State v. James Richardson

Justice System Reform
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Case Summary

Updated 06/04/2024

James Richardson is an innocent man serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. In 2011, James was arrested and capitally charged with the murders of Landon Blackley and Andrew Kirby in Pitt County, NC. Following a hotly contested trial, James was convicted and given two life sentences. Both the investigation and trial were plagued with error, misconduct, and racial animus. For example, the only Black male on the jury reported facing racial hostility due to his unwillingness to vote for a conviction; he ultimately changed his vote under unyielding pressure and intimidation. The State’s theory – that James shot both men while driving past a Greenville nightclub – was physically impossible, yet key evidence that undermined the prosecution’s case was never disclosed before or during trial.

A Motion for Appropriate Relief is pending in Pitt County Superior Court. SCSJ and co-counsel Tin Fulton, Walker & Owen are asking for an evidentiary hearing in order to present evidence of James’ innocence and seek a new trial.

Why it's Important

James Richardson is an innocent person who should be home with his family. His case also involves a number of issues that plague the entire criminal legal system: racial bias, rush-to-judgment investigations, prosecutorial misconduct, and procedural rules preventing the wrongfully convicted from seeking justice.

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