July 20, 2022
CONTACT: Mariah McGough, firstname.lastname@example.org
VOCAL-NY RESPONDS TO THE EXONERATION OF 3 NEW YORKERS AFTER 25 YEARS IMPRISONED ON COERCED CONFESSIONS
NEW YORK — In response to the exoneration of Vincent Ellerbe, James Irons and Thomas Malik – the latter two who were just released from prison this past week – VOCAL-NY released the following statement, attributable to Roger Clark, a leader with the Civil Rights Union:
“New York State has a wrongful conviction problem and we need to fix it. Last week’s exoneration is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many others living in limbo right now.It’s not right for someone who didn’t commit a crime to spend decades in prison. We need to pass the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act and make sure lawmakers are confirming fair judges who are not blindly following the lead of prosecutors.”
During the 2022 legislative session, VOCAL-NY advocated for the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act (sponsored by Senator Zellnor Myrie and Assemblymember Dan Quart), but state leadership failed to advance the bill, despite polling showing the bill had broad bipartisan support among voters.
New York has a serious wrongful conviction problem. More than 300 people have been exonerated in New York since 1989, resulting in a collective 3,068 years of life lost to wrongful convictions. New York ranks third highest in the number of wrongful convictions in the nation, trailing behind Texas and Illinois. Because state law makes it effectively impossible for innocent people who pleaded guilty to clear their names in court, the true number of wrongful convictions is certainly much higher.