NJ Innocence Project at Rutgers Helps Exonerate Man After 20 Years of Wrongful Incarceration
The New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers University, directed by Newark-based professor Laura Cohen, has helped exonerate a Hudson County man who served 20 years for a crime he did not commit.
Dion Miller, now age 54, was released from prison on July 27. He was represented by Cohen and managing attorney Nyssa Taylor. Mr. Miller was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Romeo Cavero in 2007 and sentenced to a term of 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Mr. Miller’s conviction was based entirely on three false confessions that detectives obtained after subjecting him to 17 hours of grueling and coercive interrogation. Those statements were inconsistent with each other and inconsistent with the other evidence in the case, and bore many of the known hallmarks of false confessions. Mr. Miller steadfastly pursued every available legal avenue to establish his innocence over two decades, often without the benefit of legal representation.
Earlier this year, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit launched an extensive reinvestigation of the case and concluded that Mr. Miller was innocent of the crime. The Unit joined in the New Jersey Innocence Project (NJIP) motion for a new trial, which Hudson County Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez granted. The Attorney General’s Office then moved for a dismissal of the indictment with prejudice. Mr. Miller’s exoneration is the second sought by the Unit since its formation in 2019.
“Mr. Miller, his family, and the New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers are deeply grateful to Attorney General Platkin, Director Murray, and the entire team of the Conviction Review Unit for their vigorous, thorough, and thoughtful work on this case, and for their determination to correct this grave injustice,” said Professor Cohen. “We hope that the lessons learned from this matter, particularly with regard to the causes and frequency of false confessions, will lead to exonerations of other innocent people and help prevent future wrongful convictions from occurring in New Jersey.”
Officially launched in 2022 under the aegis of the Rutgers Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, the NJIP represents factually innocent people in New Jersey in their efforts to vacate their wrongful convictions and obtain their freedom from incarceration. It is the first New Jersey affiliate of the National Innocence Network.
For more information about the NJIP or Mr. Miller’s case, please contact:
Professor Laura Cohen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Managing Attorney Nyssa Taylor: email@example.com