Haynes and Boone's Newsroom
Haynes and Boone Associate and Duke Law School Alumni Helps Overturn Wrongful Conviction
– Due to the diligence and hard work of a group of Duke University School of Law alumni, professors and a North Carolina attorney, a pro bono case has come to a victorious close with a guilty conviction overturned and an innocent man freed from prison.
During his third year of law school at Duke, Matt McGee
, a Haynes and Boone, LLP attorney, became involved with the pro bono case in August 2009 as part of his coursework in the law school’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic.
McGee and a team of students, who are alumni today, professors and a professional attorney, reinvestigated evidence of a 1988 murder. After determining there was a lack of evidence and documents and recordings that were not given to the original defense attorney, the Duke pro bono legal team drafted a motion for appropriate relief and began preparing for a new hearing, scheduled for September 2012.
In preparation for the hearing, the Assistant District Attorney resubmitted prints from the crime scene to law enforcement officials, who ran them through an updated database system. The database system matched a palm print to another person linked to the original investigation, clearing the defendant’s name.
In June 2012, McGee and team received the news that the defendant would be released from prison because the new evidence cleared him of any participation of the murder.
“This meant a lot to me personally because I got so involved with the defendant and got to know him pretty well,” said McGee. “I couldn’t be happier for him because we knew he didn’t do this and seeing the justice system recognize his innocence is gratifying.”
McGee also expressed his appreciation to the firm for its support on this case. “I’m grateful to the firm for being supportive and allowing me to dedicate time to work on this.”
McGee is an associate of the firm’s White Collar Defense Practice Group
The case was referred to the Duke Law Innocence Project by the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence.