Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Leonard McSherry

First Name Leonard
Last NameMcSherry
Year of Conviction1988
Year of Exoneration2001
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionCalifornia
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defendant’s father testified that he called home and spoke with his son, who was painting his house on the evening when the crime occurred.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(2) Failure to exclude
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst testified that although one of the stains had A activity which excluded the defendant, that the result was inconclusive, because “based on my experience,” that result could be the result of “bacterial contamination” although no tests were conducted to examine that conjecture.

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

Yes ● Suggestive remarks – leading questions to eyewitness

Quotes from testimony #1

Officer described how police posed leading questions to the 7 year-old victim: “We were trying – – the child was under a lot of strain and stress, so we were not asking her direct questions like you are asking. They were more kind of trying to help her go along with what we were trying to emphasize.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial nonidentification – eyewitness initially picked filler, as did victim ● Discrepancies in description – age, facial hair

Quotes from testimony #2

Officers ignored victim’s initial descriptions – “We knew she was confused and did not put too much credibility to anything she was saying.” Victim said that the attacker was older than her father and even “Older than grandpa” where the defendant was in his 30’s. Officer testified, “At that time, we began walking down the hall, and then [the victim] did speak to me. Q. What did she say? A. [the victim] spontaneously said, ‘I wrote number six, but the stranger was number three.’”

Highest level reachedState Post­ Conviction
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
  • Sentencing — Noncapital
  • State Court Newly Discovered Evidence Claim
Harmless Error Rulings
  • G
  • OG
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. McSherry, 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 630 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 1992)
People v. McSherry, 14 Cal.Rptr.2d 630 (Cal.App. 2 Dist. 1992)

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