Anthony Ray Hinton was wrongfully convicted of two counts of capital murder in 1985 in Alabama and spent 30 years on death row before being exonerated in 2015. Here are some key points about his case:
- Hinton was convicted based on flawed ballistics evidence. The prosecution claimed that bullets found at the crime scene were fired from a gun owned by Hinton. However, the ballistics expert who testified at Hinton’s trial was later found to have used faulty science and unreliable methods in his analysis.
- Hinton had a poor defence. Hinton’s court-appointed attorney did not have the resources to hire a competent ballistics expert to challenge the prosecution’s evidence, and Hinton’s alibi witnesses were not properly investigated or presented at trial.
- Hinton maintained his innocence throughout his imprisonment. Despite facing the death penalty, Hinton refused to confess to the crimes and maintained that he was innocent.
- Hinton’s case received national attention and was championed by civil rights advocates, including Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.
- Hinton was eventually exonerated in 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that he had the right to a new trial with a competent ballistics expert. The prosecution ultimately dropped the charges against Hinton after the new ballistics expert concluded that the bullets could not be matched to Hinton’s gun.
- Hinton’s case highlights the flaws in the criminal justice system, particularly in the use of faulty forensic evidence and the inadequate defence provided to many defendants, particularly those who are poor and Black.
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