Fighting to Free the Forgotten
Those without DNA evidence to exonerate them are forgotten by the media but they are not alone: the majority of wrongful convictions are unrelated to forensic evidence, such as false accusations, witness misidentification, and government misconduct. EXI was founded to take on this important work.
“A wrongful conviction is not simply an injustice, it is also a catastrophe both for the injured party and for the criminal justice system,” said Hon. Richard Carruthers, NY Supreme Court in Dec. 10, 2009 after dismissing indictment of EXI client, William McCaffrey.
EXI won exoneration for William McCaffrey, for his 2006 convictions for rape, kidnapping, and assault. Mr. McCaffrey’s exoneration was spurred by EXI’s investigation into inconclusive DNA evidence and the recantations of prosecution witnesses, including the alleged victim who admitted to her priest that she had fabricated the story regarding Mr. McCaffrey’s crimes. In addition to Mr. McCaffrey’s exoneration, EXI has won new trials for two other clients and is currently in the investigation stage of 3 other exoneration cases, while reviewing hundreds more for possible selection for representation should they meet EXI’s exacting criteria.
EXI does all of this on an extremely limited budget and with a staff of only 3 attorneys (and only one full time attorney). The other cases EXI is currently investigating are: Richard Rosario who has served 15 years in prison for a 1996 Bronx homicide that occurred when he was more that a thousand miles away in Florida – an alibi confirmed by 13 witnesses. Despite the overwhelming evidence of his innocence, his post-conviction motions were denied largely on procedural grounds. At the request of Richard and his attorneys at Morrison & Foerster and the NAACP LDF, EXI is reinvestigating his case and preparing to return to court to see that justice is finally done.
EXI is also investigating the case of Rafael Jiminez, who has spent 18 years in prison for a 1992 Bronx murder that we believe he did not commit. Rafael, a NY-born Puerto Rican, was 17 years old at the time of the crime. Both eyewitnesses – who were also Puerto Rican – told police that the shooter was a 24 to 26 year old Dominican man who spoke with a recognizable Dominican accent. Rafael did not match other aspects of the killer’s physical appearance that they described, either. The only witness to identify him in a lineup prior to trial viewed a ‘wanted’ poster featuring his photo shortly before making the identification.
Cory Epps was convicted of a 1997 Buffalo murder. Based on the description provided by the only eyewitness, police created a composite of the killer’s appearance, which resembled Cory. Cory was identified after he volunteered to stand in a lineup that he believed would exonerate him. The trial judge expressed strong doubts about the reliability of the uncorroborated identification testimony when sentencing Cory. EXI is currently investigating evidence that originally surfaced before Cory’s conviction was final – evidence which points to the real killer.
More About This Charity
The Exoneration Initiative
The Exoneration Initiative (EXI) is a pioneering organization that provides free legal assistance to wrongfully convicted persons in New York. We primarily focus on the most challenging cases, those that lack DNA evidence. Our mission is simple: To exonerate the actually innocent.
- This Charity has raised $110,000 in the past year.
- This Charity has helped 6 people in the past year.
- This Achievement freed 1 man freed from his wrongful conviction and many other active cases are still awaiting justice.