New York: A New York man’s conviction was cleared after he spent more than a quarter-century behind bars for a deadly robbery, with prosecutors acknowledging witnesses against him – including a 10-year-old boy – weren’t reliable.
Jaythan Kendrick, 62, walked out of a Queens courthouse Thursday, free for the first time since his arrest in the November 1994 death of Josephine Sanchez, a 70-year-old woman who was stabbed twice in the back.
‘I´m very, very happy today because I never thought this would happen, although I hoped and wished that it would,’ Kendrick, 62, told the court.
‘I´ve just known one thing for the last 25 years: I did not commit this crime,’ he said. ‘Nobody really understands what it is to be in prison when you are innocent, and you know you´re innocent, and you´re behind that wall.’
Queens Justice Joseph Zayas apologized to Kendrick for what he called a ‘monumental’ miscarriage of justice.
‘It took way, way too long to discover, and you, sir, deserve better than that,’ the judge said as he overturned Kendrick’s murder conviction and dismissed the case. ‘We failed you.’
Kendrick, an Army veteran and former postal carrier who is also known legally as Ernest Kendrick, had been serving a sentence of 25 years to life after being convicted of fatally stabbing Sanchez in 1995 at the Ravenswood Houses in Queens.
His conviction rested mainly on the testimony of the 10-year-old – who had looked out at the crime scene from a third-floor window and identified Kendrick as the man he saw running away – and a second witness, a man who said he saw Kendrick running past him with a purse.
A black handbag was later found by police while searching Kendrick’s apartment, which he was sharing with a woman at the time, the New York Post reported.
But recent DNA testing – which wasn’t done at the time of the trial – showed there was none of the victim’s DNA on the purse, contradicting the idea that the bag belonged to her. Tests also found another man’s DNA, not Kendrick’s, under Sanchez’s fingernails.
The now-grown child witness, who had initially picked someone else out of a lineup, recanted his later identification of Kendrick in recent years. He admitted that he wasn’t able to see the suspect clearly enough to identify him at the time of the incident.
Kendrick’s lawyers raised doubts about the veracity of the second witness, noting that the witness had two pending criminal cases and incentive to give police the testimony they needed to arrest Kendrick, Freidman said.
Additionally, four other witnesses have since emerged with accounts that conflicted with the second witnesses’ testimony.
‘This is a textbook case of wrongful conviction exposing the worst flaws in our system,’ said Susan Friedman, Kendrick’s lawyer with the Innocence Project, which worked on his case with the WilmerHale law firm.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said prosecutors now believe jurors would probably have acquitted Kendrick if they had heard all the evidence that’s now available.
In one of her first moves when she took office this past January, Katz created a Conviction Integrity Unit to review wrongful-conviction claims, and Kendrick’s soon became one of them.
‘This case is a prime example of why the CIU exists,’ she said in a statement Thursday.
Katz’s predecessor, Queens DA Richard Brown, had refused to consider the new evidence and insisted on Kendrick’s guilt. Brown died in 2019.
‘Too many police and prosecutors remain focused on securing and maintaining convictions at all costs,’ WilmerHale attorney Ross Firsenbaum said, while praising Katz’s office, according to the New York Post.
Firsenbaum donated his time to the Innocence Project to work on Kendrick’s wrongful conviction case.
Kendrick’s cousin, Clarence Hughes, spent the past 25 years advocating for Kendrick’s innocence, writing to the FBI, the Queens DA and ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show.’
‘The family is elated … Jaythan lost a lot of his family,’ Hughes said.
Hughes said that Kendrick’s mother and sister died while he was incarcerated, adding that ‘We don’t have that many of the family left.’
Kendrick told reporters that he was looking forward to a good meal now that he’s free – ‘Shrimp, flounder, lobster, crab, any of that’ – and said he’s looking forward to traveling and catching up on technology and other things he’s missed in prison.
‘As I was told, there´s a whole new world out there,’ he told reporters. ‘OK, let’s go.’
Kendrick’s advice to anyone who might find themselves in a similar situation as he was in, back in 1994, was: ‘I would tell them to ask for a lawyer, don’t say one word.’
He added that, ‘I trusted them, I trusted the police, I trusted they’d do the right thing and see that I was innocent. That was my mistake.’
Netanyahu Met Saudi Prince on Secret Trip, Israeli Media Say
Jerusalem: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Saudi Arabia Sunday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, media said, in the first reported trip by an Israeli premier to the kingdom.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel last week, was also at the reported talks, a diplomatic correspondent at Israeli public broadcaster Kan said on Monday.
The broadcaster cited unnamed Israeli officials as saying that Netanyahu and the head of the Mossad spy agency Yossi Cohen “flew yesterday to Saudi Arabia, and met Pompeo and MBS in the city of Neom”, referring to Prince Mohammed’s initials.
Multiple other Israeli media outlets reported similar information on Monday morning.
Netanyahu’s office was not immediately available to comment on the reports.
The meeting comes after Israel agreed historic deals to normalise ties with two Saudi allies in the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Those accords were brokered by outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration.
US and Israeli officials have repeatedly indicated that more Arab states were set to forge ties with Israel.
Publicly, Saudi Arabia has said it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not having ties with Israel until the Jewish state’s conflict with the Palestinians is resolved.
Joe Biden appoints Indian-American Mala Adiga as policy director of incoming First Lady
Washington: US President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American Mala Adiga as the policy director of his wife Jill, choosing an experienced education policy hand as the incoming First Lady focuses on education and plans to continue teaching community college classes.
Adiga was a senior adviser to Jill and senior policy adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign. She previously worked for the Biden Foundation as director for higher education and military families.
Before that, during Obama’s administration, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programmes at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and worked in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as chief of staff and senior adviser to the ambassador-at-large.
“Future First Lady Jill Biden’s Policy Director will be Mala Adiga, who served as her senior advisor and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign. Adiga will work for a First Lady who has said she intends to prioritise education and military families,”
Biden on Friday announced another round of White House staff positions to be filled by longtime aides to the Bidens.
Louisa Terrell, who served as Executive Director for the Biden Foundation, will become Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. She comes to the position with an experience that includes acting as the Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs in the Obama-Biden administration, the report said.
Carlos Elizondo, who was social secretary for Jill Biden during the Obama administration, will be White House Social Secretary. Ambassador Cathy Russell will assume the role of Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, it said.
Adiga served as Director for Human Rights in the National Security Staff’s (NSS) Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate. Prior to joining NSS, she was an attorney at the Department of Justice, where she served as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General.
Before entering government service, Adiga volunteered and then worked for the Obama presidential campaign for nearly two years, according to her biography on the US State Department website.
She earned her JD from the University of Chicago Law School and her MPH from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a B A in Spanish.
The new announcements come just days after Biden revealed his first round of top White House staff, including the appointment of his campaign manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon, to serve as deputy chief of staff, and campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Late week, he announced that his aide Ron Klain will serve as his chief of staff.
മൊബൈൽ നമ്പറുകൾ ജനുവരി ഒന്ന് മുതൽ പതിനൊന്നക്കമാകുന്നു,തുടക്കത്തില് ‘0’ ചേര്ക്കണം.
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Netanyahu Met Saudi Prince on Secret Trip, Israeli Media Say
Jerusalem: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Saudi Arabia Sunday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, media...
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