Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Neil Miller

First NameNeil
Last NameMiller
Year of Conviction1990
Year of Exoneration2000
Testing inculpated culpritCold Hit
State of ConvictionMassachusetts
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defense lawyer asserted innocence without raising a defense, stating “We are here simply to say that this man, Neil Miller, had nothing to do with it.”

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
  • Not Disclosed
Reason why invalid(1) Masking; failure to exclude
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The victim and Miller were both O secretors. Yet the analyst testified that “The H blood group substance that I found had to be deposited by a Group O individual, a Group O secretor.” Those substances could have originated entirely from the victim, and could have come from any type, not just an O secretor. See Part II.A.1 for a description of the problem of masking and non-quantification and discussion of similar cases. Although B substances were also detected, which excluded the defendant, the analyst testified that “Well, neither one would have secreted the B blood group substance because they were both O. The H portion of that, the O portion, could have come from either a semen portion of the stain or vaginal secretions. We cannot distinguish from which fluid the actual O came from.” The State also failed to disclose the presence of a B secretor in three other cases. The State also speculated that roommate could have had consensual sex with a B type without any evidence of that.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Photo array
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Show-up – arranged in hallway at courthouse prior to hearing contesting suggestive photo array ● Suggestive remarks – told victim to go with first impression

Quotes from testimony #1

Officer testified she told victim, after she identified two photos, the first of which was one of the defendant, that “if she had a first impression, that the best thing to do was go with her first impression.” The defense lawyer scheduled a hearing to argue that a new lineup should be conducted. In the courthouse, just before the hearing was to take place, the prosecutor walked the victim past Neil Miller in the hallway outside. Yet even after telling the victim that her attacker might be in that hallway, she still was not sure, and just thought he might be her attacker. She was not positive until she followed Neil Miller into the courtroom, where it was obvious who he was, looked at him again, and said “This is him.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial nonidentification (chose two photos) ● Discrepancies in description – hair, hair color, weight

Quotes from testimony #2

Victim was “pretty positive” after photo array, but after courthouse show-up, and by the time of trial, was “very certain. Victim described a man of medium build, 150-60 pounds, while the defendant was of a small build and only 140 pounds. Victim said attacker had short brown hair, but defendant had black hair, and a shaved head.

Highest level reachedNR

Read more about this exoneration

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