Friday, 30 August 2013

Judge outlines murderer's testing

Savory will pay for DNA tests to be done in Morton on evidence from 1977 deaths

DNA testing on items, which Johnnie Lee Savory believes could exonerate him, will be done at the Illinois State Police's crime lab in Morton.
Friday, three weeks after Peoria County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri sided with Savory, saying modern DNA technology could be used to test evidence from the 1977 murders, the parameters of the testing were discussed in Kouri's courtroom.
Both sides will be present when the samples are tested, and the court order states all scientists "shall cooperate with each other." Additionally, any tests that will need to use all of a sample must be approved first by Kouri.
Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with the Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions, wanted to use a DNA-testing firm in Texas, but Kouri was leery given that the distance would require prosecutors to pony up money to have their expert there.
A key provision of Savory's win was that he would pay for the testing. But Kouri's order does allow Savory's attorneys to pick an expert of their choice to be present at the crime lab.
Savory served nearly 30 years in prison after his conviction in the stabbing deaths of Connie Cooper, 19, and her brother, James Robinson, 14, in June 1977 at their Peoria home. Prosecutors had said Savory, then 14, lost his temper while practicing karate with Robinson, killed him and then killed Cooper.
Savory was tried twice. His first conviction was overturned by the Third District Illinois Appellate Court, which determined his alleged confession was involuntary and his Miranda rights were violated. He was retried in 1981 and found guilty of murder. Two of three witnesses who testified at his second trial recanted their testimony two years later.
Among the items he wanted tested are the purported murder weapon, a knife taken from Savory's pants, the pants themselves, fingernail clippings from Cooper and Robinson as well as a bloody light switch plate.
Kouri's ruling was the first in more than 30 years that could count as a win for Savory, who has unsuccessfully tried at the local, appellate and federal level to convince judges to allow additional tests to be done.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or Follow him on Twitter @andykravetz.

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Johnnie Lee Savory

Illinois, August 26, 2013 - Gov. Pat Quinn (pictured above left) signed legislation Monday that aims to prevent false confessions and wrongful convictions. The new legislation expands on previous legislation passed in 2003 that mandated the recording of homicide interrogations. The new requirements will take effect in phases over the next three years, and by June 2016, police will have to record interrogations of people suspected in any of eight violent felonies, including aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated battery with a gun and armed robbery.
Under the new law, courts will presume inadmissible any statement a suspect in one of the specified felonies makes unless the interrogation is either audio- or video-recorded. The first incremental expansion of felonies that must be recorded will happen next June. Among those attending the signing ceremony were CWC Executive Director Rob Warden (pictured above right), Advisory Board member Tom Sullivan of the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, and CWC client Johnnie Lee Savory (pictured above third from left).

Thursday, 15 August 2013

More on the Johnnie Lee Savory case

by Dan Rodriguez
From the lawyers at CWC, whose work was critical in Mr. Savory’s exoneration:

Johnnie Lee Savory – Bridesmaid No More
Everyone in the Bluhm Legal Clinic and the national innocence movement knows Johnnie Lee Savory. In 1977, at age 14, Johnnie was arrested and charged with a double murder – of his friend and her sister – and ultimately convicted and sent to prison for 50-75 years.  While in prison over the next 30 years, he wrote virtually every lawyer doing in and outside of the country seeking assistance. In 2006, led by the advocacy of Bluhm Legal Clinic Assistant Director Steve Drizin, Johnnie was paroled. But even after his release seven years ago, Johnnie has continued his legal fight.
Going on what is now almost four full decades, Johnnie has claimed – adamantly and consistently – that his conviction was wrongful and he is innocent of this crime. But more than anything, Johnnie has not just proclaimed it – he has sought to establish it through the most reliable means of proof available: DNA testing. When Illinois passed its DNA statute almost fifteen years ago, Johnnie was the first in line to seek testing.  His case led to a broad interpretation of our DNA statute and enabled hundreds of other wrongfully convicted defendants to get DNA testing, many of whom have been exonerated.
Unfortunately for Johnnie, he won the war but lost the battle.  The Illinois Supreme Court held that the material he had sought to be tested was not “materially relevant.”  Since this defeat, he has tried to gain access to DNA testing in every way imaginable.  Prosecutors, state circuit courts, state appellate courts, state supreme courts, federal district courts, federal circuit courts, the prisoner review board, and governors have all denied him this right. They have refused to allow him access, at his own expense, to put the state’s physical evidence to this most rigorous of testing.  When it comes to DNA testing, Johnnie’s always been the bridesmaid, but never been the bride.
When Johnnie was paroled in 2006, he immediately became part of our family at the Bluhm Legal Clinic and the Center on Wrongful Convictions. He has worked very closely with all of our exonerees and has helped shepherd them through the process of getting their id’s and helped them to reintegrate back into society.  They have all learned from him and benefitted from his counsel and kindness.  He has attended celebration after celebration when our exonerees have been released, events which must have been bittersweet to him (but he has never shown such bitterness).
Johnnie has also  been a fixture at the national Innocence Network Conferences for years.  His story is all over the internet, on YOUTUBE, and websites.  At the Conference, Johnnie comes up on the stage when exonerees are announced, even though he’s never been exonerated.  Exonerees, lawyers, advocates, and generally anyone involved in the innocence movement come up and embrace him when they see him at the Conference.
For as much as Johnnie has given to the Bluhm Legal Clinic and the Innocence Movement, he has asked for only one thing in return – that we make one more run at obtaining DNA testing for him from the Peoria courts.
The Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth took up Johnnie’s case in 2011 and began to reinvestigate the case in earnest throughout 2012 and 2013.  Under the leadership of Assistant Clinical Professors Josh Tepfer and Laura Nirider, and with the able assistance of many students and private investigator Kevin McClain, we hit the streets of Peoria, located witnesses, reinterviewed them, and tried to develop new evidence of Johnnie’s innocence.  Ultimately, McClain and recently-graduated student Rebecca Stephens (’13) hit the jackpot when they flew to St. Louis and located Ella Ivy, a woman whose testimony had buried Johnnie at trial.  Ivy testified that Johnnie had made inculpatory admissions to her, statements that evidenced that Johnnie knew facts about the crime that only the true killer could have known. She also claimed that during these supposed conversations with Johnnie, a knife – which the State theorized was the murder weapon – fell from his pants pocket. However, when Stephens and McClain met with Ms. Ivy, she recanted much of her trial testimony.
Our investigation also got a boost when a judge allowed us to view the available physical evidence in the case in the presence of an expert DNA analyst from LabCorp, a Texas-based DNA lab.  This allowed us to see that much of the evidence was available and had the scientific capability of being tested.
Asking the court to revisit the question of DNA testing in this case involved some serious complications.
Since so many other courts and entities had denied the request, we had to distinguish this request from others and the case precedent that held that DNA testing in this matter would not be “materially relevant.” To do so, for one, we made the request broader. Whereas previous requests asked for two particular pieces of evidence to be tested, we asked for testing on six pieces of evidence. Further, we explained that where previous testing only had the ability to exclude Johnnie as the source of certain pieces of DNA, the national CODIS database, which was not previously in existence, now allowed the possibility of matching the DNA to an alternative suspect. And we noted that since our request was broader – the possibility of multiple pieces of evidence matching to the same alternative perpetrator was real and significant. A variety of other arguments were raised, all toward the point that the technology has developed to the point where the identification of the perpetrator of this crime could be established with more scientific certainty than at previous times. Students, including Ilan Peress (’14), Kathryn Shephard (’14), Stephens (’13), and Hannah Wendling (’13) took turns drafting sections of our massive legal filing. Tepfer and Nirider put all the pieces together. Amicus briefs were secured and constructed by Northwestern law graduates Danny Greenfield (’08) from Sidley Austin LLP, and Douglas Sanders (’98) of Baker & McKenzie.
On the day of the filing, we took a bus down to Peoria filled with Savory’s supporters and held a rally outside the courthourse and a press conference therein, all organized by Bluhm clinic staff members Christine Agaiby, Delores Kennedy, and others.  Here is a clip from a rally and press conference:
Over the next six month, many more pleadings were filed in response to the State’s objection to our request for testing. Among the most powerful was a reply to the State’s res judicata argument (i.e., the court should not revisit the same requests that all these other courts have previously denied). The arguments on this point were researched and crafted primarily by Shephard (’14).
In March, we returned in the Spring to argue the motion. Third-year-law students, Stephens and Wendling, took the lead and squared off against the seasoned head of the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office – Jerry Brady, as well as his assistant. Assistant Professor Tepfer delivered a powerful rebuttal. And then we waited, but not on our hands. Led again by Wendling (’13), we filed more pleadings, this time a supplemental memorandum of law addressing concerns raised by Peoria County Judge Stephen Kouri during argument.
And then we waited, and waited, and waited.
Until yesterday, the birthday of Johnnie’s long-time advocate Steve Drizin. The opinion allowed our motion in full – granting Johnnie the DNA testing he has long sought. It’s a marvelous opinion by Judge Stephen Kouri that subtly pays tribute to the many individuals who have long fought for this testing. It notes that Johnnie, both pro se and through counsel and at times “with the support of some of the most prestigious law firms  and renowned attorneys in the country,” has “exhausted virtually every remotely possible legal remedy and recourse available.”  The opinion relies greatly on the Ivy affidavit obtained by Stephens (’13), adopts the legal arguments on the issue of res judicata researched and constructed by Shephard (’14), and notes much of the research put forth by Wendling (’13) in the supplemental memorandum of law. In short, the beautifully-crafted legal and factual analysis has the thumbprints of Northwestern law students all over it.
But the best part of it all is that a small step towards justice for Johnnie Lee Savory – 36 years in the making – was finally taken yesterday. Johnnie Lee Savory is a bridesmaid no more.
Judge Kouri’s decision is attached and a a link to a news report is provided —

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Johnnie Savory 30Years

Johnnie Savory 30Years =10,950 days 12,768,000 mins=946,080,000 sec = 120 seasons
For some thing he didn't do 

Please sign the petition, help ensure justice in the case of Johnnie Lee Savory.
 Johnnie was unjustly incarcerated,

Friday, 9 August 2013

The Story and the Beginning

Johnnie Savory, an African-American, was twice convicted by all-white juries of the murders of teenagers James Robinson, Jr. and Connie Cooper, who were found stabbed to death in their Peoria home on January 18, 1977. The second conviction, which is the only one that matters now, rested primarily on the testimony of three informants who claimed that Savory had talked about committing the crime in their presence. Two of the informants eventually recanted, stating that the conversations in fact had not occurred.
  The physical evidence in the case — a bloody pair of pants seized from Savory's home, fingernail scrapings from both victims, head hairs found in the victims' hands and bathroom sink, and a pocket knife with a blood-like stain on it that the prosecution theorized was the murder weapon.

The blood on the pants was of the ABO type shared by Johnnie, one of the victims, and, importantly, Savory's father, who testified that the pants were his. The pants were several sizes too big for Johnnie, and his father had suffered an injury at work consistent with the positioning of the blood. (Actually, the father was treated at a hospital, where there were records that would have corroborated his testimony, but that the defense did not present.)
The fingernail scrapings were said to be of no evidentiary value, and nothing regarding them was presented at the trial. Nor was anything presented regarding the hairs. The knife was entered into evidence, but the stain on it was so minute that it could not be determined whether it was blood. Most if not all of these items should be amenable to DNA testing with today's state-of-the-art technology.
Not only could the requested DNA testing exonerate Savory but it also could identify the real killer of James Robinson and Connie Cooper.
The five former U.S. Attorneys who support Johnnie's request for DNA testing are Samuel K. Skinner, Thomas P. Sullivan, Dan K. Webb, Anton Valukas, and Scott Lassar. They were represented at the press conference by Sullivan, a Jenner & Block partner and chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Center on Wrongful Convictions.
  The broad range of the group is perhaps best illustrated by the names of Skinner, who was Secretary of Transportation and White House Chief of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, and Abner J. Mikva, White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton. Among other names indicative of the diversity are those of Noam Chomsky, a retired MIT professor who has characterized his personal visions as "fairly traditional anarchist ones," and Richard A. Epstein, a Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago known for libertarian views. Religious leaders among the signatories include Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, and Greek Orthodox. Among business leaders on the list is Lester Crown, president of Henry Crown & Co.
The 30 former prisoners exonerated by DNA were represented at the press conference by Kenneth Adams, one of the defendants in the Ford Heights Four case. They languished a total of 434 years behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Four of them were on death row — Kirk Bloodsworth, in Maryland, Rolando Cruz, in Illinois, Ray Krone, in Arizona, and Curtis Edward McCarty, in Oklahoma.
  The letter to which the exonerated lent their names notes that many of them would still be in prison and some of them might have been executed if they had been denied DNA testing, and ends with a simple plea to the governor on Savory's behalf — "We beseech you to do the right thing."

The Beginning
 And today Savory was joined in his quest for DNA testing by a broadly based coalition of supporters — including five former U.S. Attorneys, 30 former prisoners who were exonerated by DNA, authors John Grisham and Studs Terkel, and arrays of business, religious, and civil rights leaders, academics, defense lawyers, and past and present and public officials

May 1 2015 The Innocence Tour begins Leaving Chicago traveling across the USA and Canada


The innocence bus tour was a vision of Johnnie Lee Savory as part of his, and many others, commitment and efforts to end the plague of wrongful convictions. Wrongful convictions have been experienced by many of our nation’s people without regard to race, age, or gender and is a result of a number of factors including false accusations, false confessions, eyewitness misidentification, ineffective assistance of counsel, and the most common cause, revealed in a recent study by the Better Government Association and the Center on Wrongful Convictions, alleged government error and misconduct by police, prosecutors, and forensic officials.

Innocent people the world over are being falsely accused, unjustly convicted, and sentenced to nightmarish imprisonment for crimes they did not commit. The cries of the innocent echo in the wind; no longer can we as a people turn a deaf ear we must not deny love, truth, or justice to one another. As the innocence bus tour journeys across America and to Canada let these two blessed and great nations serve as righteous examples to humanity

The innocent bus tour will highlight and profile cases of wrongful convictions while advocating for the innocent in the following ways: Recognizing the vital relationship between social support and reintegration, we will serve as a vehicle to connect the innocent with community resources; insisting that DNA testing is made available to persons who claim innocence, particularly, those facing lengthy sentences; demanding the innocent be set free, fully restored to his or her rightful citizenship, and given Immediate compensation for the wrongs that were committed against him or her. Additionally, we seek to end prosecutorial misconduct immunity and hold accountable our elected appointed officials who have sworn before God and man to protect the administration of justice by adhering to the spiritual word in which he or she places his or her hand, obeying the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Truth must go forward unhindered, human rights must be protected, and the captive must be set free.

The vision of the innocence bus tour is reunited communities and a healed nation where justice truly prevails and innocence is coveted.

Illinois Judge Orders DNA Testing in Murder Case

Nearly four decades after an Illinois man was initially convicted of the murders of a brother and sister in their home, a judge ruled that several pieces of evidence could undergo DNA testing, reported the Journal Star.

Johnnie Lee Savory spent 30 years behind bars before being released in 2006. Five years later, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commuted his sentence and ended his parole.

In Tuesday’s ruling, Peoria County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri said that the order doesn’t allow for a new trial and that DNA testing could be conducted at Savory’s own expense.
“This means hope for Johnnie,” said Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. “He has wanted this and fought for this and a team of advocates and friends have fought for this for more than 20 years, or since this technology became available.”
Savory, who has maintained his innocence, was tried twice. He was found guilty in the stabbing deaths of Connie Cooper, 19, and her brother, James Robinson, 14, in June 1977. His first conviction was overturned when the Third District Illinois Appellate Court ruled Savory’s alleged confession involuntary. He was retried in 1981 and found guilty again. Two years later, two of the witnesses recanted their testimony.

Among the pieces of evidence being tested are items the investigators deemed relevant to the case back in 1977. They include the purported murder weapon, a knife taken from Savory’s pants, the pants Savory was wearing, fingernail clippings from Copper and Robinson as well as a bloody light switch plate.

Kouri noted in his order that the blood evidence used against Savory was only able to identify the group type, which is far less probative than DNA.
“Type O blood type is found in approximately one in two people and Type A is in approximately one in three people,” Kouri wrote. “Can it be imagined that such rudimentary ‘scientific’ evidence would be presented and argued to a jury in a courtroom today, particularly in a double-homicide trial?”
The Center on Wrongful Convictions already has a Texas-based DNA testing firm lined up, and Tepfer is optimistic about the results.

Read the full article.

Dear Readers

Dear Readers:
I come to you as candid as this situation will in hopes that this appeal for Truth and Justice will not fall upon deaf ears, uncaring hearts. If you love God, you cannot ignore the cries of the Innocence. Regardless of your faith, the testimony of Joseph, Jesus and so many others have been painfully ignored for too long by many of those who were elected and appointed by God to teach and protect the humanity of all. If You Truth and Justice, go to my website [ {google}] and support me finanically. Its my vision, with your help to embark on one of the greatest journey’s this world has ever seen on behalf of the Innocence. Once you visit my website your life will not be the same. I don’t want pitty, I WANT YOUR HELP TO BRING ABOUT POSITIVE CHANGE. Together with God’s help we can restore peoples lives and heal this blessed Nation. Turn to Proverbs Chapter 3:27 & 28 “…Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” 28. “…Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.” It is my prayer to either raised enough money to buy two[2] Coach Buses, or someone will donate the buses. This is a Time for all to stand up. God is Real! The next step is Yours. Justice is a preventive measure to stop injustice from taken place. Love Always, Johnnie Lee Savory

Justice in the case of Johnnie Lee Savory.

The governor of Illinois has the power to override this prosecutor’s decision and order DNA testing. Please sign our petition, forward it to your friends and family,  and help ensure justice in the case of Johnnie Lee Savory.
send emails, sign petitions and make phone calls to the Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn,
Jesse Jackson, Sr. (773) 256-2700.

 Illinois Governor.

By Phone or MailSpringfield Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244
TTY: 888-261-3336
ChicagoOffice of the Governor James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-2121
Johnnie L Savory website  make a donation to support the Innocence Tour, the first of its kind any where in the world

love Truth, Justice and equality…


We call on people all over the world who love Truth, Justice and equality…To stand with Davonte Sanford and Johnnie L. Savory in the spirit of Emit Till..We need to hold those accountable across every Nation that block the Administration of Justice from going forth to protect the Innocent, Davonte and Johnnie; moreover, let us remember, we failed Emit Till as a Nation.
  let’s show the world that God is on Throne, left your voices, send emails, sign petitions and make phone calls to the Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn,
Jesse Jackson, Sr. (773) 256-2700.
 Illinois Governor.
By Phone or Mail
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: 217-782-0244
TTY: 888-261-3336
Office of the Governor
James R. Thompson Center
100 W. Randolph, 16-100
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-814-212
 Johnnie L Savory website  make a donation to support the Innocence Tour, the first of its kind any where in the world, its our turn to a stand against injustice everywhere. Repeat for Davonte

Demand DNA testing for Johnnie Lee
 Free Davontae Sanford

A Look At Wrongful Convictions: Courage Empowerment Forum Welcomes Johnnie Lee Savory

Johnnie Lee Savory, Wrongful Conviction Advocate Broadcast date 08-16-2011 Program details: Part 1 •The illegal interrogation •The wrongful conviction of a 14……

Supporters Demand DNA Tests to Exonerate Johnnie Lee Savory

Supporters from Rainbow PUSH and Northwestern University Law school came to the Peoria County Court house to demand that the state perform DNA tests that could prove the innocence of Johnnie Lee Savory, a man who was falsely accused of murder at the age of 14 and wrongfully imprisoned for 30 years before being released.

Demand DNA testing for Johnnie Lee Savory
Johnnie Lee Savory was imprisoned for 30 years–which is approximately 11,000 days–in Illinois for a crime he did not commit. Illinois has refused to test evidence in Johnnie’s case for DNA that could not only establish his innocence, but also point to the real murderer.
The purpose of this petition is to collect one signature for every day Johnnie was wrongfully incarcerated.
After we collect these signatures, we will take this petition to Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn and request that he order DNA testing in Johnnie’s case, which will be paid for by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
More about Johnnie:
In 1977, when Johnnie was 14 years old, he was convicted of killing his friend and his friend’s sister in their hometown of Peoria, IL. In December 2006, Johnnie was paroled with the help of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law.
When Johnnie was convicted, DNA testing did not exist. If it did, physical evidence found at the crime scene would have been tested for DNA as a matter of course.
Nevertheless, the prosecutor overseeing Johnnie’s case has refused to order this testing, despite the fact that Johnnie has offered to pay for it himself, and that if Johnnie is guilty the testing should identify him as the murderer.
The governor of Illinois has the power to override this prosecutor’s decision and order DNA testing.
Please sign our petition, forward it to your friends and family, and help ensure justice in the case of Johnnie Lee Savory.

The Center on Wrongful Convictions already has a Texas-based DNA testing firm lined up, and Tepfer is optimistic about the results.

Read the full article.

justice will prevail please Sign ! ;

Fighting for social justice. Seeking justice for those who were falsely imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Born on the same day of Emmett Till.