AL: Years after brothers serve 20 years for rape they said they did not commit, judge tosses wrongful conviction

Source: al.com 11/8/22

Frank Meadows, Jr. may never wear sneakers again. He and his older brother Quinton Cook can laugh about it now. They can laugh about something as inconsequential as footwear and what they’ll wear to church.

They can laugh about it now because of the consequential weight recently lifted from their lives when Jefferson County Circuit Judge Shanta’ Owens ruled last month that the two men were wrongfully convicted of rape in 1993, a crime the two men always declared they did not commit. A crime for which each served two decades in prison.

In her orders, rendered on Oct. 25 in response to a Rule 32 petition for postconviction relief, Owens noted her decision was based on the discovery of an “original” Leeds Police Department report containing “exculpatory information that establishes [their] actual innocence”, including the “original statement given by [the victim] to the police in which she said two men from Pell City attacked her and that one of the men was named ‘Ray’.”

In addition, Owens noted: “The report revealed additional blood evidence that was present at the scene and never tested.”

“The evidence was suppressed by the State and not provided to the defense counsel,” her order states. “Nor was it presented or utilized at trial. This exculpatory information was shielded from [Meadows and Cook] and [their] counsel, thus prejudicing [their] right to a fair trial.”

“This court orders that [their] Rule 32 Petition for Postconviction Relief be GRANTED and that [their] conviction and sentence be vacated and set aside due to wrongful conviction.”

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Ya man, shit happens. Shout out to the innocence project Polevaulters.
@ wrongful convictions blog.org. My turns coming.

If the cops and DA are still alive, they wouldn’t be much longer.

When are there going to be laws enacted to hold cops and DAs liable for withholding evidence that proves a defendant is innocent? I can almost understand a DA just wanting to get a conviction, but what is in it for a cop? Did the cops hate these guys so much that they just wanted to lock them up?
I absolutely hate reading about wrongful convictions. If laws were changed to make everyone responsible to serve the same amount of time a falsely accused person served, people would start to think twice about crap like this.
There is no excuse.

I like that the article stated, that he couldn’t live in the same household as his underage stepsons after he got out of prison because of the conviction, but they don’t really go into it, that all sex offenders have to follow this. My biggest question, is seeing that this is all vacated, does he still have to register as a sex offender? I really didn’t see anything in there about that and maybe I missed it?

Go figure. Did anyone expect them to be anything else but black? I believe 90% of the innocent people in prisons are black. The evidence was suppressed by the State and not provided to the defense counse. That should be a crime.