A New York judge has overturned the wrongful conviction of Leonard Mack who had been serving time for five decades in Greenburg following new DNA evidence and confession from another man. The initial conviction of Mack, who is now 72, came after the initial investigation relied on problematic eyewitness identifications according to the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office. In 1975, he was charged with raping a high school girl at gunpoint.
Mack's exoneration, which coincided with his 72nd birthday, was a momentous occasion for him. He expressed relief and gratitude, stating, "Today has been a long time coming. I lost seven-and-a-half years of my life in prison for a crime I did not commit, and I have lived with this injustice hanging over my head for almost 50 years."
The Innocence Project, which championed Mack's case, emphasized that his wrongful conviction was the longest to be overturned based on new DNA evidence. Investigators were able to match the DNA to another man, who had a history of sexual offenses. This man confessed to the 1975 Greenburgh rape but cannot be prosecuted for it due to New York's statute of limitations. However, he faces charges related to a separate sex crime in 2004.
This case highlights the dangers of such misidentifications and underscores the alarming statistics indicating that Black Americans are more likely to be falsely convicted of serious crimes.
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