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At around nine forty five on the night of April 25th, 1976, the 54 year old widow of a Karen Mills executive was at her home in Concord, North Carolina, when a man grabbed her from behind. She fought him scratching her attacker so hard that her nails bent backwards. But ultimately, he overpowered and raped her. She described her assailant as a light skinned black man with no mention of facial hair, wearing a dark leather coat and a beanie, had a rape kit was done and the police carefully collected a mountain of forensic evidence.

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Meanwhile, across town, 19 year old Ronnie Long was at home with his mother on the phone with the mother of his own two year old son until 10 p.m.. A few days later, Ronnie received a court summons for trespassing in a park after hours. He was wearing a dark leather coat. At the time, police would ask the rape victim to be present in court to see if her attacker was present. On the day, Ronnie, the owner of a dark leather coat, was scheduled to appear disguised.

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She sat in the gallery for two hours in Ronnie's presence, only to identify him as her attacker. When his name was called. The state would present the case without any of the collected forensic or biological evidence solely resting their case upon this extremely unorthodox and totally unreliable cross racial identification and Ronni's unscratched leather coat for that. Ronnie has been in prison for forty four years. This is wrongful conviction with Jason, Florida. If you'd like to help support us as we continue to tell these stories of triumph over tragedy, unequal justice and actual innocence each week, you can do it now with the purchase of a I mean, it's really nice.

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Trust me, you can get a brand new wrongful conviction podcast, T-shirt, coffee mug or reusable water bottle. Go to wrongful conviction podcast dotcom. That's wrongful conviction podcast dotcom and click on store.

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This episode is sponsored by the AIG pro bono program. AIG is a leading global insurance company and the AIG pro bono program provides free legal services, as well as other support to many non-profit organizations, as well as individuals who are most in need.

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And they recently announced that working to reform the criminal justice system will become a key pillar of the program's mission. Welcome back to wrongful conviction.

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Today's case will it's going to upset you. I'm going to tell you right now, this is a grotesque injustice that was inflicted and is still being inflicted on an amazing man named Ronnie Long. And we're hoping to hear from Ronnie during the recording and calling in from prison where he has been since 1976 for a crime he didn't commit in this time of covid. There's all sorts of complications. So we're going to try to make it work. With us now as well is Jamie Liow.

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Jamie is an attorney at Duke University's Wrongful Convictions Clinic. And Jamie, thank you for joining us on the show. Thank you for having me. I want to do something unusual here. I actually want to start at the end. We almost never do that. But there's a quote from a judge named James Wynn, who's a circuit court judge in the 4th District Court. So this is a serious guy. And Judge Wynn said, and I quote, Prosecutors clearly had evidence that any defense counsel in the world, not only in nineteen seventy six, but in the history of this country would have wanted or needed and which should have been supplied.

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And yet we did not provide it. He goes on to say, what is it about us that we want to prosecute and keep people in jail when we know evidence may exist, that might lead to a different conclusion? Why is that so offensive to us now that we want to protect illegal activity from forty four years ago? What's the harm of looking at the new evidence? He said, when did justice leave the process? So we let our rules blind us to what we all can see.

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Wow. Well, during the course of argument, it made us optimistic that after forty four years, end may be near to the injustice that occurred in Ronni's case. It's been an incredible, difficult journey through the courts to get his case to where it was on May 7th of this year. You said we'll start at the end. And the end at this point in time was an argument on May 7th in front of the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is 15 active judges.

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All have been appointed by a president. Judge, when I was making that quote in response to arguments from the state of North Carolina that more or less was asking the court to disregard all the evidence that is now known about in this case that was hid from Ronnie at the time of his trial in 1976. And Judge Wynn also discussed sort of the circumstances of 1976 and the conditions of black males, particularly in the south in 1976 and how they were wrongfully convicted in great numbers.

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So at the moment, Judge Wynn offered his viewpoints. During the course of the state's argument. We knew that we had succeeded in conveying to the court the seriousness and the magnitude of the injustice that occurred in Ronnie's case.

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As promised, we got a phone call from Ronnie, and I must warn you that there was a poor connection with the prison. So rise a little hard to hear. But what he has to say needs to be heard. So please bear with us.

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We have a prepaid call. You will not be charged for this call. This call is from an inmate at Albemarle Correctional Institution. This call will be monitored and recorded to accept this call. Prinstein, now to decline this call, hang up. Thank you for using Global Link. Hello. Hi, Ronnie.

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Thanks for calling me. I know we have a limited time, so let's get right into it now. You grew up in Concord, North Carolina, right? Seven brothers and sisters. Can you tell me a little bit about your life before all of this horrible stuff happened?

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After sports, when I was in high school, graduate from high, she has I learned how to leave recessional. That's kind of what I was doing. Like is a of we have some time, so big money. You I had a lot of time with my family, although I used to forget when I get frustrated with three. Now, I read about this one time before you had your son, way before the incident that land you in prison, there was an encounter that you once had with some police officers that they pulled up on you, harassed you a bit.

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Hey, what you doing around here, boy type of thing. And you responded, isn't this America?

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Aren't I free to walk on this sidewalk that right now coming from coming from a very nice area? That was it. It was this like that area. So I'm coming home when I wake up full of happy that he was you coming. So what are you doing in this area? Well, Wolf, you actually caused me to be down. Councils literally stated it will face up to life. Not always of you can. I just got to walk.

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We don't want to go home.

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And that seems to be how he got to be on the radar of the local authorities. And then on the fateful day of Sunday, April twenty fifth, nineteen seventy six at around nine forty five p.m., a wealthy white fifty four year old widow of a Cannon Mills executive was burglarized and raped. Awful, awful crime. And Cannon Mills was a major employer in the area. And that name is going to come to play a big role in this. In this story, the victim said that while she was preparing food for a beach trip the following day, a black man snuck into her home and grabbed her from behind.

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She said the intruder told her that he only had 15 minutes as his friends were waiting for him outside like a horror movie, and he proceeded to rape her. She later described her attacker as, quote, yellow looking and quote, again, not blue, black, maybe wearing gloves, beanie hat, no mention of any facial hair and a dark leather coat. She also described the violent struggle where she scratched her attacker so hard that her fingernails bent backward, which would definitely have left a mark on that leather coat.

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The victim said that whenever she tried to move, he would slam her head against the ground. Then the phone rang, startling the attacker who gathered his things and left through the front door. The victim then rushed over to her neighbors naked, where she was able to call the police and they arrived around 10 p.m. The victim has since passed away. But that being said, she was rushed to the hospital for a rape kit and the doctor performed all the tests and collected all the biological evidence and everything else.

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What happened next is that Detective Eisenhauer of the Concord Police Department arrived at the victim's home around 10 30, photographed the house and began collecting evidence, including latent fingerprints, carpet samples, suspect hair paint samples, as well as pieces of the victim's clothing and partially burned matches. And he later brought them to the State Bureau of Investigation office in Raleigh for examination. He also lifted a latent shoe print from a column near the porch. Now, this is important later as nothing but the shoe print was ever discussed at trial.

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And before we go any further, we need to state clearly that Ronnie had a solid alibi. And remember, the crime took place at nine forty five, Ronnie at around nine thirty. You were at home with your mother waiting on your father to get back with the car so you could head out to a party in Charlotte. You were on the phone with the mother of your child. Your mom hopped on the phone a few times to say hello to her grandson, right?

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Yes. Are you on the phone? Somebody you call me on a sandwich, which can kind of help. Is he on the phone to. My mom's on the phone. She now still on the phone. I must say. He is on the phone and I'm waiting for my dad to come back with the car. It was a plus one until 5:00 shop.

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So, Jamie, can you take us back to how Ronnie came to be implicated in it and how he could have possibly been convicted in spite of no evidence at all? None. Zero.

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Yeah, Ronnie, very much like other young black men in 1976 and still today was harassed by law enforcement officers. That harassment directly led to what ultimately becomes this forty four year old wrongful conviction. On April 25th, the victim is assaulted and raped in her home. A few days after that, Ronnie received a trespassing charge at the local park that was adjacent to his home when he shouldn't have been there. And during that time, it appears that he was observed wearing a black leather coat.

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The officer who stopped him recalled that the person who. Was described by the victim, had been wearing a dark leather coat on the night of April 25th when she gave a description to law enforcement. And despite Ronnie not matching other very prominent features that were included in her description, the officer decided that perhaps he was the individual who had assaulted the victim. I mean, it was significant, the disparities between her description of her assailant and Ronnie. She described her assailant as a yellow black male in the south at the time to describe somebody as a yellow black male, a light skinned black person of mixed origin.

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She never mentioned her assailant having facial hair. Ronni had facial hair and undisputed that he had facial hair on April 25th, 1976, when she was assaulted. So despite him having a different complexion, having facial hair where she never described facial hair, he becomes a suspect. Officers then go to her home and says, we have reason to believe that the individual who had assaulted you will be in the courtroom on this date 15 days later, May 10th.

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Nineteen seventy six. And we'd like you to come down to the courtroom to see if you can identify the person who attacked you there. So immediately in her mind, she thinks they've done some investigation and have identified a likely suspect.

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But all they had done is made the connection to the fact that Ronnie had a black leather coat similar to what she described. The real curious thing with respect to law enforcement, asking the victim to go to the courthouse to try and make an identification if they had a picture of long that they could have shown her when they went to her and ask her to come to the courthouse and they could have did it in a fair procedure or as fair as these identification procedures can be with the inclusion of fillers to ensure that she's selecting him from memory and not because he looks most like the attacker or because she's being presented a suspect in a very suggestive way.

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They elected to forego that. So she's brought to the courthouse dressed in a disguise because she's fearful that if her attacker was there, he'd recognize her. She describes during her testimony being terrified. She sits in the courtroom for an hour and a half England's presence and fails to identify him. And only when his name is called and he walks up to resolve the trespassing charge, which was dismissed that day, Dixy say he's the one, but it's telling because we later learned during her testimony at trial that there were only 12 black males in the courtroom.

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She quickly eliminated several of them because they had afros where they were older. She described one as being old and hunched over. And she says that he was the only one that looked remotely similar to her attacker. And ID evidence is already flawed and highly unreliable. But here, can you just take her words that she's just picking the person most likely to be her attacker that's present in the courtroom so she can in the experience where she's traumatized and terrified so that, in essence, becomes the only evidence against them.

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And here we are. Forty four years later trying to undo that identification.

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And I'm glad you brought that up, Jamie, because we know the most unreliable eyewitness identification is cross racial. This fits exactly into that category. And then, of course, there's still room for it to get worse.

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So, Ronnie, take us back to the day that you were in court for the misdemeanor trespassing charge when you had no idea you couldn't have had any idea that there was a rape victim in the gallery who was being led to believe that her attacker was in the courtroom that day.

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And the craziest thing is that you two were in each other's presence for nearly two hours before she died.

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You write them on a misdemeanor just to go downtown and you call my name and screw it up the walk out for me in my day. This is when police say when they say that she using the same detectives there was on this case, it on this case the whole time, sitting in the jury box, she testified that it was exactly 12 blacks in the courtroom. It's not any people who look like she's supposed to be looking for a young black man that assaulted her, but she just say she looked around and looked around and look to the street and I just feel know that I want you to think about this.

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She said she sat in the courtroom for a while and has been around. She believes the reason why she didn't see it in one instance is because of the security state police with a nice, candid black mark. We know how it affects. I'm still, you know, seriously asking how am I feeling? So, I mean, that's not a description you're looking for. That's why I couldn't figure out which you figure out when they call my next one alone or to the floor.

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Well, I don't know if you caught us yet. We found out after she left that she had other issues other than money, because no one will sit in the courtroom as a whole hour and a half. It will 12 people sit in for all our if you don't see this young black man that you look for to you don't see because it's not. Yeah, you got it on the court action. This woman could talking to Bob Dole from the Picarello, she stated they could have.

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I don't know. They could and I don't know. So the victim makes this shaky identification, tells the detectives, but you've got no idea that any of this is going on, you're there for this misdemeanor charge which gets dismissed and then you go home. But that was not the last duty of law enforcement that day. I want to call you went. When I wake up two hours later, my mom telling me that it was when Romney was picked up, he was not told that he was suspected of this.

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Instead, he arrived at the station at 645 p.m., was read his rights and the police claimed that they asked permission to search his car, but they hadn't. And then they testified to finding gloves, matchbooks and a baby in the car. Romney maintains that the gloves were his, but the beanie was not.

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I follow police downtown. I used to drive with clothes on, but when I get out, the cash flows out of the homes on that. I tried to call a lot, so I got a bit of a jack. Abdel Fattah Kamiyama, suspicion of rape and murder case up to the front of the building is running through the state officials in the courtroom that morning. We are going much to you. We just want to look in your car. You got it on the right now.

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I gave you permission to look at my car. So you go down, look at my car, they come back and take off my jacket. I'll ask Matthew Mosso had my glove. They had lime green, the box that I had never seen a day in my life. And for anyone who doesn't know, it's a bag and I didn't know it's a bag. And as a hat, like the one described by the victim in this case. So the police come back with what they claim to have found in your car.

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Go ahead, Ronnie.

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This is the guy just starts a car if you want these items back. When we take them to the investigation, sign your name right. Got look at all the people. Let me just sign your name right here. If you want these items that I've not put my jacket back once I get them on my clothes, but I want to it, but I don't know what to say. So I have to take. Come to find out, is it good for this nation to.

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So they tricked you in order to make it seem like you consented, and that way it would have made the search technically legal. They planted the lime green bean platter toboggan.

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Now, the police got a lovely to so you the perfect crew to help them and then all the way back to you. And I hate that I didn't find it along with that is that it really just reared its head. You've got a lovely red hair when I tell you how long you see the real. Right. I know we're close to the. The same with double jeopardy. They just said, hey, I want to have a designated hitter.

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So we now come to the conclusion that the police planted this baby in the car so that they could have another, you know, well, another there is no other evidence so that they could have something that they could use against him. And I say something they could use against him because remember all of that evidence Detective Eisenhauer collected from the crime scene? Well, if the red hairs that they found in the beanie that are clearly not Ronni's hair bother you, just wait because it's about to get way worse.

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Again, the crime scene evidence comes back from the State Bureau of Investigation in Raleigh, and none of it matches Ronni. But since the rich white widow of an executive of one of the biggest employers in town just IDed him as her rapist rather than just doing the right thing, that just thing the evidence never even made it to the prosecutor's office, let alone the defense. So the police withheld the evidence from both the defense and the prosecution. Let me just repeat that the police withheld the evidence, not just from the defense, but from the prosecution, just in case the prosecution might have decided, hey, wait a minute, we got the wrong guy that the police decided to play judge jury.

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And I mean, they might as well play the executioner because poor Ronnie has been in prison for forty four fucking years. I mean, this is. Yeah, I mean, just when I think I've heard it all. And Jamie, you're living this day in and day out now. I mean, what, what can you add to that because it gets worse from there. Right.

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So they not only tested this evidence and it didn't match long. When it didn't match long, they made the decision that they wouldn't turn it over to the defense or the prosecution, which we contending we argued this at the May 7th hearing that we had in this case, that there's a possibility that the prosecutor could have decided not to go forward with this case at all had he known that all the forensic test results pointed away from Ronnie and towards another suspect.

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There was suspect hair collected, brought to Raleigh, examined by the crime lab, determined by the crime lab to be, in the parlance of the lab report of Negroid or Mongolian origin, meaning that it came from a person who is either Asian or black. And we know that that hair that was collected, those suspect hair didn't match long. If it didn't match along, then the suspect, the person who should have been incarcerated for forty four years, there's the evidence of who that person's identity is.

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And it's remarkable in the fact that they believe this would be probative. They collected because they thought it would be probative. All indications are they did come from the suspect, but when it didn't match long, they kept it from everybody. So the prosecutor would go forward on the basis of this completely unheard of identification procedure. And I have to tell you, Jason, I'm very skeptical. Whenever any client offers a suggestion, the evidence may be planted.

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But as you look at this case and what officers did. Keeping evidence away from the prosecutor, it really makes you stop and say, oh my goodness, this is completely consistent with the behaviors of the officers in this case. And then one long says, those are my gloves, but I've never seen that being in my life. You think, why would he acknowledge owning one but not the other? And the only explanation is because the officers in this case set out to ensure Long was convicted.

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That included lying. Hiding and with the beanie manufacturing evidence to ensure that he would spend the rest of his life incarcerated and convicted for this crime and for whatever reason, the state of North Carolina is just willing to ignore that altogether and continue to argue that Long is guilty of this crime.

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It's crazy, right?

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And there's no evidence that he ever owned a beanie. There's no photographs of him in a bikini. There's no nobody knew about any. There's also the fact that the victim had fought her attacker with with all of her strength and she had scratched the attacker so hard that her own nails bent back to no avail.

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So if you take a look at this. You. If you look at it from a microscope, I know when you just looked at national media, I took a look at like a school district, AOL's back home, but yet still she said that's because that's exactly what the perpetrator was, the one who started own Mutawakkil tragic moments.

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Well, there's a good explanation for there being no scratches on you, your face, your leather coat. It's painfully simple. It's because you weren't there that night. But she did do they were trying to make the square fit the circle and they were willing to bend the rules and break the rules. They planted evidence in your car and tried everything they could to make sure that they got a conviction in this case. And people were out in the street protesting as well.

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Right. So they arrested you. They offered you a plea deal so they could make all of that public outcry just go away.

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Now, there are Mililani of the automobile, 73, 77. You actually told me that I would feel like home if you hadn't made a decision to do this. I didn't take the truth is in the of a. So, I mean, I've got people on the street in the street. I get my family out here to street. I see what you feel is I knew exactly what they wanted. They wanted me to read out to that. Josh.

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So what if you put it in front page all year long? He does a great job. So are we going to get it? So thank you so. What I knew I could do that because no one wanted to an invasion. So you did something you didn't do? I turned down the. So our special guest. I was seriously injured before they took me. So you said the shoot an awful lot, lot of stuff, but then we get to the trial itself and this is going to shock exactly no.

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One. But the jury was all white. Let me just say that again, this is an all white jury. Concord, North Carolina, nineteen seventy six, the jury was handpicked by the Cabarrus County sheriff and get this, three of the members of the jury worked for Cannon Mills. And you'll remember that the victim's husband worked at Cannon Mills as well.

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So the jury chairperson at the time created a master list of jurors to get a summons for jury duty. You had to be on that list. And prior to Long's trial, he brought that list of master jurors first to the sheriff and allowed the sheriff to strike through any person on that list that the sheriff deemed unfit for jury duty. He then brought the list to the Concord Police Department. And testimony is that the chief of police and some of his deputies sat there and did the same.

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So law enforcement, the very people who investigated this case, ended up lying about this case, about the evidence collected in this case, played a role in the selection of the jurors who ultimately found Mr. Long guilty. And in this trial, every single witness that testified for the state of North Carolina was white. Every single witness that testified on behalf of Ronnie Long to demonstrate his innocence, to prove his alibi, to show that he was nowhere near the victim's home on the night this attack occurred was black.

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And by selecting an all white jury in segregated Concord, North Carolina, in 1976, ultimately what we had was a circumstance where the jurors were being asked to decide between finding their neighbors truthful or finding the people from the other side of the tracks, the black side of town. They would have had to find them truthful over the officers who were their neighbors, who are the people who lived in their community, their side of town. That's what it would have taken to find.

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Lam not guilty. And of course, we all know how it played out. And this courtroom, there was a racially divided court with blacks on one side and whites on the other. And of course, now the really awful result but predictable result of this sham trial was that on October 1st, nineteen seventy six, with his whole life in front of him, Ronnie Long was convicted and sentenced to two life terms. His mother fainted and a riot nearly ensued.

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Long himself has called his conviction a, quote, modernized lynching sanctioned by law when they found as a Feiglin before they started fighting Institute of National John Ashcroft for a stuff of the gravitational field on this issue, we figured out what to do. So it must feel like if it had a warning to rally tonight and listen to this.

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So after Long's conviction, Concord bubbled over with fury. The next day, hundreds of protesters descended on the city's downtown, staging a demonstration in front of the courthouse. And four days, 50 or more police officers in full riot gear stationed themselves at a nearby park. And the police chief warned protesters that violence would be met with force. So, I mean, nothing has changed. And and the bravery, the courage of these people who protested, putting themselves in grave danger from the same police force that had just framed their friend, their neighbor, their fellow human.

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I spoke with his trial counsel, Jim Fuller, prior to the May 7th argument, and he said, Jamie, I've only been maced one time in my life. And it was after the verdict when the outburst occurred in the courtroom and law enforcement decided to clear out all the supporters of law. And he said officers were beating a young man and he tried to pull the officers away and they turned and sprayed him. Long trial attorney in the face with Messitte.

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Nothing has changed. It's really it's really hard to, you know, it's I mean, I'm trying to be optimistic and, you know, I think we are on the verge of change. And but it's it's remarkable how much things are as they were forty four years later.

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The post conviction litigation history, can you walk us through that, Jamie, because it's quite extraordinary in and of itself, it's been a long process. So it began in the 90s after he was convicted. He filed his first what we call here in North Carolina, motions for appropriate relief there. The post conviction review petitions that initiate post conviction proceedings. And it was related to the jury he was ruled against during the course of those proceedings. That was then appealed in federal court, arguing the same things, that he didn't commit the crime and that his trial was unfair, in part because of the way in which the jury was seated and he was ruled against in federal court over the years.

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He tried to get people to help him.

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And then in 2005, the Innocence Project at the University of North Carolina took interest in the case and the present litigation began. They found an attorney to work with Ronnie. That attorney did all the work necessary to uncover not just the lies, but the evidence that was withheld from long at the time of his trial. And they went into state court and held an evidentiary hearing where the judge heard testimony related to the withholding of this evidence. That's a real interesting proceeding because the prosecutor, the individual who tried running, went back in nineteen seventy six, took the stand and testified for long that he didn't have copies of these reports.

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He didn't know that this testing was done. Had he known that it was done, he would have required that had been turned over. He also talked about a sexual assault kit that we have even talked about, that they collected one from the victim and then it subsequently disappeared. Jesus. Yeah. So he testified for long. But despite all that, the judge in state court ruled against long and found that he hadn't proven that his rights were violated.

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The case then went to the North Carolina Supreme Court. There are seven justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court. One set out the decision. And as a result, the Supreme Court split three three. So tie went to the state. Ronni's conviction was upheld and he was still incarcerated. It then went to an organization in North Carolina called the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission. They reviewed the case and their focus was trying to find the sexual assault kit that was collected and disappeared.

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They did not find it, but they actually discovered that in 2008, during the course of those proceedings, officers lied again by saying that they had no physical evidence remaining in the case in their custody, when, in fact, they had all the fingerprints that had been collected from the crime scene. That's when I got involved. And as you're reacting to how just atrocious and an affront to justice this case is, I had the same initial reaction. The other attorneys I work with at the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, we work to file another habeas petition on Romney's behalf.

[00:37:35]

It was dismissed because the district court said that we had failed to bring the fingerprint related evidence in state court prior to filing our habeas petition. Of course, it would have been brought in state court had it not been hit during the time that the state post conviction litigation was ongoing. We appealed that dismissal. The Fourth Circuit reversed and sent it back to the district court. Then the district court once again granted a dismissal on behalf of the state. The district court said that while we had shown that evidence was withheld, that it was favorable to long, but that the state court was reasonable in determining that the evidence was immaterial to the outcome of his trial.

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So it was dismissed again, and we appeal that decision, which came in July of twenty eighteen, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in May of twenty nineteen.

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A panel entered a decision, two to one, saying that Long had failed to demonstrate the materiality of the evidence in the state court again was reasonable. That decision came down in January of twenty twenty. We then asked for a full court review called a petition for rehearing and BONKE. And what that triggers is that full 15 judge review of the case. The court agreed to hear it while sitting in BONKE. And next the argument we had on May 7th of twenty twenty.

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So it's been, it's been a long fight to get to the point where we know that the judges are at least, you know, seeing the injustices here that we saw, as evidenced by the statement of Judge Wynn during the course of those oral arguments.

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And so here we are ending where we started with the words of Judge Wynn expressing his frustration over how this happened to Ronnie amongst so many others. I hope you all feel that same frustration and anger right now. Judge Wynn said, quote, Prosecutors clearly had evidence that any defense counsel in the world, not only in nineteen seventy six, but in the history of this country would have wanted or needed and which should have been supplied, and yet we did not provide it.

[00:39:58]

What is it about us that we want to prosecute and keep people in jail when we know evidence may exist that might lead to a different outcome? Why is that so offensive to us now that we want to protect illegal activity from forty four years ago, end quote? And of course, he was referring to the illegal activity on the part of law enforcement in this case, quote, What's the harm of looking at the new evidence? He said, when did justice leave the process?

[00:40:28]

So we let our rules blind us to what we all can see, end quote. You know, the fact that the the cops took all the evidence from the crime scene and never turned it over a loan, that should be it. They knew it wasn't him from the beginning. It just hurts my heart to think of this life. This this this poor fuckin guy.

[00:41:03]

Since we recorded this podcast with Jamie and Ronnie, I read a quote from Ronnie's mother saying that she is just waiting. This is a quote from her just waiting on Ronnie to get out. God, let me live to see him get out of there, end quote.

[00:41:18]

Since nineteen seventy six, his grandmother, his two sisters and his father have all passed. And unfortunately, they were joined by his mother on July 11th, 20 20 rest in peace. The family asked Jamie to speak at the funeral about Ronnie's case. Ronnie still has his wife, Ashley, long waiting for him. She started a petition on changelog that I've already signed asking Governor Cooper to commute his sentence. I hope you'll join me. There's a link in the episode description.

[00:41:48]

Just scroll down, click and let's bring him home. Now back to the episode as it was previously recorded.

[00:41:58]

Now it comes to the closing of the show, which, of course, I call closing arguments. This is where, Jamie, I thank you again for being here. Ronnie, thank you for calling in. And now I'm going to turn off my microphone and leave my headphones on and just listen, Jamie. Thank you, Jason.

[00:42:21]

What I would add is the listeners here, I'm sure, have heard about cases that involve hiding exculpatory evidence separately. They've heard of cases involving misconduct and potential lies told on the witness stand, cases involving racial injustice. And here we have everything together. In one, we have the original trial prosecutor testifying on behalf of the defense, acknowledging that materials were not only hidden from the defense, but from him as well. We have evidence pointing to another individual is the perpetrator.

[00:42:59]

We have evidence of misconduct and lies from officers. And despite all that, 44 years later, Ronnie Long sits in a prison in North Carolina. I ask everybody listening to this to seize this particular moment that we are living through in history by taking one action among what I hope is many to help Ronnie achieve justice in his freedom. To do that, I hope not only that, you'll go to change dot org and sign the petition, but also contact the governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.

[00:43:37]

His email is Roy Cooper, c o p e r enga. And tell him to free Ronnie Long now, because while we prove his innocence in court, which we plan to do, the governor can make this injustice right tomorrow by commuting long sentence to time served and letting him walk free and forty four years past due for that to occur.

[00:44:03]

And I hope you all will send a message to the governor that if he truly believes that black lives matter, that lives matter, that he would use his executive authority to see that Longo's free not next week, not next month, that Ronnie needs to be free now. Thank you, Jason.

[00:44:24]

Yeah, thank you, Jamie. And I'm going to just jump in for one more minute and say that if anyone here knows someone who knows the governor, direct outreach can be a game changer. So thank you very much, Jamie.

[00:44:36]

And now I'm going to turn it over to our featured guest, Ronnie, long as you know and appreciate the platform, which lets people appreciate the legitimacy of a lot of people, don't necessarily know who I am as a lot of people have heard of, but they don't know the circumstances. And I appreciate you for doing me. And hopefully one day you'll here for security purposes and convincing, convincing that very hard to guess what. No more than eyewitness identification is how it flows.

[00:45:18]

And they know if they knew they had been mistaken. They advised me that they wanted us to hear the way they understood and why to dig the whole area would have had a point toward me. And of course, they know that it had the wrong man. They know that I was the person that assaulted before. We didn't see a history of familiarity. Congratulations, therefore, for me here, regardless of whether or not you speak now or whatever.

[00:45:53]

I didn't feel too forceful, Yossef, on my.

[00:46:00]

Don't forget to give us a fantastic review wherever you get your podcast. It really helps. And, you know, I'm a proud donor to the Innocence Project and I really hope you'll join me in supporting this very important cause. And in so doing, helping to prevent future wrongful convictions. It's easy. Go to Innocence Project dot org to learn how to donate and get involved. I want to thank our amazing producers, engineers and editors, Connor Hall and Kevin Ortiz.

[00:46:29]

The music in the show is by three time Oscar nominated composer J. Ralph. Be sure to follow us on Instagram at wrongful conviction and on Facebook at Wrongful Conviction podcast. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lovaas for good podcasts in association with Signal Company No. One, Northparkes. For NPR ex.