Overturned convictions in the United States

Posted May 24, 2011
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  1. Jack Ruby
    #1

    Jack Ruby

    1,147 views

    Jack Leon Ruby (born Jacob Leon Rubenstein; March 25, 1911 – January 3, 1967) was a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas. On November 24, 1963, Ruby fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who was in police custody after being charged with the murder of President John F. Kennedy two days earlier. A Dallas jury found Ruby guilty of murdering Oswald, and Ruby was sentenced to death. Later, Ruby appealed his conviction, had it overturned and was granted a new trial. As the date for his new trial was being set, Ruby became ill and died of a pulmonary embolism due to lung cancer, being constitutionally presumed innocent at the time.


  2. Andrea Yates
    #2

    Andrea Yates

    1,067 views

    Andrea Pia Kennedy Yates (born July 2, 1964) is a former resident of Houston, Texas, who confessed to drowning her five children in their bathtub on June 20, 2001. She had been suffering for some time with very severe postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. She was represented by Houston criminal defense attorney George Parnham. Chuck Rosenthal, the district attorney in Harris County, asked for the death penalty in her 2002 trial. Her case placed the M'Naghten Rules with the Irresistible Impulse Test, a legal test for sanity, under close public scrutiny in the United States. She was convicted of capital murder. After the guilty verdict, but before sentencing, the State abandoned its request for the death penalty in light of false testimony by one of its expert psychiatric witnesses. She was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. The verdict was overturned on appeal.


  3. Geronimo Pratt
    #3

    Geronimo Pratt

    394 views

    Geronimo Pratt (born Elmer Pratt, September 13, 1947 – June 2, 2011), also known as Geronimo ji-Jaga and Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt, was a high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party.


  4. The Exonerated
    #4

    The Exonerated (2005)

    348 views

    The Exonerated is a made-for-cable television film that dramatizes the true stories of six people who had been wrongfully convicted of murder and other offenses, placed on death row, and later exonerated and freed after serving varying years in prison. It was based on a successful stage play of the same name written by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank and first aired on the former CourtTV cable television network on January 27, 2005. It is directed by Bob Balaban was produced by Radical Media.


  5. George Stinney
    #5

    George Stinney

    321 views

    George Junius Stinney, Jr. (October 21, 1929 – June 16, 1944) was an African-American youth convicted at age 14 of murder in 1944 in his home town of Alcolu, South Carolina. He was the youngest person in United States history in the 20th-century to be sentenced to death and to be executed.


  6. Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter
    #6

    Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter

    195 views

    Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (May 6, 1937 – April 20, 2014) was an American middleweight boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder and later released from prison following a petition of habeas corpus after spending almost 20 years in prison.


  7. Robert Hillary King
    #7

    Robert Hillary King

    39 views

    Robert Hillary King (born May 30, 1942), also known as Robert King Wilkerson, is a former member of the Black Panther Party who spent 32 years in Angola Prison, Louisiana – 29 of them in solitary confinement.


  8. Jeffrey Mark Deskovic
    #8

    Jeffrey Mark Deskovic

    18 views

    Jeffrey Mark Deskovic (born October 27, 1973) was wrongly convicted in 1990 at the age of seventeen of raping, beating, and strangling Angela Correa, a 15-year-old high school classmate at Peekskill High School.


  9. Mickey Featherstone
    #9

    Mickey Featherstone

    20 views

    Francis T. "Mickey" Featherstone (born June 3, 1949) is a former Irish American mobster and member of the Westies, an organized crime syndicate from Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan in New York City, led by James Coonan. Featherstone committed several mob killings before he was convicted in 1986 of a murder he had not committed. Facing a quarter of a century in jail, he became an informant and brought down Coonan's gang.


  10. David Camm
    #10

    David Camm

    32 views

    David Ray Camm (born March 23, 1964) is a former state trooper who was acquitted and released in 2013 after his third trial on charges of murdering his wife, Kimberly, and children, Brad, 7, and Jill, 5, at their Georgetown, Indiana home on September 28, 2000. He had been found guilty in two earlier trials, but these verdicts were overturned on appeal. Camm now works as a case coordinator for a non-profit wrongful conviction advocacy organization called Investigating Innocence that provides criminal defense investigations for inmates.


  11. John David Provoo
    #11

    John David Provoo

    15 views

    John David Provoo (August 6, 1917–August 28, 2001) was United States Army staff sergeant and practicing Buddhist who was convicted of treason for his conduct as a Japanese prisoner of war during World War II. His conviction was later overturned and he became a Buddhist priest.


  12. Richard Alexander (exonerated convict)
    #12

    Richard Alexander (exonerated convict)

    14 views

    Richard Alexander is an Indiana man wrongfully convicted of rape and later exonerated by DNA evidence.


  13. Marcus Dixon
    #13

    Marcus Dixon

    35 views

    Marcus Dwayne Dixon (born September 16, 1984) is a former American football defensive end. He was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played college football at Hampton University.


  14. Wrongful conviction of Steve Titus
    #14

    Wrongful conviction of Steve Titus

    11 views

    The wrongful conviction of Steve Titus was a miscarriage of justice in which Steve Titus (1950–1986), an American businessman, was wrongly convicted of rape. Titus was fired from his job after the conviction and, though the charges were soon dismissed, he became long term unemployed. The crime was later determined to have been committed by serial rapist Edward Lee King. Journalist Paul Henderson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his work on the case. Jack Olsen's book Predator examined the investigation of the crime and the life of the real criminal.


  15. Anthony Massingill
    #15

    Anthony Massingill

    10 views

    Anthony Massingill is an American who was convicted in a Dallas, Texas court of a 1979 rape and robbery for which recent DNA test results support his claim of innocence. He was jointly convicted in the case along with Cornelius Dupree who was on January 4, 2011 fully exonerated of the charges. Massingill is represented by the Texas Wesleyan Innocence Project and is likely to be cleared at a later hearing.


  16. Ray Krone
    #16

    Ray Krone

    10 views

    Ray Krone (born January 19, 1957) is an American who was wrongfully convicted of murder. He holds the distinction of being the 100th inmate exonerated from death row since the death sentence was reinstated in 1976.


  17. Ruben Cantu
    #17

    Ruben Cantu

    15 views

    Ruben Montoya Cantu (December 5, 1966 – August 24, 1993) was a Texan who was executed for murder committed when he was 17 years old. During the years following the conviction, the surviving victim, the co-defendant, the District Attorney, and the jury forewoman have all made public statements that cast doubt on Cantu's guilty verdict and death sentence.


  18. Johnson Chesnut Whittaker
    #18

    Johnson Chesnut Whittaker

    10 views

    Johnson Chesnut Whittaker (1858–1931) was one of the first black men to win an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. When at the academy, he was brutally assaulted and then expelled after being falsely accused and convicted of faking the incident. Over sixty years after his death, his name was formally cleared when he was posthumously commissioned by President Bill Clinton.


  19. Cornelius Dupree
    #19

    Cornelius Dupree

    9 views

    Cornelius Dupree Jr. (born September 22, 1959) is an American who was declared innocent of a 1980 conviction for aggravated robbery, which was alleged to have been committed during a rape in 1979. He was paroled in July 2010 after serving 30 years of a 75-year prison sentence in Texas. Prosecutors cleared him of the crime after a test of his DNA profile did not match traces of semen evidence from the case. Dupree, who was represented by the Innocence Project, spent more time in prison in Texas than any other inmate who was eventually exonerated by DNA evidence.


  20. Robert Elmer Kleason
    #20

    Robert Elmer Kleason

    17 views

    Robert Elmer Kleason (September 20, 1934 – April 21, 2003) was an American who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1975 for the murder of two missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the area known as Oak Hill, on the southern outskirts of Austin, Texas in October 1974. However, after two years on Texas' death row, an appeals court overturned Kleasen's conviction in November 1977, ruling that the search of his home was illegal and that key evidence had to be excluded.


  21. Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon
    #21

    Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon

    9 views

    Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon (born May 24, 1951) is a public speaker and human rights activist who was wrongly convicted of murder and spent over 17 years on Death Row. He was released from prison on January 3, 2002, making him the 99th Death Row inmate in the United States to be exonerated and released from prison since 1973.


  22. Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad
    #22

    Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad

    7 views

    Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad (born Richard Earl Moore, 1945) is an American writer and activist, who is a former prisoner, Black Panther Party leader, and co-founder of the Black Liberation Army. Dhoruba, in Swahili, means "he who is born in the storm".


  23. Bernard Baran
    #23

    Bernard Baran

    6 views

    Bernard F. Baran, Jr. (May 25, 1965 – September 1, 2014) was convicted in the day care sex abuse hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s that was spawned by the McMartin preschool trial. Unlike other day care cases, the Baran case garnered little national press coverage. The Baran case spanned almost 25 years from his arrest in October 1984 until all charges were dropped in June 2009. Baran maintained his innocence throughout his case, making him ineligible for parole. Baran was accused, tried and convicted within a three-month period and sentenced to three life sentences in January 1985. In 2009, the Massachusetts Appeals Court vacated the convictions, deeming the case "notorious," and citing the behavior of the original prosecutor as "troubling." Along with its importance as the first successful conviction, the Baran case is notable amongst the day-care cases for the level of homophobia present in the court record of the prosecution. The Baran case is the subject of the documentary film Freeing Bernie Baran.


  24. Karen Bennett Carlin
    #24

    Karen Bennett Carlin

    8 views

    Jack Leon Ruby (born Jacob Leon Rubenstein; March 25, 1911 – January 3, 1967) was a nightclub operator in Dallas, Texas. On November 24, 1963, Ruby fatally shot Lee Harvey Oswald, who was in police custody after being charged with the murder of President John F. Kennedy two days earlier. A Dallas jury found Ruby guilty of murdering Oswald, and Ruby was sentenced to death. Later, Ruby appealed his conviction, had it overturned and was granted a new trial. As the date for his new trial was being set, Ruby became ill and died of a pulmonary embolism due to lung cancer, being constitutionally presumed innocent at the time.


  25. Jack Davis (prospector)
    #25

    Jack Davis (prospector)

    7 views

    Jackson Lee "Diamondfield Jack" Davis (1864–1949) was pardoned for the 1896 Deep Creek Murders in Idaho and would later strike it rich in Nevada, where he established several mining towns, one named after his nickname "Diamondfield".


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