Leon Brown

Wrongfully imprisoned, then ripped off by their lawyer

The system has failed them at every turn:

A Florida lawyer defrauded, deceived and embezzled funds from two mentally disabled clients who were declared innocent after spending 31 years in prison, according to a complaint filed Wednesday by the North Carolina State Bar. Henry McCollum and his half-brother, Leon Brown, were exonerated in 2014 after serving decades in prison for the notorious rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. They received $750,000 each from the state in compensation.

The North Carolina State Bar charged that Orlando lawyer Patrick Megaro took excessive fees when he pocketed a third of each award despite having done virtually no work on their exonerations or compensation cases. The complaint lists 16 separate ethical violations. Megaro allegedly lied to federal and state judges, double-billed his clients and misused trust funds.

Not only does this case exemplify the mistreatment of African--Americans in our criminal justice system, it also exposes the disgusting fear-mongering Republicans thrive on during campaign season:

The next “right thing” for McCrory: Halt executions

Ten months after a judge declared them innocent, Gov. Pat McCrory has acknowledged what we already knew — Henry McCollum and Leon Brown are innocent of the crime for which they were sentenced to death.

McCrory said the pardon was “the right thing to do.” Now, we hope he will do the next right thing: Think about how many other innocent people might still be sitting on death row.

“We must reexamine a system that let an innocent man sit on death row for 30 years,” said Ken Rose, the CDPL attorney who represented McCollum for two decades. “How many more innocent people are still awaiting execution? The governor can and should call an official halt to executions in North Carolina until we know the answer to that question.”

We hope the Governor will let their pardon be a call to action, rather than simply the end to a tragic case. NC needs an official moratorium on executions in order to ensure we do not execute an innocent person.

Screw you, McCrory

Our governor is dragging his feet on issuing pardons for Henry Lee McCollum and Leon Brown, two North Carolina men who served 30 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Each man received a whopping $45 in compensation for the wrongful conviction. The men have been free for seven months, but McCrory can't bring himself to decide what to do. Seven goddamn months and not a peep from the governor.

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