Philadelphia editorial: Give Darrell Edwards a new trial


Innocence Project client Darrell Edwards has served nearly a decade in New Jersey prison for a murder he has always said he didn’t commit. DNA testing and other substantial new evidence shows that he’s telling the truth, but prosecutors have refused to grant him a new trial.

After two mistrials and a hung jury, Edwards was convicted of a Newark shooting murder at his fourth trial in 1999 and sentenced to life in prison. Eyewitnesses told police after the crime they saw Edwards flee the crime scene and dispose of a sweatshirt and gun. DNA testing on those items has revealed male profiles that do not match Edwards, and new statements from the key crime scene witness show that she was “just guessing” in her identification of Edwards. New scientific research confirms that one witness could not have possibly recognized Edwards from 271 feet, the distance from which she said she saw him. The Innocence Project sought a new trial for Edwards at a July 29 hearing, and the judge requested further filings before Edwards’ appeal could be considered.

An editorial in yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer calls for the judge to grant Edwards a new trial so the facts of his case can be heard.

It happens too often. Innocent people are convicted and spend years in prison because of faulty eyewitness identification, sloppy or improper police work, and the lack of DNA testing.

Take the case of Darrell Edwards. He was convicted of murder in a New Jersey state court in 1999 – after four trials and the acquittal of a co-defendant. Four bites at the apple is a good indication that prosecutors had a shaky case from the start.

Now, new evidence has emerged that raises the possibility that Evans was wrongfully convicted – or worse, may have been railroaded. Edwards' attorneys at the Innocence Project are seeking a fifth trial. He deserves it.

Read the full article here

. (Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/10/08)

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