Patrick Brown, a 49-year-old man from Louisiana, has walked free after spending nearly 30 years in prison for a rape that the victim herself has always maintained she did not commit.
According to Orleans Parish prosecutors, Brown was convicted of aggravated rape in 1994, accused of assaulting his 6-year-old stepdaughter.
However, the victim never testified in court, and Brown’s conviction was based on the testimony of adults who reported what they believed the victim had said.
In a statement from the Orleans Parish district attorney, it was revealed that the now-adult woman has steadfastly maintained Brown’s innocence for more than two decades, with evidence supporting her account.
In response to the new evidence and the victim’s unwavering stance, Criminal District Court Judge Calvin Johnson made the decision to release Patrick Brown on Monday.
This important development highlights the importance of re-evaluating cases and ensuring that justice is served based on accurate and reliable evidence.
Kelly Orians, the attorney representing the recently released Louisiana man, shared that her client never gave up hope of one day regaining his freedom.
In a moving moment in court, Orians heard him express to a bystander that his newfound freedom was not a fluke but the result of perseverance and an unwavering belief in his innocence.
This powerful statement reflects his resilience over the years of wrongful imprisonment and the strength of his belief that justice will ultimately prevail.
“He said to someone, ‘This is not like winning the lottery; this is an act of Jesus Christ,'” Orians told NBC News on Wednesday. “He said that he never gave up hope that this would happen, largely because of his faith in God.”
District Attorney Jason Williams, who took office in 2020, expressed deep disappointment that the victim’s unwavering insistence that Patrick Brown was not her attacker had gone unnoticed for an extended period.
Williams found it disheartening that his voice had not received the attention and consideration it deserved over the years, leading to the lengthy imprisonment of an innocent man.
“Hearing and engaging victims and survivors of sexual assault is a top priority in this office,” Williams said in a statement
“It’s incredibly disheartening to know that this woman was dismissed and ignored, no matter how inconvenient her truth was when all she wanted was to hold the real offender accountable.”
The New Orleans prosecutor stressed the deeply corrosive impact of wrongful convictions on the judicial system.
“When someone is wrongfully convicted, it’s not only an injustice to the person who had years of their life stolen from them, but it’s also an injustice to the victim and the people of New Orleans because the real perpetrator is left to harm others.” “. Williams added.
Orians said Brown and his loved ones were not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning as they focused on adjusting to life after their long confinement at Angola’s Louisiana State Penitentiary, a maximum-security facility. .
“They’re really focused on spending time together and making up for the last three decades of not being able to be together.” Orians said.
During his first 48 hours of freedom, the man who has been exonerated struggles to familiarize himself with the technological advances of 2023.
“Everything. Everything between cell phones, computers, hybrid cars, electric vehicles, debit and credit cards, it’s all very overwhelming and completely new to him.” Orians said.
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