Over the past few years, John Nardizzi has investigated (or consulted on) some of the most significant wrongful convictions cases in New England, including cases for Dennis Maher, Estate of Kennth Waters, Michael O'Laughlin, Victor Rosario, Scott Hornoff, Gordon Tempest, Angel Echavarria, and many others. An investigation is ongoing in the conviction of client Brian Peixoto in a 1996 case in Bristol County. Many of these stories are documented at the New England Innocence Project.
Nardizzi has investigated cases for both post-conviction relief in criminal matters as well as civil cases (either state tort claims or federal civil rights cases) whereby an exoneree files a lawsuit against a state official for intentional misconduct that led to the wrongful conviction. Cases are handled on a fee basis or pro bono, depending on current case load.
Recent major case successes include:
~ In July 2014, client Victor Rosario was freed after spending 32 years behind bars for a 1982 arson fire that killed eight people. A Middlesex Superior Court judge overturned Victor Rosario's one arson and eight murder convictions based on advances in arson forensics as well as major errors in the handling of the investigation, including interviews done with witnesses and Rosario himself.
~ a $3.1 million settlement for the wrongful conviction of Dennis Maher for two rapes and an assault that occurred in 1983. Dennis Maher v. TOWN OF AYER, AYER POLICE DEPARTMENT, NANCY TAYLOR-HARRIS, CITY OF LOWELL, EDWARD F. DAVIS III, et al.; U.S. District Court Case, No. 06-CA-10514
~ a $3.4 million settlement for the wrongful conviction of Kenneth Waters for the murder of a woman in May 1980. BETTY ANNE WATERS, Administratrix of the Estate of KENNETH WATERS v. TOWN OF AYER, NANCY TAYLOR-HARRIS, ARTHUR BOISSEAU, WILLIAM ADAMSON, and PHILIP L. CONNORS, U.S. District Court Case, No. 04-10521
~ Another client, Michael O'Laughlin, filed a writ of habeas corpus and was successful in overturning of his conviction. MICHAEL O'LAUGHLIN, Petitioner, v. STEVEN O'BRIEN, Superintendent, Old Colony Correctional Center, Respondent, U.S. Court of Appeals For the First Circuit, Case No. 08-1010
~ Scott Hornoff, a Rhode Island police officer, served six years, four months and 18 days of a life sentence for another’s crime, and was freed on November 6, 2002, five days after the real killer, Todd Barry, confessed to the crime. We investigated the case to help Scott get backpay and reinstatement.
Other sites with information on wrongful convictions include: