News 10.30.07

Jeffrey Deskovic celebrates his first year of freedom on Friday

On November 2, 2006,

Jeffrey Deskovic

was officially exonerated of an upstate New York rape and murder for which he had spent nearly half his life behind bars.

Deskovic’s injustice began in 1989, when police focused on him as a suspect after his high school classmate was raped and killed in Westchester County, New York. Despite being cleared as a suspect by DNA testing before the trial began, the prosecution continued with their case against Deskovic on the basis of an alleged confession he gave after three polygraph sessions and six hours of extensive questioning by detectives. He was convicted of murder based on this confession and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

In January 2006 the Innocence Project took Deskovic’s case, asking state officials to check the foreign DNA profile from the crime scene against the state database. In September 2006, the semen was matched to a convicted murderer and Deskovic was subsequently released from prison, his conviction overturned. Deskovic was released later that same month, and officially cleared on November 2.

In July 2007, the Westchester County District Attorney released a report on Deskovic’s wrongful conviction, “showing the urgent need for reform – and what’s at stake.”

Read the full report here

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Today Deskovic is working toward his bachelor’s degree at Mercy College in New York and speaks frequently on the issues of wrongful convictions and false confessions.

Visit his website for more information on his upcoming appearances

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Other exoneration anniversaries this week:

Saturday:

Rolando Cruz

, Illinois (Served 10.5 years, Exonerated 11/3/1995)

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