City Hall protesters urge NYC prosecutors to do more to review possible wrongful conviction cases

Human rights activists publicly scolded New York City’s district attorneys at a Tuesday rally in Decrease Manhattan, blaming them for a slew of wrongful convictions made within the final half decade.

Members from a coalition of advocacy teams similar to Households of Wrongfully Convicted and Vocal NY congregated in entrance of City Hall on Broadway and Murray Avenue to demand that incoming Mayor Eric Adams, together with Governor Kathy Hochul, Legal professional Normal Letitia James, and the members of the New York City Council, deal with the conviction review course of.

“It is estimated that there are thousands of people in our prisons that are wrongfully convicted, maybe even more if they’re 2.5 million people in prison, 10% are to be wrongfully convicted. Our concern right now is the district attorneys in New York and the elected officials who have not stepped up. The district attorney Conviction Review Units have been abysmal. They promised a lot but they haven’t produced,” Lonnie Soury, co-founder of Households of Wrongfully Convicted mentioned.

Attendees maintain images of family members who they are saying have been wrongfully convicted. Picture by Dean Moses

These with little kids and brothers and sisters who they consider are serving time for crimes they didn’t commit joined the rally hugging pictures of their family members and even wearing shirts with the faces of these behind bars printed on the material.

Forming a circle within the frigid air, they lampooned all 5 borough district attorneys for what they mentioned was a failure to look into and overturn cases of the wrongfully convicted by means of the “nonfunctional” Convictions Review Models (CRU), save for Queens DA Melinda Katz, whom they applauded for her work within the final 18 months.

One lady holds pictures of a liked one which she says was wrongfully convicted. Picture by Dean Moses

“Melinda Katz has stepped up and she met with us before she was elected. She opened up a wrongful conviction unit. They have exonerated or overturned eight convictions in 18 months,” Soury mentioned.

Nevertheless, no more punches had been pulled when it got here to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island District Attorneys.

Straight from the mouths of those that have wallowed in jail for many years for crimes they had been later cleared of, a number of exonerated people aimed to present politicians in native authorities the significance of inspecting the present state of the conviction review course of by sharing their tales.

The rally denounced district attorneys for a nonfunctional Convictions Review Models. Picture by Dean Moses

“We’re here demanding that elected officials do their job. That’s right. Over $300 million was spent on wrongful convictions the last few years, yet the mayor hasn’t said one word about wrongful conviction,” mentioned Derrick Hamilton, who spent 21 years in jail. “We are not here to play games. We are here to make demands. Eric Adams, we love you. We actually want you to lead in this department.”

Formally, a New York City mayor lacks the facility to order prosecutions or felony case critiques, although the official could advocate publicly for higher motion from the boroughs’ district attorneys, that are below state management.

Gerald Barn, who spent 5 1/2 years behind bars after being wrongfully convicted, agreed – and even went so far as to allude to the town’s crime problem is, partially, to wrongful convictions. That actuality, he mentioned, compels some younger youngsters to take up arms when their moms and dads are arrested.

“You want to come to our neighborhoods and talk about gun violence. But what about the violence that’s coming out of your office, right? You’re putting felonies on innocent people. You’re taking the fathers out of the homes. No wonder the crime is rising in this damn city,” Barn mentioned.


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