After spending more than 32 years behind bars for a murder he did not commit, Andrew Leander Wilson, a client of the Project for the Innocent at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, was released Thursday, March 16, 2017, from L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail.
“Numerous due process violations that recently came to light show conclusively that Mr. Wilson did not receive a fair trial,” said Paula Mitchell, legal director of the Los Angeles Project for the Innocent and counsel for Wilson. “Mr. Wilson has maintained his innocence from the day he was arrested in 1984. He has never wavered and never stopped fighting to prove his innocence.”
Wilson was ordered released at a March 15, 2017, by Judge Laura Priver, who found that Wilson’s constitutional rights had been violated as a result of the prosecution’s withholding of exculpatory evidence and unreliability of the single eyewitness. The hearing came as a result of more than two years of legal work by Loyola Project for the Innocent attorneys and students, who conducted interviews and drafted court filings to help substantiate the violations.
During the hearing, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced it no longer had confidence in Wilson’s conviction. The DA has stated it will not re-try Wilson, who was originally arrested on Dec. 2, 1984 for a murder that occurred on Oct. 23, 1984.
Loyola Project for the Innocent students and attorneys were present to welcome Wilson as he regains his freedom. Those greeting Wilson included Professor Laurie Levenson, LPI founder; Legal Director Paula Mitchell; and Program Director Adam Grant, along with LPI students and Wilson’s daughter and granddaughter.
Wilson, 62, plans to return to St. Louis, where he can spend time with his mother, Margie Davis, who will turn 97 on May 1, and who has doggedly advocated on behalf of her son since the day he was arrested.
“Mrs. Davis’ commitment to seeing her son released from prison and exonerated is truly remarkable. She has been right by his side every step along the way for the last 32 years,” said Grant.
About Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent
The Project for the Innocent (LPI) pursues claims of actual innocence on behalf of those wrongfully convicted of crimes. Students work under the supervision of founder Laurie Levenson, David W. Burcham Professor of Ethical Advocacy, Executive Director Paula Mitchell and other supervising attorneys. In 2013, LPI attorneys and students helped secure the release of Kash Delano Register, who served 34 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. In 2011, Project for the Innocent students helped secure the release of Obie Anthony, who served 17 years of a life sentence. The project investigated the cases, helped draft the petition and participated in the 2011 evidentiary hearing. Learn more at www.lls.edu/ProjectfortheInnocent.