City of Philadelphia Facing Multiple Claims of Wrongful Conviction
The City of Philadelphia has been at the center of several high profile cases over the past couple of months involving individuals serving time for murder convictions who had their convictions vacated on appeal.
Walter Ogrod Sues City of Philadelphia after Overturning His Murder Conviction
Walter Ogrod, represented by the Marrone Law Firm, LLC, was convicted for the murder of four-year-old Barbara Jean Horn in Philadelphia. Horn’s body was found in a box on the curb in front of her home in July 1988. Ogrod was tried twice for Horn’s murder, with his first trial ending in a mistrial and the second trial resulting in a conviction in October 1996. Ogrod was subsequently sentenced to death.
However, about a year ago the court overturned Ogrod’s conviction, after male DNA found on Horn’s body was not that of Ogrod’s. Horn’s mother had also previously stated that she believed Ogrod was innocent of Horn’s murder.
Through his counsel at Marrone Law Firm, LLC, Ogrod is now pursuing a wrongful conviction claim against the city of Philadelphia, arguing that the police officers and prosecutors involved in his case were responsible for his wrongful conviction.
Other Cases of Wrongful Murders Convictions from Philadelphia
Ogrod’s case is not the only recent incident of a murder conviction in Philadelphia being overturned due to newly-discovered exculpatory evidence. Curtis Crosland was convicted of the murder of a store owner, resulting in Crosland being sentenced to life imprisonment. Crosland was released after the district attorney’s office formally dropped his charges, following a ruling by a federal order that ordered Crosland released or retried.
The district attorney office’s Conviction Integrity Unit admitted that Crosland’s case involved misconduct by investigators along with evidence of Crosland’s actual innocence. The CIU found that investigators during Crosland’s original trial concealed adverse information about the witnesses who accused Crosland of the murder, along with other exculpatory evidence that pointed to another suspect. The CIU noted that the murder case was cold until informants facing unrelated criminal charges of their own accused Crosland of the murder, purportedly in exchange for more lenient treatment in their own cases. Investigators then charged Crosland despite the unreliability of the informants, including one informant who had previously given false statements in another murder case.
What Philadelphia Is Doing to Address Problems of Wrongful Convictions
Crosland’s case represents the 21st exoneration obtained by the CIU. The CIU is a division of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office that reviews convicted persons’ legitimate claims of innocence and wrongful conviction. In addition to investigating past convictions for evidence of an offender’s actual innocence, the unit has also developed a police-misconduct database that prosecutors can refer to in deciding whether to accept or decline prosecution of a case where the investigating officers involved have a history of withholding or destroying evidence, tampering with witnesses, or engaging in perjury. However, the CIU notes that it had faced significant opposition and resistance from the Philadelphia Police Department, the local police union, municipal court and district judges, and even other prosecutors in the District Attorney’s office.
Contact a Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyer to Discuss Your Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one suffer a violation of your civil or constitutional rights in Pennsylvania? Right now, you need an aggressive civil rights attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation and justice you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Marrone Law Firm, LLC represent clients in Philadelphia, Center City, University City, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (866) 732-6700 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 200 S. Broad St., Suite 400, Philadelphia, PA 19102.
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