A Solitary Jailhouse Lawyer Argues His Way Out of Prison – WSJ.com

Posted: December 25, 2010 by scaryhouse in FOIA-Freedom of Information Act, IDOC, Police Misconduct, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Terrible Wrongs - Other Cases, The Causes of Wrongful Convictions, Uncategorized


Each morning for 5,546 days, Jabbar Collins knew exactly what he’d wear when he awoke: a dark-green shirt with matching dark-green pants.

The prison greenies of a convicted murderer, he says, were “overly starched in the beginning, but as time wore on, and after repeated washes, they were worn and dull, like so many other things on the inside.”

For most of those 15 years, Mr. Collins, who maintained his innocence, knew the only way his wardrobe would change was if he did something that’s indescribably rare. He’d have to lawyer himself out of jail.

There was no crusading journalist, no nonprofit group taking up his cause, just Inmate 95A2646, a high-school dropout from Brooklyn, alone in a computerless prison law library.

“‘Needle in a haystack’ doesn’t communicate it exactly. Is it more like lightning striking your house?” says Adele Bernard, who runs the Post-Conviction Project at Pace Law School in New York, which investigates claims of wrongful conviction. “It’s so unbelievably hard…that it’s almost impossible to come up with something that captures that.”

Mr. Collins pried documents from wary prosecutors, tracked down reluctant witnesses and persuaded them, at least once through trickery, to reveal what allegedly went on before and at the trial where he was convicted of the high-profile 1994 murder of Rabbi Abraham Pollack.

via A Solitary Jailhouse Lawyer Argues His Way Out of Prison – WSJ.com.

  1. Sally says:

    You have to read this story! Forget about Betty Waters and the movie “Conviction”! Sure she became a lawyer to free her brother, but when it comes down to it; it was DNA that freed him and anyone, even her brother could have pushed to get it examined once they learned the importance of DNA. Jabbar Collins had a much tougher job and he did it from inside of prison; learning the law on his own; getting documents and evidence into the prison (which is tough) contacting witnesses directly and getting them to cooperate.

    Time and time again what does it show? That State’s Attorney’s are skunks who will lie and scheme to put and keep innocent people in prison who they know are innocent, just to gain a name for themselves. Show me an honest SA; they do not exist!


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