Legal Aid Society

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LAS Secures Exoneration for Client Wayne Gardine

The Legal Aid Society has announced the exoneration of Wayne Gardine, a Legal Aid client who had been unjustly incarcerated for 29 years – which includes pretrial detention, a prison sentence and ICE detention – after he was wrongly convicted of murder in 1996 after a shooting in Harlem two years prior.

Gardine is an innocent man and has maintained his innocence from the time of his arrest at 20 years old through the entirety of his prison sentence, after being denied parole four times.

After his release from Fishkill Correctional Facility, 49 year-old Gardine was transferred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, and is facing deportation to Jamaica.

“I want to thank the whole team at Legal Aid. I also want to thank Alvin Bragg, Terri Rosenblatt, Jenna Dunton, and Daniel Altabet for their honest investigation, their respect for the truth, and for how quickly they worked on my case,” said Mr. Gardine. “I also want to thank my mom for being there all these years, and I want to thank myself for never giving up. I’m happy that the justice system finally worked.”

“We are elated that Mr. Gardine will finally have his name cleared of this conviction that has haunted him for nearly three decades, yet he is still not a free man and faces additional and unwarranted punishment if deported,” said Lou Fox, Mr. Gardine’s attorney with the Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “We thank New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg for joining us on this motion, and we call on ICE to immediately release our client so he can return to his family and community, and to drop deportation proceedings.”

“Every time I think of Wayne, I’m brought to tears. He lost nearly three decades of his life for a crime that he didn’t commit. ICE can end this nightmare now by immediately freeing my son,” said Grace Davis, Wayne Gardine’s mother. “I want to thank Wayne’s legal team at Legal Aid for not giving up on him, and District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office for doing right by my son.”