Joseph J. Colarusso, Attorney at Law
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Innocent man placed behind bars

In 1989, a Connecticut man received a 50-year prison sentence after being convicted of first-degree sexual assault, felony murder and third-degree burglary. He spent nearly 20 years in prison before DNA evidence showed he was innocent of the crime. According to the Innocence Project, unvalidated forensic science methods were used and the erroneous findings were admitted to the court as evidence in the case. Furthermore, unreliable informants made false statements saying the innocent man had admitted to the crime, prompting law enforcement officials to arrest the man and bring charges against him.

When the defendant’s attorney wished to provide information to the jury regarding the false statements made by anonymous informants, he was denied and not able to present the case. Fingerprint analysis showed that the accused man’s fingerprints did not match any at the crime scene and hair analysis also eliminated the suspect as a positive match for hairs that were found at the crime scene. After examining the rape kit, the perpetrator was shown to be a non-secretor, which is consistent with 20 percent of all men. The suspect just happened to be a non-secretor as well. Although the jury was equally divided at first, they came back with a guilty verdict and the man was placed behind bars.

Stories of real people who are wrongfully charged and convicted of crimes they did not commit show the injustices in our justice system. Even after forensic science pointed away from the suspect, the jury still found him guilty based on false accusations of unidentified informants.

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