ALABAMA (USA): MAN EXONERATED AFTER 30 YEARS ON DEATH ROW
April 2, 2015: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Laura Petro ordered Anthony Hinton, 59, Black, released after granting the state's motion to dismiss charges against him.
Hinton will walk free tomorrow after spending close to three decades in jail over the 1985 murder of two men in two separate restaurant hold-ups.
The case against Hinton fell apart after testimony from his trial supposedly matching bullets to various crimes and a gun found in Hinton's home was discredited, thanks to the work of his attorneys at the Equal Justice Initiative.
Â Judge Petro dismissed all charges against Hinton after his lawyers from the Equal Justice Initiative argued there was not enough evidence linking him to the crimes. Hinton was charged after two restaurant managers were shot dead in a robbery at a fast-food restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. Police did not find eyewitnesses or fingerprints evidence. That same year, another restaurant was held up at gun point and the manager was shot and seriously injured. The manager identified Hinton as the suspect, though Hinton said he was at work at the time 15 miles away.
Police seized a gun owned by Hinton's mother and said it was used in all three crimes.
Bryan Stevenson, an attorney for the Equal Justice Initiative, the group that helped win his release, said Hinton, who is black, was wrongly convicted in part because the color of his skin. "Race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice," Stevenson said.
Forensic experts, including a former FBI agent, examined the seized gun and concluded it was not used in the crimes.
Hinton is the 152nd person on death row to be cleared since 1973 and the second to be exonerated in 2015, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Â (Sources: huffingtonpost.com, 02/04/2015)