Innocence Project: DNA Proves Man Innocent after 47 Years, DNA tests that Excluded him at 1976 trial were ignored


In a landmark moment for justice, Leonard Mack, a Vietnam War veteran, was exonerated this week after spending nearly five decades wrongfully convicted of rape and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in March 1976. New DNA evidence was brought to light by the Innocence Project.

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 Represented by Susan Friedman, a senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project, and Post-conviction Litigation Fellow Mary-Kathryn Smith, Mack’s journey to exoneration sheds light on the critical issues of eyewitness misidentification, racial bias, and tunnel vision.

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The Westchester County District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit confirmed that Mack was innocent all along.

Smith, emphasized that, “Today, indisputable DNA evidence proves that Leonard Mack is innocent. Nearly five decades later, he finally has some measure of justice.”

Miriam E. Rocah, the Westchester County District Attorney, issued a strong statement, stating, “Today we’re asking the courts to find Leonard Mack actually innocent for a rape he never committed; for which he unjustly served more than seven years in prison. This exoneration and the new DNA evidence confirm that wrongful convictions are not only harmful to the wrongly convicted but also make us all less safe.”