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

  • January 23, 2013

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