David J. Celuch
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There is hope for those who are wrongfully convicted

Wrongly accused defendants in Oregon have options to overturn their indictment, with the potential for a complete reversal. The investigation into inconsistencies in a case may lead to a dismissal of all charges.

Key discrepancies in a recent case enabled the Oregon Innocence Project to convince the District Attorney to conduct a joint investigation, citing the evidence did not support the conviction of Josh Horner. As is common in wrongful conviction cases, there were no eyewitnesses, DNA or forensics to provide hard evidence for either side.  

Two critical disparities gave credence to the wrongful conviction that enabled the investigation to gain traction. The first was in a false report of abuse against Mr. Horner’s wife by an alleged witness. This damaged the credibility of Mrs. Horner’s testimony. The second discrepancy was in the statement that the family dog Lucy was shot by Mr. Horner in front of his 12-year old daughter. After investigating this point, OIP found that Lucy was alive and with a new owner.

Overturning a conviction to set a wrongfully accused man free takes effort and resources. By collaborating with the defense team and OIP, the district attorney and the conviction unit were able to uncover the truth and recognize that the justice system had failed Mr. Horner.

Improper or invalid forensic science, jailhouse informants, false confessions, ineffective assistance of counsel, police misconduct and false testimony are among the most common causes of a wrongful conviction. Many people who believe they may be eligible for post-conviction relief seek the advice of an attorney.

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