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Three Individuals Are Exonerated After Spending 18 Years Imprisoned

Michael Cosme, Devon Ayers, and Carlos Perez were exonerated today after spending 18 years imprisoned following convictions in 1997. The convictions stemmed from two murders – of Baithe Diop, a Senegalese livery cab driver, and of Denise Raymond, a Federal Express executive – that the government argued was perpetrated by Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez. The convictions for the Diop homicide were vacated last December after two former gang members confessed to the killing. Because Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez were tried simultaneously for both the Raymond and the Diop homicides, on the theory that the murders were part of a single conspiracy, once the Diop homicide convictions were vacated, the government conceded in January of this year that spillover prejudice required vacatur of the Raymond homicide convictions as well. ECBAWM also argued that the Raymond homicide convictions should be vacated because Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez are actually innocent because the government violated their constitutional rights by suppressing materially exculpatory evidence. While the three were released from jail in January, the indictments were not dismissed until today. Over the last nine months, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office re-investigated the cases and conducted DNA testing on the physical evidence. The District Attorney’s Office received the final results of that DNA testing today and agreed to dismiss the indictments. Mr. Cosme is represented by ECBAWM’s Earl S. Ward, Elizabeth S. Saylor, and Eisha Jain, along with co-counsel Julia Kuan of Romano & Kuan.

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Three Men Freed After 18 Years In Jail After Judge Vacates Convictions

Michael Cosme, Devon Ayers, and Carlos Perez were released today after spending 18 years imprisoned following convictions in 1997. The convictions stemmed from two murders – of Baithe Diop, a Senegalese livery cab driver, and of Denise Raymond, a Federal Express executive – that the government argued were perpetrated by Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez. The convictions for the Diop homicide were vacated last December, after two former gang members confessed to the killing. The convictions for the Raymond homicide were vacated today, upon the government’s consent. Because Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez were tried simultaneously for both the Raymond and the Diop homicides on the theory that the murders were part of a single conspiracy, once the Diop homicide convictions were vacated, the government conceded that spillover prejudice required vacatur of the Raymond homicide convictions as well. ECBAWM also argued that the Raymond homicide convictions should be vacated because Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez are actually innocent and because the government violated their constitutional rights by suppressing materially exculpatory evidence. While the government has not yet conceded that Mr. Cosme, Mr. Ayers, and Mr. Perez are innocent, they were all released without bail. The government has 90 days to decide whether to retry them. Mr. Cosme is represented by ECBAWM’s Earl S. Ward, Elizabeth S. Saylor, Eisha Jain, and Julia Fong Sheketoff, along with co-counsel Julia Kuan of Romano & Kuan.

“Cleared of One ’95 Murder, 3 Men Have Conviction Vacated in a 2nd,” New York Times

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