Franky Carrillo

In March 2011, the Los Angeles County Superior Court reversed Francisco (Franky) Carrillo Jr.’s 1992 conviction for murder, and ordered his release after two decades behind bars.

At 16, Franky was wrongfully convicted of a 1991 murder based solely on  identification testimony.  All six eventually admitted that they were unable to see the shooter, and were influenced to make their identifications of Franky by the police and by each other. Two other men have since confessed to the shooting and said that Franky was not involved.

Though innocence issues were raised early in his trial, and again during Franky’s failed appeals, it required the dedication and hard work of many lawyers and supporters, led by State Public Defender and erstwhile Death Penalty Focus Board member Ellen Eggers, to finally win his release.

Franky now works as a Justice Advocate with DPF to tell his story and educate the public about the real danger of incarcerating and even executing the innocent.

Nowhere does the risk of wrongful conviction present a greater danger than in death penalty cases.  Eyewitness misidentification is responsible for close to 50 innocent men and women being sentenced to death in the US, and has played a role in many more wrongful convictions.  Franky’s case shows not only how easily mistakes can be made in California and elsewhere, but also how very difficult it is to right these terrible wrongs.

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