Original Case Details
Kevin Harrington and George Clark are two men who have been recently released from prison after their convictions as co-defendants for the murder of Michael Martin have been overturned due to newly discovered evidence and the cooperation of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The University of Michigan Law School Innocence Clinic was the main driving force behind Harrington from the beginning of his appeals. The assistant director of the clinic actually first worked on Harrington’s case as a law student back in 2009, and now gets to finally see his release. Harrington had to endure four jury trials before he was convicted and sent to prison. His first trial resulted in a verdict that was overturned, his next two trials resulted in hung juries, and the fourth resulted in the murder conviction that he has spent over 17 years in prison for. Clark was convicted by a jury at his first trial back in 2003 and has been imprisoned since. Both men were originally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the shooting death of victim. Now that these men have been let out, they find themselves in the middle of a COVID-19 affected society. Because of the current pandemic, they have to spend 14 days in quarantine until they can be cleared to return to normal society. Harrington checked into a Canton hotel, while Clark is staying with family in Washtenaw County.
Newly Discovered Evidence
Appeals are never easy, but if new evidence comes to light, then the potential for a successful appeal increases significantly. A new witness finally came forward after nearly fifteen years saying that she saw a man in an argument with the victim and heard gunshots as she was driving away. This witness states she was buying marijuana nearby when this occurred. She learned of the victim’s death and knew that the wrong man had been taken into custody for the murder based on what she saw. Further, an interview with another woman shortly after the murder found that Clark was with her during the time of the murder, but that information was not used apparently. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has stated on record that there was no physical evidence that links either man to the shooting death of Michael Martin, and so neither man will be retried for the murder.
Police Misconduct Alleged
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office created the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) in January of 2018. This unit’s main job is to investigate cases that resulted in questionable convictions. Convictions that may not be true and are based on evidence that has now been shown to be unreliable or false. The CIU investigated this case for six months before they took a lead role in securing the wrongfully convicted men’s release and exoneration from their murder convictions. The CIU found a “troubling” pattern of police misconduct which involved acts of threat and coercion for a number of witnesses involved in the case. Defense attorneys assert that Inkster Police made threats to take a witness’ children if she didn’t testify to the Police’s liking. The behavior of the Police in this case pointed to their specific pursuit of two men who had no connection to the scene of this crime. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has gone so far to even recommend that an outside law enforcement agency investigate the Inkster Police Department’s conduct related to this matter. The Inkster Police Chief has welcomed the investigation as the people involved in the case are no longer with the department.
Any Further Questions?
If you have a loved one who is incarcerated due to unreliable evidence from an intimidated witness or a jailhouse snitch, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. There may be legal relief if there are the correct legal issues are present. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.