Today, IPNO client Raymond Flanks was exonerated and freed almost 39 years after he was arrested for a murder he did not commit.
In 1983, Martin Carnesi was shot in his driveway during a botched robbery. The perpetrator fled in an old, blue car. The crime was witnessed by Mr. Carnesi’s wife, who remembered only one thing about the perpetrator: a white blotch on his face.
20-year-old Mr. Flanks was arrested two days before Christmas 1983 driving a new blue car. He did not have any blemishes on his face. While being shown a photo array, Ms. Carnesi noted that Ms. Flanks’ photo did not depict a blotch. The detective, John Dillman, shook his head and said “that’s him.”
Despite the evidence pointing away from Mr. Flanks, the lead prosecutor, James “Jim” Williams, attested that he had no evidence favorable to Mr. Flanks. Det. Dillmann falsely testified that Ms. Carnesi told him the perpetrator’s only notable facial characteristic was a mustache, that he did not do anything to influence her during identification, and that Mr. Flanks’ car matched Ms. Carnesi’s description. The jury then convicted Mr. Flanks based on Ms. Carnesi’s identification without hearing any mention of a blotch or of Det. Dillmann’s comments during the identification procedure.
IPNO discovered the hidden evidence in this case and presented it to the Orleans Parish District Attorney Civil Rights Division, requesting that Mr. Flanks’ conviction be vacated.
This is yet another Orleans Parish case in which law enforcement illegally hid favorable evidence. Orleans Parish has the highest known wrongful conviction rate in the country and that over 70% of these cases involve withheld evidence. Dillmann and Williams have been implicated in three prior wrongful convictions each. In fact, Mr. Williams secured the notorious wrongful conviction and death sentence of John Thompson the week before he secured the wrongful conviction and life sentence of Mr. Flanks.
If you would like to help welcome Mr. Flanks after 39 long years, you can donate to his Freedom Fund or purchase items on his Amazon wish list.
Freedom Fund: https://tinyurl.com/flanksfreedomfund
Amazon wish list: https://tinyurl.com/flanksamazonwishlist