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April 20, 2023 37 mins

The case of the Central Park Five is one of the most notorious crime cases in history. In 1989, a young woman named Trisha Meili was jogging in the park when she was attacked, raped, and beaten. But during the investigation, police wrongly accused and convicted five young men of color. They were later exonerated, but only years after already serving a prison sentence. We discuss the issue of wrongful conviction with Jason Flom, Board Member with the Innocence Project and host of the podcast “Wrongful Conviction."

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
You're listening to Facing Evil, a production of iHeartRadio and
Tenderfoot TV. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast
are solely those of the individuals participating in the show
and do not represent those of iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV.
This podcast contained subject matter which may not be suitable
for everyone. Listener discretion is advised.

Speaker 2 (00:26):
Hello, everyone, welcome back to Facing Evil. I'm Rosha Paccerreiro.

Speaker 3 (00:31):
And I'm Ivet gen teelay.

Speaker 1 (00:32):
In.

Speaker 3 (00:32):
This week, we're talking about the case of Tricia Miley,
also known by most as the Central Park Jogger.

Speaker 2 (00:39):
And for those of you who don't know about this case,
in April of nineteen eighty nine, Tricia was brutally attacked
and then raped while running in the park one night,
and later five African American and Latino teenagers were arrested
for the crime. They came to be known as the
Central Park Five. Then, the biggest issue in this case

(01:04):
is that the Central Park Five were innocent and were
wrongfully convicted. So today we'll be talking with Jason Flomm,
who hosts and produce a podcast literally called Wrongful Conviction.
With Jason Flamm, I've listened.

Speaker 3 (01:18):
To a few of his episodes, and he is beyond
inspiring and he is an absolute expert. But first, our
producer Trevor is going to walk us through today's case.

Speaker 2 (01:31):
Thirty years ago, the case of the Central Park five
shook New York City to its core. Today it stands
as a cautionary tale of injustice. I ended up being
attacked and beaten, bound, gagged, and raped. I have no
memory of it because of the brain injury.

Speaker 4 (01:50):
Investigators quickly focused on a group of black and Hispanic
boys who were in the park that night.

Speaker 1 (01:56):
As soon as we get in, they separate us and
they start working on us.

Speaker 4 (02:00):
And I'm hearing Corey being physically beaten.

Speaker 1 (02:04):
In the next role, Tricia Miley was a twenty eight
year old woman who was beaten, raped, and left for
dead one night in Central Park in New York City.
Tricia had been raised in a suburb outside of Pittsburgh.
She was a passionate athlete, naturally competitive, and, as she
put it herself, quote a fighter all her life. Tricia

(02:27):
eventually moved to New York City, where she worked at
the financial firm Solomon Brothers, where she often worked late
on the night of April nineteenth, nineteen eighty nine, Tricia
Miley left her apartment for a jog just before nine
pm and headed for the park. That night, a group
of about thirty teenagers from East Harlem reportedly entered Central

(02:49):
Park from the park's north side. Police had been getting
reports of attacks against cyclists and joggers by roving bands
of teens. According to one police officer, a school teacher
who was beaten with a lead pipe quote looked like
he was dunked in a bucket of blood. At ten
fifteen pm that night, police arrested two of the teenagers,

(03:12):
Raymond Santana and Kevin Richardson, both fourteen years old. Raymond
and Kevin named thirty three other teenagers who'd been out
that night, and police would eventually arrest three more, Antron
McRae fifteen, Yusef Salam fifteen, and Corey Wise, who was sixteen.
All five were black and lived in East Harlem. At

(03:33):
one thirty am that morning, police found Trisham Miley in
a ravine three hundred feet off of one hundred and
twenty second Street. The first officer who found her said, quote,
she was beaten as badly as anybody I've ever seen beaten.
She looked like she was tortured. End quote. She had
lost seventy five to eighty percent of her blood and

(03:54):
had suffered brain damage and internal bleeding. Her left eye
socket was fractured so badly that the eye had been dislodged.
The only parts of her body that were left unbruised
were the soles of her feet and now. The interrogation
of the five teen boys took an intense turn, lasting
nearly twenty four hours. The boys later claimed that the

(04:15):
officers told them that if they would confess, they could
go home, and they did submit a videotaped confession, although
one of them, Yusef Salam, gave a written confession that
he refused to sign. There were no lawyers or parents
present at this interrogation. The boys quickly recanted their statements,
but it was too late. At a press conference, police

(04:36):
announced that they'd found the perpetrators, and their names quickly
got out to press. Many news stories presumed their guilt.
About a month later, the same day Trisia Miley woke
up from her coma, Donald Trump took out full page
ads in all of New York's major newspapers calling to
bring back the death penalty for the teens. Miley described

(04:57):
her attacker as a young man with stitches on his
A detective consulted local hospitals for a man matching that description.
He was given the name Mattia Rayas, a seventeen year
old who worked in a bodega near the crime scene.
The detective never followed up on that lead. In the
years that followed, Rayes would go on to rape at

(05:17):
least two more women. Meanwhile, the Central Park Five, as
they came to be known, were convicted of crimes ranging
from sexual abuse to rape to attempted murder. Despite the
fact that none of the boys could pinpoint the location
of the attack, and all five came up with different
incorrect timelines of the attack on Trisha Miley. There was

(05:39):
also a staggering lack of DNA, physical or forensic evidence
connecting any of them.

Speaker 4 (05:44):
To the crime.

Speaker 1 (05:45):
All five got the maximum sentence. It wasn't until two
thousand and two that Mattia Rayas came forward and confessed
that he'd been the one to rape Miley. He provided
details of the attack that were corroborated by DNA evidence.
The new district attorney conducted an investigation, after which the
city withdrew all charges against the Central Park Five. By

(06:08):
this time, all but Raymond Santana and Corey Wise had
already completed their sentences. Collectively, they sued the city and
reached a forty one million dollar settlement in twenty thirteen.
And so what actually happened to Tricia Miley? And what
does the wrongful conviction of these five young men of
color tell us about the flawed and bias justice system

(06:31):
used to find them guilty.

Speaker 2 (06:37):
So today we are going to discuss Tricia the Central
Park five, and then we're going to have a more
organic and open conversation about the issue of wrongful conviction.
And joining us today to talk about all of that
is Jason Flom.

Speaker 5 (06:57):
And Although Jason is famous as.

Speaker 2 (06:59):
A former big executive for record companies like Capital, Virgin
and Atlantic, among others, Jason has spent years fighting for
justice and raising awareness of wrongful conviction. He's worked as
a board member with the Innocence Project and also hosts
a podcast called Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom. We are

(07:21):
so honored and excited to have you here with us today.

Speaker 5 (07:24):
Welcome Jason to Facing Evil.

Speaker 4 (07:27):
Oh what a nice introduction. I'm going to get all
weepy here in a minute. You know, I love yes
and thank you for that. I am, in fact, the
founding board member of the Innison's Project. Definitely not the founder.
The founders are Peter Neufeld and Barry Sheck, but I've
been with them from for a long long time. Very
proud of the organization and what it stands for and

(07:48):
the work that we do. And the podcast, of course
is wrongful conviction. And we're now Jesus of over forty
million lessons and growing, so join us, and the stories
are every week is mind blowing. So yeah, So I'm
glad to be here with you all and excited to
do this interview. Let's let's get it on. Let's go,

(08:09):
let's roll line.

Speaker 5 (08:10):
Know well, I would love to know how did you
get here?

Speaker 4 (08:16):
So I got into this back around the time your
parents were probably meeting before they even thought about having
you all. So in nineteen ninety three, I was I
was on my way to go somewhere in a taxi
and I went to the New Standard. By the New
York Times, it was sold out, So I bought the Post.
And no one should ever buy the Post unless you
really need something to clean up what your dog is

(08:37):
doing on the street with, you know. But I did
because I wanted something to read. You know, there was
no there was no phones to carry around and read
everything on back then. So there was an article in
the Post that I was obviously meant to read. It
was a story of a kid named Stephen Lennon who
was serving fifteen years delay for a non violent first
defense cocaine possession charge in a maximum security prision in
New York State, And I was like, would you say

(08:58):
come again? Now? I knew not thing about the drug
laws at the time. I knew a lot about drugs
because I had been to rehab and I had my
own issues with substance abuse. But it just blew my
mind because I was like, he was thirty two. I
was thirty two. It could have been me, you know.
I was like, you know, he had been in prison
for six eight years already. I had been sober for

(09:19):
almost eight years. I was like that the roles could
have been reversed, you know.

Speaker 3 (09:22):
So yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, So.

Speaker 4 (09:25):
I decided I got to do something about this. I
knew nothing about anything. I had a mullet in purple.
Doc Martins you know, but I got to do something.
So I got the only attorney I the only criminal
the festivalayer I knew back then. Now I know hundreds
of them. I got the only one I could think of,
but the guy in Bob Colleena. He represented two of
my artists, Stone Tumble Palads and skid Row, and they
were getting arrested weekly back then. So I had them

(09:45):
on speed doal Yeah, and long story short, I got
to take the case pro bono. Six months later, we
end up at a court room in Malone, New York.
I'm sitting there holding the kids mother's hand. They bring
him in in shackles like he's freaking you know, the
night stalker or something, right, mass murderer.

Speaker 5 (10:01):
For cocaine possession.

Speaker 4 (10:02):
Yeah, and the arguments go back and forth. The judge
was an old guy with white hair. I was like,
this is not going to go well in any case.
The judge said, blah blah blah whatever. He said, bang
the gavel down and said the motion is granted. And
I was like, whoa, what just happened. I was like, oh,
I think I may actually have a superpower. Yes, and

(10:23):
I'm going to this is what I'm going to do now,
and so it's what I've been doing ever since today.

Speaker 3 (10:28):
Jason, like, we want to jump into this right, the
Central Park five. And what I want to ask you is,
what do you remember about that case and where were
you when it happened.

Speaker 4 (10:41):
I was in New York, born in New York. I
lived in New York my whole life. So this was
a major. I mean a major doesn't begin to describe it.
It was a frenzy. It was a media frenzy of
epic proportions. And people, Now, the media would have you
believe there's a clime wave. Now, there's no crime whatsoever now,
not in New York. I mean not in any of

(11:04):
the places they're telling you it really exists. There's some
crime here and there. There's no wave, there's no It's
all hype designed for clickbait and selling newspapers and getting
politicians to be able to do things that we the
public really don't want them to do. Right. So it's
all a very sick, sinister, cynical, and cruel plan, but

(11:26):
people fall for it. So the Center Bark five happened
at a time when there was actually a significant amount
of clime. There were eight or nine times as many
murders every year as there are now. It still wasn't
Mad Max like they would have you believe, but it
was a different vibe in the city and people were
a little bit on edge, and this horrible crime took

(11:47):
place in Central Park, So this got everybody up in arms, right,
and the cops went wild and just decided to arrest
five kids of color, right, young teenage boys.

Speaker 5 (12:00):
Babes, not grown men, boys.

Speaker 4 (12:02):
Middle school kids right, not even not even close to
high school yet. So maybe some of that were close
to high school, they weren't in high school. So this
is where things went really sideways, right, And I've interviewed
three of the guys on my podcast, Raymond Santana. I
think was the first episode we ever did.

Speaker 5 (12:20):
Oh, we need to go back and listen to that one.

Speaker 4 (12:21):
That. Yeah, So it was as people have seen the
movie when they see us, or anyone who's listened to
them on my podcast or any podcast knows, it was
a disgusting circus. And the fact is the authorities knew
that they didn't do it, And if they didn't know
it right off the bat, they knew it real soon after,

(12:43):
because first of all, they had every reason to know
that there was one perpetrator, even just from the fact
of the grass was wet, there was one set of footprints,
there was one you know, bodily fluids from one person,
not five, right, five. Yeah, And there was no indication
that any of these kids were there, but it didn't matter.
They were good for it. And so you know, they

(13:03):
got them to falsely confess, which is a surprisingly common phenomenon.
Twenty nine percent of the first one hundred and fifty
DNA exonerations about false confessions. And there's no reason to
think it's changed since then. Right, So this is this
is a very common phenomenon, and its madness because everyone
thinks they would never confess to a crime they didn't commit.
But everybody has a breaking point.

Speaker 5 (13:24):
Of course, they're human.

Speaker 4 (13:26):
It happens in every city in the country. Just the
most surprising thing is how unsurprised we all are by it.
It's just like it's just how sad is that, you know,
you can't think of a city that doesn't have their
central park vibe, and there's not the center. Part five
is so far from unique. It's just the fact that
it was this super high profile case, or we wouldn't

(13:47):
know about it. There are thousands, tens of thousands of
other kids who went through the same thing that those
children did. So two things I want to say about
the Central Park five. One is because the prosecutors willfully
ignored the evidence that showed that it was a single perpetrator.
And even though that guy was right on their radar, right,

(14:11):
they were investigating him for another very similar crime at
the time that this happened. This is this guy, what
was his name, Ruiz ray Is rey Is right, Rayes,
So this guy had committed a similar crime. They it
should have been the first place they looked was this guy, right,
But they just chose to persecute these kids even after
the blood work came back, which was weeks after they

(14:32):
had been arrested, and showed that none of them matched right,
none of them. It could not have been any of them.
And they knew this and they didn't fucking care. So
what happens is Reyes of course gets away with it,
because don't forget, when the cops frame an innocent person.

Speaker 5 (14:47):
The real person is going to keep doing it.

Speaker 4 (14:49):
Yeah, except for in cases where there was no crime committed, right,
we have a lot of cases where there's no crime
at all, and they framed somebody who's mostly women that
suffer that indignity. So Reyes went out and he used
his time being free courtesy of the New York Police Department,
to rape three or four other women and murder one
of them in front of her children in her apartment.

Speaker 3 (15:09):
That goes back to, you know, the big issue, right
is racial profiling. Like we know how common that is.
You're just talking about it. How it's it's just rampant
throughout the system.

Speaker 4 (15:22):
Right. Oh yeah, I mean the racial profiling is, you know,
is a problem. It's one of the common causes of
wrongful convictions. It certainly was in this case. As it
turns out, it was a Latino guy who did it.
They never did bother to investigate him. He ended up
confessing after getting into an altercation with one of the
guys in prison. Right, and if any of your listeners

(15:45):
in New York, I'm very excited that I was a
doctor salam, use of salam. Now he's a doctor. I'm
not a medical doctor, but he's a PhD. He's running
for city council, which is going to be a great
turn of events.

Speaker 2 (15:56):
He's a beautiful yeah that I all. Yeah, they all are,
and they've because that's what we do right on facing evil.
We're we're not all about the saalaciousness. We want to know,
like what do you do after the trauma all of that?
You have to move onward and upward and heal. Right,
and all of these now they are, you know, young adults,

(16:18):
but they were children when this happened, and they have
taken that and ran with it in the most beautiful,
inspiring way possible.

Speaker 5 (16:27):
It doesn't erase what happened.

Speaker 4 (16:29):
You're so right, And that's one of the things that
drives me forward in this work is that these are
people who have been through hell, literal hell, like our
prison system is hell, honorate and they've been through that
through no fault of their own, and come out carrying
buckets of water for the people they left behind. And
what can you say about people like that? Right? I mean, yeah,

(16:51):
you just you just want you want to be a
member of that family. And and I'm very honored to
call many of them, you know, family to me. You know,
Amanda Knox calls me big brother. And Michelle Murphy is
literally like my niece out at Oklahoma. She did twenty
years of a life sentence. And I have so many
really really wonderful relationships with you know, the Rerenzo Johnson.

(17:13):
There's just so many of these people are just they're
my freaking heroes, and they make me want to work
harder and smarter, and so that's what I do. I
make speeches sometimes that I say, you know, I've had
a lot of number one records, but I've never had
one that's as good as walking somebody out of prison.
I walked Nelson Cruz out last Thursday in Queens. It's
an unbelievable feeling. It's so wonderful. So you're exactly right.

(17:34):
Event these are people who are just the most graceful, gracious, optimistic,
time hearted. There's no bitterness. I'm like, how is this
even possible? And you know who said it best, John Huffington.
John Huffington did thirty two years in Maryland, sentence to
death and proven actually innocent. Prosecutor has been disbarred for

(17:54):
framing him, one of only five that's ever been disbarred
for framing an innocent man. And he's at it like this,
as somebody asked him, man, why aren't you bitter? And
he looks at him and he goes Man. That's why
the rear view mirror is small, but the windshield's big.

(18:33):
So back to cent Foary five. So one other thing
I wanted to say about that, and they're not called
the exaggerated five. And this is I'm gonna. I'm literally
i have my hands in the prayer position. I'm begging
the audience. If you get picked up and brought in
for questioning, I don't care what they're questioning you for. Okay,
they could be questioning you for mowing your lawn the
wrong way, right, whatever it is. Don't say a word
except your name, and I want a lawyer, and then

(18:54):
stop talking until your lawyer gets there. And that's all
you do. You can say, am I free to leave?
You might well be. And if you are, leave, don't
stay there. Don't try to be helpful. Don't I know
you might be innocent or this. That doesn't matter because
they're allowed to lie to you. No, never mind if
they use violence like they did in such a Part
five case, and that still happens. Physical violence is still

(19:16):
a thing, and at least it's a perceived, very real threat.
So in America they can lie to you in the
interrogation room not in other Western countries. They can lie
to you, and they lie to you about lying to you. Right.
They'll say, look, Rosia, you seem like a nice lady,
but you know, we got your fingerprints on the knife.
We just got it back from the lab to your fingerprints.
What do you expect us to do?

Speaker 5 (19:35):
We got They're allowed to do that.

Speaker 4 (19:37):
Yes, they listen on your sister's next door. She says,
you did it right, she's here and you're like I. Meanwhile,
they're keeping you there for ten hours, twenty hours, no food,
no sleep. Maybe you've been up the night before, maybe
you just witnessed a crime, maybe who knows, or whatever
it is. And eventually you'll say anything to get out
of that room.

Speaker 3 (19:57):
Yeah, don't say nothing. So, Jason, I was listening to
you were talking to Koran Butler, which was, by the way,
a great interview the NBA star Koran Butler, And you know,
it moved me when he was talking about how he
was fighting to get rid of solitary confinement. And I
think about Corey wise because all of the time that

(20:19):
he spent in solitary confinement, and it's a miracle that
Corey is still who he is today. I mean, what
are your feelings about that?

Speaker 4 (20:29):
Oh, we definitely need to get rid of solitary confinement.
It's one of the many, many things we need to
fix in our gulag system here in America. I mean,
what the hell solitary confinement? It's only designed to crush
people's souls and make them go insane. You know, a
huge percentage of people in our jails and prisons have

(20:51):
mental challenges, and then rather than giving them the help
that they need, instead we put them in a place
where they're guaranteed to get worse. And if you go
into these institutions with challenges of that nature, you are
not able to follow the millions of rules and you know,

(21:11):
orders that are being thrown at you. So you end
up getting deeper and deeper into that hole. When then
right into the actual hole, as they call it, right
where you're going to be twenty three hours a day,
you know, in a five by nine foot cell.

Speaker 5 (21:26):
That would drive anyone crazy of course.

Speaker 3 (21:28):
Yeah.

Speaker 4 (21:29):
So yeah, there was this this horrible story about this
practice in the South where they were putting these kids
that you know the age of the Central Park five
kids are a excelary five. When they went in and
these little cells with nothing, right, there's nothing there except
for a bed and you know a window the size
of you know, the slit like the size of a
pencil or something like that. Why do we do that too?
Why are they not allowed to have light? Right? Yeah,

(21:49):
And so these kids were getting crazy and they would
like literally like scratch a hole in the wall. Right.
So they ended up taking all of that away and
left these kids basically in a bare concrete cell with
nothing in it and no light. So they're sitting in
the dark, like what are we talking about, like the
Count of Monte Cristo sounds it's got yet get in
the un wouldout, you know, would go crazy if they

(22:09):
knew about this, and hopefully they do. And you know,
I heard Amanda Knox on a podcast recently talking about
how you know, people who are in our prisons and jails,
if they're there, especially if they're there for a violent crime,
it's almost impossible not to argue that they have some
sort of something's wrong. Right, there's wires that aren't connected
properly in their brain. Something happened to them, as in

(22:31):
any cases they had childhood abuse. Right. Hurt people hurt, people.

Speaker 5 (22:36):
Hurt people hurt.

Speaker 4 (22:36):
People know that. I mean, we know the crimes. There's
crimes of opportunity, there's crimes that are caused by and
this is the crazy thing. And I've been preaching this
in New York where our mayor is running wild, you know,
taking away the programs that actually help people and giving
all the money to the cops and then lying about
a crime wave. But you know what causes those kind
of crimes is desperation, right when you have shoplifting and
things like that. And what stops those crimes from happening

(22:59):
is hope.

Speaker 2 (23:00):
How do we move onward and upward? Like we know
that wrongful convictions are going to happen, have happened, happen
to the exonerated five, think the gods and goddesses that
they did get out finally. But what can we do
to make this not happen? Or how do we drive

(23:23):
those numbers down? How do we change.

Speaker 4 (23:27):
Well, what listeners can do is, first of all, when
you get that jury duty notice, don't crumple it up
and throw it in the garbage. If you're listening to
this show, then you're you're a lot more educated, and
you're the type of person we need on Jury's next
thing is vote, and I know people are tired of you.
Oh they told me the vote volvo, you vote, you

(23:47):
know what? These local elections DA races are critically important
because das have massive and virtually unchecked power. So when
the DA's race in your area has happened, especially if
you live in a smaller community, but even if you
live in a big city, not that many people vote
in those races, your vote matters a lot. And so

(24:08):
look into this candidates. It's not that hard, you know,
go to a paper that you trust in your area.
There are very few to go around these days, but
if there's one, or ask somebody who you trust, so
you don't have to do all the research yourself if
you don't want to. But usually it's a pretty clear
cut choice and vote in people who actually care about

(24:28):
these issues and who aren't out just pretending that this
is just some sort of weird scorecard and that these
people that are the defendants are just there to service
their political ambitions or their career goals. And that's unfortunately
the way a lot of prosecutors operate, not all of them.
So judges races DA's races, things like that, and then

(24:51):
what we have to do on a more macro level.
We have to educate people, and we created a show
called Wrongful Conviction, Junk Sign and Junk Science. Is I
learned so much listening to it. I don't host that
one that was hosted by my friend Josh Dubin, and
on Junk Science, we teach people about how these junk

(25:12):
sciences lead to wrongful convictions day and day out all
over the country, Like these things are absolute nonsense, and
yet they're allowed in courtrooms in all fifty states every day.
My point being that that's question once you understand that
these sciences are not real, that CSI is a fictional
show that doesn't have any relationship to reality, and the

(25:36):
same is true of most of those other crime shows. Right,
they're entertaining, sure, yeah, yeah, I know people who play
a drinking game when they watch Lon Order Lawyers a
group of lawyers, and every time there's a constitutional violation,
they take a shot and they don't even make it
to the first commercial breakcause they're all asleep. I mean,
these shows are unfortunately giving people this false sense of
security that these forensic people are accurate and these sciences

(25:59):
are working and the authorities are getting all the justice
that you want, and the bad guys off the street
and you can sleep safely at home. Everything's good. So
you know the idea that science constantly evolves and that
things we know now we didn't know before. And then
textbooks are rewritten and new protocols are established. But lall

(26:20):
looks backwards. Science goes forwards. Law looks backwards. A judge
will have somebody in their courtroom and they're saying, you know, well,
it's a bitemark case. And then you'll have a lawyer
like an innist's project lawyer like Chris Fabricat, who wrote
this fantastic book called Junk Science. If you're a book reader,
read Junk Science by Chris Fabricat. He's them in and say, well,
we've proven in scientific study after study that bitemarks have

(26:42):
no bearing. Like, no, there's not a human being alive
who can tell you from a bitemark whether it was
you or a vet. They can't even tell if it's
an animal or a human, or whether it's a bitemark
at all. And yet somewhere in this country today there's
a guy in a lap coat up on a standing.
I'm a forensic dis that pathologist, and I'm telling you

(27:03):
this is a vets bite mark. There's nobody else that
could have made this bite mark. And that's the way
this and the jury is sitting there going, oh my god,
well that she's guilty as hell.

Speaker 5 (27:12):
They believe what they're being told.

Speaker 4 (27:14):
So I think, you know, when you serve on a jury,
you need to understand these things. And also you need
to understand that in many of these cases, there's no
other corroborating evidence. Maybe there's a jailhouse nitche but there's
nothing else. Maybe there's a false confession but there's nothing else.
Maybe there's some forensic guy telling you these stories very authoritatively,
but there's nothing else. And there's controverting evidence as well.

(27:35):
And then you've got to remember that it's supposed to
be innocent until proven guilty, as supposed to be beyond
a reasonable doubt. But those principles are just words why
our system operates right now. So those are some of
the things that people can do to help stem the
tide of this scourge of wrongful convictions.

Speaker 3 (28:12):
Can you tell us a little bit about the work
that you do with the Innocence Project. I know you
spoke about it earlier. But what specifically do you do
and how does it help?

Speaker 4 (28:22):
Well, what the Innocence Project does is the Innocence Project.
We have an intake department. We get hundreds of letters
a month, as you can imagine, from people who want
us to champion their case. The majority of those people
are innocent when we research it, but not all of them. Certainly,
some people are just bored. So we take on cases.
Most of the cases involve DNA evidence, but not all

(28:46):
of them. And then you know, often we're able to
exonerate people, although it takes a long time, and that's
why we have to stop these things from happening in
the first place. Even the best case scenario, it takes
a long long time, even with a great team, even
with an innocence project, innocence projects all over the country.
I'm on the board of the New York Innessis Project,
which is the original one. So the other work that

(29:07):
there's the micro and the macro, and the macro work
is you know, arguably the most important work, because the
Imbessis Project works to change practices and to change laws
in order to help make the system fairer and better
for everyone and make us all safe in the process.
As we talked about before, by making sure that the

(29:28):
wrong person doesn't go to jail and the right one
for lacke of a better word, remains free. So you know,
that involves working on changing eyewitness procedures and changing you know,
forensic practices and changing the man I mentioned before, Chris Fabricant,
the author of the book Junk Science. I'm gonna plug
it again because I want. I think he's the strategic

(29:50):
Litigation Director. It's a position that I funded in honor
of my dad when he passed away about eleven and
twelve years ago. Some of the work he does is
Chris will take him in individual case of someone who
was wrongly convicted, like Keith Allen Harward served thirty four
years on a bite mark case, and then when he's exonerated,
he'll go and use that case to help drive policy

(30:12):
change or try to get legislators to pay attention, because
you know, when you have an actual human being, it's
harder to ignore it.

Speaker 2 (30:18):
Beautiful, fantastic Jason, What is the light in the darkness
for the exonerated five?

Speaker 4 (30:25):
For you, it's an incredible time to be having this conversation.
They just dedicated the gate that those kids walked to
the park on that faithful night. Is now the exonerated
five gate.

Speaker 5 (30:34):
I did not know that.

Speaker 4 (30:36):
Uh yeah, yeah, yeah, there's a whole woe this winter.
And of course, you know, we can't mention the exonerating
five without talking about the fact that the evil orange
clown who was foul befouling the White House up until
a couple of years ago. But back when at the
time of the original arrest, he took out a full
page added the New York newspapers saying that we should

(30:56):
bring back the death penalty so we can execute these kids. Wow.
And he then fought against them getting compensation after they
were proven innocent. And he has always doubled down on
his nonsensical, wrong headed and disgusting rhetoric regarding the fact
that these kids, who everybody knows and it's been proven

(31:20):
scientifically in the court of law, didn't commit this crime.

Speaker 2 (31:23):
Did you see what your beautiful friend, doctor Yusef Salaam
said yesterday?

Speaker 4 (31:28):
So powerful, what did you say?

Speaker 2 (31:30):
So this is straight from the NBC News article that
came out just this week. It says, and I quote
Salaam doubled down on condemning Trump's actions, writing quote. You
were wrong then and you are wrong now.

Speaker 5 (31:46):
End quote.

Speaker 2 (31:46):
He also wrote he will not resort to hatred, bias,
or racism, and that he wishes Trump no harm. Rather,
I'm putting my faith in the judicial system to seek
out the truth, he wrote. I hope that you exercise
your civil liberties to the fullest and that you get
what the exonerated five did not get. A presumption of

(32:09):
innocent and a fair trial.

Speaker 3 (32:11):
How powerful is that?

Speaker 4 (32:12):
Beautiful?

Speaker 2 (32:13):
And that's from Clarretta Bellamy NBC News doctor Useph Salam.

Speaker 4 (32:19):
And they took out an ad in the newspaper, the
exonerated five. I guess I think doctor Salam was the
one who spearheaded that.

Speaker 5 (32:26):
Yes he did.

Speaker 4 (32:27):
Yes, It's great to see the five guys, you know,
doing as well as they are. They still face all
sorts of struggles as anybody was who's been through this
thing they've been through, but they are survivors. They are
beacons of light. They're my friends, and I'm certainly proud
to know them and to work with them. And you know,

(32:48):
it's just one of the blessings of the work that
I do is getting, like I said, to be around
those guys, you know, so and that is the light.

Speaker 5 (32:58):
That is the light right there.

Speaker 4 (33:00):
One more plug. There's a book that just came out
by Justin Brooks, who is the founder of the California
Innis's Project. It's called You Might Go to Prison Even
Though You're Innocent. So it's a really powerful book. Justin
is a great lawyer, a great friend of the movement,
and a great man. And I strongly recommend this book
for anyone who wants to learn more about this amazing topic.

(33:22):
It's called You Might Go to Prison Even Though You're
Innocent by Justin Brooks.

Speaker 3 (33:27):
Oh my god, it's been amazing having you. As we
say in Hawaiian, Mahalo nuila, my brother, you are doing
your thing.

Speaker 4 (33:36):
Yeah, well, right back, Gatsian. Thanks for having me on here,
and I'm excited to hear our episode.

Speaker 3 (33:46):
Today's message of Hope and Healing goes out to Corey
Wise and Tron McCrae, Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, and Usef Salom.
They were just kids between the ages of fourteen and sixteen,
and when the wheels of the criminal legal system ran
them over, it changed them in some ways that can
never be fixed.

Speaker 2 (34:07):
And today's umula also goes out to Triscia Miley, whose
life was turned horrifically upside down that night in April
nineteen eighty nine, but yet she still somehow manages to persevere.
She even ran the New York Marathon in nineteen ninety five,
saying that she felt like she had quote reclaimed.

Speaker 3 (34:27):
Her park, the Central Park five now go by the
Exonerated five. Raymond, Kevin, and Yusef have become activists and
pushed for videotaped interrogations. Yusef serves on the board for
the Innocence Project, which is dedicated to freeing the innocent
and preventing wrongful convictions. And Corey works as a social

(34:49):
justice reform advocate, and in twenty fourteen he donated one
hundred and forty thousand dollars of his settlement to the
Innocence Project. And Atron is a loving husband and father
of six and now lives a quiet life.

Speaker 2 (35:05):
All six of these individuals have survived tragedy and put
in the work to make the world a better place.
And so to all of you who do the work,
onward and upward, emua, emua. Well that's our show for today.

(35:26):
We'd love to hear what you thought about today's discussion
and if there's a case you'd like for us to.

Speaker 3 (35:31):
Cover, find us on social media or email us at
Facingevil Pod at Tenderfoot dot tv.

Speaker 2 (35:37):
And one small request if you haven't already, please find
us on iTunes and give us a good rating and
a good review. If you like what we do, your
support is always cherished.

Speaker 6 (35:48):
Until next time, Aloha.

Speaker 1 (36:08):
Facing Evil is a production of iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV.
The show is hosted by Russia Pacquerero and Avet Gentile.
Matt Frederick and Alex Williams our executive producers on behalf
of iHeartRadio, with producers Trevor Young and Jesse Funk, Donald
albright In Payne Lindsay our executive producers on behalf of

(36:28):
Tenderfoot TV, alongside producer Tracy Kaplan. Our researcher is Carolyn Talmadge.
Original music by Makeup and Vanity Set. Find us on
social media or email us at Facingevilpod at Tenderfoot dot tv.
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio or Tenderfoot TV, visit the
iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your

(36:52):
favorite shows.
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