From Being Falsely Imprisoned
to Fiercely Defending Others The Jeffrey Deskovic Story Share
Editor's Note: Jeffrey Deskovic's case exemplifies why people need the US~Observer for wrongful arrests/convictions. If Deskovic had hired the US~Observer to conduct a thorough investigation into his case and force the facts upon all concerned, including the public, Jeffrey Deskovic would have never been wrongfully convicted.Unlike the mainstream media which usually enhances the belief that someone is guilty simply because a police report says so, the US~Observer investigates, finding the facts and using the truth as a shield for the innocent. Relying solely upon attorney's in this day and age is like playing Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber. Taking the facts of your innocence public for the world to see is only part of what we do. Ensuring the innocent maintain freedom – that’s our life's work – 541-474-7885.
By Joseph Snook
New York - Jeffrey
Deskovic is pursuing a law degree in order to represent convicts in
their post conviction efforts who have been falsely convicted. What
makes Deskovic unique is his own story of being falsely imprisoned,
and being one of the few to achieve freedom.
At the young age
of 17-years-old, Jeffrey Deskovic was convicted of rape and murder and
sentenced to life in prison. Evidence contrary to his guilt existed,
yet he was still convicted. On Nov. 2, 2006 at the age of thirty-three
after struggling for years to prove his innocence, Deskovic was finally
exonerated, in large part due to ironclad DNA evidence. After sixteen
years behind bars, Deskovic was legally exonerated for the crimes of
which he was wrongfully convicted.
After his exoneration,
Deskovic sued several government agencies and individuals that aided
in his wrongful conviction. Deskovic settled all but one. He wanted
to take the last person to court; Former Sheriff's Detective Daniel
Stephens, the person Deskovic referred to as, "the most culpable"
for his wrongful conviction. Stephens had elicited and coerced a false
confession from Deskovic and had also fabricated evidence. Detective
Stephens also received multiple letters of commendation for, "...the
professional manner in which he conducted himself..." while
helping wrongfully convict Deskovic.
civil trial came to an end, jurors awarded him over $41 million. Deskovic
stated, "I feel elated. The jury obviously saw that Daniel Stephens'
testimony was not truthful."
Letters of commendation
for Detective Stephens'
work in helping wrongfully convict Deskovic
click to enlarge
click to enlarge
What the jury did
not know was that Deskovic had already entered a "hi-low suit"
wherein his award would not exceed $10 million if he were to be victorious.
After court costs and lawyer fees (33%), Deskovic walked away with sixteen
years of his life lost, and $35 million less than what he was awarded
by jurors who had no knowledge he wouldn't get the full amount.
Although he walked
away with much less than awarded, his hopes were still high. Deskovic
stated, " I feel like I finally got the fair trial I never got
know what it's like to be wrongfully imprisoned
and I want to be the person that I wish I had
on the outside back when I was still wrongfully imprisoned."
a hunger to help others, Deskovic eventually created The
Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice which, "seeks
to exonerate the actually innocent, i.e., prisoners who have no connection
to the crime for which they were convicted." Since 2012, Deskovic
has helped exonerate William
Haughey and is currently working on freeing Lorenzo
Johnson, an inmate who had his sentence vacated due to insufficient
evidence, and was then forced
back to prison after the US Supreme Court reinstated his conviction
on appeal by Pennsylvania's Attorney General.
When asked why he
is pursuing his law degree he said he believes he can better serve the
people who need his help by being an attorney, saying he has current
concerns with, "not being able to sit up front in the courtroom
with clients and argue cases."
who later became lawyers
left to right) Jarrett Adams, Anthony Robinson, Kian Khatibi,
Marty Tankleff, Donald Glassman and Chris Ochoa
Now, Deskovic is
roughly two years away from finally earning his law degree. When accomplished,
he will have hit another milestone in his life. He will be one of only
seven known people out of two-thousand to practice law after being exonerated.
Deskovic stated Jarrett Adams, Kian Khatibi, Marty Tankleff, Anthony
Robinson (admitted to litigate at U.S. Supreme Court), Donald Glassman
and Chris Ochoa are the few who've gone on to acquire their law degrees
after being exonerated.
In a bittersweet
ironic twist of fate, Deskovic attends Elisabeth Haub School Of Law
At Pace University which is only nine-and-a-half city blocks from the
courthouse where he was wrongfully convicted at age seventeen and also
the place where he was later exonerated. Each day he passes the courthouse,
it serves as a stark and personal reminder that the system is broken
and there are innocent people in prison who need a champion.
When asked why he's
so passionate about helping others, Deskovic stated, "I know
what it's like to be wrongfully imprisoned and I want to be the person
that I wish I had on the outside back when I was still wrongfully imprisoned."
A statement like this can't be fully appreciated unless you've been
where Deskovic has - behind bars and innocent. Deskovic is truly an
inspiration to many who strive to have their voice of innocence heard
from behind prison walls. He's also a role model to many who have had
the opportunity to know him, and his story.
If he's not in class,
then he's likely flying around the globe, shining light on injustice.
Deskovic plans on mostly working on post conviction cases, with some
civil rights litigation once he passes the bar exam. With his firsthand
knowledge, it may not be long before he's traveling yet again, representing
the falsely convicted from coast to coast - pro hac vice!
is a modern day hero who now wears a suit and tie in lieu of his "prison
greens." His outlook on life and drive to help others is something
that should inspire all.
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