Wednesday, July 06, 2005


20. California...Convicted 1976
While incarcerated in a California state prison, Graham and co-defendant Eugene Allen were charged with killing a prison correctional officer.Graham's first trial ended in a mistrial when the jury could not agree on a verdict.He was convicted and sentenced to death in his second trial. The California Supreme Court reversed his conviction on the grounds that the prosecutor had improperly used their peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from the jury. Graham and Allen are both black. The third trial ended in another hung jury and the jury in the fourth trial acquitted him.

19. Louisiana...Convicted 1975
Johnny Ross, a black man, was sentenced to death for the murder of a white woman when he was 16 years old. Ross confessed to the rape after allegedly being beaten by the police and waived his right to council without benefit of advice from an adult.Investigators for the Southern Poverty Law Center sought a new trial for Ross and showed that Ross' blood type was not the same as the type in the semen found in the victim. With this evidence, the New Orleans District Attorney's office released Ross.

South Carolina...Convicted 1979
Linder was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a highway patrol officer. The prosecution maintained that Linder shot the officer without provocation but Linder insisted that he shot the officer in self-defense after the officer fired 6 shots at him.In Linder's retrial, previously undisclosed ballistics evidence from a state crime lab confirmed Linder's story and he was acquitted.

Oklahoma...Convicted 1978
Giddens was tried and sentenced to death for a murder in Oklahoma based on the testimony of the man that was originally arrested for the crime. Though Johnnie Gray was originally arrested for the murder of a grocery store clerk, he testified that he had accompanied Giddens to the crime scene and charges were not sought against him.The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, which found that Gray’s testimony was unreliable and the evidence against Giddens insufficient reversed Giddens conviction. The charges against Gidden were dropped.


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