On March 1, 1976, there was a holdup at a gas station in Buffalo, New York, during which an attendant was shot and killed. Despite having multiple witnesses to support his alibi, 32-year-old J.L. Ivey Jr. was convicted of this robbery and murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. However, due to repeated acts of improper and prejudicial conduct by the prosecutor during the trial, Ivey was granted a new trial in 1981.
At Ivey’s retrial, his counsel introduced the testimony of a new witness, Sandra Knight. Knight testified that her ex-boyfriend, Donald Brailsford, had actually committed the murder, and she provided substantial detail to support her claim that Brailsford was the true perpetrator. Ivey was acquitted at his second trial on May 20, 1982.
Ivey then successfully sued the State of New York for compensation for his wrongful conviction under the Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act, receiving $630,000.
- Meghan Barrett Cousino
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. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.