Glenn Garber, Founder & Director
Glenn A. Garber has been a criminal defense attorney in New York City for over 20 years. His lifelong commitment to representing the indigent started after graduating from Cardozo School of Law in 1989, when he began his career at the Legal Aid Society, zealously representing thousands of indigent persons. In the early 1990s, he built a private practice with a strong emphasis on criminal trials and appeals, post-conviction litigation, and civil rights. Glenn A. Garber has represented countless clients in their criminal defenses. All the while, he remained dedicated to serving the poor, doing substantial work for the indigent on state homicide and federal death penalty cases.
In 2002, Mr. Garber was introduced to innocence work. Working with the Innocence Project, he won exoneration for Hector Gonzalez who had been wrongfully convicted of murder in 1996 (read the article). Recognizing the despair and destruction caused by a wrongful conviction and the importance of reclaiming the lives of so many other desperate innocent prisoners (especially those whose cases lack DNA), Glenn A. Garber has committed himself to helping this forgotten population in their fight for freedom.
Rebecca Freedman, Assistant Director
Rebecca Freedman is EXI's full time Assistant Director. She is a graduate of the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis. While in law school, she interned at the Legal Aid Society, Criminal Defense Division and assisted in representing indigent criminal defendants. As a student, she was an Associate Editor of the Washington University Global Studies Law Review. Rebecca Freedman has also interned at the ACLU in both the National Prison Project and the Campaign Against Racial Profiling. She received her undergraduate degree from the George Washington University in Washington D.C.
Anne Feldman, Case Manager
Judge Anne Feldman volunteers her time supervising the case vetting and selection process. She is a retired New York State Supreme Court Judge with 30 years of experience with state court homicide and felony trials and post-conviction claims.
Judge Feldman is a graduate of Antioch College and Yale Law School. She served as Chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York having previously served as Chair of the Association's Correction Committee. Judge Feldman is also an advisor to New York's Justice Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, established by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman of the Court of Appeals. Her depth of knowledge and experience is an invaluable resource in our exoneration efforts.
Angharad Vaughan, Staff Attorney
Angharad Vaughan is a volunteer staff attorney for EXI who assists with case evaluation and litigation. She is an experienced criminal defense attorney and specializes in New York State and Federal appellate and post-conviction litigation. She co-authored Actual-Innocence Policy, Non-DNA Innocence Claims, published in the New York Law Journal in April, 2008.
Angharad Vaughan is a graduate from Sarah Lawrence College. As an undergraduate, Ms. Vaughan led creative writing workshops for inmates at the Valhalla Correctional Facility in New York. She received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law located in Boston, Massachusetts.
Sarah Schindler-Williams, Outreach & Development Coordinator
Sarah Schindler-Williams volunteers as EXI's Coordinator of Outreach & Development, serving as the point of contact for media relations and foundational and private donors as well as law firms who seek to support our efforts. Sarah Schindler-Williams also serves on EXI's Board of Directors.
Sarah Schindler-Williams is an associate at Ballard Spahr LLP. She is a graduate of Brown University and New York University Law School where she worked on post-conviction death penalty cases.
08 May 2013
Exoneration Initiative client Devon Ayers was released from prison on January 23, 2013, after serving more than 17 years behind bars for two 1995 Bronx homicides he did not commit: the murder of a Federal Express executive in her apartment, and the felony murder of a livery driver in his cab two days later and four blocks away. There was no physical evidence tying the murders to Ayers or to one another - they were connected only by the prosecution's witnesses who claimed that Ayers and his codefendants committed both. Ayers was exonerated of the livery driver's murder in December, based on reliable confessions from the true killers which proved that that the prosecution's only witnesses on both murders were wrong. On January 23, prosecutors finally conceded that Ayers' conviction for the second murder must also fall.
Ayers' release came three months after EXI, in conjunction with attorneys from the Legal Aid Society, filed a motion to exonerate him of both murders. He is thrilled to be reunited with his family, including his 18 year old daughter who was only 4 months old when he went to jail. Had he not been exonerated, Ayers would have had to serve 50 years to life in prison.
Ayers was released with the understanding that the Bronx District Attorney's Office would be given 90 days to decide whether it had any credible evidence to justify re-trying him and his codefendants. But on the 90th day, the Bronx District Attorney's Office announced for the first time its intention to attempt biological testing on evidence recovered in the Federal Express executive's murder. This testing had been requested by Ayers and his codefendants numerous times over the past decade, but the Bronx District Attorney's Office previously opposed these requests, claiming that the evidence was not relevant. It now insists that the charges against Ayers and his codefendants cannot be officially dropped until the testing is completed, further delaying justice for these innocent men and preventing them from moving on with their lives.
ABC Eyewitness News Reports on Ayers' Release
Read More in The New York Times
15 April 2013
On June 20, 2012, the Appellate Division, Second Department reversed Derrick Deacon's 1990 conviction for a Brooklyn murder and ordered a new trial based on newly discovered evidence of innocence: two federal cooperators who were insider gang members knew the real killers, who confessed to them. An eyewitness to the crime also recanted her trial testimony.
EXI investigated the case and filed a motion to vacate the conviction. Attorneys from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, led by Roberto Finzi, conducted the post-conviction hearing and after the motion was denied, successfully argued the appeal in the Second Department. EXI filed an amicus brief in support of Deacons appeal and in an effort to advance doctrinal law in the Second Department - namely, that fairness requires state courts to take a comprehensive, integrated view of the evidence when considering post-conviction newly discovered evidence claims, especially in non-DNA innocence cases.
It is extremely rare that an appellate court will make credibility findings that conflict with the lower court as the Appellate Division did in this case. After finding that the hearing witnesses' testimony was "credible and compelling," the Court held that "the likely cumulative effect of the newly discovered evidence and the recantation testimony established a reasonable probability that the result of a new trial would be a verdict more favorable to the defendant."
Read the Decision
Read More in The New York Times
Read More in The New York Law Journal
The Kings County District Attorney's Office appealed the decision to the New York State Court of Appeals, but EXI successfully moved to dismiss that appeal.
The Kings County District Attorney's Office has now announced its decision to re-try Deacon after 24 years. EXI will be representing Deacon at his retrial, which is currently scheduled for the end of May, 2013.