Attorney general asks for NC Supreme Court to keep Durham man in prison

ablythe@newsobserver.comJuly 16, 2014 

— Darryl Anthony Howard, the North Carolina prison inmate who persuaded a judge to abandon two murder convictions against him, won't be freed yet.

The N.C. Attorney General's office has asked the N.C. Supreme Court to keep him behind bars while prosecutors appeal a May ruling that vacated the two second-degree murder verdicts.

The request for review came the day after the N.C. Court of Appeals lifted a temporary stay that kept Howard imprisoned since the May ruling by Judge Orlando Hudson, Durham's chief resident superior court judge.

Hudson vacated the 1993 verdicts after lawyers affiliated with the Innocence Project contended that police and prosecutorial misconduct had tainted the case. Jim Cooney, a Charlotte attorney, and Barry Scheck, a co-founder of the Innocence Project, said the new evidence warranted a new trial at the least.

Durham prosecutors and the N.C. Attorney General's office argue otherwise and have asked higher courts to review Hudson's ruling.

Late last week, Hudson announced his intentions to grant bail for Howard as the appeal of his May ruling went through the higher courts.

The N.C. Appeals Court decision on Wednesday to lift the stay opened the door for Howard to get a taste of life outside prison.

Blythe: 919-836-4948; Twitter: @AnneBlythe1

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