David J. Celuch
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Sending the wrong person behind bars with false testimony

An innocent man recently walked out of prison after spending almost 18 years behind bars. David Robinson was released for a murder he did not commit in Missouri almost two decades after the fact. Many failed parts are typically involved in wrongful convictions, but testimonies are one of the most common. In this case, there was no physical evidence against David. The only thing that linked David to the murder of Sheila Box in 2001 was a false testimony.

The testimony came from a paid police informant, claiming he witnessed David shoot Sheila. Not only did David face one false testimony, but two. Another came from a fellow inmate who said David confessed to him in their shared cell. The inmate’s confession was taken as evidence even though David and the man never shared a cell.

A poorly constructed case falls apart

After David was convicted, it was unveiled that the testimony could not hold up. In fact, another man confessed to the murder of Sheila Box three years later. Eight years later, both witnesses confessed their testimonies were false. David faced years of denied appeals, until finally the charges were dismissed against him recently when a judge decided that the evidence was unreliable and the lead detective purposefully suppressed facts.

Top causes of wrongful convictions

Eyewitness misidentification and paid informants are two in the top six causes of wrongful convictions. In the case of David Robinson, the informant received $2,500 and expenses for providing his testimony. Wrongful convictions rob years, if not decades, from innocent people. If wrongfully convicted, inmates can fight for freedom through post-conviction relief.

Like David, exonerees can look forward to going home to their families. According to a CBS News affiliate, David was welcomed home to a BBQ and all his favorite food with family.

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