James Richardson

James RichardsonState of Conviction: Florida

Race: Black

Wrongful Conviction: Murder

Exonerated Date: 1989

Years Served: 21


James Richardson was convicted and sentenced to death for the poisoning of one of his children. The prosecution argued that Richardson committed the crime to obtain insurance money, despite the fact that no such policy existed. The primary witnesses against Richardson were two jail-house snitches whom Richardson was said to have confessed to. Post-conviction investigation found that the neighbor who was caring for Richardson’s children had a prior homicide conviction, and the defense provided affidavits from people to whom he had confessed. Richardson’s conviction was thrown into further doubt when the governor appointed then-Dade County District Attorney Janet Reno to conduct a special investigation.  She concluded Richardson’s conviction should be vacated.  At a subsequent court hearing, the court overturned his conviction, and no further charges were raised in the case.

Source: Death Penalty Information Center