Hennepin County wrongful conviction vacated, Marvin Haynes to be released from prison
Nearly 20 years after Marvin Haynes was wrongfully convicted of murder, a Hennepin County judge today signed an order setting aside the conviction. Marvin Haynes will be released from prison today. These developments come after the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office agreed that Haynes had proven his Constitutional rights were violated during his trial in 2005.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty released the following statement:
“Almost twenty years ago, a terrible injustice occurred when the state prosecuted Marvin Haynes. We inflicted harm on Mr. Haynes and his family, and also on Harry Sherer, the victim, his family, and the community. We cannot undo the trauma experienced by those impacted by this prosecution, but today we have taken a step toward righting this wrong.
“Mr. Haynes’ conviction rested almost exclusively on eyewitness identification. There was no forensic evidence, such as fingerprints or DNA. There was no video connecting him to the crime. The murder weapon was never recovered. That should have made any prosecutor hesitant to bring charges because eyewitness identifications are often unreliable and one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions. Nationally, nearly 28 percent of exonerations involve eyewitness identification. Mr. Haynes’ conviction is now one of them.
“I am proud to lead the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the public should know we seek to do the right thing every day. Doing the right thing sometimes means we must seek to undo the harms of the past, not defend them. And that is what we have tried to do today. It is not easy to admit and correct our wrongs. But it is necessary.
“To Marvin Haynes: You lost the opportunity to graduate from high school, attend prom, have relationships, attend weddings and funerals, and be with your family during holidays. For that, I am so deeply sorry. And for that, I commit to correcting other injustices and to making sure that we do not participate in making our own.”