News 12.21.15

Pittsburgh Post‐Gazette Highlights Key Players in Fogle Exoneration


In most of the media stories reporting on exonerations, actors relevant to the cases—attorneys, paralegals, judges, district attorneys—take a backseat although their work often determines whether or not innocent people ever see justice. But in the second part of a three‐part series about Innocence Project client Lewis Fogle and his life post‐release, the

Pittsburgh Post‐Gazette

deviates from the course of most news stories and reports on the three people who had the most influence on his being freed and exonerated.  


In 1982, Fogle was convicted of the 1976 rape and murder of a 15‐year‐old girl in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. From the time that he was arrested, Fogle was adamant that he had nothing to do with  the crime, but it wouldn’t be until 34 years after the time he was sentenced to life in prison that the courts would acknowledge that he was right. DNA testing had provided solid evidence that Fogle was innocent; he’d been wrongfully convicted for someone else’s crime.  


As told by the

Post‐Gazette

, there are three people who were key to Fogle’s redemptive day in court, the first being Karen Thompson, the staff attorney at the Innocence project who started working on his  case back in 2012. It was Thompson and her move to conduct a “deep dive” for evidence which uncovered previously items not tested for DNA, writes the

Post‐Gazette

.


One of the people assisting Thompson in the case was also one of the individuals integral to the case, a law clinic student from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University named Dara Gell. It was Gell who, according to the

Post‐Gazette

, discovered “an inventory sheet for 12 items of evidence including Kathy’s clothing, fingernail scrapings and pubic hair combings,” the type of evidence that Thompson was seeking for DNA testing. Gell called the Indiana County police barracks and was told that the dozen items were there in their entirety. Ultimately, the testing of those pieces excluded Fogle from the crime scene.


When Thompson saw the DNA results, she contacted Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty, who had been very moved by Fogle’s case from the very first moment that he’s learned about it. Dougherty, the third person whom the

Post‐Gazette

highlighted as having a significant role in Fogle’s exoneration, knew that Fogle was indeed innocent after he reviewed the case details and the most recent DNA results. He “joined in the motion to vacate” Fogle’s conviction, and at a hearing following Fogle’s release on bail, “Mr. Dougherty told a judge the case against Jim was without ‘prosecutorial merit’ and should be dismissed. The judge exonerated Jim [Fogle],” reports the

Post‐Gazette

.

Read the entire story and to learn more about the

Post‐Gazette

’s reporting on Fogle

here

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