By Kianna Anvari
SUFFOLK COUNTY, MA– After the Suffolk County District Attorney motioned for a new trial for a man convicted in a 1991 homicide, he was freed based on wrongful-conviction.
District Attorney Rachael Rollins, along with the Integrity Review Bureau (IRB) for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, filed an emergency petition on Dec. 22 for defendant Robert Foxworth, asking for a new trial and immediate release.
Foxworth has been incarcerated at MCI-Shirley in Massachusetts for almost 30 years and has pleaded innocent throughout his sentence.
Now, a Suffolk Superior Court judge will review the motion for a new trial.
“He has always maintained his innocence during those thirty years – being denied parole twice at least in part because he would not admit guilt and ‘take responsibility’ for a crime he says he did not commit,” said DA Rollins in the emergency filing.
Rollins explains that during Foxworth’s trial, prosecution coerced and threatened the only eyewitness, a 15-year-old, into identifying Foxworth.
“This DA’s Office, under this DA, will not stand behind a conviction obtained by threats, coercion, or any other unconstitutional means. And any day that a person – assumed innocent until proven guilty – is found guilty through these shameful and possibly criminal means spends incarcerated, is a day too long,” said Rollins.
Rollins and the IRB performed an extensive investigation, concluding that Foxworth did not receive a fair trial.
The IRB is the first review board in the U.S. to review policies and practices at each stage of prosecution.
Rollins also believes it was unconstitutional for a redacted statement from one of Foxworth’s co-defendants that implicated Foxworth to be admitted into evidence. This co-defendant did not testify, so the statement was never questioned.
“My office will continue our efforts to ensure that justice is done for Mr. Foxworth as the case returns to the Superior Court. When the Motion for a New Trial is granted, we will immediately enter a nolle prosequi, allowing Mr. Foxworth to start picking up the pieces of a life, 30 years of which were stolen from him,” said Rollins.
Kianna Anvari will earn a Master’s in Public Administration from San Diego State University in May 2021. She is from San Diego.
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