PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard
Phone: 301-801-0608
Email: tstoddard@saveservices.org

SAVE Applauds Justice Dept. Probe into Wrongful Convictions

WASHINGTON / July 12, 2012 — Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) welcomes the recent announcement that the Department of Justice and FBI are launching a probe of thousands of criminal cases to determine whether defendants were wrongly convicted. The news was highlighted in a recent Washington Post article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/justice-dept-fbi-to-review-use-of-forensic-evidence-in-thousands-of-cases/2012/07/10/gJQAT6DlbW_story.html

Each year millions of dollars in prosecutorial resources are squandered on trivial and false cases of domestic violence, thus shortchanging real victims who deserve priority from the criminal justice system, SAVE believes.

One survey found that about two-thirds of prosecutors’ offices around the country have implemented so-called “no-drop” policies for domestic violence: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/Unequal-Justice-in-the-Criminal-Justice-System. Such policies obviate the requirement of probable cause, and have resulted in innocent citizens being needlessly charged and wrongfully convicted.

In a recent high-profile case, high school athlete Brian Banks, wrongfully accused of rape, accepted a 5-year plea bargain, rather than face the uncertainties of a trial. Banks’ conviction was overturned in May after his accuser admitted on tape that the accusation was false.

Earlier this week, former Hofstra University student Rondell Bedward settled his lawsuit against false rape accuser Damnell Ndonye. Despite the existence of a video showing the sex was consensual, prosecutors had forced Bedward and 4 other accused men to be detained.

In 2011, SAVE filed a Grievance Complaint against Maine prosecutor Mary N. Kellett for multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct: http://www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/COMPLA1.pdf. Kellett’s case will be heard August 30-31.

SAVE says the Violence Against Women Act, currently up for reauthorization in Congress, needs to add provisions that require prosecutors receiving VAWA funding to eliminate no-drop policies and enforce laws that ban perjury and false swearing.

SAVE is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence: www.saveservices.org