Wrongly Convicted Database Record

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Terrence Garner


Years Imprisoned:

5

Charge:

Attempted Murder, Robbery and Kidnapping

Sentence:

32 to 48 years

Year Convicted:

1998

Year Cleared:

2002

Location of Trial:

North Carolina

Result:

Judicially Exonerated Released

Summary of Case:

"Terrance Garner was wrongly convicted of armed robbery, even though one of his two codefendants, who admitted his guilt, testified he wasn't the "Terrance" who was their accomplice. The other codefendant, Richard Keith Riddick, later admitted that he falsely identified Terrence Garner as their accomplice in exchange for a sentence reduction from 50 to 4 years in prison. Terrence Garner was initially arrested only because the two robbers said their accomplice had the first name of "Terrence." The victim of the robbery erroneously identified Garner even though she lost the sight in one eye and suffered brain damage after being shot in the eye during the holdup. Another witness, who had known Garner since he was a child said he wasn't one of the robbers. Four alibi witnesses testified Terrence Garner was 25 miles away at the time of the robbery and attempted murder. Two days after his conviction, police apprehended Riddick's cousin and he confessed to being the third robber. In spite Garner's obvious false identification and conviction, his trial judge and then the State Ct of Appeals refused to grant a new trial, and then the state Supreme Court refused to review the case. Garner's conviction was reversed after the publicity generated by PBS's Frontline investigative program highlighted the injustice of his imprisonment for simply having the same first name as the third robber. As one of his lawyers, Richard Price, told Frontline: "If his mother had named him John, he wouldn't be in prison today." On June 11, 2002, five days after Garner passed a lie detector test, the charges were dismissed when the Johnson County, NC prosecutor declined to retry Garner."

Conviction Caused By:

Erroneous eyewitness identification by the victim. Perjurious testimony by one of the actual perpetrators in exchange for a sentence reduction from 50 to 5 years. Prosecutorial misconduct of prosecuting a man known by the prosecutor to be innocent.

Innocence Proved By:

"Testimony of his two alleged accomplices, who freely admitted their guilt, and the confession of the real "Terrence."."

Defendant Aided By:

"Raleigh News & Observer reporter Anne Saker was assigned the Garner story six weeks after his 1998 conviction. She uncovered the numerous peculiar aspects of his case that led to the PBS program Frontline producing and running on national television an investigative report titled: "An Ordinary Crime." That story exposed Terrence Garner was wrongly convicted solely because he had the same first name as a man who participated in an armed robbery, and that the state courts of North Carolina wanted to ignore that the wrong man had been convicted so it wouldn't have to release him and prosecute the actual robber and attempted murderer."

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Found?

Age When Imprisoned:

17

Age When Released:

22

Information Source 1:

""An Ordinary Crime," Frontline, PBS television network"

Information Location 1:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ordinary/

Information Source 2:

Synopsis of Terrance Garner's case

Information Location 2:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ordinary/etc/synopsis.html

Information Source 3:

Interview: Anne Saker

Information Location 3:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ordinary/interviews/saker.html

Information Source 4:

Retrial Ruled Out for Garner, Jane Ruffin and Adrienne Lu, The News and Observer, June 12, 2002

Information Location 4:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ordinary/etc/latest.html

Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

Ethnicity/Skin:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org