Darien Harris Exonerated 12 Years After Being Convicted Based on Blind Eyewitness’s Testimony

We are so excited to be able to say that on December 19, 2023, prosecutors decided not to move forward with a retrial against Mr. Harris and dropped all charges, thereby exonerating him. We applaud Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and her office for continuing their review of Mr. Harris’s case and ensuring that justice was done. And we are so happy that Mr. Harris is home in time for the holidays and will be able to spend his first Christmas in 12 years with his family!

Mr. Harris spent 12 years wrongfully imprisoned, having been arrested when he was just 18. His conviction was secured almost solely through the testimony of a blind eyewitness, who the court repeatedly referred to as credible when wrongfully convicting Mr. Harris. The alleged eyewitness was discovered to be suffering from advanced glaucoma at the time of the crime. In addition to his medical condition that severely limited his visual acuity, surveillance video of the crime reveals that the witness was much farther from the scene than he claimed to be. 

Police misconduct, too, played a role in Mr. Harris’s wrongful conviction. The alleged getaway driver took the stand during Mr. Harris’s original trial and unequivocally recanted his initial identification. He insisted that Mr. Harris was never in his car and that police officers coerced him into making a false identification, threatening to “put [him] in jail for the rest of [his] life” if he did not cooperate. Another witness in the case claims that officers similarly attempted to coerce her to identify Mr. Harris.

Congratulations to Darien Harris and his family. Mr. Harris is represented by Attorneys Lauren Myerscough-Mueller of the Exoneration Project and Pat Blegen of Blegen & Associates.



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