After spending what should have been the best years of his life behind bars, 40 year old Kenneth Ireland is learning how to live in the real world once again.
Back in 1988 at the young age of 20, Ireland was convicted of raping and murdering Barbara Pelkey of Wallingford. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the crime that he maintained he was innocent of.
According to the New Haven Independent, The Innocence Project of Connecticut took on his case and after the DNA evidence was found to not belong to Ireland, got him a new trial. He was released in August on this premise.
In a similar case in 2006, a man named James Tillman was released after spending 18 years in Connecticut prisons for a rape he did not commit. Tillman's case set the precedence allowing men like him and Ireland to file a claim with the State Claims Commissioner for monetary compensation. Tillman was awarded $5 million.
As this article from Fox 11 details, Ireland is spending his time readjusting to life on the outside of the prison walls. He admits that it is a big adjustment as he is adapting to devices he has never had to use and free for the first time in 20 years.
DNA evidence, though frequently used in television dramas, is more rarely used in real life. Organizations like the Innocence Project utilize DNA evidence to assist people who may have gotten caught up in shoddy police work, unfair investigations, or cases of mistaken identities.
Evidence takes many forms in a criminal investigation and the police and attorneys should always treat the evidence with the utmost care and interest. From fingerprints to eyewitness testimony, factors like this can mean the difference between years behind bars and walking away a free woman or man.
Whether you are facing drug charges or assault charges, the evidence should be examined by all parties, including your own defense attorney. If you have questions about the laws regarding evidence and how they affect your case, call me.
I will listen to your story and be able to offer some free legal advice.