State Watch

Massachusetts man released from prison after 27 years following wrongful conviction

A Massachusetts man who was incarcerated for 27 years was released from prison on Tuesday after a judge determined that he was wrongfully convicted of murder and robbery. 

Suffolk County Superior Court released 48-year-old James Lucien from prison, saying he was wrongfully convicted of the crimes, WCVB-TV reported

“It’s clear to me that justice may not have been done as to the murder and armed robbery charges,” Judge Robert Ullmann said.

Lucien was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 after he was convicted of murder in connection to the killing of 23-year-old Ryan Edwards.

Lucien’s defense attorney, Dennis Toomey, argued during the Tuesday hearing that his client did not get a proper police investigation in 1995, and the jury did not have all the evidence that could have led to Lucien’s acquittal. 

“The heart of our appellate argument here is that the jury simply did not hear evidence they could have used to acquit Mr. Lucien, so he didn’t get due process,” Toomey said.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office found that a former Boston officer involved in Lucien’s case, Detective John Brazil, took part in a corruption operation with other officers. The group, which reportedly participated in the scheme for a time in the 90s, submitted false warrant applications to seize cash from drug dealers and keep it for themselves, according to the local outlet. 

Edwards’ family opposed Lucien’s release, arguing that the deceased has not received justice. 

“I think it’s horrible,” Dionne Richards, Edwards’ sister, said. “Now he’s free and there’s nobody to help our family, and my brother’s murder goes as another unsolved murder.”

Ullmann said the family should blame the officer, Brazil, who allegedly tampered with evidence, and not Lucien. 

“Almost everywhere we look in this case, there are serious problems,” Special Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Jeanne Kempthorne said, according to WCVB-TV. 

Brazil is still collecting a pension and served no time in prison, the local outlet noted. 

“I feel good because I’m with my family now,” Lucien said, according to the outlet. “I’ve been waiting a whole 27 years for this, and now I have the opportunity to be free.”

Tags Massachusetts wrongful conviction

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