Detroit-based news station WXYZ recently ran extensive coverage about a case that the UW Law School's Wisconsin Innocence Project has been working on in partnership with the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic.
Ten years ago, a Detroit woman was killed in what Detroit police called a robbery gone bad. In just three days, the case was closed and two men, 24-year-old Justly Johnson and 20-year-old Kendrick Scott, were arrested and charged with murder. Both were convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
They were convicted, however, on what critics say was very thin evidence. There were no eyewitnesses. No murder weapon was found, no physical evidence at all. Now, a decade later, there is powerful evidence suggesting at least one of the convicted killers, Justly Johnson, may be innocent.
Johnson and his lawyers from the Wisconsin Innocence Project and the Michigan Innocence Clinic are fighting to get his case back into court. They have returned to Wayne County Circuit court three times asking for a new hearing but have been turned down each time. Johnson has also lost twice at the Michigan Court of Appeals.
UW Law Clinical Associate Professor Byron Lichstein says the Innocence Project isn't asking anyone to fling the prison doors open and let Justly Johnson out. They just want a fresh set of eyes on the case to look at everything that's come out since Justly's conviction.
"He's serving the rest of his life in prison for this murder that he always said he did not commit," said Lichstein. "I think the least the system can do is at least give him a chance to present what hasn’t been presented yet."
To watch the WXYZ TV coverage and read the original article, click here.
Submitted by UW Law News on July 1, 2011
This article appears in the categories: In the Media