December 13, 2017

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Sentencing in Alford Plea for John Huffington Concludes More Than 32 Years of Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment

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FREDERICK, Md., Dec. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — In the case of State of Maryland v. Huffington, the State of Maryland agreed today to a sentence by which John Huffington, prosecuted for a double murder that occurred in 1981, in Harford County, MD, will not spend another day in jail. 

Mr. Huffington was sentenced to time served and approximately three weeks of unsupervised probation by Judge Theresa M. Adams of the Circuit Court of Frederick County, Maryland.  Today’s sentencing hearing is the last step in Mr. Huffington’s November 9, 2017, submission of an Alford plea, a special type of plea by which the defendant asserts his innocence and does not admit to the charged act, while acknowledging that a plea is in his best interests.  Mr. Huffington served over 32 years in jail before being released on bond in 2013.

Previously, juries twice convicted Mr. Huffington of first-degree murder in the deaths of Diane Becker and Joseph Hudson.  The first trial, in 1981, occurred in Caroline County.  Mr. Huffington was later granted a new trial due to evidence improperly introduced by the State.  The second trial took place in Frederick County in 1983.

Mr. Huffington has always maintained his innocence of the charged offenses. 
In 2013, as the result of newly discovered DNA evidence that demonstrated that hairs discovered at the crime scene were not Mr. Huffington’s, the Circuit Court for Frederick County, Maryland, granted Mr. Huffington’s petition for a writ of actual innocence, vacated his murder convictions, and ordered a new trial.  The faulty evidence came from an FBI lab that has been forced to acknowledge widespread mismanagement and false testimony.

“It is with a heavy heart that I accept this plea,” Mr. Huffington stated.  “I understand that this is the best path forward in order to move on in my life, but it does not bring the full exoneration and vindication that I have fought for during the past 36 years.  My heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims’ families in this case, and I understand their desire to find closure as well.  In our different quests for justice, we were all victims of a system that did not serve us well.  I am committed to continuing my life’s work to help others and, most of all, I owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have stood by me, recognized my innocence, and fought

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