Prosecutors failed to disclose key evidence in Davontae Sanford case for eight months
06.22.16 By Innocence Staff
Prosecutors waited eight months before notifying Davontae Sanford’s attorneys about potentially exculpatory evidence, according to a new report released by the Michigan State Police, reports the Detroit Metro Times.
Sanford was released and his conviction was vacated earlier this month after Wayne County prosecutors revealed that an accurate crime scene sketch alleged to have been drawn by Sanford was in fact drawn by a former Detroit deputy chief of police. The deputy chief admitted to drawing the sketch in an October 2015 interview with state investigators and the information was not released to Sanford’s defense team until May.
The report brings into question statements made by the case’s prosecutor earlier this month. Specifically, the Wayne County prosecutor had reported on June 9 that she’d only learned of Tolbert’s admission on May 20, 2016. But, according to the new report, the prosecutor’s office was actually informed of the evidence many months before.
As reported by the Detroit Metro Times, Michigan’s code of conduct for its prosecutors mandates that prosecutors “make a timely disclosure to the defense of evidence that could exonerate a suspect.”
Sanford was convicted at just 14 years old of a 2007 quadruple homicide. His conviction was based primarily on a confession—which took place after two days of interrogation without the presence of an attorney or guardian—and the crime scene sketch. The Michigan Innocence Clinic and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth took on the case in 2014, spurring the Michigan State Police to reopen the investigation into the murders.
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