Who is Jermaine Hudson? Louisiana Black man wrongly jailed for 22 years freed after accuser admits he lied
'For the last 20 years since this happened, I have been tortured by the lie I told,' the accuser, who was 18-years-old at the time of the lie, said
On March 1, 1999, a then 18-year-old boy had told his father that he was robbed at gunpoint of cash and his St. Christopher medal when he was on his way home from work. The concerned parent had called the police, which had led to a line-up, and this is where Jermaine Hudson, who lived around the area, was randomly picked as the prime suspect by the accuser.
This Friday, after being sentenced to 99 years in prison in 2000 – 22 years of which he served – Hudson was released after his accused reportedly admitted that he had lied about the incident. Hudson's accused revealed in an affidavit on Thursday, March 25, 2021: "For the last 20 years since this happened, I have been tortured by the lie I told." He had admitted he lied to District Attorney Jason Williams of Orleans Parish in Louisiana.
Who is Jermaine Hudson?
Hudson, who is from New Orleans, was convicted of armed robbery with the jurors reportedly voting 10-2. During the trial, when Hudson was 21, the accuser, whose name has not been released, had broken down crying. Hudson was sentenced by Judge Julian Parker and his appeals were denied for the next 20 years. While Hudson did have a criminal past as he had pleaded guilty to armed robbery when he was 16, during the time of the "fabricated" incident, he was reportedly working at a grocery store. He was also taking care of his daughters, one 10 months and another 2 weeks at the time. He was offered a plea deal that saw a 5-year sentence behind bars, but he allegedly said, "I ain't about to take no time for something I didn't do."
Since at the time, a non-unanimous conviction in Louisiana was allowed, Hudson's jury conviction was pushed forward. The Daily Mail reported that since then, the U.S. Supreme Court found "split verdicts" to be "unconstitutional" last year. The publication also reported that on Monday, Hudson said, "I thank God for sending Mr. Williams. He's just one of those men that God sent on a mission, and he's listening. He's actually listening." Hudson's accuser, now a grown man, revealed that he had lied about the "armed robbery" because he didn't want his father finding out that he had spent the money he had on "drugs." He had also thrown away his medal that he said was also taken during the "crime." He had picked Hudson out of that police line up at "random." It was also reported that the unnamed accuser is in a rehab facility in Terrebonne Parish as he continues to go through substance abuse concerns. He was provided immunity by William's office.
Now free, Hudson has gone back to his life with fiancee Latinya Darensbourg and his daughters. As per a post on Promise of Justice Initiative, Hudson's reaction when he heard the good news was, “I am speechless right now. I am thanking the Lord and him for coming forward. I forgive him. It has been 22 years but I forgive him with a pure heart. He took 22 years from me but I’m still young and have a life ahead of me.“
Hudson was represented by PJI and Milbank LLP – Mercedes Montagnes, Executive Director of PJI said, "Today the District attorney acted swiftly and with integrity, something we have rarely seen in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office before this administration. We applaud District Attorney Williams for continuing to follow through on his commitment to review all non-unanimous jury convictions in Orleans Parish, and will continue to work with his team to restore justice to all who are serving time due to this relic of Jim Crow.”
Further more, Jamila Johnson, Managing Attorney for PJI’s Jim Crow Juries Project also added, "Mr. Hudson’s case illustrates the systemic problems with the accuracy of cases decided by non-unanimous juries. We knew when we started looking into these cases that these kinds of injustices would be revealed. Those two jurors knew there was something wrong with the story being told. By silencing their voices, Mr. Hudson spent 21 years in prison on a 99-year sentence. We need to re-examine all non-unanimous jury cases across Louisiana."