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Almost as a rule, experts say, courts don’t like to reopen old cases without compelling scientific evidence.That is especially problematic in prosecutions built on the testimony of witnesses. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office declined to discuss Hollman’s case.
If Jones testified truthfully in 1993 but lied on the stand five years ago, she risked a perjury charge.Helping to lock him up, she said, stoked years of depression.“I just thought it was time for me to come out and to tell the truth,” Jones, then a 40-year-old hospital worker, testified in January 2012.His current appeals lawyer, Alan Tauber, said he plans to ask prosecutors for a new review.Jennifer Creed Selber, former chief of the office’s homicide unit, acknowledged witness recantations are a “pervasive” problem.
Five years ago, the University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University's law school started a database of criminal exonerations since 1989.