Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Steven Barnes

First Name Steven
Last NameBarnes
Year of Conviction1989
Year of Exoneration2009
State of ConvictionNew York
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape and Murder
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Informant
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Vague
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst testified that the serology was non-probative, where the blood group substances observed were consistent with the victim and defendant was a non-secretor. The tire treads did not match defendant’s vehicle. Hairs were compared and found to be “similar.” Soil was compared and found “similar.” The “impression and weave patterns” on jeans were found “similar.” Such terminology was vague.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Non-victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Defendant’s photo was the only one repeated in two arrays

Quotes from testimony #1

Second line-up, conducted three years later before grand jury, did not contain photo of second person identified in first array; “Number five is not in here” and defendant’s photo was only one repeated in the two arrays.

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Initial non-identification – eyewitness identified two photos, including Barnes and a filler, in the first array

Quotes from testimony #2

Q. . . . And did you tell the Oneida County Sheriff’s Deputy who showed you this photograph that you had doubt as to whether it was number five or number four who was the person that you saw on Mohawk Street? A. I picked out number four and number five because there was a doubt.

Jailhouse informant, Co-defendant, Incentivized WitnessJ
Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies● Jailhouse informant, as the appellate court described, recounted a conversation in which defendant, informant and another inmate were discussing “some girls”, defendant said “You mean the one I killed” and then said “I mean the one I am accused of killing.”
Quotes from testimony #3

In addition to the “the one I killed” comment, informant said that the defendant also mentioned the victim’s name.

Quotes regarding any deal or leniency with informant, or prior use of informant

The informant said that it was law enforcement that came to him and asked about conversation – and he denied the existence of any deal – but he served no time on a second felony charge.

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jackson Claim
  • State Law Evidence Claim
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
Citations to judicial opinions

People v. Barnes, 473 N.E.2d 45 (N.Y. 1984)
People v. Barnes, 162 A.D.2d 1039 (N.Y.A.D. 4 Dept. 1990)