Help James Davis After Wrongful Conviction

On April 21, 2021, James Davis’ wrongful conviction of murder was finally reversed, ending a 17 year nightmare. The New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, vacated his conviction based on a violation of James’ constitutional rights and ordered a new trial.  Now, James needs your help, as he waits to find out if the district attorney is going to try to re-prosecute this case.

See media coverage below as well as an entire summary of James’ case:

NYDN: Lawyers for Brooklyn man in prison 14 years for murder say they can prove he's innocent 

NYDN: NYC convicted murderer fighting for innocence says prosecution’s star witness was actually a drug dealer under FBI investigation 

NYDN: Brooklyn man’s murder conviction overturned because his lawyer was ‘atrocious’ 

Case Summary:

In 2004, James Davis was a 21-year-old resident of Brooklyn, living at home with his family. On the night of January 25, he went to a birthday party for his older brother at the Masonic Temple in Flatbush. According to numerous witnesses, James, who was unused to drinking, celebrated too heavily, became ill, and left the party early. He took a taxi to his girlfriend’s house, and spent the night with her.

Hours after James left the party, a fight broke out in the club. Another young man, Blake Harper, was shot and killed. Hundreds of people were in attendance at the party that night, and press reports described the scene as chaotic.

Following the shooting, an ex-girlfriend of James, who was angry at him for dating someone else,  spoke to police and accused James of having shot Harper. Police then showed James’ picture to an eyewitness, who identified him as the shooter.

When he was arrested, James told the police that many people had seen him leave the party early,  before the shooting began. James’ new girlfriend also supported his alibi, saying he took a cab to her house and they spent the night together.  The police, however, did nothing to investigate his alibi. More importantly, neither did his lawyer.

In 2006, James was convicted at a trial without the jury hearing from any of James’s witnesses, and he was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison.

Over the years, James taught himself law and worked with his appeals lawyer, Susan Epstein. Together, they tracked down and interviewed more than eight witnesses. In 2019, James and his legal team brought several of those witnesses into court and they testified that James could not have committed the shooting because he left the party early. Incredibly, the court rejected all of this evidence and denied James’ motion for a new trial.   James filed an appeal.  

On April 21, 2021, the New York Appellate Division reversed the decision of the lower court and ordered a new trial. While the appeals court ruled that James had not met the very high bar of proving actual innocence, it ruled that his lawyer had been ineffective in failing to investigate the numerous witnesses present at the club that night  and then failing to present his alibi at trial.

Throughout the years, James’ story has attracted many supporters. “Free James Davis” has over 6700 petition signatures on, James’ story has been featured on Jason Flom’s podcast, Wrongful Conviction, which goes out all over the world, and in many press reports as well. 

The next 90 days are critical. We hope that the Kings County District Attorney will drop its opposition and agree that James is innocent and should come home.

Today, James is on Rikers Island, awaiting the DA’s decision. If and when he is released, he will come home to his family. They are supportive, but James will need practical help to get back on his feet.  All money raised in the GoFundMe will be devoted to his educational expenses and help James get back on his feet at the age 38, having lost half of his life to an unjust and uncaring criminal legal system.

Donations (97)

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  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 1 yr
  • Rachel Malloy-good
    • $35 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Simon Greenberg
    • $250 
    • 2 yrs
  • Eileen Choi
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
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Fundraising team (2)

Rob Davis
Raised $355 from 5 donations
Newark, NJ
David Crow
Team member
Raised $275 from 2 donations
This team raised $5,312 from 90 other donations.

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