NEW ORLEANS – Today, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office (OPDA), led by the Civil Rights Division, asked the court to vacate the wrongful conviction of Mr. Patrick Brown for aggravated rape and subsequently, order his release from prison. Mr. Brown spent 29 years in prison for a crime that he did not commit.
In 1994, Mr. Brown was convicted of raping his 6-year-old stepdaughter. During the trial proceedings, the stepdaughter did not testify; instead, adults testified to what they believed she had said. Since 2002, the stepdaughter, who is now an adult, has repeatedly asked previous administrations to review this case, correct the injustice, and rightfully prosecute the actual perpetrator; no investigations into her case were ever done until DA Williams took office and launched the Civil Rights Division.
The DA’s Office’s Civil Rights Division conducted a thorough investigation and the evidence corroborated the victim’s account, which has remained steadfast for over 20 years. As a result, the DA’s Office requested that the court immediately rectify this injustice.
“Listening and engaging victims and survivors of sexual assault is a top priority in this office. It is incredibly disheartening to know that this woman was dismissed and ignored, no matter how inconvenient her truth, when all she wanted was the real offender to be held responsible,” said District Attorney Jason Williams. “When someone is wrongfully convicted, not only is it an injustice for the person who has years of their life stolen, but it is an injustice for the victim and the people of New Orleans because the real perpetrator is left to harm others. This is why I launched the Civil Rights Division to ensure that we are correcting the sins of the past and holding the right people accountable. I am thankful for the hard work of Civil Rights Division Chief Emily Maw and her team of ADAs on this important case.”
Civil Rights Division Chief Emily Maw said, “This case presents multiple injustices: 1. the wrong man has been in prison for 29 years, 2. the right man was not fully investigated and prosecuted, and 3. this victim has endured not just the deep trauma of child sexual assault, but the trauma of knowing the wrong man has been imprisoned for almost three decades while the man who raped her walked free. This is a very sad case, but we are hopeful that this will bring some closure to the victim and that she, and Mr. Brown, can move forward in healing.”
The hearing took place in Section A of Criminal District Court; Judge Calvin Johnson presided. Mr. Brown was released immediately following court.
To learn more about the work of OPDA, please visit orleansda.com.