Picture of Gary Delsohn

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Convicting the Wrong Man: Part One of Two

Maybe a detective lied on the witness stand. Or a prosecutor played games with the evidence. A snitch could have testified falsely after getting a sweet deal on his own case. Maybe a defense lawyer was incompetent. He even could have been napping in court, as happened in at least one infamous Texas case. When news breaks about people convicted of crimes they didn’t commit, these are the kinds of transgressions that are usually cited. Sometimes, though, the wrong person can be convicted of a crime for all the right reasons. Prosecutor Mark Curry felt so confident that the police artist sketch of David Quindt looked so much like the defendant that Curry held it up for the jury to see. (Artisit’s sketch of Quindt during closing arguments.) David Quindt, shown here in a jail booking photo, always maintained his innocence. Consider 24-year-old David Jonathan Quindt, who on the afternoon of May 22, 2000 was freed from Sacramento County jail after spending 14 months behind bars for his alleged part in a marijuana home invasion

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Convicting the Wrong Man: Part Two of Two

The Christmas holidays were over and so was his last big murder trial. Veteran homicide prosecutor Mark Curry was cleaning up the clutter in his small office near the county courthouse when the phone rang. It would have been easier to let his answering machine pick up, but something told him to take the call. “Hey Curry, remember me. This is Brian Lutz,” the caller said. It didn’t take long for Curry, a deputy district attorney in Sacramento, CA, to place the name or voice. Lutz was a thin, 20-year-old kid with ratty blond hair, a runny nose and no end of small-time problems with the law. David Quindt (CQ) is seen at his Fair Oaks home Monday 5/22/00 with his daughter Alexis Quindt (CQ) age 2 in his arms, hours oafter he was released from Sacramento County Jail. A judge ruled that Quindt was wrongly accused and wrongly convicted of the Oct 1998 killing of Riley Haeling (CQ). Quindt spent the past 15 month in jail, and is trying to re-establish a relationship with

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Cracking An Unsolved Rape Case Makes History

For years after she was raped, Laurie Williams (not her real name) had occasional nightmares that took her back to that night in August 1994 when a man broke into her apartment and threatened to kill her unless he got what he demanded. If she fell asleep with the bedroom door closed, she woke in a panic wondering if someone was on the other side. If the door were open, she’d lie awake feeling too unprotected. A friendly and outgoing woman of 24 when she was raped, Williams withdrew into a shell. All she did was work at her job as a credit union loan officer and go to school. She was afraid to go out at night. If she saw men who were average height and stocky, like her attacker, she’d come unhinged. “I would have to leave and go home,” she said. “I couldn’t handle it at all.” Over and over, she’d replay the attack in her head, imagining ways “I emerged victorious — not him.” Though she never gave up hope her

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