- 71 – An Innocent Man on Death Row! Who’s to Blame for the Wrongful Conviction of Jimmy Dennis?
71 – An Innocent Man on Death Row! Who’s to Blame for the Wrongful Conviction of Jimmy Dennis?
In 1992, singer-songwriter Jimmy Dennis was wrongfully convicted of murder. He was sent to death row for 25 years until his 2017 exoneration. Miraculously, he avoided execution. Who’s to blame for this atrocity? A corrupt Philadelphia police department. Prosecution that destroyed evidence. A fundamentally broken criminal justice system. How do we repair a structure that often administers law, but not always justice?
Show Notes[0:40] Jimmy’s background [1:46] Welcoming today’s guest, Jimmy Dennis [3:40] You were a musician, a singer in the early 90’s in Philadelphia… tell us about your life before you were wrongfully incarcerated? [7:38] Jimmy discusses former systemic Philadelphia police corruption and destruction of evidence that affected his case [9:36] The same police officers in Jimmy’s case acted similarly to more than twenty other death row inmates [11:21] Nothing tied you to this murder. You had a solid alibi, the dozens of witnesses were coerced, there was no evidence. Witnesses said the perpetrator was 5’10” and you’re 5’4.” [14:05] Were you ever in the system before this? [15:53] You had a hired attorney who did not provide a good defense for you… Did you know this was happening as it happened? [18:51] Tell us about the three eyewitnesses at trial who were coerced into giving false testimony. How did that feel to have them point at you? [21:02] How did your lawyer do with cross-examining these people? [22:10] Tell us about the missing welfare receipt that proved your innocence. What is a welfare receipt? [24:17] How did your new lawyer find that receipt in 1998? [29:24] Did anything happen to the police officers or prosecutor who destroyed the evidence, was there any discipline? [30:00] If all of us want to a fair and just society, we need to advocate for discipline for corrupt prosecutors and police. [32:09] What was it like spending 25 years on death row for a crime you didn’t commit? [34:41] Over those 25 years… what was the delay in your execution? [37:02] You mentioned the support you received from around the world, Susan Sarandon, Ed Asner, and others… to rely on celebrity attention for a desired outcome is not easy, is it? [42:50] If you were a juror on your trial, would you have convicted yourself? [45:02] Have you ever talked to any of the jurors? [46:45] A jury member has a duty to listen to the evidence and listen to it properly [49:14] All of this new evidence that exonerated you was hidden and appeared years later… based on the incomplete picture the jury was presented, do you blame them? [50:32] How old are you now? Tell us about your family situation now. [51:28] How’s your relationship with your daughter who was born while you were incarcerated? Were you able to mend it? [53:52] You’re back to creating music — let’s take a listen to your song, Hate the Skin I’m In feat. Gwen Jackson, available on all platforms. Can you tell us about it? [58:28] What’s the future for you and music? [59:11] Check out Jimmy’s YouTube channel! [1:02:30] The federal court said you were innocent and released you once you signed a no-contest plea waiving any wrongful compensation money. That would have been millions of dollars. You chose to sign it rather than subject yourself to a retrial. Is that correct? [1:07:42] Jimmy explains that although he has PTSD, he uses his energy to fight for justice. [1:10:05] Thank you to our guest, Jimmy Davis [1:10:40] We hear so many cases of wrongful convictions, and Jimmy’s is another one that proves our criminal justice system needs significant change. [1:11:02] Thank you for watching and listening to Open Mike!
Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.