Pro Bono Client Pardoned by North Carolina Governor

12/27/2013


DALLAS – North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has signed a Pardon of Innocence for a pro bono client of a legal team associated with the Duke University School of Law Wrongful Convictions Clinic, including Haynes and Boone, LLP Associate Matt McGee. The action officially recognizes the innocence of LaMonte Armstrong in a 1988 murder for which he spent 17 years in prison.

The volunteer legal team, made up of McGee, fellow law school students, a North Carolina defense attorney and university professors, reinvestigated the murder and determined that exculpatory evidence, documents, and recordings were not given to Armstrong’s original defense attorney. The state’s key witness against Armstrong also recanted his testimony. After the legal team filed a Motion for Appropriate Relief, a palm print from the crime scene was re-tested and matched to another suspect. As a result, Armstrong was released from prison in 2012, and the state dismissed the charges against him in 2013.

The pardon entitles Armstrong to compensation of up to $750,000 for his 17 years of wrongful incarceration. Additionally, Governor McCrory apologized to Armstrong for the wrongful conviction and promised to arrange a pickup basketball game between Armstrong, the Governor, Michael Jordan and Charlotte Bobcats executive Fred Whitfield.

McGee became involved with the case in August 2009 during his third year of law school and has remained an active member of the legal team. At Haynes and Boone, he serves as an associate in the firm’s White Collar Defense Practice Group in Dallas.

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