keep Innocent People In Prison

In one exchange, Justice Laura Denvir Stith asked Assistant Attorney General Frank Jung, “Are you suggesting … even if we find that Mr. Amrine is actually innocent, he should be executed?”

“That is correct, your honor,” Jung said.

Its decades-long commitment to upholding convictions—even those marred by police or prosecutorial misconduct—has left Missourians languishing in prison for years.

On Aug. 15, the date that marked the 10-year anniversary of Smile Generation Serve Day, Dr. Michael Perpich, DDS, and hi...
09/11/2020
Richfield Dentistry provides services for prison exoneree

On Aug. 15, the date that marked the 10-year anniversary of Smile Generation Serve Day, Dr. Michael Perpich, DDS, and his team at Richfield Dentistry provided donated dentistry to Sherman Townsend, an innocent man who was wrongly incarcerated for 10 years.

On Aug. 15, the date that marked the 10-year anniversary of Smile Generation Serve Day, Dr. Michael Perpich, DDS, and his team at Richfield Dentistry provided donated dentistry to Sherman

State legislators, local officials, civil rights advocates and law enforcement personnel have grappled for decades with ...
09/10/2020
Police 'Pretext' Traffic Stops Need to End, Some Lawmakers Say

State legislators, local officials, civil rights advocates and law enforcement personnel have grappled for decades with complaints that traffic stops unfairly target minority motorists. The George Floyd killing in May and demonstrations added pressure for change, and states and localities now are exploring new ways to reduce or eliminate pretextual or pretext stops.

In a pretext stop, an officer pulls over a motorist for a minor traffic or equipment violation and then uses the stop to investigate a more serious crime.

Police stop and search Black motorists more often.

Bite mark analysis has long been considered junk science. But for a far longer period, it was considered good science --...
09/09/2020
Prosecutor Who Used Bite Mark Analysis Even The Analyst Called 'Junk Science' Can Be Sued For Wrongful Jailing Of Innocent Woman

Bite mark analysis has long been considered junk science. But for a far longer period, it was considered good science -- a tool to be used to solve crimes and lock up perps. This case, handled by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, contains an anomaly: the bite mark expert who helped wrongly convict a woman of murder -- taking away eleven years of her life -- actually stated on record that bite mark analysis is junk science.

A lot of stuff that looks like science but hasn't actually been subjected to the rigors of the scientific process has been used by the government to wrongly deprive people of their freedom. As time moves forward, more and more of the forensic...

"The Freedom of Information Act in Virginia is one of the most restrictive in the country when it comes to law enforceme...
09/08/2020
Innocence Project, Virginia Beach mass shooting families urge lawmakers to release criminal investigative files in new bill

"The Freedom of Information Act in Virginia is one of the most restrictive in the country when it comes to law enforcement investigations," said Feldman. "They don't have to give any reason at all for denying requests."

House Bill 5090 is on the House Appropriations agenda Thursday in the General Assembly's Special Session. Then it needs to pass the House floor, and on the Senate side will likely go to Senate General Laws, Judiciary and Appropriations committees.

Eighteen months after his wife Kate was gunned down inside Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center alongside 11 of her co-workers, Jason Nixon is still shattered.

Happy birthday and congrats to Troy Burner! This past week Troy's case was dismissed in DC Superior Court after his conv...
08/30/2020

Happy birthday and congrats to Troy Burner! This past week Troy's case was dismissed in DC Superior Court after his conviction was vacated in March. This photo is from his release on parole in November 2018 after serving 25 years for a crime he did not commit, with his attorneys, Lauren Stocks-Smith and Seth Rosenthal of Venable.

Qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects state actors like police from civil rights lawsuits, along with sover...
08/28/2020
Virginia Lawmakers Advance Bill That Bans Qualified Immunity for Cops

Qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects state actors like police from civil rights lawsuits, along with sovereign immunity which offers similar protections, have erupted in recent conversations about race and policing in the wake of George Floyd and others who have ended up on the wrong end of police interactions.

While state governments and activists around the country have talked about rolling back these shields, by a vote of 12-8, Virginia legislators appear to be on their way to doing it.

While state governments and activists around the country have talked about attempting to roll back qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects police from civil rights lawsuits, Virginia legislators appear to be on their way to doing it.

John Oliver continued his examination into the ways that racism is baked into the criminal justice system in this week’s...
08/25/2020
John Oliver Shows How Racism Creeps Into Every Part of the Jury Selection Process

John Oliver continued his examination into the ways that racism is baked into the criminal justice system in this week’s main segment of Last Week Tonight, turning his attention to everyone’s favorite civic duty. While the right to a trial by a jury of your peers is enshrined in the Sixth Amendment, “the truth is that people of color are routinely excluded,” Oliver said, citing a study from the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies that says that “underrepresentation of the Latino and African-American populations is ubiquitous.” Lack of diversity on juries has far-ranging ramifications, not least because studies show that gaps in the conviction rates between white and Black defendants were eliminated when the jury pool included just one Black member.

The Last Week Tonight host explains the ways people of color are left out and why it matters.

A coalition of Christian groups including the Church of God in Christ and the National Association of Evangelicals is la...
08/24/2020
Christian groups unveil new criminal justice reform push

A coalition of Christian groups including the Church of God in Christ and the National Association of Evangelicals is launching a new criminal justice reform push that seeks to rally believers behind policing changes grounded in biblical principles.

A coalition of Christian groups including the Church of God in Christ and the National Association of Evangelicals is launching a new criminal justice reform push that seeks to rally believers behind....

Local organizations partnered to pay for the dental care of a recently exonerated man who spent 20 years in prison.Smile...
08/21/2020
After spending 20 years in prison, wrongfully convicted man is getting a new smile

Local organizations partnered to pay for the dental care of a recently exonerated man who spent 20 years in prison.

Smile Generation and After Innocence organized a day of service offering free dentistry to those who were wrongfully convicted, like Paul Hurt.

Smile Generation and After Innocence organized a day of service where they offered free dentistry to those who were wrongfully convicted.

Amid anti-racism protests nationwide and police-reform efforts, there is no time like the present to take a close look a...
08/20/2020
Law that shields bad cops from liability needs to be changed | COMMENTARY

Amid anti-racism protests nationwide and police-reform efforts, there is no time like the present to take a close look at “qualified immunity” — a legal doctrine that can restrict citizens’ ability to recover damages for civil rights violations by shielding government officials from lawsuits and civil liability.

It should be uncontroversial that police officers who protect and serve the public must be accountable for actions that fall well outside the bounds of reasonable policing.

On Friday, Virginia lawmakers were days away from a special session on police and criminal justice reform, and the Virgi...
08/19/2020
Virginia NAACP pushes for police transparency, officer discipline data ahead of special session on criminal justice reform

On Friday, Virginia lawmakers were days away from a special session on police and criminal justice reform, and the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP is pushing for specific changes.

NAACP leaders said they want public access to records on use of force data, officer complaints and discipline, and the firing and rehiring of police officers with a history of misconduct.

The NAACP said it wants records on use of force data, officer complaints and discipline, and the firing and rehiring of police officers with a misconduct history.

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, al...
08/17/2020
Three men exonerated in notorious 1983 murder of Baltimore student file federal lawsuit against police officers

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that Baltimore Police detectives coerced false statements and manufactured a narrative that implicated the three youths in the crime.

The “Harlem Park Three” — Alfred Chestnut, Andrew Stewart and MAIP client Ransom Watkins — were freed last year by the State’s Attorney’s Office after each serving 36 years in prison for the notorious 1983 murder of a Baltimore junior high school student over a Georgetown University basketball jacket.

Three men who spent a combined 108 years in prison for a murder they did not commit filed a federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging that Baltimore Police detectives coerced false statements and manufactured a narrative that implicated the three youths to the crime.

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