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Caramad Conley

Other California Murder Exonerations with Misconduct
In April 1989, a gang-related drive-by shooting in San Francisco, California, left two people dead and at least 11 injured.  Police arrested the main suspect, Paul Green, shortly after the shooting, and he was tried and convicted on charges stemming from the incident. 
In 1992, Caramad Conley was arrested based on the testimony of the state’s main prosecution witness, David Polk. 
Polk would subsequently testify at trial that Conley, who was 18 at the time of the crime, had confessed to him that he had committed the murders. 
In addition, an accomplice to the murder placed Conley at the scene of the crime.  (The accomplice’s testimony was usable under California law only because a non-accomplice, Polk, corroborated his statements.)  No other evidence connected Conley to the murders. 
Polk had previously been in a witness protection program because of his knowledge of the shooting.  However, when questioned, both Polk and prosecutors repeatedly said that Polk was no longer in the witness protection program, and had not received any benefits for his cooperation. 
In September 1994, a jury convicted Conley of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and attempted murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. 
After Conley’s conviction, lawyers working on an appeal of another case discovered that the detective who had investigated Conley’s case had lied about benefits given to a witness in that case.  During their search of the detective’s files, they also found evidence that the detective had compensated Polk for his assistance with Conley’s case and provided him with housing, all benefits that the prosecution had not disclosed.  In addition, contrary to Polk’s testimony, he was in the local witness protection program. 
In December 2010, a California Superior Court Judge vacated Conley’s conviction because of the prosecution’s failure to disclose this evidence to the defense.  Prosecutors decided not to retry Conley in January 2011 and the case was dismissed. 
Conley filed a federal wrongful conviction lawsuit against the city of San Francisco and a detective in 2012. The lawsuit was settled in July 2014 for $3.5 million.
- Stephanie Denzel

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 7/19/2014
County:San Francisco
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1989
Sentence:Life without parole
Age at the date of reported crime:18
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No