New York District Attorney Vacates Convictions of 2 More Men Wrongly Convicted Decades Ago

By The Vanguard Staff

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Two more men—both spent more than 20 years in prison after 1990’s murder convictions—earlier this month saw motions to vacate the convictions by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Jabar Walker, 49, also known as Jabar Moore, and Wayne Gardine, 49, were both wrongfully convicted, said Bragg in a statement, admitting his office “agreed not to re-prosecute Walker in the interest of justice and because the case cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.”

“Walker and Gardine are just a few of the more than a dozen people who have been exonerated so far this year due to wrongful convictions based on misidentifications, false confessions, police failure to disclose evidence and more,” said ABC News.

There have been at least 3,287 exonerations recorded by the National Registry of Exonerations since 1989, and more than 29,100 years have been “lost” in prison due to “wrongful convictions” that have been uncovered thus far, ABC News reported.

In the case of Walker, who was convicted in 1998 in a murder-for-hire case, Bragg’s office said “newly discovered evidence” of his wrongful conviction and inadequate legal representation led to the mistake.

“Not only was the case against Jabar Walker built upon unreliable and recanted testimony, he did not have the benefit of an effective defense attorney—one of the constitutional bedrocks of our criminal justice system,” Bragg said in a statement. 

Bragg added. “Despite these serious issues, Mr. Walker received a sentence that could have kept him in prison for his entire life. I am thrilled he can now finally return home, and thank the Innocence Project for its steadfast advocacy throughout this matter.”

In Gardine’s case, said ABC News, Bragg’s office “agreed with a court filing by the Legal Aid Society’s Wrongful Conviction Unit that there was never physical or forensic evidence connecting Gardine to a 1994 fatal shooting.”

“The only evidence against him at trial was the word of a teenager who claimed to have witnessed the murder, was on felony probation for selling drugs at the time he first incriminated Mr. Gardine, and changed his story several times between the incident and trial in statements to police, in the grand jury, at trial and post-conviction,” according to the Legal Aid filing.

Gardine’s sentence was 18 1/2 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him in the Sept. 2, 1994, slaying of Robert David Mickens, shot 11 times on a street in the Harlem neighborhood of New York.

“Unjust convictions are the height of injustice and while we can never completely undo the pain he has experienced, I hope this is the first step in allowing Mr. Gardine to rebuild his life and reunite with his loved ones,” Bragg said.

Gardine, who moved to the United States from Jamaica with his family when he was 13, served nearly three decades in prison before he was released on parole in 2022. He was then transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), where he remains in custody, according to Bragg’s office.

The Legal Aid Society called for Gardine’s release from ICE custody and the termination of pending deportation proceedings.

Walker was serving a sentence of two consecutive terms of 25 years to life in prison, convicted of killing two men, William Santana and Ismael De La Cruz in Harlem on May 25, 1995.

Walker left a courtroom this month a free man after serving 25 years in prison, reported ABC News.

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