Sydney Holmes was sentenced to 400 years in prison for armed robbery. Justice questioned the identification processes used at the time.
More than half of his life behind bars, nothing. Sydney Holmes, 57, was released Monday after spending 34 years in a Florida prison, according to reports. Local media is WSVN.
In 1989, he was charged with being the driver during a 1988 armed robbery in the southern part of the state. Then at age 23, he was sentenced to 400 years in prison and was always declared innocent. .
In 2020, Sydney Holmes approached the Broward County Criminal Review Division to plead her case through her attorneys. This time, justice hears him, and deems the charges against the fifty-year-old insufficient, Dailymail.
More specifically, the lawyers in charge of the case are questioning the identification procedures used at the time. First, the main witness of the facts was unable to identify Holmes in the six photographs presented to him. His photo will be placed in several selections until it is finally selected. It was on this evidence that the suspect was convicted.
When he was arrested weeks after the incident, Sidney Holmes was driving a brown Oldsmobile Cutlass, a very common vehicle in the United States in the late 1980s, which was identified by witnesses as the car used in the robbery.
Despite the doubts, the justices asked for 825 years in prison for Holmes, who had already been convicted of a previous armed robbery. He was finally sentenced to 400 years in prison.
“I have not lost hope”
In light of these facts, the Broward State Attorney’s Office concluded that there was “no evidence of Holmes and the robbery,” citing a “misidentification” by a then-witness, and affirmed the man’s innocence. Meanwhile, the victims of the armed robbery have also called for the release of the prisoner.
“I can’t hold grudges, I have to move on. I’ve never given up hope,” said Sidney Holmes as he walked out of court a free man.
The moment he was reunited with his mother was immortalized by the many journalists who were there for the event.
For his part, Broward County Attorney Harold F. Pryor believes it is the duty of justice to stay with the prisoner after his release. “I can’t apologize for past mistakes, what the previous administration or law enforcement did,” he says.
“All I can do is fix a mistake, fix it, and start the process of making it whole again,” he adds.
Under Florida law, any wrongfully convicted inmate can claim up to $50,000 per year wrongfully incarcerated. However, as the Innocence website points out Florida’s planOnly a dozen were compensated.
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