Wrongfully convicted, Sidney Holmes, freed after serving 34 years of 400-year attempted robbery sentence KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Saturday, March 18, 2023

Wrongfully convicted, Sidney Holmes, freed after serving 34 years of 400-year attempted robbery sentence

Wrongfully convicted Sidney Holmes freed after serving 34 years of 400-year attempted robbery sentence.

Sidney Holmes was seen walking out of a Florida jail and into his mother’s arms after a judge threw out his conviction Monday.

Holmes said he never lost hope that he would be freed.

Holmes was convicted of armed robbery in Broward County in 1989, largely because he and the suspect in the case had similar vehicles, according to the Innocence Project of Florida. Despite some similarities, the cars reportedly had key differences, and no physical evidence or corroborating witnesses linked Holmes to the crime.

The Broward County State Attorney’s Office said its conviction review unit worked with the Innocence Project to re-investigate Holmes’ case and asked for a judge to throw out his conviction and sentence.

A judge signed the order Monday. Holmes was accused in 1988 and later convicted of an armed robbery at a Broward County gas station involving two victims.

He was linked to the crime because his brown Oldsmobile Cutlass was similar to the description of the vehicle driven by the suspect, the Innocence Project said.

Despite Holmes’ alibi and the differences between his vehicle and the one seen at the scene, Holmes became a suspect. He was subsequently identified in a second photo line-up — even though he was overlooked in the first array of images.

“There was no physical or scientific evidence, nor any corroborating witnesses, linking Mr. Holmes to the crime,” the Innocence Project wrote in a press release.

The Broward County State Attorney’s Office’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) began investigating the circumstances of Holmes’ conviction in November 2020 and encountered several inconsistencies in the evidence leading to his conviction.

Charges against Holmes were finally exonerated after he spent almost 34 years of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. In a statement to the non-profit Innocence Project of Florida, Holmes said, “I always believed that this day would come, and I never lost hope.” He talked about his family and added, “I am looking forward to embracing my mother in the outside world for the first time in more than 34 years.”

Investigators at the time based their decision to arrest Holmes on a single witness’s positive identification, the Innocence Project said.

CRU also pointed to “the inconsistencies in the descriptions of the perpetrator and Mr. Holmes’ appearance, the inconsistencies between the perpetrator’s vehicle and Mr. Holmes’ vehicle and the overall consistency of his alibi witnesses.”

Investigators ultimately concluded that “the totality of this evidence suggested that Mr. Holmes was a victim of eyewitness misidentification and was likely innocent.”
The NGO helped prove Holmes’ innocence and get him out of jail. On Monday, the 57-year-old breathed the fresh air without restraints and bad blood on his hands. He was released from the Fort Lauderdale prison in Florida—Holmes was accused of being the getaway driver during the June 1988 armed robbery.

Holmes maintained his innocence all this time and even contacted the State Attorney's Conviction Review Unit (CRU) in 2020. Reviewing his case, the CRU soon realised that the eyewitness identification was likely inaccurate. His case became more robust when the CRU discovered that the presumably flawed label was the only evidence connecting him to the issue. Besides that, there was not much that would hold ground in court.

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