Today marks the two-year anniversary of Roy Brown’s exoneration in upstate New York. Brown, who served 15 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit,
testified last week
before a New York State Bar Association panel on the causes of wrongful convictions and proposed reforms to prevent injustice.
"If you're innocent and in jail, chances are you are going to sit there," Brown told the task force. "Too many guilty people get away, and too many innocent people sit there. It's just wrong."
Brown was instrumental in securing his own freedom. While seeking DNA testing in his case, Brown obtained police documents identifying a man named Barry Bench as an alternate suspect. He learned more about Bench and began to suspect that he was the killer. Around Christmas of 2003, Brown wrote to Bench, asking him to come clean and help Brown clear his name. Days later, Bench committed suicide.
In 2005, the Innocence Project began working on Brown’s case. A year later, DNA evidence proved that Bench’s saliva was on the victim’s shirt. No evidence connected Brown to the murder. He was released in late 2006 and officially exonerated on March 5, 2007. Since his release, he has been an outspoken advocate for criminal justice reform.
Other anniversaries this week:
David Allen Jones
, California (Served 9 years, exonerated 3/4/04)
, Illinois (Served 4 years, exonerated 3/8/1996)
, Massachusetts (Served 12 years, exonerated 3/8/2004)