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Voice of Detroit

Innocent Man Freed From Prison Eight Years After Murderer Confessed

Davontae Sanford will be released and cleared of all charges in the killing of four Detroit men.

In 2007, Davontae Sanford was coerced into a confession at the tender age of 14. Four men were killed on Runyon Street in Detroit and after intense interrogation by the local authorities, the young man plead guilty, retracted the confession, and plead guilty again in court after feeling his defense team left him helpless.

According to reports, two weeks after his confession, Vincent Smothers, a self- described hitman, came forward and admitted to the crime, showed authorities where to find the murder weapon, and admitted Sanford has nothing to do with the killings. However, Sanford still remained incarcerated for eight years.

With insistence from Stanford's pro-bono defense team, Michigan State Police reinvestigated, and recommended the investigating officer be charged with perjury after fabricating the confession, and also leading Sanford to believe if he amitted to the crime, he could go home. Sanford will be released, dismissed of all charges, and will not be re-tried.

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Scott Olson

Chicago Man Has Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned After Serving 17 Years

A Chicago man who accused a retired cop of framing him for a murder he didn't commit has finally had the conviction overturned after spending 17 years in prison.

According to Buzzfeed News, Geraldo Iglesias was released from prison in 2010 for the 1993 murder of Monica Roman, who was shot and killed while sitting inside her car in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. However, Iglesias spent the last nine years fighting to have the conviction removed from his record because it prohibited his ability to get a job or find housing.

Iglesias is the 10th man to have a conviction overturned after being investigated by Reynaldo Guevara. Buzzfeed invested the former detective and found 50 men accused him of framing them for murders they allege they didn't commit.

At Iglesias' 1995 sentencing, he spoke directly to the victim's family and expressed his condolences while maintaining his innocence.

"I would like to say that I apologize and I’m sorry for what happened to the young lady and I send my condolences to the family but I would like to say I had nothing to do with it and the Lord knows I had nothing to do with it.”

Iglesias' conviction was sealed on the testimony of a jailhouse informant Francisco Vicente who alleged Islesias confessed to him about killing Roman. Vicente said Iglesias said, "I shot the bitch in the head.”

In the past Guevara and his partner, Ernest Halvorsen have used the 5th Amendment rights to avoid self-incrimination. Buzzfeed reports at least 17 defendants who allege Guevara framed them are still behind bars.

 

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Martin H. Simon

Donald Trump Doesn't Have Any MLK Day Activities Planned

President Donald Trump has no public events scheduled for Dr. Martin Luther King day.

On Friday (Jan. 18) the president signed a proclamation in which encouraged “all Americans to recommit themselves to Dr. King’s dream by engaging in acts of service to others, to their community, and to our Nation.” The Daily Beast reports. However, Trump may not have included himself in the proclamation.

NEW: @realDonaldTrump won't be participating in any Martin Luther King Jr. Day service activities tomorrow. According to the White House schedule, he "has no public events scheduled."

— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 21, 2019

While the president's plans on the national day of service are unclear, Vice President Mike Pence compared Dr. King's legacy of peace to the current U.S. partial government shutdown. On CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday (Jan. 20) Pence quoted the late civil rights leader.

"One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy,’” Pence said. "You think of how he changed America. He inspired us to change through the legislative process, to become a more perfect union...That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on Congress to do: Come to the table in the spirit of good faith.

We’ll secure our border. We’ll reopen the government and we’ll move our nation forward as the president said yesterday to even a broader discussion about immigration reform in the months ahead.”

As of Jan. 21, the United States government has been shut down for 31 days. More than 800,000 federal employees have gone without pay due to an impasse between the Democratic Congress and the White House. Donald Trump has asked for $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico wall, while the Democrats are refusing to budge.

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Saul Loeb-Pool

Sen. Kamala Harris Announces Her Run For Presidency

Sen. Kamala Harris has announced she's running for president in 2020.

The announcement is somewhat expected from the California Democratic senator who has not-so coyly led up to Monday's announcement (Jan. 21) by way of the press run she's conducted earlier this month as part of her book tour.

In a video clip posted to her social media prior to an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Sen. Harris called on her supporters to "claim their future."

"Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren't just words. They're the values we as Americans cherish. And they're all on the line now."

"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values," Harris continued. "That's why I'm running for president of the United States. "I'm running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together."

I'm running for president. Let's do this together. Join us: https://t.co/9KwgFlgZHA pic.twitter.com/otf2ez7t1p

— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 21, 2019

Harris is the first black woman to throw her hat in the 2020 presidential ring. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have announced exploratory committees. Harris, however, has bypassed that.

Harris gained national attention (and favor) during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing when she grilled the future Supreme Court justice about sexual assault allegations leveled against him by Dr. Betty Ford.

 

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