Death Penalty

St. Louis Prosecutor: Right Man Executed

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Friends of Larry Griffin and death penalty opponents have been eagerly awaiting a report by the chief St. Louis prosecutor on whether Griffin was innocent of the 1980 murder for which he was executed in 1995. But now Chief Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce says the state of Missouri imposed the ultimate punishment on the right man, and many in Griffin’s camp are both unhappy and unpersuaded.

Sam Gross, a University of Michigan law professor whose concerns about Griffin’s case persuaded Joyce to reinvestigate, is one such naysayer. Her report of the findings of her two-year investigation, he says, “was “a brief for the prosecution, and an unconvincing one at that. … Rather than laying to rest question about Griffin’s guilt, this report raises new questions and new serious doubts,” a Chicago Tribune article reports.

In a written statement released yesterday, Joyce said she, too, initially was struck by the new evidence suggesting Griffin’s innocence. “The information brought to me in 2005 was so compelling; I committed to investigating this case fully, meticulously and with a completely open mind,” she wrote. But “after more than 1,000 man-hours of investigation … my team and I are confident that the right person was convicted.”

Griffin insisted he was innocent to the end, and supporting evidence that led to the reinvestigation by Joyce included recantations by prosecution witnesses, as an earlier post about the case discusses.

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