News 06.07.18

Connecticut Governor Signs Law for Innocent To Overturn Wrongful Convictions

By Innocence Staff

Alfred Swinton by Sameer Abdel-Khalek.

Yesterday, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed a law that removes an arbitrary three-year deadline after a person’s conviction in which they are able to present newly discovered non-DNA evidence of their innocence (SB 509). The law also clarifies that newly discovered non-DNA evidence includes scientific advancements or expert recantations that undermine forensic evidence used to convict someone.

Given that 80 percent of those exonerated have proved their innocence through non-DNA evidence, the action taken by Gov. Malloy and the state legislature marks an important step in ensuring that wrongfully convicted Connecticans are able to prove their innocence.

Exonerees James Tillman and Alfred Swinton and their families advocated for the bill, along with the Innocence Project.

Alfred Swinton was exonerated this past March after spending 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Swinton was convicted of murder based on a bite mark expert’s testimony that his teeth matched bite marks found on the victim. Swinton eventually proved his innocence through DNA testing and the expert’s recantation of his trial testimony, in which he acknowledged that the bite mark analysis used to convict Swinton is no longer scientifically supported.

Thankfully, Swinton had DNA available for testing in his case—but had it been unavailable, the expert’s recantation may not have been enough to prove his innocence. Swinton’s case is one of too many close calls that highlight the immense need for the law Connecticut passed yesterday.

Senate President Martin Looney, Senator Paul Doyle, Senator Gary Winfield, Rep. William Tong and Rep. Rosa Rebimbas championed the bill in the legislature. Thanks to the efforts of the Governor, Legislature and Connecticut exonerees, the state’s wrongfully convicted will now have fairer access to justice.

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  1. Joanne Linarte says:

    This is all well and fine to publish to the public, but when I sent a huge package directly to Gov. Malloy, on my son’s wrongful conviction, including many issues of newly discovered evidence and reasons why exculpatory medical evidence, was wrongfully denied even by an “in-camera inspection” by the judge, which was all excluded from the jury’s exhibits, and why we did not get a fair trial, I never received any acknowledgment of receipt, by him or his staff. This exculpatory evidence, proved that NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED. The true VICTIMS in this case are my son and myself. The Perpetrators in this case are the Plaintiffs, and their mother. They fooled the CT courts further when they were awarded over $4 Million for their fraudulent lawsuits, based solely on my son’s wrongful conviction, which was their motive in the first place.
    My son is nearing his 15th year of Wrongful Conviction and NOBODY cares.

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