JEFFREY DESKOVIC – The wrongfully convicted who now lead others towards rightful justice
“Justice is the truth in action” – Benjamin Disraeli
Arrested at the age of 16 and lost trial at the age of 17, spent an important phase of his life in prison as an inmate between the age of 17 to 32, the first time he got arrested was for 35 days, got bailed out, but there was no returning back to normal life as it was a high publicity case that is what and murder cases are but what if you are falsely dragged into something, you were never a part of. Losing majority of friends and even the formative years of his life when one just goes to college, build a career, and have dreams fulfilled.
When Jeffrey Deskovic was convicted he felt he was in some sort of nightmarish alternative reality because to his thinking at least up until that point only the guilty were convicted yet he was taken into custody, he even begged the judge to overturn the verdict as he was innocent and referenced the DNA to support his contention, the judge in return told him that on record maybe Jeffrey was really innocent conceding to the doubt that didn’t lead the Judge to step up for justice and exercise his discretion, the Judge rather took the easy politically expedient way out which was to sentence Deskovic to a term of imprisonment of 15 to life.
While being in the prison was another traumatic experience as he nearly lost his life because he got hit on both sides of his head near the temple repeatedly with 10-pound weight plates because the inmates thought that he was a rapist since he has been convicted. After many failed attempts for over years to reach the system for justice, after many years in jail, finally, The Innocence Project agreed to represent Jeffrey by this time the district attorney who had fought all of Jeffrey’s efforts at Appeals and in getting further tests, had left the office and her successor voluntarily allowed him to have further testing it took the crime scene DNA testing which never matched him and compared to the data bank and it matched the actual perpetrator, finally, his conviction was reversed and he was exonerated.
Jeffrey Deskovic is an internationally recognized wrongful conviction expert and he is also the founder of the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for justice which has freed eight wrongfully convicted people and passed three laws aimed at preventing wrongful conviction including videotaping interrogations, identification reform, and DNA database expansion. He is in the advisory board member of the coalition group, which passed the country’s first commission on prosecutor conduct which is an independent oversight board for prosecutors and he helped pass discovery reform the coalition group has chapters in New York, Pennsylvania, California which Jeffrey is active in and the issues are focused on include oversight for prosecutors, exonerate compensation and capital punishment, he also serves on the global advisory council, he is member of restorative justice international.
His body of work includes delivering over 200 presentations across the country and internationally, he is the author of more than 200 articles and he has nine publications in different journals, he has participated in uncountable television, radio, print media and news media interviews, he is lobbied elected officials, he is testified in legislative hearings, he has twice co-taught a wrongful conviction college class at rockling community college, he is a certified instructor in the New Jersey police academies. He has served as a legal educator instructor on five occasions in front of judges on various wrongful conviction topics as well as delivered continuing legal education instructions to four groups of lawyers entitled tips for trial lawyers from an exonerated man in law school, he also provides continuing legal education instruction to civil lawyers covering a framework for evaluating innocence claims and assessing the viability of exoneration.
‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ – Martin Luther King
Deskovic says, “I feel so lucky to be free and exonerated, very humbled and fortunate as there are many people who are still in prison right now who are wrongfully there, many people have no help, and many people have not made it out yet and many will not even, although some will. I do feel very fortunate and blessed, I feel I have had the educational opportunity along the way which other people haven’t necessarily had, so I feel I have a big moral responsibility to do everything I can do to free people in the same position I was in and peruse policy changes and preventing them. The last thing is I make sense of everything that happened to me in a kaleidoscopic way I do believe with all my heart that I and my purpose in the World are to find wrongful conviction therefore I do the work I do and just to speak in inclusive terms and try to make a way through many segments of society and jobs and professions.”
“If we do not maintain justice, justice will not maintain us” – Francis Bacon
The foundation- The Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation along with his public platform to give a voice to other important criminal justice issues when opportunities have presented themselves, Foundation is the only innocence organization that weighed on the issue of parole reform at the United at the New York state legislators hearing in 2013 when he testified there on behalf of the organization. He has written extensively on prison reforms, such as college education for prisoners, parole reform and prison re-entry. The documentary short on his life entitled CONVICTION has won a prize in 10 different documentary film festivals also available on Amazon Prime.
About the Foundation
There are approximately 120,000 wrongfully convicted people in prison today in the United States. The Deskovic Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted, their recovery, and reform of the system that allows these miscarriages of justice to take place. It was founded by Jeffrey Deskovic. After his exoneration and release, Deskovic successfully sued the authorities responsible and used a substantial portion of the compensation he was awarded to start The Deskovic Foundation. Deskovic has dedicated himself to helping the wrongfully convicted, and recently graduated from the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University with a law degree. The Foundation has freed eight people, and currently has eleven active cases in addition to proving peripheral assistance in other cases. They hope we all will join in this fight to free the wrongfully imprisoned by donating to them.
The Foundation works upon
REVERSAL – They overturn wrongful convictions. Lawyers and investigators review court files and testimony, look at similar cases and search for exculpatory evidence.
RECOVERY – They help exonerees recover from their harrowing experiences, providing regular contact, assistance with housing and work, and other support as needed.
REFORM -They push for accountability in the criminal justice system, and for the reform of the systems that allow for these miscarriages of justice to take place.
MOST RECENT EXONERATION – The Deskovic Foundation just exonerated William Haughey after he spent 8 years in prison for an arson he did not commit.
THE DESKOVIC FOUNDATION – www.deskovicfoundation.org
JEFFREY DESKOVIC – @jeffreydeskovic
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