There are a number of people out there who want to clear their names but lack the resources to do so. It is difficult to find an exact number of people who were convicted for crimes they did not commit. But, since 1993, the Innocence Project has received over 65,600 letters from incarcerated individuals seeking help in proving their innocence. Innocent people who’ve been convicted of crimes they didn’t commit find it hard to attain exoneration when there is no DNA to test, no money to pay a lawyer, or detectives to acquire legal documents.
Witnesses who could potentially clear their names through direct testimony are unavailable for various reasons–death, relocation, unwillingness to participate, etc. –which offers more roadblocks to the wrongfully accused efforts to win vindication.Those who accept plea deals for reduced charges and prison time are often never exonerated. Many avenues are closed to former prisoners if they have completed their prison term.
The question all these people have is: how do I clear my name?
The number of people who are incarcerated and seeking exoneration is overwhelming. Thousands of incarcerated people seek help every year. Organizations doing the work to help get innocent people out of prison are overwhelmed by the volume of requests. Furthermore, many of these organizations lack the resources to run their organizations effectively. Due to the limitations these organizations face, each potential case goes through a rigorous vetting process that makes it difficult for many seeking exoneration to have their cases accepted for review.
Raqiba Basir Raqiba Basir, an innocent woman, spent 25 years in prison. She needs help clearing her name.Years ago, it took three trials to convict this innocent woman. In two of the trials, she testified in her defense. In the last trial,everyone watched as she and attorney her attorney Warren argued in open court about putting her on the stand.This began her difficult journey to be exonerated for a crime she didn’t commit.On the day of the unfortunate incident, Ms. Basir was living in a shelter. After giving her children a bath and putting them to bed for the night, a neighbor knocked on her door and asked Ms. Basir to accompany her outside for a breath of fresh air. Since by now the children were sleeping, Ms. Basir obliged.
While downstairs. a neighbor living in the room below hers went to management and said there was water leaking from above. Upon learning of this Ms. Basir and other went to her room and opened the door to findater overflowing from the bathroom tub.Ms. Basir rushed in to turn off the water and found her daughter in the tub. Ms. Basir began screaming for help and took the child out of the water.
Police and ambulances arrived and the child was pronounced dead. Ms. Basir’s other children were the only witnesses and were questioned. They explained that a man had entered the rooms and taken the girl.With little resources and help, Ms. Basir continues trying to clear her name. Her only desire is to clear her name before she dies.
Ewin “Eddie” Ellis 1941 – 2014, a lecturer, author, educator and justice reform advocate was a member of the Black Panther Party. He became known to the FBI through their Counter Intelligence Program “COINTELPRO”. He spent 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He was one of the last to be released from Attica Correctional Facility after the riots. While incarcerated he benefited from education offered at the time and received a Masters Degree.
Eddie Ellis published a researched analysis of where incarcerated people in NYS come from. His research documented the communities that filled prisons including the race and economic status of these communities. He found overwhelming proof that most of the incarcerated were from communities where poor black and brown people lived.