Free At Last! Herman Wallace Has Finally Been Released

 From: Angola3News

http://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2013/10/2/after_4_decades_in_solitary_dying

MEDIA COVERAGE:  Oct. 2 episode of Democracy Now (embedded above)  II  NY Times  II  CNN  II  Times-Picayune (with photos of Herman’s release)  II  NBC  II  ABC / AP  II  South China Morning Post / AFP  II NY Daily News / Reuters  II  Huffington Post Live TV (w/ Robert King)  II WAFB CBS News Baton Rouge (video)  II  CBS National News  II  UPI  II  Catholic Online (w/ WGNO ABC video of Herman’s arrive at LSU)  II  The Independent, UK  II  Medical Daily

(Herman upon release, on route to the LSU hospital. 
You can click on the photo above to enlarge.)

–View A3 Coalition photos from Herman’s release at Flickr and Indybay.

After a long, dramatic day, we are humbled to report that the indomitable, irrepressible Herman Wallace has just been released after spending over 4 decades in solitary confinement.

Even after Judge Jackson’s late evening ruling denying the State’s attempt at a stay and again ordering his immediate release, the State continued to stall.  Once notified of the continued delay, Judge Jackson stoically refused to leave his quarters until Herman was released, and just minutes ago, Herman was driven away from the prison a free man, awake and able to revel in this miraculous turn of events.

The State will likely still appeal to the 5th Circuit and attempt to have the order reversed, and may even re-indict him, but it seems that Herman, against all odds, has won.

Despite all the exciting drama of the day, this is obviously a deeply bittersweet moment for all those involved in the campaign as we know Herman may not have much longer amongst us, but thanks to the unwavering commitment to justice that those on this list have demonstrated over the years on A3’s behalf, he will not die in prison behind solitary bars.

Now we must resolve collectively to harness this rediscovered energy and excitement and dedicate ourselves to getting Albert the same result without delay.

If you happen to be in New Orleans, supporters are holding a vigil tonight starting in just a few moments at 8pm. Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate this incredible news. Coliseum Square was the original location, but it has been changed to LSU, outside the hospital emergency room, at 2021 Perdido St New Orleans, LA 70112.

With awe, bewilderment, and a renewed optimism, we will keep supporters updated.

Herman Wallace, April 2013: All Power to the People!
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Can Mark Farley Grant get justice — in an election year?

Innocence Project established another man’s guilt two years ago, yet Governor O’Malley has taken no action.

Dan Rodricks
April 13, 2010
The Baltimore Sun

In the matter of Mark Farley Grant — who was convicted in 1983 of a murder that the Innocence Project argues persuasively he did not commit — there is no DNA evidence. There’s no old shirt with stains, no jacket or pants in a forensics lab, nothing that could undergo the kind of biological testing that might exonerate him and force the governor of Maryland to release Mr. Grant after 27 years in prison. There’s nothing CSI-like about the case.

No, the things that would prove Mr. Grant’s innocence are kind of old-fashioned: affidavits of witnesses who said they lied at his trial way back when, the discovery of a failed lie detector test by the key prosecution witness, that sort of thing. The Innocence Project, a faculty-student effort at the University of Maryland School of Law, conducted a lengthy investigation into Mr. Grant’s claims of innocence. The students burned some shoe leather, found many of the witnesses and identified another person as the perpetrator. Mr. Grant, the report said, was the victim of perjured testimony and a flawed defense.

Mr. Grant was 14 when police arrested him for the street shooting of another boy, Michael Gough, during a botched robbery one winter night in West Baltimore. Mr. Grant claimed his innocence at trial. He claimed his innocence after being sentenced to life. When he wrote from prison to the University of Maryland Innocence Project for help, the students and professors there took nearly two years to review his case. They took another two years to gather information and affidavits. Their report on the case, in which they identified the apparent real killer of Michael Gough, went to the governor’s office with a request for clemency for Mr. Grant.

That was nearly two years ago.

No action has been taken. Mark Farley Grant is still in prison in Hagerstown.

Given the Maryland governor’s reluctance to commute a sentence or grant clemency to anyone — as well as his embrace of the no-parole-for-lifers and “life means life” philosophy — it’s hard to imagine Martin O’Malley ever acting on Mr. Grant’s case, never mind in an election year.

But, of course, had there been some DNA, this all might have been over by now, and Mark Grant would be out on the street looking for a job.

Now that we are in the age of DNA testing, claims of wrongful convictions without it appear to be at a striking disadvantage, especially if calculating, what’s-in-it-for-me politicians are asked to make a judgment call. The availability of DNA testing and resulting exonerations have “made it harder for prisoners seeking to prove their innocence in the much larger number of cases that do not involve DNA evidence,” The New York Times reported last year. “Many lawyers have grown more reluctant to take on these kinds of cases because they are much harder and more expensive to pursue.”

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