Citing ‘Miscarriage Of justice,’ U.S. Judge Overturns Phila. Murder Conviction

Source: John P. Martin /

A federal judge on Wednesday overturned the 1992 conviction of a Philadelphia man she said had been unjustly sentenced to die for a murder he probably didn’t commit.

In a scathing ruling, Judge Anita B. Brody said city police and prosecutors ignored, lost, or “covered up” evidence that James “Jimmy” Dennis wasn’t the man who fatally shot a high school student for her gold earrings near the Fern Rock transit station in 1991.

“The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has committed a grave miscarriage of justice,” Brody concluded in her 40-page opinion. She ordered the state to retry Dennis within six months – or set him free.

District Attorney Seth A. Williams said his office had not decided whether it would appeal. But he said he was disappointed in what he called the judge’s “acceptance of slanted factual allegations” and “a newly concocted alibi defense” that Williams claimed was a lie.

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