A North Carolina judge on Wednesday tossed out the conviction of Jonathan Scott Pierpoint, who has served 17 years in prison for a sexual assault he has always said he didn’t commit. Pierpoint’s 8-year-old stepson accused him of sexual assault in 1992, but recanted his story five years later. The stepson has spent the next 13 years fighting for Pierpoint’s release.
The Duke Law School Wrongful Conviction Clinic worked for two years to present evidence of Pierpoint’s innocence.
“At the end of the hearing, the judge told Pierpoint’s former stepson that there were few people who would pursue justice for so many years and with such earnestness,” said Duke Professor Theresa Newman. “The judge told him he would be able to take pride in his actions for the rest of his life.”
Newman echoed the judge’s praise. “This is a young man who has been trying to get people to listen to him for years,” she said. “Finally, Duke Law School listened. Once the district attorney’s office and the judge listened, justice could be done.”