Thursday, August 06, 2015

14th Wrongful Conviction Vacated in Brooklyn

A man found guilty of murder in 2009 has become the 14th person exonerated since Kenneth Thompson became Brooklyn District Attorney in January 2014.

Joel Fowler, 35, was freed Tuesday after the office's Conviction Review Unit conducted a year-long review of his case.

Fowler, who spent about 7 1/2 years in prison, had been convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life.

During proceedings Tuesday, Mark Hale, chief of the review unit, told Acting Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D'Emic that a "multifaceted confluence of issues" had led to Fowler's wrongful conviction.

The factors included faulty legal representation, an unreliable witness and Fowler's false confession. He was 17 at the time of the incident.

Hale said in court that Fowler was nowhere near the scene of the murder.

"We are determined to correct miscarriages of justice when we find them. This is the right thing to do," Thompson said in a statement.

Fowler was represented by Lynn Fahey, attorney-in-charge of Appellate Advocates, as well as David P. Greenberg, supervising attorney, and De Nice Powell, director of innocence investigations.

In an interview, Fahey said the district attorney's office "really should be complimented. ... They really became convinced and did the right thing. It was joy to see."

Fahey also credited Greenberg and Powell for their work on the case.

Appellate Advocates handled Fowler's direct appeal when the conviction was affirmed in 2012, but Fahey said Fowler's conviction was "one of those nagging cases."

"Instead of closing the file, we followed up with the D.A.'s office, and eventually this is where we got," she said.

Original report here

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