In October 1991, a young girl testified at a criminal hearing that she had been raped outside her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and that three men—one of them being then-17-year-old Quentin Carter— were involved in the assault. Based solely on the victim’s testimony, Quentin was convicted in 1992 of first-degree sexual assault, but this past Wednesday, Kent County Prosecutor Bill Forsyth announced that the girl had actually been raped by her mother’s boyfriend, Aurelias Marshall. Carter had no involvement in the crime.
, Carter served a 17-year sentence in prison and was forced to live his life as a registered sex offender even though there were indications all along that Carter was not guilty, and that Marshall was the assailant.
In 1992, Marshall was subpoenaed for the rape trial, but he pleaded the fifth. He was actually on trial for physically abusing the same girl, and didn’t want to implicate himself further. And Kent County Prosecutor’s office say that the victim herself had made previous claims that it was actually Marshall who had assaulted her, but it wasn’t until recently, during the investigation into a 1990 murder of which Marshall was convicted on Monday, that authorities finally believed that that the girl had lied about the identity of the man who raped her. According to prosecutors, Marshall had threatened her into not saying anything.
University of Michigan Law School professor Samuel Gross told
that Carter’s case is one of the most egregious that he’s seen in his career researching wrongful convictions. “This case just makes my stomach turn,” Gross told
. According to Gross, unless Carter can prove misconduct or violation of his rights while he was on trial, it’s unlikely that he will receive any financial relief from the state, especially given that Michigan does not have compensation laws for the wrongfully convicted.
In terms of Marshall, he will not be charged with the rape. The county prosecutor told
: “Considering how much trauma (the victim) has endured in her lifetime, I’m not going to put her through the ordeal of a trial. . . . Besides, (Marshall’s) about to be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life so nothing would be gained by it from a punishment perspective.”