Forum features Bermudez, exonerated after 18 years in prison
Fernando Bermudez, whose 1992 conviction for a New York City murder was overturned in 2009 in a case championed by the Innocence Project, joined two attorneys experienced in wrongful imprisonment appeals in a forum on Sept. 22, 2011, at Western.
Bermudez, currently pursuing studies to earn a bachelor’s degree at WCSU, discussed “Innocent: Freedom after 18 Years in Prison.” Other participants in the program included Mary Ann Di Bari, a key member of the legal team who counseled Bermudez during the lengthy appeals process culminating in his exoneration; and Sidney Manes, a leading practitioner of environmental law who also has extensive experience in wrongful imprisonment cases in a career spanning more than four decades.
After the failure of 10 appeals filed by Bermudez over 17 years seeking to overturn his conviction for the August 1991 shooting of Raymond Blount in Greenwich Village, New York State Supreme Court Justice John Cataldo ruled in November 2009 to dismiss murder charges on the grounds that the subsequent discrediting of key testimony and recantation of eyewitness identifications presented at the 1992 trial had left no credible evidence connecting Bermudez to the crime. “I find, by clear and convincing evidence, that Fernando Bermudez has demonstrated he is innocent of this crime,” Cataldo declared in his decision.