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Anthony Daye

Other Louisiana Exonerations
On August 30, 2010, police in Iberia, Louisiana arrested 30-year-old Anthony Daye after they said they saw him run from a vehicle and toss something away. The Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputies confiscated $1,551 from Daye’s pocket and said they found a bag with about an ounce of marijuana.

The deputies said that after they discovered the cash, they asked him if he had a job. Daye allegedly replied, “No, I just make a little hustle.”

Daye was released on bond. Less than a month later, he and three other men were charged with the murder of 45-year-old Clifton Williams, Jr., the owner of a barbershop in Iberia. Witnesses said four men came into Cliff’s Impressive Cuts, robbed everyone inside and as they left, one of the men shot Williams.

In August 2011, while Daye was still awaiting trial on the separate marijuana and murder cases, he filed a civil lawsuit in state court. He alleged that he had been beaten by deputies—including two of the deputies who arrested him on the marijuana charge, Wade Bergeron and Jason Comeaux. The lawsuit claimed that the deputies took Daye into the Iberia Parish Jail chapel and beat him savagely with batons, while repeating “This is for Cliff,” referring to Clifton Williams.

In May 2012, as Daye was about to go to trial, the prosecution amended the charges. He was charged with engaging in a transaction involving drug proceeds and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute—both felonies—as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

Deputies Bergeron and Comeaux testified that they saw Daye run from a vehicle and throw a bag away. They said that when they recovered the bag and found the marijuana, Daye asked to go with them to their office to provide information about drug trafficking.

However, Daye testified that the deputies planted the drugs and that their testimony was false.

On May 10, 2012, the jury convicted Daye of all three counts. Although the case involved only about an ounce of marijuana, Daye was sentenced to life in prison because he was a repeat offender with prior convictions for assault and drug offenses.

In June 2013, the Louisiana Court of Appeal set aside his conviction for engaging in a transaction involving drug proceeds because the prosecution presented insufficient evidence. The court also vacated and dismissed the misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession because it was duplicative. The court then sent the case back for resentencing on the remaining felony possession charge. On remand, however, Daye was again sentenced to life in prison.

In 2016, following a lengthy investigation triggered by Daye’s brutality lawsuit as well as lawsuits and complaints by other jail inmates, federal prosecutors filed charges against 10 Iberia Parish sheriff’s deputies. The deputies all pled guilty and were sentenced to prison. Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal also was charged with knowing of the beatings and allowing them to continue, but was ultimately acquitted.

The charges described a pattern of repeated beatings of handcuffed inmates in the jail chapel—the only room in the facility with no video cameras. Some deputies were accused of holding their batons between their legs and shoving the batons down inmates’ throats.

Two of the deputies who pled guilty were Bergeron and Comeaux, who had testified against Daye in the marijuana case.  More than 100 pending cases that involved Comeaux and Bergeron as well as the eight other deputies were dismissed by prosecutors.

An attorney for Daye then filed a motion to vacate Daye’s conviction. On December 13, 2016, Daye’s conviction was vacated after a brief hearing on the motion, which the prosecution did not oppose. On March 27, 2017, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

Daye remained in custody, still awaiting trial on the charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Clifton Williams, Jr.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/13/2017
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2010
Age at the date of reported crime:30
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No