Centurion Ministries

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Centurion Ministries, Inc. is a secular, non-profit organization located in Princeton, New Jersey, whose primary mission is to free and vindicate from prison those who are completely innocent of the crimes for which they have been wrongly convicted and imprisoned for life or death.[1]

History[edit]

Centurion Ministries was founded in 1983 by Jim McCloskey as a result of his investigation on behalf of a prisoner, Jorge De Los Santos.

McCloskey learned of Mr. De Los Santos in 1980 while a seminary student at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. McCloskey used his own funds to investigate De Los Santos' claim of innocence. He located the chief witness against De Los Santos, who recanted his false trial testimony. McCloskey then hired Paul Casteleiro, a Hoboken lawyer, to write the writ to bring De Los Santos' case back into court. A U.S. District Court judge overturned the conviction and in 1983 De Los Santos was freed.

Centurion is the first organization to investigate cases of wrongful convictions in the US and Canada. In 1987, California businesswoman, Kate Germond, joined McCloskey and together they built an organization that has secured the release of 61 (as of May 20, 2018) wrongly convicted men and women from all across the United States and Canada.

McCloskey retired in May 2015 and Germond is now the Executive Director of Centurion. Centurion continues to seek exoneration of wrongly convicted people through a thorough field investigation.

Process[edit]

Centurion Ministries undergoes a formal process to help prove those wrongfully convicted are innocent.[2]

  • Case Research: CM thoroughly studies the entire written record of the case.
  • Field Investigation: CM conducts a field investigation in order to obtain new evidence that can help overturn the case.
  • Trial: CM hires experienced attorneys and expert witnesses to overturn the case in court.

To submit a case for review, go to: SUBMIT A CASE page

Selected cases[edit]

Jorge De Los Santos[edit]

[3] Newark, NJ. Convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1975 murder of a Newark, NJ used-car salesman, Jorge De Los Santos spent almost nine years in prison before being freed in July, 1983, by former US District Court Judge Frederick B. Lacey. The judge said testimony from a jailhouse witness that convicted De Los Santos "reeked of perjury" and that the prosecutor knew it. Centurion's investigation yielded the new evidence that freed De Los Santos."

Kerry Max Cook[edit]

[3] [4] Tyler, TX. "In November, 1997, Kerry Max Cook was freed after spending nearly 20 years on death row for a murder in which he had no involvement. This was the crowning moment of a grueling seven-year effort by Centurion Ministries on Cook's behalf. Texas' highest court threw out the conviction and ruled that the state's "illicit manipulation of the evidence permeated the entire investigation of the murder", and that the state "gained a conviction based on fraud and ignored its own duty to seek the truth""

David Milgaard[edit]

[3] Saskatoon, Canada. An order of the Canadian Supreme Court freed David Milgaard on April 16, 1992 after 23 years of imprisonment. Centurion's two-year investigation of the rape/murder case established the identity of the real killer. The Supreme Court recognized that "the continued conviction of Milgaard amounts to a miscarriage of justice" Then, a 1997 DNA testing of physical evidence confirmed Milgaard's innocence and resulted in the arrest of the actual killer

Elmer "Geronimo" Pratt[edit]

[3] Los Angeles, CA. In the late 1960s, Geronimo Pratt was the leader of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party. In 1972, Pratt was convicted of a 1968 murder on a Santa Monica, CA, tennis court. After 27 years of imprisonment and many denials of habeas corpus petitions, Pratt was granted a new trial and then freed in June 1997 by Orange County Superior Court Judge Everett Dickey. After conducting an extensive evidentiary hearing, Judge Dickey ruled that the state's primary witness was in fact an FBI, LAPD, and LADA informant, who had significantly lied against Pratt at trial. This culminated a four-year effort by Centurion on Pratt's behalf."

Darryl Burton[edit]

[3] [4] St. Louis, Mo. Based primarily on the alleged eyewitness account by a criminal informant for the St. Louis Police, Darryl Burton spent 24 years confined in Missouri prisons for the 1984 fatal shooting of Donald Bell at an Amoco gas station. The cashier at the gas station at the time of the shooting testified at a 2007 post conviction hearing that she had told the police they had the wrong man. She stated that shooter was light complected while Burton is very dark skinned.

Freeing Burton in August 2008, the Cole County judge found that the cashier's certainty that Mr. Burton was not the killer to be "clear, credible, and powerful." The judge also ruled that the informant's extensive criminal history was kept from the defense; had the jury known of it, it would have provided "persuasive evidence of the defendant's innocence."

News[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Golin, Sarah. "Working to Save Innocent Souls", "The Washington Post", October 25, 2008, accessed June 29, 2011
  2. ^ "Centurion Ministries". Centurion Ministries. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Cases". Centurion Ministries. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  4. ^ a b "McCloskey labors to exonerate innocent prisoners". NJ.com. 2008-10-02. Retrieved 2013-10-06.

External links[edit]