Connecticut exoneree addresses Yale students
James Tillman, who was exonerated by DNA testing in 2006 after serving nearly 17 years in Connecticut prison for a rape he didn’t commit, spoke at a Yale Law School panel discussion yesterday about his wrongful conviction and his life after exoneration.
From the very beginning of the trial, Tillman said he sensed the jury’s bias against him, accepting his accuser’s eyewitness testimony as fact. He said the jury included no blacks and did not represent a cross-section of society. When he later appealed his conviction on those grounds, he was denied.
Despite the unfairness of his trial, Tillman said he remained committed to establishing his innocence, ignoring recommendations for a plea bargain that would allow him to serve only five years.
“I could not see myself with a charge on me like that [for] something I didn’t do,” Tillman said.
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. (Yale Daily News, 10/10/07)
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