When Anthony Daye 30 years old he was wrongfully convicted of a crime, drug possession for sale, that he did not commit in 2010. He was eventually exonerated in 2017. The contributing factors that lead to his wrongful conviction were perjury and false accusation and official misconduct,
In Iberia, Louisiana, where Anthony was living, it was alleged that on August 30, 2010, police officers who happened to be in the area witnessed Anthony Daye run from a vehicle and toss something away. They subsequently arrested him on scene. The investigating officers claimed to have found him with $1,551 in his pocket and a bag with about an ounce of marijuana where they claimed he was seen tossing an item away.
The officers alleged that during his search after they discovered the quantity of cash in his pocket, they inquired if he had a job. They claimed that Anthony allegedly replied, “No, I just make a little hustle.”
Anthony’s story would get more complicated. He would go to be released on bail. As he was awaiting trial for the criminal charges related to the marijuana incident it was alleged that he was involved in a murder. Anthony and three other co-accused were charged with the murder of Clifton Williams, Jr. It was alleged that Anthony and the three other men robbed the barber shop that Clifton owned and robbed everyone inside and that as they were leaving, one of the men shot Williams.
In August 2011 before either of his matters had gone to trial Anthony filed a civil lawsuit against the police department. In his statement of claim, Anthony described that he had been beaten with batons by the arresting officers after he was arrested for the murder. He explained that the officers who had arrested him for the murder were the same officers who had arrested him for the marijuana charges.
In May 2012 the prosecution would go to amended the criminal charges against Anthony in relation to the marijuana incident. The charges were changed to engaging in a transaction involving drug proceeds and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute—both felonies—as well as a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. These were more serious charges than had been previously laid.
At his trial the officers testified that they saw Anthony running from a vehicle and throw a bag away. They said that when they recovered the bag and found the marijuana. At his trial Anthony testified that the officers had planted the drugs. The defence argued that the officers were falsely testifying.
The jury was unconvinced and on May 10, 2012 he was convicted of all three criminal charges. Despite the facts of the crime being less serious Anthony was sentenced to life in prison because he had prior serious criminal convictions.
Anthony would maintain his innocence and continue to defend the charges. He had some success in June of 2013, when the Louisiana Court of Appeal set aside his conviction for engaging in a transaction involving drug proceeds. The defence was able to prove that the prosecution presented insufficient evidence at his trial. The court also vacated and dismissed the charge of marijuana possession. The court found it was a duplicate charge to the other possession charge. Anthony was again sentenced to life in prison.
Finally In 2016 Anthony’s luck would change. There had been a lengthy investigation into the conduct of the arresting officers in Anthony’s case. The federal prosecutors would go on to file criminal charges against 10 police officers for brutality and misconduct. They all pled guilty and were sentenced to time in prison. As a result of the criminal convictions of the arresting officers in Anthony’s case , Anthony’s criminal defence lawyer would file a motion to vacate his conviction. Finally on December 13, 2016 his conviction was vacated. On March 27, 2017, the prosecution dismissed the charge.