'Miscarriage of Justice': Judge Overturns Death Sentence

Saying that a Philadelphia man was unjustly sentenced to die for a murder he probably did not commit, a federal judge on Wednesday overturned the 1992 conviction. 

James Dennis (NBC News screenshot)

In a scathing 40-page opinion, a federal judge on Wednesday overturned a 1992 conviction of a Philadelphia man, James Dennis, who she said had been unjustly sentenced to die for a murder he probably did not commit, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Judge Anita B. Brody said city police and prosecutors ignored, lost, or "covered up" evidence that James Dennis was not the man who fatally shot a high school student for her gold earrings near the Fern Rock SEPTA station in 1991. "The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has committed a grave miscarriage of justice," Brody concluded in her 40-page opinion. She ordered the state to retry Dennis within six months or set him free.

District Attorney Seth Williams said his office had not decided whether it would appeal. He said he was disappointed in what he called the judge's "acceptance of slanted factual allegations" and "a newly concocted alibi defense" that he contended was a lie.

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