The Hawai'i Innocence Project had the pleasure of featuring Uriah at the Second Annual Gala To Free The Innocent, in January 2017. His resilience and courage serve as an inspiration, not only to the many law students and legal professionals that were in attendance at the event but to thousands of others across the country who share similar experiences. Along with speaking at various events, Uriah has spent the past few years working on his book, Exoneree, which is now available at Barnes and Noble.
Uriah Courtney was only 25 years old when he was arrested and convicted of a crime that he did not commit. Despite having multiple sources confirm his attendance at work at the time the crime was committed, and despite the complete lack of reliable evidence, Uriah was sentenced to life in prison, mainly on the basis of mistaken eyewitness identification.
Uriah's step-father, Rick Gambino, was shocked by the guilty verdict and began searching for a solution to the miscarriage of justice his step-son was experiencing. He searched the area surrounding the crime scene for anything to help overturn the conviction. He dug through his file cabinets for records that could help prove Uriah's innocence. Eventually, he learned of the California Innocence Project, which accepted Uriah's case, confident that the recent strides in DNA technology would identify the true perpetrator.
Thankfully, that is exactly what happened in the months that followed. After spending eight years in prison, the charges against Uriah Courtney were dismissed and he was released from prison on June 24th, 2013. The actual perpetrator of the crime, a 30-year-old registered sex offender who lived only a few blocks away from the scene, was identified through the DNA testing.
To learn more about Uriah Courtney and the details of his wrongful conviction please visit the California Innocence Project website or search for his profile at the National Registry of Exonerations.