A city judge ruled last year that Philadelphia prosecutors had “sanitized” evidence that led to a 1986 death sentence.
This summer, a federal judge said “shaky eyewitness identifications” had condemned another city man to death row in 1992. And last week, a third judge in Philadelphia called the 1998 trial evidence that sent two teens to prison for life “terribly weak.”
Together, the judges have overturned three murder convictions and a death sentence in the past year.
“I think there was just a really great pressure at that time to clear cases,” Marissa Boyers Bluestine, legal director of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. “Now, there’s certainly pressure to clear cases, but I think there’s a much greater appreciation for clearing cases with the right guy.”