In June 2009, a gang member named Julian Hinojosa was shot outside his home in Detroit, Michigan, apparently by a member of a rival gang.
Police retrieved footage from three video cameras in the area; two cameras were part of a market’s surveillance system located a few blocks from the shooting, and one camera was part of a neighbor’s security system.
A neighbor who witnessed the shooting got a glimpse of the shooter before he pulled a bandana up to cover his face, and was able to provide a description of the shooter’s clothing.
Police interviewed a clerk at the market who identified Rayshard Futrell as the man in one of the videos. Futrell’s picture was then included in a photo lineup for the neighbor who had seen the shooting, and she identified Futrell as the shooter.
In November 2009, a jury convicted Futrell of first-degree murder and a felony firearm charge, and he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Michigan State Appellate Defender’s Office was appointed to represent Futrell on appeal in January 2010. Futrell’s appellate attorney discovered that one of the surveillance videos showed Futrell on the street near the scene of the crime, but wearing clothes that were entirely different from those worn by the shooter. It is unclear whether Futrell’s trial attorney had seen that video; in any event, that video was not presented at trial. Futrell’s appellate attorney moved for a new trial. In September 2010, the Wayne County Circuit Court granted the motion, and the prosecution agreed to dismiss the murder and firearm charges on condition that Futrell plead guilty to perjury for falsely testifying at trial that he was not present at the scene of the shooting. Futrell was released in October 2010, after he was sentenced to 3 years probation for perjury. - Stephanie Denzel
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.