Wrongly-Jailed Man Petitions To Clear His Name

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Thomas Haynesworth, front, who spent 27 years in prison, speaks to the media as his attorney Peter Neufeld leaves the Virginia Court of Appeals in March. (AP)
Thomas Haynesworth, front, with his attorney Peter Neufeld in March. (AP)

Thomas Haynesworth of Richmond, Virginia was 18 when he was accused of five sexual assaults. He was convicted of the assaults and spent 27 years in prison for the crimes. But after seeing DNA evidence, prosecutors now believe the crimes were committed by another man.

In March, Haynesworth was paroled and released from prison by Virginia's governor. Tuesday, Haynesworth heads back to court to ask for his name to be cleared so that he no longer has to register as a sex offender. In an unprecedented move, Virginia's Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, will be arguing on his behalf.

Cuccinelli told Here & Now's Robin Young that Haynesworth has had a positive attitude since being released from prison in March, which is “admirable and hard to achieve."

Cuccinelli added that it would be "very bothersome” if the court rejects Haynesworth's appeal for exoneration because it would show “the system made a mistake."


This segment aired on September 27, 2011.


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