S5E6: John Huffington: Drug Deals, a Double Death Sentence, & over 3 Decades in Prison
John Huffington spent 32 years in the Maryland Prison System—10 of which were on death row—after being wrongfully convicted of a 1981 double murder. Previously, juries twice convicted John of first-degree murder in the deaths of Diane Becker and Joseph Hudson. The first trial, in 1981, occurred in Caroline County and John was later granted a new trial due to evidence improperly introduced by the State. The second trial took place in Frederick County in 1983. He faced the death penalty after both convictions, but his sentence was later commuted to two life terms in prison. Since his first trial, John had filed multiple appeals at the state and federal levels, challenging the state’s case against him. In 2013, as the result of newly discovered DNA evidence that demonstrated that hairs discovered at the crime scene were not John’s, the Circuit Court for Frederick County, MD, granted him a Writ of Actual Innocence and vacated his murder convictions, and John Huffington was released from prison on bond. The faulty evidence came from an FBI lab that has been forced to acknowledge widespread mismanagement and false testimony. Flawed forensic testimony was given in 257 of the 268 trials in which hair evidence was used, and John Huffington’s trial was one of them. Since his release from prison, John Huffington has been a tireless advocate for the re-entry community, and his work has been recognized by Baltimore City leaders, including State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. He is now serving as the Director of Workforce Development for Living Classrooms Foundation, where he manages the workforce development department and its programming with 18 staff members and a $2 million budget. As part of his role, he manages Project SERVE, the same job-training program in which he enrolled upon being released from incarceration.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good™ Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.