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Joseph Ward

On February 19, 1895, one incident of pickpocketing and one of attempted pickpocketing occurred on Washington Street in Boston, Massachusetts. One of the two victims, May Ivers, had her pocketbook and $1 stolen from her by two men. James Mahoney was caught in the act of stealing the pocketbook and arrested, while his accomplice escaped. However, Mahoney quickly jumped bail and could not be located.
 
Police suspected that Joseph Ward (sometimes known by the alias Joseph Winston), a reputed professional pickpocket, had been Mahoney’s accomplice. They arrested Ward and eyewitnesses identified him as Mahoney’s partner in the Washington Street crimes. Ward was tried in the Superior Criminal Court before Judge Sherman. The evidence against him was comprised of the testimony of several of the eyewitnesses. Although Ward claimed he was out of the state on the day of the crime, he did not testify because of his criminal record. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison on April 23, 1895.
 
Ward was serving his prison term in Charleston prison when James Mahoney was located and arrested in July 1895. Mahoney admitted to the Washington Street thefts but told police that his accomplice had been a man named Dooley, not Joseph Ward. After police discovered that Dooley resembled Ward, they were convinced that Mahoney was telling the truth. Newspaper articles reported that the original evidence against Ward at trial had not been strong, but since he had served a prior sentence at a reformatory, he had not been given the benefit of the doubt.
 
On January 30, 1896, Massachusetts Governor Frederic T. Greenhalge pardoned Ward on the basis of innocence. 
 
– Meghan Barrett Cousino
State:MA
County:Suffolk
Most Serious Crime:Theft
Reported Crime Date:1895
Convicted:1895
Exonerated:1896
Sentence:5 years
Race:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:20
Contributing Factors:Mistaken Witness ID