Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Charles Ray Finch: North Carolina: Wrongfully convicted; Spent more than four decades behind bars after being railroaded by police and prosecutors; A horrific blot on the U.S.A. and its criminal justice system. Yet apparently only one editorial in the entire country - by the Wilson Times (a paper which was founded in 1867 by the pastor of the 'Wilson Primitive Baptist Church')...It's headed 'Finch’s exoneration a cautionary tale for cops, prosecutors.'..."Finch had been accused of fatally shooting Black Creek gas station owner Richard “Shadow”Holloman during a failed robbery attempt on Feb. 13. 1976 despite having alibi witnesses. Faulty evidence led to a guilty verdict. Wilson County sheriff’s deputies had dressed Finch to match an eyewitness’ vague description of the suspect, cueing the witness to select him in a lineup. A medical examiner who initially identified a shotgun similar to Holloman’s as the murder weapon later recanted his testimony and said a handgun was used to kill the shopkeeper. From the time of his arrest, Finch insisted he was innocent."

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Finch is the oldest and longest-serving inmate in North Carolina to have his conviction overturned. He spent 43 long years behind bars and is now entering the twilight of his life. He’s still ailing from a stroke he suffered while in state custody. Family members shared words of acceptance and forgiveness last week, with daughter Katherine Jones-Bailey resolving to “leave the past in the past.” That past, however, includes the prime of her father’s life, stolen from him by cops and prosecutors blinded by tunnel vision and determined to make the evidence fit their theory. When a Wilson County jury convicted him of murder, Finch received a mandatory death sentence. Following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the state’s high court commuted his sentence to life in prison in 1977. Were it not for federal intervention, North Carolina would have executed an innocent man. The other reason this story doesn’t end with “happily ever after” is that, while Charles Ray Finch didn’t kill Richard Holloman, someone did. And that person was never held accountable.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: