In 1978, Joseph Sledge was wrongfully convicted of a dual murder. On January 23, 2015, thanks to the work of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, a three-judge panel unanimously found that Mr. Sledge was innocent. Mr. Sledge served 37 years in prison for crimes he did not commit.
Last week, Patterson Harkavy, together with attorneys from Martin & Jones, filed suit on Mr. Sledge's behalf. The complaint alleges that Mr. Sledge was wrongfully convicted because officers with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office unlawfully withheld evidence that demonstrated his innocence. It also alleges that beginning in 1993, Mr. Sledge began repeatedly requesting that evidence from his case be subjected to DNA testing. For nearly 20 years, agencies falsely informed him that they had no evidence. Once the agencies finally produced evidence from Mr. Sledge's case, DNA testing demonstrated his innocence.
Mr. Sledge's wrongful conviction and exoneration have received extensive media coverage, including in the New York Times, The Atlantic, CNN, and the Raleigh News & Observer.
Patterson Harkavy attorneys Burton Craige, Narendra Ghosh, and Paul Smith represent Mr. Sledge in his civil suit. Click here to review Mr. Sledge's complaint.