Man Freed After Being Jailed 37 Years Due to “Sex-for-Lies” Police Bribe

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After spending 37 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Willie Stokes was released from prison on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

According to some reports, Philadelphia Police detectives offered Franklin Lee sex and drugs as a reward for his false testimony. This would eventually land Stokes behind bars.

Although both detectives have since died, history cannot ignore or forget the terrible miscarriage of justice.

The correctional facility in Delaware County where Stokes was held during his incarceration.

Stokes was now 37 years into his life sentence in 1984 for a murder conviction. Larry Krasner, Philadelphia District Attorney, investigated the case and discovered that Stokes had not been given due process at his original trial.

The victim of the murder was a woman. Stoke denied her murder throughout the trial. This occurred in 1984, during Philadelphia’s “Tough on Crime” period that took place between the 1980’s & 90’s.

It’s urgent to seek justice over finality

Over nearly forty years of Stoke’s false imprisonment, he made numerous appeals and petitions for relief, only to have them rejected at each turn.

The U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania agreed to hold a hearing in November. It concluded that for 37+ years, prosecutors had knowingly withheld information from Stoke’s defense lawyers. This was long before Stokes was freed.

The court ordered Stokes to be released within 120 days after the findings were made. It was a surprise for everyone.

“He only knew for half an hour that he would be released. This is not something we expected,” stated Stoke’s lawyer Michael Diamondstein via shortly after they left the corrections facility.

This isn’t the only falsely imprisoned victim in Philadelphia

Thousands of people were imprisoned during Philadelphia’s “tough-on crime” era in the 1980’s and 1990’s. If the behavior of these detectives is any indication of past corruption and bribes, it will lead to innocent victims being put behind bars.

Our civil rights lawyers are available to assist you if you know of someone you think might be wrongfully imprisoned. Our lawyers have been helping victims of police corruption and brutality for many years. Please call us at (800) 590-4116 to schedule a consultation or chat with our legal team directly below.

“Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation.”

- Coretta Scott King

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