• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

New York Man’s Conviction Overturned Due to Technicality

New York Man's Conviction Overturned Due to Technicality

Image for article titled Did New York Just Let a Convicted Killer Out of Prison?

Photo: Rochester Police Department

A man found guilty of murder just got his conviction overturned and not because he was found to be innocent. The New York Supreme Court ruled it was the result of pesky technicality that violated federal law.

Terrence Lewis was accused in the fatal drive-by shooting of 29-year-old Johnny Washington up in Rochester, NY. back in 2015. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department said Lewis was indicted in 2017 while serving time already for a federal drug charge in Allenwood, Pa., according to The New York Daily News. After receiving the indictment in Washington’s killing, he was transferred up north to Monroe County Jail and was convicted by 2018.

Sounds straightforward, right? Well, no.

According to the New York Supreme Court, the issue was not in the conviction itself. The issue was the fact that while Lewis was waiting for trial in New York, he was randomly transferred back to Pennsylvania for two months before he was sent back to New York where he was convicted. The Court said the issue relates to the 1970 Interstate Agreement on Detainers Law that requires any prisoner charged with an unrelated crime in another jurisdiction to be held and tried in that jurisdiction before they get sent back to where they were originally imprisoned.

A violation of that statute is grounds for a case dismissal – which is precisely what happened here. Lewis was released from Five Points Correctional Facility last week. However, the family of Mr. Washington must live with knowing their loved one’s killer is a free man.

“To be absolutely clear as day, we should have been aware. The repercussions are so great, we overturned a murder charge. We overturned justice. We have a family that is grieving here in Monroe County. We have people that are probably nervous and scared,” said Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter Tuesday via WHEC.

The report says the sheriff’s office is now conducting an audit to review whether any other inmates, current or former, have been dealt the same card as Lewis regarding transfers between facilities. It’s unclear if the officers involved in Lewis’ transfer will face any disciplinary action.

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