Being an investigator is a unique and intriguing profession. A vocation that requires us to stay in the background of a case, working in the shadows of others.
Given this fact, Bob and I never imagined we would one day come from behind the scenes in such a big way and talk publicly about ANY case, let alone the exoneration that was heard around the world. Receiving the Investigator of the Year Award was such an amazing honor.
Receiving awards represent the work that investigators do every day. But more importantly, awards represent all the work we have yet to do because exonerations are rapidly increasing in frequency. To quote Marty Edelman, “….we are in a growth industry.”
Yes, exonerations are rapidly increasing, but let me put that into context.
In 2012, when we began to consider post conviction cases, there were more than 2.2 million people incarcerated in the US. That same year the National Registry of Exonerations listed only 79 exonerations across the country.
We knew the odds of prevailing in proving a wrongful conviction were small. However, after working only a couple of months on Jonathan Fleming’s case, we told ourselves, this case was going to be one of them.
Why? Because IT HAD TO BE -what we found could not be ignored. We had an innocent man who had already spent half of his life locked up. He and his family were depending on us.
We are proud to state that our case is one of the only 125 exonerations for 2014.
When we took Jonathan’s case, we were on our own. We were handed his box of transcripts and a wish of good luck. After some pretty big breaks there came a time when we we needed some strategic advice. Everyone told us “Eh, you’re wasting your time, you’ll never get him out, these cases are impossible”
Even members of the media shrugged us off, and doubted the viability of the case. Bob and I like to think all the doubters ended up sitting together at the same bar watching the story on every news outlet knowing they could have been in on it.
After the exoneration I met Marvin Schecter who said to me, “Kim, for years defense attorneys have fought hard to level the playing field. We knew some weren’t playing by the rules. We knew amongst other things they were hiding exculpatory evidence. Kim, exonerations are the gifts that keep on giving because each time an exoneration occurs, we get to find out why and how it happened in the first place.”
One of these gifts came when Brooklyn District Attorney, Ken Thompson, publicly acknowledged that his predecessors got it wrong, and that Jonathan was indeed an innocent man. Thompson took it further by saying the DA’s office withheld the evidence that HE believes would have acquitted Mr. Fleming.
It’s our job, it’s what we do
As investigators we bring the evidence the attorneys need in order to win. I ask that each investigator take on a post conviction case.
We can no longer ignore the fact that innocent people are incarcerated, losing years of their lives. If you do take a case, get ready to have your patience tested with our criminal justice system, but your efforts WILL matter to the incarcerated and his or her family.
To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – that is to have succeeded.”
You never know, as an investigator, your efforts may one day bring home a son or daughter home to their mother.
Management Resources Ltd of New York is a professional investigative firm licensed in New York and New Jersey, members of the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Associated Licensed Detectives of New York, and Founding Members and Regional Directors of Investigating Innocence.
Bob Rahn and Kim Anklin are available for interviews or speaking engagements. Contact ImaginePublicity at 843-808-08509 or email firstname.lastname@example.org