Willie Stokes was finally freed from prison on Tuesday January 4th, 2022 after spending 37 years behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit.
Allegedly, Philadelphia Police detectives offered witness Franklin Lee sex and drugs in exchange for his false testimony which would ultimately land Stokes behind bars.
The detectives have both since passed away, but the extreme miscarriage of justice cannot be ignored or forgotten by history.
The prison in Delaware County where Willie Stokes was held unjustly for 37 years.
Stokes was 37 years into his life sentence for the 1984 murder conviction, and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office investigated the case and found that Stokes did not receive his due process during the original trial.
The murder victim was a woman, whose murder Stoke’s denied throughout the entire trial. This took place in 1984, which was during Philadelphia’s so-called “Tough on Crime” time period, which occurred during the 1980’s and 90’s.
There’s An Urgency To Seek Justice Over Finality
Over the nearly four decades of Stoke’s false imprisonment, he filed numerous appeals and petitions of relief only to be rejected by procedure at every turn.
In late November the U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania finally agreed to hold a hearing and ultimately concluded that for 37 years prosecutors knowingly withheld information from his defense lawyers that witness Franklin Lee had not only lied, but was convicted of perjury for it – long before Stokes was released.
The court ordered that Stokes be released within 120 days of the findings, and it took everyone by surprise.
“He’s only known for a half hour he was going to be released, this isn’t something that we expected,” said Stoke’s attorney Michael Diamondstein via CBSLocal.com soon after they left the corrections building.
This Isn’t The Only Falsely Imprisoned Victim in Philadelphia
Thousands of men and women were incarcerated during the “tough-on-crime” era of the 1980’s and 90’s in Philadelphia and if the behavior of these detectives is indicative of a long history of prior bribes and corruption in order to put innocent victims behind bars.
If you or a loved one knows a person you suspect might be falsely imprisoned don’t hesitate to contact our civil rights attorneys. Our attorneys have worked for years to help deliver justice to victims of police corruption or brutality – don’t hesitate to call us immediately at (800) 590-4116 or live chat directly with our legal team below to set up a consultation.