Man Released from Jail After 37 Years After Shocking Discovery

( – A 61-year-old Philadelphia man was released on Tuesday after serving 37 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit.

Willie Stokes Was Wrongfully Convicted for Murder

Uncertainties surrounding whether witnesses may be lying in an attempt to sway the outcome of a trial in their favor are high enough when considering what the witnesses themselves may want, and the Willie Stokes case shows that there are even more sinister motives to be concerned about. During Stokes’s murder trial, detectives that were involved in the case manipulated a witness into lying to benefit their own motives, which created a host of problems with the overall integrity of the trial that have only just been resolved 37 years later.

The detectives involved in the Stokes trial allegedly bribed witness Franklin Lee with sex and drugs, as well as a lighter sentence for charges Lee himself faced at the time, to lie about what had really happened. Lee was convicted for perjury just days later, but his confession was not taken into consideration as far as altering Stokes’s sentence. Years after the detectives that came up with the story in the first place passed away, Stokes continued to serve his life sentence.

Willie Stokes’s Delayed Release Raises Concerns Surrounding Future Perjury Ramifications

Now 61, Stokes has finally been released, but with a large portion of his life lost to lies. Although Franklin Lee was ultimately convicted for perjury by the same prosecutors that convicted Stokes based on Lee’s false story within days of the incident, they never used the knowledge of that lie to free Stokes until after 37 years and multiple rounds of appeals had passed.

During an era when the media is insisting that all supposed victims and their witnesses should automatically be believed, Stokes’s story raises concerns surrounding the lives that other lying witnesses may ruin. How many other wrongful convictions have been the result of witnesses’ claims that turned out to be completely false, and could they become more common?

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