The wrongly convicted often experience extensive challenges when trying to clear their names and gain freedom. One such example of false incarceration may have happened to a Missouri man who has spent nearly 25 years in prison. The struggles Lamar Johnson faces are particularly interesting because he may have little hope of being released even though people in the prosecutor’s office are not convinced of his guilt.
Johnson, a 45-year-old man from St. Louis, was sentenced to life without parole for the murder of Marcus Boyd in 1994. Perhaps due to a dispute about drugs, two masked men shot and killed Boyd on the porch at his apartment. Since Johnson’s conviction, two other men have signed sworn affidavits stating that they killed Boyd without Johnson’s involvement.
Along with the Conviction Integrity Unit, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner released a report alleging prosecutorial and police misconduct that led to the conviction of Johnson. The report claims that the only eyewitness in the case received payment for false testimony. The prosecuting attorney for the Johnson case denied the claims in the report.
Citing a deadline of 15 days after a verdict, a court denied a new trial for Johnson. This ruling will likely be appealed. Prosecutors rarely support efforts to overturn convictions, but the state asked the court to intervene in the name of justice due to prejudicial misconduct.
Stories like Johnson’s illustrate how difficult it can be to correct errors in the justice system, which makes it especially important to take any charges seriously when considering a defense. A legal strategy may be influenced by factors like the circumstances in a case, the charges and the type of alleged crime. One approach a criminal defense attorney might use could involve questioning the validity of evidence and whether it was legally obtained.