In her new book Rectify: The Power of Restorative Justice After Wrongful Conviction Lara Bazelon makes a powerful argument for adopting a model of restorative justice as part of the Innocence Movement so exonerees, crime victims, and their communities can come together to heal.
Tony Wright is one of those exonerees.
Wright endured two trials and 25 years in prison before a jury found him not
guilty for the rape, sodomy and murder of Louise Talley, a 77-year-old woman in
Philadelphia. Mr. Wright, who was only 20 years old when he was arrested in 1993,
signed a confession after being beaten and threatened by the interrogating detectives. He was sentenced to life in prison—he narrowly escaped the death penalty after the jury voted against it 7 to 5. Later DNA testing of he rape kit not only excluded Mr. Wright as a suspect, but also identified Ronnie Byrd as the real assailant. On August 23, 2016, Tony Wright was exonerated, and he became the 344th DNA exoneree in the nation.
Talley’s niece, Shannon Coleman, fought to get Tony Wright behind bars until her daughter Lauren showed her a Rolling Stone article questioning his role in the crime. Coleman then became Wright’s staunchest advocate.
More information about Bazelon’s new book is available here.