Stephanie Hartung10.31.16 —    Professor Stephanie Hartung has co-authored an amicus brief on behalf of the New England Innocence Project in the case of Commonwealth v. Victor Rosario, SJC 12115. The brief argues that new scientific evidence and research contradicts the prosecution's evidence and is consistent with innocence.

The New England Innocence Project joined the Boston College Innocence Program and the Innocence Project, Inc., in filing the amicus brief urging the state's highest court to affirm the Middlesex Superior Court order vacating Victor Rosario's 1983 convictions in connection with a deadly fire in Lowell. Amici argue that current fire science -- which the Superior Court found contradicted the assumptions, methods, and conclusions of the prosecution's arson investigators at trial -- also casts doubt on the matching "confession" that those same arson investigators prepared for Rosario to sign using interrogation techniques now known to produce false confessions. The brief explains that Rosario's case fits within a pattern of over thirty cases around the country where new fire science has exonerated individuals wrongfully convicted of arson and arson-related homicides, six of which also involved false confessions.  

Professor Hartung is a member of the board of trustees of the New England Innocence Project and the 2015 recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award from the Massachusetts Citizens Against the Death Penalty. 

Commonwealth v. Victor Rosario, SJC 12115, will be argued in the Supreme Judicial Court on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The briefs are available here:  http://www.ma-appellatecourts.org/search_number.php?dno=SJC-12115

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