Forty years after they were wrongly convicted by a jury for firebombing a grocery store in Wilmington, North Carolina, civil rights activists who became known as the "Wilmington 10" were officially pardoned by out-going Governor Beverly Perdue.
After reviewing the cases, Governor Perdue determined the convictions were "tainted by naked racism" and as a result granted pardons to every member of the Wilmington 10. According to Perdue, the key evidence that led her to grant pardons were a series of notes from the prosecutor who picked the jury. The notes showed the prosecutor intentionally selected white jurors who who were known members of the Ku Klux Klan and one Black juror who was described as an "Uncle Tom."More »
Earlier this month, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the formation of a team called the Conviction Integrity Unit that will be in charge of investigating allegations of torture and police misconduct. This news comes on the heels of an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that allows Illinois inmate Stanley Wrice to have a new hearing in response to his claims that he was beaten by officers with a flashlight and rubber hose until he confessed to a crime he did not commit.More »
Last week Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that no more executions would occur during his time in office. The announcement came after he halted an execution that was set to take place this month. In the wake of the devastating execution of Troy Davis in Georgia and at a time when many elected officials are reexamining their stance on the death penalty, is public opinion shifting?More »
Ten African-American men wrongfuly convicted of murder in Cook County, IL were exonerated last week. After spending the better part of their lives in jail, new DNA evidence was finally accepted by the state's attorney and the men were released.
In Cook County, DNA evidence helped right a terrible injustice and led police to the actual killer. But some racial justice groups are concerned about forensic databases expanding rapidly without oversight.More »
Today a Cook County judge vacated the convictions of a group of men, known as the Englewood 5, who were falsely arrested and harshly prosecuted for crimes they did not commit. This decision and the Nov. 3 exoneration of the Dixmoor 5 in a separate but similar case show that evidence, hope, and tireless legal and community advocacy can overcome long-standing injustices.More »