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Gregory Fisher

Other Michigan Child Sex Abuse Exonerations
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On March 15, 2001, 49-year-old Gregory Fisher was accused by his 12-year-old daughter of raping her in their apartment in Detroit, Michigan.

The girl, identified as E.F., gave conflicting accounts to her mother, police, and medical personnel. She initially reported that Fisher had raped her to a girlfriend, who told E.F.’s mother. When confronted by her mother, E.F. said Fisher had raped her two days earlier.

The girl’s mother took her to a hospital where a rape kit was taken. The girl variously told police and her mother that she had been raped only once, that she had been raped three times, that the assaults had begun after Christmas in 2000, and that the rapes had occurred only days earlier.

Fisher was charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

He went to trial in Wayne County Circuit Court in August 2002. His daughter testified that he had raped her three times, performed oral sex on her once, and fondled her breasts on another occasion. During cross-examination, she admitted she had given inconsistent accounts at various times prior to the trial. She denied she had a boyfriend or had ever had sex with anyone else. The girl’s mother testified that when she confronted Fisher, he held his head in his hands and asked if he should get a lawyer. She said he then left the home, never went back to work, and moved to New York.

A physician who performed an examination said he found physical evidence on the girl’s genitals that could have been caused by sexual intercourse or any number of benign incidents, including riding a bicycle.

Cathy Denise Carr, a Detroit police crime lab analyst, testified that she examined two vaginal swabs and two slides made from those swabs. She said she found a trace amount of semen, but no sperm cells. Carr testified that she also examined two rectal swabs and two slides made from those swabs. She said she detected sperm on both the swabs and the slides, but only performed DNA tests on the swabs. She testified that there was an insufficient amount of sperm on the swabs to obtain a DNA profile. She did not perform any tests on the slides and suggested that there was an insufficient amount of sperm on the slides to develop a DNA profile.

On August 30, 2002, Fisher was convicted of three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison.

In June 2004, the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Fisher’s convictions.

In 2009, about 11,000 sexual assault kits were found abandoned in a Detroit police storage facility. By that time, the Detroit Police Crime Laboratory had been closed, as its reliability had been called into question. Following the discovery of the untested rape kits, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to provide the State Appellate Defender’s Office (SADO) with a list of cases in which a defendant had been convicted and a rape kit was found.

Fisher’s case was among those. In 2014, SADO attorneys Randy Davidson and Amanda Tringl were appointed to represent him. They requested DNA testing be performed on the rape kit, which was sent to Bode Laboratories for testing. In 2015, Bode determined there were in fact sufficient sperm cells in the rectal slides—contrary to what the analyst said at Fisher’s trial—and tests performed on the slides excluded Fisher as the source of the sperm cells.

In May 2016, the trial court vacated Fisher’s convictions at the prosecution’s request. On April 10, 2017, the prosecution dismissed the charges and Fisher was released.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 4/18/2017
State:Michigan
County:Wayne
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2001
Convicted:2002
Exonerated:2017
Sentence:15 to 30 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:49
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:Yes*