On Thursday, 61-year-old Alfred Swinton of Connecticut walked out of a Hartford courtroom a free man. A Connecticut judge cleared Swinton of a 1991 murder for which he was convicted in 2001 based on flawed testimony from a forensic dentist and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Swinton spent 16 years of his life in prison. Last June, Swinton had a major break in his case after DNA testing proved that he was not linked to the crime. His conviction was vacated and he was released. And finally, yesterday, after years of bearing punishment for a crime that evidence proves he did not commit, Swinton became the 204th person exonerated by the Innocence Project. Check out seven images that capture the joy and excitement of his freedom day.
Mr. Swinton’s case highlights the need to change the law in Connecticut. Without DNA, which is unavailable in 90% of criminal cases, Mr. Swinton likely would not have been able to prove his innocence. That is because while Connecticut has no time limit for introducing new DNA evidence, it places a strict three-year deadline after a conviction for presenting new, non-DNA evidence of innocence.
The Connecticut legislature is considering legislation to remove the arbitrary three-year deadline and put Connecticut in line with the majority of other states. Help change Connecticut’s law so that other wrongfully convicted people like Swinton can prove their innocence. Take action here!
“Patience is infinite, persistence is constant. Keep on fighting, if you give up, you’ve lost.” Alfred Swinton