News 01.29.15

Brooklyn District Attorney Expands Purview of Wrongful Conviction Investigations Unit

On Wednesday, Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced that his office’s Conviction Review Unit, which led to the exonerations of 11 people in 2014, has expanded its investigations beyond murder charges. According to the 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

, the integrity unit will now also review felony charges. 

 

Wasting no time to act within the unit’s newly expanded purview, Thompson exonerated his first non-homicide related case the day following his announcement. The 

New York Daily News

 reports that on Thursday, the Brooklyn DA dismissed charges against Michael Waithe, a 52-year-old man from Barbados who was accused of burglarizing a local Brooklyn woman back in 1986. Waithe has been facing deportation as a result of the felony charges and therefore had recently asked Brooklyn prosecutors to look into his case in the hope of clearing his name. 

Thompson’s investigation spurred the woman, Delores Taylor, who had originally accused Waithe of burglarizing her home, to admit that she had made up the entire story. 

The 

Daily News

 writes: “Waithe was convicted solely on Taylor’s word that she saw him trying to steal a TV from her apartment in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. There were no fingerprints or signs of forced entry and the then-23-year-old defendant, who used to works as a security guard in her building, testified in his own defense and brought alibi and character witnesses.”

Waithe, a father of three, served a year and a half in prison for the wrongful conviction. In addition, he was not been able to apply for U.S. citizenship due to the felony. He has an upcoming court hearing to deal with his impending deportation.

Thompson told the 

Daily News

, “Mr. Waithe is the victim of a wrongful conviction. I won’t let him be the victim of a wrongful deportation.”

Waithe said, “I feel like the guillotine has been lifted from over my head… . I feel like now I can fight for my citizenship and continue to lead a productive life.” He is set to marry his girlfriend next week. 

 


Read the 

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

 story

.

 


Read the 

New York Daily News

 story

.

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