According to a Santa Clara Law School News Article, Francisco Carrillo, Jr. Exonerated After Spending Nearly 20 Years Incarcerated For A Crime He Did Not Commit, another innocent man has finally been freed after a lengthy and unjust incarceration.
However, DNA evidence did not free Mr. Carillo. Rather, Mr. Carillo was convicted in 1991 of a drive-by shooting after six “eye-witnesses” testified he was the shooter. All six witnesses, including the victim’s son, later recanted, explaining they were pressured by police to finger Mr. Carillo for the crime. Two other men confessed to the shooting.
Mr. Carillo spent years seeking justice from behind bars before the Northern California Innocence Project, with assistance from pro bono attorneys at the law firm Morrison and Foerester, came to his rescue. At the end of a six day hearing, the District Attorney’s office conceded Mr. Carillo’s petition should be granted and apologized on behalf of the State of California. The judge released him to his family, friends, and attorneys.
Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions and, according to the Innocence Project, misidentification accounts for 75% of convictions overturned through DNA testing. Yet, eyewitness testimony can be extremely persuasive evidence to a judge or jury. All members of the criminal justice system must demand reform in this area.
Attorney Lauren K Johnson has handled many eye-witnessed identification criminal cases and knows this evidence is extremely unreliable. Contact our office with questions about your case.