Lyndhurst, NJ - February 13, 2020 - Kevin Baker and Sean Washington are free.  Scarinci Hollenbeck Partner Raymond M. Brown argued as an amicus before the Appellate Division in October 2019 on behalf of Kevin Baker and Sean Washington, two men claiming innocence of a 1995 double murder in Trenton.  The two men have been represented on appeal by The Last Resort Exoneration Project.  The Project enlisted Mr. Brown to represent as amicus (Friend of the Court) four men who had been previously exonerated, Askia Jabir Nash, Rodney Roberts, David Shephard and Anthony Ways.  The two men were convicted in a one-day trial and sentenced to life imprisonment.  They have been imprisoned now for nearly 25 years.

Following the argument, the panel of state appellate judges that heard the argument reversed Baker and Washington’s convictions and granted them new trials this past December.  In addition to other legal arguments, the three-judge appellate panel heard arguments from the attorneys for Baker and Washington offering a claim of actual innocence.  

This is the first time in New Jersey that judges have recognized such a claim.  The argument of actual innocence coincides with an initiative of the State Attorney General’s Office that created a new conviction review unit to vet evidence from prisoners who claim they’re innocent.  The legal argument offered in this appeal raised legal questions that could reshape how the state’s court system handles credible claims that its judges presided over trials sending innocent people to prison. 

After full consideration of the Appellate Division’s decision, last week the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, in conjunction with the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability within the Attorney General’s Office, announced they will not re-try the defendants and will file a motion to dismiss the indictment against Kevin Baker and Sean Washington and retract its notice of intent to appeal the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

It is expected that Kevin Baker and Sean Washington will be released shortly after spending half their lives in prison.

About Raymond M. Brown

Raymond M. Brown concentrates his practice in white-collar criminal defense, international human rights issues, internal investigations and complex commercial litigation. He has defended clients in state and federal courts and before administrative tribunals. He is a leading figure in the developing area of law related to the regulation and enforcement of business requirements for human rights compliance. Mr. Brown also has extensive experience as a trial lawyer and has handled a wide variety of criminal and civil matters representing individuals, corporations and government entities.

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