On Wednesday, a federal appeals court affirmed a lower-court decision tossing out the murder conviction against Derek Tice, one of the U.S. Navy sailors known as the “Norfolk Four.” The four men were wrongfully convicted of a Norfolk, Virginia, murder based almost exclusively on their own false confessions and imprisoned for eight to 11 years.
They were released two years ago when the Governor granted them conditional pardons for the murder based on serious questions about their guilt. DNA tests have pointed to the involvement of another man, who had no prior acquaintance with the four Navy sailors and says that he committed the crime alone. The
covered the federal appeals court’s decision.
“I think it’s just one more piece of a huge puzzle that shows that these guys — all of them — really deserve justice here,” said Des Hogan, Tice’s lawyer. “These other guys have suffered the same injustices and should be cleared as well,” he said.
“The time has come for Virginia to correct a travesty of justice and announce that it will not appeal or seek to retry Derek,” Hogan said.
A spokesman for the Virginia Attorney General’s Office said they were disappointed by the ruling and exploring all their options.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams originally overturned Tice’s conviction in 2009 on the grounds that Tice’s trial lawyers failed to ask the judge to suppress his confession since it was made after he invoked his right to remain silent.
Read more about the
Norfolk Four case
The New York Times Magazine
on the Norfolk Four.
Learn more about recording of interrogations, a
reform shown to prevent false confessions and assist in law enforcement investigations