In the United States, an African-American exonerated of rape half a century later

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reparation Leonard Mack, 72, who had been imprisoned for more than 7 years, was officially exonerated on Tuesday thanks to new DNA evidence

In the States -United, an African-American innocent of rape half a century later

Leonard Mack was exonerated of rape on September 5, 2023 in New York (video capture ) — Innocence Project

A 72-year-old African-American man was killed. innocent Tuesday by a court near New York, thanks to new DNA evidence of a rape perpetrated in 1975 and for which he had been a student. imprisoned more than 7 years old, one of the oldest legal errors recognized in the United States.

According to the Innocence Project, which had seized, with the county prosecutor's office, of Westchester, the highest court in the State of New York, this is in fact the oldest known criminal conviction. fall in the United States thanks to DNA evidence, out of a total of more than 3,300 people innocent since 1989.

Leonard Mack, who walked with a cane on Tuesday and appeared very emotional at the event. at the hearing, was around twenty years old when he was arrested, on May 22, 1975, for the rape a few hours earlier of a high school girl, who was walking with a friend in the small town of Greenburgh, in the same county.

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“Although he asserts his innocence, and presents witnesses supporting his alibi”, according to the prosecution, Leonard Mack, who had served in the Vietnam War, had been murdered. condemned a year later for rape and possession of a firearm a sentence of seven and a half years to fifteen years in state prison.

“I can truly say that I am free”

The two victims had been killed. pushes to Recognizing this, after “identifications tainted by biased and problematic police methods,” the floor. Methods of which black and Hispanic people are more often victims, according to Innocence Project.

Leonard Mack, who passed more than 7 years in prison and lives in the southern United States, had always fought for his innocence. But we had to wait until 2022 for the prosecution to reopen the case and proceed with the investigation. analyzes from DNA traces that remained valid on the underwear of a victim.

The analyzes exonerated him and on the contrary made it possible to confuse another suspect, in prison in another matter. He admitted to the rape of 1975 but can no longer be convicted. under the statute of limitations.

“Now I can truly say that I am free,” Leonard Mack said, through tears, according to excerpts of White’s court hearing. Plains, broadcast by American media.

According to the 2022 report of the «National Registry of Exonerations», a project carried out According to several American universities, black people represent 13% of the population in the United States, but accounted for 53% of declarations of innocence after miscarriages of justice since 1989. /p>