Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

James Edwards

First Name James
Last NameEdwards
Year of Conviction1996
Year of Exoneration2012
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeMurder
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • DNA excluded
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • DNA
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Excluded)
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Victim beaten to death at his store ● Over $1,000 was taken from store, in bag with checks and receipts. ● Victim beaten with 3.5 foot long mahogany/oak stick to beat the victim ● During struggle, threw stick out the car window ● Victim’s car taken, it broke down, and it was left in Chicago BUT ● No black bag described found at scene. Said he used gloves or socks to cover fingers during robbery, but fingerprints not matching Edwards found at scene. No evidence victim had left keys in front door.

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

“Q. Were you providing him details that you knew? A. No, I wasn’t…. it would … show that … it was him if he’s giving me the details.” “During the course of this conversation, did you have to drag details out of him? A. No.”

Quotes from prosecution arguments

Missing Openings and Closings

Interrogation RecordedVideo recording of part of interrogation and written signed statement
Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Coerced Confession
  • Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
  • Jury Instructions
  • Jury Selection
  • Miranda
  • Prosecutorial Misconduct
  • State Law Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • NP
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Edwards, 754 N.E.2d 1288 (Ill. 2001)
People v. Edwards, 789 N.E.2d 942 (Ill.App. 2 Dist., March 08, 2001)
People v. Edwards, 712 N.E.2d 820 (Ill. 1999)
People v. Edwards, 704 N.E.2d 982 (Ill.App. 2 Dist. 1998)