Legal Aid Society


LAS Secures Reversal for Wrongfully Convicted Client Michael Robinson

The Legal Aid Society has secured a ruling overturning the 1993 murder conviction of Michael Robinson, a Legal Aid client who was incarcerated for 26 years. The ruling, based upon newly discovered DNA evidence that could have altered the outcome of the case, orders a new trial for Mr. Robinson, as reported by the New York Daily News.

Mr. Robinson was charged with murdering his estranged wife, Gwendolyn Samuels, but despite an alibi presented through a number of family members; testimony about Samuels’ abusive relationship with her then-boyfriend; and conflicting testimony from an eyewitness, a jury convicted him of second-degree murder.

In 2019, a new DNA evidence analysis by Cybergenetics concluded that a match between Mr. Robinson and the DNA sample found under the victim’s fingernail was “78.1 trillion times less probable than a coincidental match to an unrelated African-American person,” a result that should have exonerated Mr. Robinson. The exclusionary nature of the DNA results was also corroborated by the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) after the Legal Aid Society requested that the OCME re-analyzed the sample using more data.

“We never wavered in our belief that Mr. Robinson was innocent and had been unjustly convicted,” said Harold Ferguson, an attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Appeals Bureau.

“After 26 years of incarceration, and seven long years of litigation, the Appellate Division today rendered a decision that affords Mr. Robinson the justice that he has long sought,” he continued. “We will continue to represent Mr. Robinson on this matter to secure him the closure and outcome that he deserves.”