Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Alan Newton

First Name Alan
Last NameNewton
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration2006
State of ConvictionNew York
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
  • Third Party Guilt
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s fiancée and her daughter testified that they were with the defendant the entire day.

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

“Q: And did you stay at that address, South Ozone Park, Queens the entire early morning hours of une 23rd? A: Yes. Q: Did you leave at any time? A: No, sir. Q: Did you go up to Crotona Park? A: No, sir. Q: Did you go to some bodega in the Bronx? A: No, sir. Q: Did you go out of that house at any time in the early morning hours of June 23rd? A: No, sir. Q: You heard testimony here from [the victim] and [a witness that saw the perpetrator]; is that correct? A: Yes. Q: Did you ever enter that bodega that [the witness] worked in? A: No, sir. … Q: Did you do it to [the victim], did you rape, sodomize and assault [the victim] in the early morning hours of June 23rd, 1984, sir? A: No, sir.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Analyst testified only to have observed presence of spermatozoa

Identity of eyewitness
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses3
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

No ● But possible suggestive remarks – told a victim to expect to see culprits in the lineup

Quotes from testimony #1

One victim recalled, “Q: Did they tell you what to expect at the lineup? A: They told me to expect for the guys to be there but not to be afraid because they can’t see me but I could see them

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial nonidentification – two victims told the prosecutor in court that they were not sure the defendant was the attacker ● Discrepancies in descriptions – long nails, facial hair, scar on face.

Quotes from testimony #2

One victim was not sure at line-up and asked men to speak in turn to be sure. She later told the prosecutor that she was not sure she had identified the right man: “Q: Do you remember saying in that conversation to the District Attorney that you were not sure that the man in the courtroom was the man who had done this to you? Do you remember saying that? A: Yes, I do.” A second victim, later explaining that she was “nervous” had told the prosecutor that she did not see in court the man who attacked her.

Highest level reachedFederalHabeas
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jury Instructions
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Newton, 127 A.D.2d 1014 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. 1987)
People v. Newton, 511 N.E.2d 100 (N.Y. 1987)
People v. Newton, 150 A.D.2d 991 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. 1989)
People v. Newton, 546 N.E.2d 198 (N.Y. 1989)
People ex rel. Newton v. Warden, 549 N.E.2d 479 (N.Y. 1989)
People v. Newton, 555 N.E.2d 625 (N.Y. 1990)
People v. Newton, 562 N.E.2d 882 (N.Y. 1990)
People ex rel. Newton v. Bartlett, 562 N.E.2d 874 (N.Y. 1990)
People v. Newton, 574 N.Y.S.2d 994 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. 1991)
People v. Newton, 610 N.E.2d 400 (N.Y. 1992)
People v. Newton, 192 A.D.2d 447 (N.Y. App. Div. 1 Dept. 1993)
Newton v. Coombe, 1998 WL 418923 (S.D.N.Y. 1998)
Newton v. Coombe, 1998 WL 677610 (S.D.N.Y. 1998)
Newton v. Coombe, 1999 WL 1268648 (S.D.N.Y. 1999)
Newton v. Coombe, 2001 WL 799846 (S.D.N.Y. 2001)

Previous post
←  Robert Miller