"In May of 1985, shortly after sentencing, and while Purvis's direct appeal was pending, the State Attorney's office (and all of the defendants named here) received information indicating that Robert Beckett, Sr., a close associate of the victim's ex-husband, had committed the murders. Michael Satz, the State Attorney, and Barbara Barton, his investigator, conducted some additional investigation and learned that Robert Beckett, Jr.'s girlfriend had told Colorado authorities that Robert Beckett, Jr. had implicated his father in the murder of Susan Hamwi. Notwithstanding this information, Robert Carney, a prosecutor in the State Attorney's office, instructed Barton to close the investigation. (Rumpole opines: In English, that is what's known as both a cover-up and in my book guilty knowledge of keeping an innocent man in prison to avoid the embarrassment of your own mistakes.) At that time, none of this exculpatory information was disclosed to Purvis, his guardian or his attorney.
Purvis remained imprisoned for approximately nine years. Ultimately this exculpatory information was discovered and a subsequent investigation established that Purvis was innocent. On joint motion of the State and Purvis, a circuit judge set aside Purvis's conviction in 1993, and Purvis was freed."
"If I was Judge Carney," Finkelstein said, "I would spend every day of my retirement for the rest of my life in church praying for forgiveness for the innocent lives I destroyed as a prosecutor."
So DNA tests seem to have exonerated another man wrongfully convicted by the State Attorney's Office for murder in Broward County. That makes at least seven of them.
Anthony Caravella, 41, has been locked up for the 1983 murder of Ada Cox Jankowski since he was 15. There never was any good evidence in the case against him, just a jumbled series of confessions he gave in response to police pressure.
The prosecutor in the case was Robert Carney, the same man who also had at least a hand in prosecuting three other men wrongfully imprisoned on murder convictions: Frank Lee Smith, John Purvis, and Christopher Clugston.
and finally this summary:
Hopefully Caravella will escape Frank Lee Smith's fate -- death in prison -- and will soon see freedom. For any hope of that, he can thank Broward County Chief Public Defender Diane Cuddihy, who fought hard for the DNA tests. Sun-Sentinelreporter Paula McMahon gives her newspaper some of the credit too by pointing out that the Sentinel referred Caravella's brother to the Public Defender's Office back in 2001.
Actually, McMahan and former Sentinel reporter Ardy Friedberg both did fine work reporting on those cases. Everyone involved deserves to be commended.
Carney, though, might want to start following Finkelstein's advice right about now.
Great article. Imagine having not one, not two, but three innocent men that were wrongfully convicted on your conscience because of your incompetence. There must be something in the water North of the Border. I have never seen a courthouse more infected by an atmosphere of fear and incompetence. What a horrible place to practice law.
See you in court.