The Justice Wire
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The Justice Wire

District Attorney Krasner Statement on Antonio Martinez Exoneration

CONTACT:

Jane Roh, 215–686–8711, jane.roh@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 23, 2020) — District Attorney Larry Krasner on Friday issued the following statement on Common Pleas Court Judge Tracy Brandeis-Roman’s decision to vacate two Murder convictions for Antonio Martinez (DOB: 09/05/1947) after more than 30 years of incarceration. Judge Brandeis-Roman also granted the District Attorney’s Office request to nolle prosse all charges against Martinez:

“After a close and thorough investigation of the facts and evidence in this case, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit determined that the 1990 trial and conviction of Antonio Martinez for the 1985 murders of brothers Hector Camacho and Luis Camacho lacked integrity.

“At time of the 1990 trial, the case against Mr. Martinez was weak. Mr. Martinez was ultimately convicted based upon testimony from witnesses who provided inconsistent accounts of the crime, and whose credibility was called into question.

“However, Mr. Martinez, his defense counsel, and the trial judge were not made aware that the Philadelphia Police and District Attorney’s files contained numerous pieces of evidence implicating another suspect in the murder, including an eyewitness who informed police that another individual — not Mr. Martinez — shot and killed the Camacho brothers.

“Approximately two years ago, a prosecutor in the DAO Federal Litigation Unit reviewed the archived records in this case while preparing a response to a pro se motion Mr. Martinez had submitted in federal court. During that review, it became apparent that the evidence provided at Mr. Martinez’s trial in 1990 represented a small fraction of the investigation into the Camacho brothers’ murder, and that the information had not been provided to Mr. Martinez prior to his trial.

“Mr. Martinez’s case was then referred to the Conviction Integrity Unit, which reviewed the file and promptly provided the alternate suspect evidence to Mr. Martinez — as should have happened, in fidelity to this office’s constitutional obligations, more than 30 years ago.

“This case highlights the worst and the best of prosecution. Mr. Martinez was convicted and imprisoned for 30 years after a fundamentally unfair trial that lacked integrity. But his freedom was secured today, thanks to the integrity of an appellate prosecutor in this office, the Conviction Integrity Unit’s diligence in seeking justice, and the fairness of the court. I want to acknowledge Patricia Cummings, chief of the Conviction Integrity Unit, for her leadership in securing 15 exonerations to date since I took office in January 2018. The CIU has been vigilant in supporting exonerations when and where the facts and the law establish it is appropriate.

“For too long, policing and prosecution have been driven by politics and punitive ideologies. The criminal legal system must be willing to recognize errors and correct them. Law enforcement must work every day to earn the trust of the public, in order to make the City of Philadelphia safe for all.”

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The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually.

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