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DNA Evidence Exonerates New Jersey Man of 1988 Rape

Society & Culture  (tags: crime, ethics, government, freedoms )

- 960 days ago -
With the consent of the Monmouth County ProsecutorâEUR(TM)s Office, a New Jersey court today vacated the 1988 rape conviction of Dion Harrell based on new DNA evidence proving his innocence.


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Phyllis P (232)
Thursday August 4, 2016, 2:27 pm
With the prosecutor’s consent, the court also vacated two felony convictions arising from Harrell’s failure to adequately comply with the state’s sex offender registry, restrictions that would never have been placed on him had he not been wrongly convicted. In total, he wrongly served 4 years of an 8-year prison sentence and nearly 20 years on the sex offender registry.

His case is a powerful reminder that the wrongly convicted continue to suffer long after they are released from prison and shouldn’t be denied DNA testing to prove their innocence. Fortunately, New Jersey has already amended its DNA testing law to eliminate its incarceration requirement, but several states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, have yet to remove barriers to testing that can prove innocence.”

Phyllis P (232)
Thursday August 4, 2016, 2:31 pm
Harrell testified in his own defense, insisting that he was playing basketball with friends, that included a police detective, and later went on a bike ride with his three-year-old nephew to a friend’s house nearby. Several of his friends, including the detective, also testified in his defense. On May 19, 1992, Harrell was found guilty of second degree sexual assault.

Harrell’s case comes to light at a time the state is confronting other issues of forensic concern. Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released the initial results of its review of convictions involving microscopic hair comparison provided by FBI examiners. The FBI acknowledged that its microscopic hair analysts provided flawed testimony in more than 95 percent of the 327 nationwide cases it reviewed.

To date, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has identified 21 individuals convicted in New Jersey in cases where FBI analysts made errors in their testimony and/or reports. In addition, the FBI has alerted states of the potential need to review convictions involving state employed analysts who received FBI training and may have provided testimony that exceed the limits of science. The FBI provided training to New Jersey State Police hair examiners from 1979-2000.


Beth M (138)
Thursday August 4, 2016, 5:26 pm
What a shame. How fortunate that we now have accurate DNA testing that can be used, but much of the older DNA samples have disappeared. How many more people have been wrongly convicted through the years? Unfortunately the damage to his reputation has already been done and no amount of monetary compensation can change it.

Dawnie W (250)
Thursday August 4, 2016, 10:21 pm
What a terrible shame and that it took so long for justice to prevail. This is why I do not support capital punishment, how many innocent souls have been put to death with the wrong evidence. And once someone has been besmirched the mud sticks and some will always think of the person as guilty.
❤️ Thanking you kindly for sharing this information❤️
💕💛ღ❤️Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ💕♥L💜ve, Hugs and Peace go with you all♥💕Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ❤️ღ💛💕

Birgit W (160)
Friday August 5, 2016, 6:20 am
I wonder how many innocent people are in jail. This is just terrible.

Danuta W (1251)
Saturday August 6, 2016, 4:04 am

Henriette Matthijssen (154)
Monday August 8, 2016, 4:16 pm
Terrible ordeal for 20 years he fought while being innocent! There is no justice in our judicial system only just us! Thanks Phyllis.

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 9, 2016, 8:44 pm
I'm glad he didn't give up and gets to savor vindication...ghastly that he had to suffer while innocent for so many years...thanks Phyllis

Lona G (66)
Saturday August 13, 2016, 5:17 pm
It's marvelous Dion Harrell has finally been vindicated. Sadly it took him 20 years and his life and reputation has been damaged for good, years he's never going to get back. DNA testing has been around for a long time now and has proven to give trustworthy results when handled correctly, so Harrell's 20 year fight could have been cut short if authorities had cooperated. But the judicial system rather ruins the life of an innocent man than forgo a conviction and/or admit to making a mistake.

Mandi T (366)
Monday August 15, 2016, 5:49 pm
Oh my just terrible. TY

roxy H (350)
Tuesday August 16, 2016, 3:36 pm
so many waiting, thank goodness for this release.. ty for this great news :)

Trish K (29)
Tuesday August 16, 2016, 4:14 pm
I don't think NJ is a state that offers compensation to the wrongfully convicted. Someone should start a campaign to rectify compensation and give this poor guy a chance at a life he was denied because of his color. Bless him and those who love him.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday August 16, 2016, 5:26 pm
I Am so happy for his release

Shirley S (187)
Tuesday August 16, 2016, 5:38 pm
I agree that compensation should occur in these erroneous cases. What this poor man has gone through is disgusting. He even had a legitimate alibi that wasn't enough to clear him.

Susanne R (236)
Tuesday August 16, 2016, 7:55 pm
I hope he has many years to enjoy his freedom?

S J (124)
Wednesday August 17, 2016, 7:03 pm
terrible but glad now he got freedom. NO MORE DEATH PENALTY

Suzanne L (89)
Wednesday August 17, 2016, 10:07 pm
Really hard to find words except I hope every day of the rest of his life will hold some good things.

Tanya W (65)
Saturday August 20, 2016, 9:27 pm
Noted, thank you Phyllis. May there be sunshine in every day for him now 🌈
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