Tuesday, October 14, 2014

William Lopez: Tragic death of man final exonerated after 23 years brings calls for reforms - including a standardized system of evidence retention.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  My friend and colleague Win Wahrer, from the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, sent me a note about William Lopez who, sadly,  passed away before he could take part along with Jeffrey Deskovic in the International Wrongful Conviction Day.  Win noted that Jeffrey Deskovic had written Jeffrey  an article in William Lopez's  memory  to which I am devoting this post. Win met Bill Lopez  in Portland in April, 2014. "He was a lovely man who tragically spent 23 years in prison for a crime he did not commit," she says.  "Unfortunately Bill only had a very short time back in the free world when he passed away from an asthma attack at the age of 55 years old. I would love to have him remembered…his intention was to participate in Wrongful Conviction Day.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

POST: "It could happen to you honors a lost hero for justice, published by "It could happen to you," Vol. 4,  No. 176, October 1, 2014, by Jeffrey Deskovic; Jeffrey Deskovic is President of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice and a member of the "It Could Happen To You Inc,"  Advisory Board.

GIST: "William’s innocence is demonstrable from four different   directions:  1) the aforementioned affidavit, 2) the witness walked out of jail two weeks after William was sentenced thus proving she did receive a benefit for her testimony, 3) initial reports of the crime state that the perpetrators were Panamanian; William was Puerto Rican; the report said the perpetrator was 6’2; William was 5’8; the report said that the perpetrator was 100 lbs heavier that William, 4) the alibis, whom it was discovered that William’s lawyer never spoke to, 5) a witness to the initial crime who had been deported to the Dominican Republic who had been forced at gunpoint to knock on the door of the apartment where the drugs had been sold was located and he stated that William was not there.........His passing was sudden, unexpected, devastating, and tragic. He would want his story to be used to further the cause, so that what happened to him didn’t have to happen to other people.  His case illustrates the need for a number of reforms: better identification procedures; an external evidence corroboration requirement;  addressing bad lawyering; automatic discovery; a commission on prosecutor misconduct; criminalization of clear-cut, intentional prosecutorial misconduct; the importance of substantive justice rather than proceduralism and accuracy versus finality of conviction. But other systemic deficiencies that were not present in his case are just as vital, for those too lead to wrongful convictions, which he was opposed to. Items such as video-taping interrogations; a standardized evidence preservation system.""

The entire post can be found  at:


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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;