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News Link • Criminal Justice System

Missouri's Culture Of Conviction

• by Radley Balko (Huffington Post)
This week, a state appeals court in Missouri vacated the conviction of 29-year-old Ryan Ferguson. In 2005, Ferguson was convicted for the murder of Kent Heitholt, a sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune. The only real evidence against him was the testimony of a friend, who later recanted, and testimony from an eyewitness who put him at the scene of the crime. That eyewitness also later recanted. Police found hair, fingerprints, and bloody footprints around Heithold's body, but none of that evidence implicated Ferguson. The state will now decide whether or not to retry him.

Unfortunately for him, Ferguson isn't out of trouble just yet. The Missouri Attorney General's Office has historically been one of the most stubborn in the country when it comes to accepting the possibility of a wrongful conviction.  ...

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