Junis Brown (Kip Stewart) asserts the following wrongful conviction in this complaint:
Mr. Brown asserts he was wrongfully convicted during a February 1999 trial and is serving a 13 year prison sentence for a 1996 robbery of a convenience store in Providence, RI. He asserts he was charged with this crime on 8-15-1996 and his photo was placed in a line up on 8-16-1996 during which he was NOT identified by the complainant as the robber.
At the time of his arrest in August of 1996 he was 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighed 223 pounds. He also had very long dreadlocks that hung down his back past his shoulders and to the middle of his chest. [A photo allegedly taken at that time was included in Mr. Brown's complaint.]
The complainant described his assailant as being 5 feet 7 inches tall and 165 pounds with very short hair. The police claimed to have found Mr. Brown's right middle finger print on a cigar blunt box in the store and based on that finger print said he robbed the place. The police also lifted 5 other prints off the cigar boxes. Mr. Brown asserts that during grand jury testimony the police's finger print expert testified that the other prints were identifiable but at trial the same expert testified that the other prints were unidentifiable. Mr. Brown also asserts DA prosecutor Cindy Soccio, who twice before failed to get a conviction for Mr. Brown, knowingly argued the finger print experts perjured testimony during trial in the presence of the jury.
Mr. Brown asserts it is common practice in convenience stores for customers to come into contact with cigar boxes many times removing the cigars they were buying and leaving money on the counter if the clerk was busy with other customers. The store owner stated that he sells all the cigars from boxes before using the empty boxes for storing money and receipts behind the counter. The robber reportedly jumped behind the counter and took money out of one of the cigar boxes after going through all 5 which were behind the counter. The police could not testify if the print that convicted Mr. Brown was in fact removed from the box containing the money.
According to Mr. Brown the store owner was prompted by police to testify that no one ever touches any cigar boxes in his store at anytime because he kept them behind the counter on a shelf behind him at all times. Mr. Brown asserts the police motivated the store owner by saying they had the man who robbed him but needed his help and if it was known customers could touch the cigar boxes, they would not be able to get a conviction. Mr. Brown asserts there are many people that admit to touching cigar boxes in the same store and Caught was even supplied a picture of someone in the same store touching a cigar box on the counter.
Mr. Brown had friends go into the store shortly after his conviction to photograph themselves buying cigars. They were able to touch the boxes. When the store owner saw the picture being taken, he reportedly attacked Mr. Brown's female friend and her 16 year old cousin and robbed them of their camera. Mr. Brown's friends flagged down police and reported the incident. When the officer heard the store owner say, "The police said Mr. Brown robbed me," the officer called for backup and several officers began questioning Mr. Brown's friends in an intimidating fashion. Mr. Brown's friends were told by police that they would NOT be getting their camera back and if they did not leave the area they would be arrested. The police also questioned as to why the pair was helping Mr. Brown stating that he was a low life and they didn't care if he robbed the store or not and that "life is tough." Mr. Brown supplied several documents backing up the assertions in his complaint.