Foley Hoag Helps Overturn 1986 Murder Conviction

Superior Court rules defendant Darrell Jones did not receive fair trial

December 22, 2017

Foley Hoag LLP, working pro bono alongside the Committee for Public Counsel Services Innocence Program, has helped overturn a murder conviction for Darrell Jones after Superior Court Judge Thomas F. McGuire, Jr., ruled that Jones did not receive a trial before an impartial jury for the death of Guillermo Rodrigues in November 1985.

In his decision, Superior Court Judge Thomas F. McGuire, Jr., found that one juror during Jones’ 1986 trial was “racially biased” and that the lead Brockton, Mass. police detective assigned to the investigation testified falsely as to the circumstances under which a key piece of evidence for the prosecution - a videotaped interview of an eyewitness - was altered before trial. Jones was ultimately found guilty of first degree murder at trial and has spent the last 32 years in prison serving a life sentence.

“We are extremely pleased the court has granted the motion for new trial,” said Foley Hoag Partner Neil Austin. “The decision validates what Mr. Jones has been saying all along: he is an innocent man who has been forced to spend the last three decades in prison because of the misconduct of others.  With this decision, Mr. Jones can begin the process of rebuilding his life.”

Jones’ conviction has been vacated as a result of the court’s decision, and he has been released on bail pending the Commonwealth’s decision whether to appeal the decision or move forward with a retrial.

The court reached its decision after considering newly-discovered evidence of police misconduct obtained through the use of digital forensic technology not available at the time of trial and holding several days of evidentiary hearings. The court also summonsed and questioned all available jurors concerning the allegation of racial bias.  

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