Friday, March 14, 2008

2nd on Update: Innocence in Mississippi

Yesterday Innocence Project client Levon Brooks was officially exonerated!

At a hearing this morning in Macon, Mississippi, Innocence Project client Levon Brooks was fully cleared of charges relating to a 1990 murder for which he was wrongfully incarcerated for 15 years. Brooks was convicted of the murder based on the faulty forensic testimony of Dr. Steven Hayne and Michael West, and sentenced to life in prison. The same forensic experts also testified at the trial of Innocence Project client Kennedy Brewer, who was exonerated last month after serving 15 years (several of them on death row) for an eerily similar murder in the same town as the murder for which Brooks was convicted.

DNA testing and other evidence now shows that both murders were committed by the same man, Justin Albert Johnson, who has admitted that he killed both child victims alone. At a hearing last month, Brewer was fully exonerated and Brooks was released, but charges remained against Brooks until today.

Drs. Steven Hayne and Michael West are still under investigation for potentially knowingly providing false testimony. There has been a call to officially review all cases in which they were "expert" witnesses.

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