FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, 29 January 2018
Wilmington, North Carolina; Rocky Mount, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina
On 29 January 2018, Knolly Brown of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, was awarded statutory damages for being wrongfully convicted.
On 14 October 2009, Mr. Brown pled no contest and was convicted of Second Degree Forcible Rape and spent 3 years, 8 months and 14 days in prison while maintaining his factual innocence. On 10 December 2015, the North Carolina Commission on Actual Innocence concluded unanimously after a 2-day hearing that there was sufficient evidence of factual innocence to merit judicial review. On 27 May 27 2016, a three judge panel convened an evidentiary hearing to review Mr. Brown’s claim of actual innocence. At the close of evidence, Mr. Brown and the State of North Carolina moved for a finding of innocence and a declaration of exoneration. After deliberations, the panel voted unanimously that Mr. Brown had proved by clear and convincing evidence that he was factually innocent.
On 29 January 2018, Mr. Brown represented by Andrew Nettleman of The Law Group in Wilmington, North Carolina, appeared in front of the Industrial Commission and successfully petitioned the State to award Mr. Brown statutory damages for wrongful conviction. After the hearing, Mr. Nettleman said, “I am so pleased and humbled to announce that Mr. Brown’s motion was granted today. This money will never make up for the time Mr. Brown spent behind bars for a crime he did not commit, but it is the best remedy we as a nation and State have devised.”
Mr. Nettleman concluded, “The judicial system is designed to prevent innocent people from having their life and liberty taken. Mr. Brown reminds us that the criminal justice system still has many faults, particularly when it comes to defendants that are disabled or are in the racial minority. His story should push us all to do, and be, better.”