INDIANAPOLIS — Darryl Pinkins, a client of the IU McKinney Wrongful Conviction Clinic, was released from prison on April 25, free of his 1991 Lake County, Indiana, convictions for rape, sexual deviate conduct and robbery.
The Wrongful Conviction Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law has been involved in the representation of co-defendants Darryl Pinkins and Roosevelt Glenn since receiving the case on a referral from the Innocence Project.
In 2015, Pinkins was given permission by the Indiana Court of Appeals to seek a new trial based on TrueAllele Casework System DNA genotyping. A hearing was scheduled for April 25 on the petition. Dr. Mark Perlin, Cybergenetics founder and chief executive, and Greg Hampikian of the Idaho Innocence Project and a professor at Boise State University were scheduled to testify in support of the claim that Pinkins was exonerated by the new DNA technique, which identified genotypes of the five assailants who committed the crimes.
Instead of the hearing, Pinkins was able to walk free after the Lake County prosecutor, Bernard Carter, filed a motion on April 22 to vacate the conviction based on the new evidence, with no intent to retry. Instead of a hearing with expert testimony, Pinkins was greeted by family, friends and his legal team upon his release from prison.
Professor Fran Watson, who teaches in the law school’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic, acknowledged the work of students and volunteers over the many years of this complex litigation, as well as the countless pro bono hours of Perlin and Hampikian.
“Of course, I think the fact that ’48 Hours’ was on scene, interested in the story of this new science solving old wrongs, was invaluable,” Watson said of the television news program’s interest.
“It is a horror story that these men were convicted in the first place,” Hampikian said. “The DNA tests ordered by the state in 1990 should have ended it before their trials. These men were excluded by science from the very beginning. I’m glad the state finally came around, but that it took this long is inexcusable. These families have suffered terribly because the state has ignored clear DNA evidence over and over, until this day. Frances Watson and her students are heroes.”
The Wrongful Conviction Clinic will now work to vacate Glenn’s conviction as well. Glenn was released in 2009, after serving his sentence. He has written a book about the experience.