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Clarence Braunskill

Other New York Drug Exonerations
In 1989, police in Suffolk County, New York conducted an undercover sting operation and tape recorded a drug deal in which an undercover officer bought drugs.

The police believed that the voice on the tape was that of 38-year-old Clarence Braunskill, a man with a prior conviction for drug distribution who matched the description of the man selling the drugs.

In January 1990, Braunskill went to trial in Suffolk County Supreme Court. Based on the testimony of the undercover officers, a jury convicted Braunskill in January 1990 of selling and possessing drugs. He was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
 
Braunskill’s brother pursued his own investigation after the conviction and ultimately identified another man as the one who had sold the drugs. Braunskill's brother contacted the Suffolk County Districct Attorney's office, which commenced a re-investigation of the case. A subsequent voice analysis excluded Braunskill as the person who was speaking on the tape.

The real perpetrator, who looked and sounded similar to Braunskill, eventually confessed after the statute of limitations for prosecuting him had passed.  Prosecutors moved to vacate Braunskill’s conviction.  The motion was granted and he was released in April 1997.
 
Braunskill filed a claim with the New York Court of Claims which was settled for $850,000.
 
- Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 12/12/2016
State:New York
County:Suffolk
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1989
Convicted:1990
Exonerated:1997
Sentence:20 to 40 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:38
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No