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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veteran's Day!

Service. Sacrifice. Courage. Fortitude. Freedom. Thank you Veterans! Happy Veteran's Day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Innocent Man Freed After 22 Years Behind Bars

In 1985, Willie “Pete” Williams was convicted of rape, kidnapping and aggravated sodomy in a Georgia court. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison, and served 22 of those years. All for crimes he didn’t commit. Another innocent man serving time. Now, at 45-years-old, Mr. Williams has been exonerated by DNA evidence, which also was subsequently used to convict the real perpetrator of the crime.

You might see a trend in some of my blog posts?

The full article on this case can be found at:

Mr. Williams is one of 208 wrongly convicted individuals freed by the efforts of the Innocence Project. Of this number, 15 had been sentenced to death.

In Mr. Williams’ case, the conviction was based primarily on mistaken witness identifications. Witness and victim identifications can be some of the most unreliable evidence in any trial, yet identifications are often given significant weight by juries.

According to the CNN story, Barry Scheck, the co-founder of the Innocence Project, said “Mistaken eyewitness identification has long been the single biggest factor in the conviction of innocents. That has got to be important to everybody, because if we can reform identification procedures, it will keep more innocent people out of jail and convict criminals who really commit the crimes."

I encourage you to visit the Innocence Project website ( and to read some of my other blog posts on similar topics. Push for reforms in your criminal justice system that will help prevent injustices like these from occurring.

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, PC

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank Spinner and I (attorney Richard Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens & The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation.