Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Richard Johnson

First Name Richard
Last NameJohnson
Year of Conviction1992
Year of Exoneration1996
State of ConvictionIllinois
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaBench Trial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Defense argued that fingerprints on knife did not match defendant’s. ● Defense argued mistaken identity and emphasized that the victim’s description of the attacker did not match defendant.

Did the defendant testify at trial?No
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Fingerprint
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Valid (Excluded)
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Analyst testified that latent fingerprints excluded the defendant.

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

Yes ● Suggestive remarks – told victim that police had detained attacker and to come to see if she could identify him

Quotes from testimony #1

“He said you need to come in for a lineup, we think we have him.” While viewing photo array, victim was silent and looking at the photo of the defendant. The detective broke the silence and asked, “Is there something about that one and I said yes, I think it’s him.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – facial hair, mustache and weight ● Initially uncertain – told police “I think that’s him”when viewed photo array but “from a picture it was hard to tell.”

Quotes from testimony #2

Victim testified “I said he weighted I think around 170, 175” “I said he was heavier than I originally estimated.” Did not describe mustache or scars on his face. “And if you had noticed that he had a mustache, you would have told the police about the mustache, right? A. Yes.” “Did you notice that scar when this person was attacking you? A. No.” “When you were looking at this picture for five minutes, you weren’t sure that that was the guy, right?” A. “No, not absolutely.” Initially told one officer attacker had a dark complexion, and then told a different officer that he had a medium complexion. Victim recalled being “not absolutely” sure when viewing photo array.

Highest level reachedNR
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