by Sherry Sherill
More than four decades after they were profiled, wrongly blamed, falsely accused, and then wrongly indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced to spend more than two decades in NYS prisons, The Buffalo 5’s John Walker and Darryl Boyd have arrived nearly full-circle.
On Tuesday, October 5, inside Buffalo Common Council Chambers, in downtown Buffalo, they were presented with a special proclamation from the City Of Buffalo’s Common Council. The proclamation paid tribute to John’s and Darryl’s 45-year long struggle to gain the dismissal of their wrongful 1976 indictment, and the vacation of their wrongful 1977 convictions.
John Walker and Darryl Boyd are two of the United States of America’s most recent Wrongful Conviction Exonerees!
The proclamation they received duly acknowledged their having achieved that crucial social justice victory, and cite their having been selected for inclusion in the internationally renowned National Registry of Exonerations [NRE]. John and Darryl will join three other Buffalonians who are currently listed in that database, along with the year of their Wrongful Conviction Exoneration. They include Anthony Capozzi (2007), Lynn Dejac (2008), and Valentino Dixon (2018).
Founded in 2012, and in conjunction with Northwestern University’s School Of Law’s Center On Wrongful Convictions, the NRE is the world’s premier online database documenting Wrongful Conviction Exonerations. It focuses on those that have occurred in the USA, since 1989.
Now administered by the University of California At Irvine’s Newkirk Center For Science & Society, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law, the NRE contains information concerning some 2870 individualswrongly convicted of crimes. Altogether these individuals were deprived of more than 25,600 years of their lives, due to this nation’s criminal justice system remaining in dire need of reform.
According to the NRE, African Americans, who are just 13% of the U.S.’s population, are a majority of the innocent defendants who are wrongfully convicted of crimes, only to be exonerated often decades later. In 2016, these persons constituted more than 47% of the 1,900 exonerations that were listed in the NRE. That is nearly 900 individuals!
John and Darryl are indeed very grateful for the progress they have finally been able to gain. They hope their many supporters situated throughout the Upstate Western New York community will share in this very momentous occasion, and incredible honor.