In 1998, 22-year-old Anthony Sims went to get take-out with his friend Julius Graves. Little did he know, he would soon become the primary suspect in a murder case! To this day he says he didn’t do it. And after failing at overturning his conviction for nearly 20 years, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
He penned a letter himself in 2016, explaining his situation to Brooklyn’s conviction review unit. “I wrote in bold letters, ‘I AM INNOCENT,’” he remembers. But instead of opening up an investigation, he was surprised that they sent him a terse rejection back. Why?
The unit’s leader, Mark Hale, was actually the lead prosecutor against Sims in the trial! And, according to Sims and his attorneys, Hale also pressed Graves and other witnesses to lie in their testimonies.
But Sims isn’t the only one with this huge roadblock.
Sims’ case shows us that even “innocent” people aren’t free from this system. No amount of evidence to exonerate people for things they didn’t do, or “rehabilitate” people for things they did, will fix this. It’s the system itself that is designed to ruin Black life.