Durham man to request Governor pardon

Erick Daniels the day he was freed from jail

December 30, 2009 3:43:47 PM PST
Seven years and two months. That's how long Erick Daniels, 23, spent in state prison for a crime he and several legal experts say he didn't commit. Now he'll ask Governor Bev Perdue to pardon his criminal record.

Last September, Daniels walked out of a Durham County Superior courtroom as a free man. The judge tossed out his robbery case, citing a botched photo lineup and a lack of evidence that led to his 2001 arrest.

It was Daniels’ eyebrows that caught the attention of his alleged victim, according to his attorney. He was 14-years-old when Ruth Brown picked him out of a middle school yearbook. Brown, a Durham Police Department employee, claimed she’d been robbed at gunpoint by two men wearing bandanas over their faces. Defense attorneys argued in court that Brown had hosted an illegal gambling party the night of the robbery. Daniels was eventually convicted. He has maintained his innocence.

“Erick has endured so much. His mother has endured so much,” Daniels' attorney Daron Sattefield told ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Reporter Tamara Gibbs. “He's an innocent man. This should've never happened. And I would say Governor Perdue, if you find it in your heart, grant Erick this pardon.”

Under North Carolina law, a pardon doesn’t erase the past. It attaches an official statement from the Governor to a criminal record. Daniels is in a long line of former inmates statewide seeking the Governor’s pardon. Most requests are submitted at least five years after a former inmate has achieved good standing in his or her community.

Daniels’ attorneys say they will eventually attempt to have his record expunged. They’re also in negotiations with the City of Durham to avoid a potential lawsuit. If no agreement is reached soon, Daniels says he’ll return to court, but this time for a different reason.

“He cannot receive the seven years that have been taken from him,” said Satterfield. “The only thing we can ask for is money damages.”

Daniels earned his GED while incarcerated. He is currently doing community work through a local church.

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