Update: My husband and I have managed to collect 10000 Euro "offline" in the last two weeks. Which is why I was able to reduce the donation target by almost half.
My best friend's name is Lawrence Joey Smith and he was convicted in Florida in 2001 for a murder he demonstrably didn't commit. And although there has been a court ruling in 2008 confirming that Joey was not the shooter and that he was convicted solely based on false testimony, he remains an innocent man in prison until today.
Joey is a victim of bad police work, who from the very first moment on concentrated exclusively on him as the perpetrator, even though the police knew and questioned three of the four possible suspects only a few hours after the crime. But only Joey was forensically tested for gunshot residue. The prosecutor claimed in the 2001 trial that this test was lost, but the jury "had to assume that it was positive". This test was fortunately discovered by a private investigator in 2007 and sent to an independent laboratory. The result was negative. Joey couldn't have fired a gun that day.
Unfortunately, the American legal system does not provide for an automatic retrial if and when new evidence is found. This must be legally contested in the context of appeals. Since 2008 Joey has been doing this on his own because he is not entitled to a public defender. And, not being a lawyer, he makes mistakes, which makes it particularly easy for the courts to reject one application after another.
In April 2020 I found Robert Berry. ( https://attorneyrobertberry.com/ ) He has over 30 years of experience as a criminal defence lawyer and appeal lawyer. After studying Joey's case, he agreed to defend him and made a more than generous offer. He waived three quarters of his normal fee because he is convinced that Joey has suffered great injustice and he wants to help. And after I scraped together all my financial reserves, I was able to hire Robert Berry.
On May 27, Mr. Berry filed a motion on appeal with the court. At the moment we are waiting for the court's decision. If the court refuses, Joey moves to the US Supreme Court. If the petition is granted, the case will be heard in the Atlanta Court of Appeals. In either case, I don't have the financial means at the moment to let Mr. Berry continue to fight for Joey. And that's why I'm asking for help to give Joey his chance for justice.
Thank you very much,
For further information: https://freejoey.org/joeys-story/