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Michigan Innocence Clinic

Michigan Innocence Clinic Seeking Clemency for Fred Freeman Due to Actual Innocence and Health Risks Relating to COVID-19 Pandemic

Our client Fred Freeman (aka Temujin Kensu) has been in prison for 33 years for a crime he did not commit. Fred's is among the most overwhelming cases of actual innocence anywhere in the country. It was recently covered on the Undisclosed podcast—the latest in a long line of excellent reporting in The Detroit News, the Metro Times (Part I and Part II), and Michigan Radio (among others) over the years that has highlighted the manifest injustice of this case.

No one saw the shooting that Fred is convicted of committing. Instead, two men testified to seeing a stranger who possibly resembled Fred at some point before or after the shooting. One of the witnesses was hypnotized before he testified; both witnesses vacillated on key details.

Fred was in fact more than 400 miles away from the crime scene at the time of the murder he is convicted for: No less than nine unimpeached neutral alibi witnesses testified to that at trial. The prosecution countered by suggesting that Fred theoretically could have chartered a plane to go commit the murder and return in time to be seen by his alibi witnesses. The prosecution never offered any actual evidence to support this outlandish theory.

Over the years, the jailhouse snitch who implicated Fred recanted, and admitted he received benefits for testifying against Fred. And a leading eyewitness identification expert reviewed newly discovered photos of the lineup in this case and noted many glaring differences that made Fred stand out in the lineup—even testifying that it was the most egregiously biased photo lineup she had seen in her entire career.

Nevertheless, Fred remains in prison because court after court has refused to review the substantive evidence of innocence, and instead turned him down due to procedural technicalities. Now, with the outbreak of COVID-19, there is a real chance that this innocent man might die in prison. Fred has many underlying conditions, including a brain tumor, chronic lung disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure and possibly an autoimmune disorder. These put him at extreme risk of becoming chronically ill or dying from COVID-19, which has spread quickly at the prison where Fred is being held.

We have reached out to Gov. Whitmer seeking executive clemency (i.e. a pardon or commutation) and have urged her to act quickly—before it is too late for Fred.

Please go to the Michigan Innocence Clinic's Facebook page to see the latest on this effort, and for information on how to support our social media campaign for clemency.

More About the Michigan Innocence Clinic

At the Michigan Innocence Clinic at Michigan Law, clinic students investigate and litigate cases on behalf of prisoners who have new evidence that may establish that they are actually innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted. Unlike many other innocence clinics, which specialize in DNA exonerations, the Michigan Innocence Clinic focuses on innocence cases where there is no DNA to be tested. Under the supervision of Director David Moran, Assistant Director Imran Syed and Clinical Fellow Megan Richardson, Innocence Clinic students work on all aspects of the cases, including investigating new evidence, researching and writing briefs, arguing court motions and conducting evidentiary hearings. The Clinic’s work spans all levels of state and federal courts. Since its founding in 2009, the Clinic has successfully won the release of 22 people who had been wrongfully convicted, and served anywhere from two to 46 years in prison.

Prisoners must submit an application to the Innocence Clinic to determine whether the clinic can take the prisoner's case.
*** Please note that the Michigan Innocence Clinic does not allow in-person visitors. All communications should be made by phone or by mail. ***

In this video, Michigan Law students and faculty describe their work to free Dwayne Provience, who'd spent almost 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

For the most updated information about the Michigan Innocence Clinic, follow us on Facebook.

Contact information:

Michigan Innocence Clinic
University of Michigan Law School
701 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3091
Phone: 734.763.9353
Fax: 734.764.8242

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