Pro Bono Client Imprisoned for Over 30 Years Released after Litigation Team Wins Motion for New Trial, Decision Could Have Impact Nationwide
Two weeks after granting Ropes & Gray pro bono client George Perrot’s motion for new trial, the Massachusetts Superior Court on Feb. 10 released Mr. Perrot from prison, where he had served 30 years for a crime he did not commit.
Mr. Perrot was convicted in 1987 and at a second trial in 1992 of raping an elderly woman, but has always maintained his innocence. The victim consistently maintained that Mr. Perrot couldn’t have been her attacker, but the Commonwealth pursued the case and relied heavily on expert FBI hair identification analysis.
The court’s decision was based on developments demonstrating that the microscopic hair analysis testimony introduced at Mr. Perrot's 1992 trial exceeded the limits of science. This decision could pave the way for other decisions involving erroneous hair analyst testimony in Massachusetts and around the country. Ropes & Gray worked with the National Innocence Project, and the Massachusetts CPCS Innocence Program on this matter.
Immediate media coverage of the decision and Mr. Perrot’s release included:
- The Boston Globe, “Springfield man is freed after 1992 rape conviction is overturned”
- The Washington Post, “In a first, judge grants retrial solely on FBI hair ‘match’”
- The Boston Globe, “After 30 years, a prisoner gets a chance for justice”
- WCVB-TV, “Behind bars for 30 years, man wins new trial over flawed FBI testimony”
The Ropes & Gray team included government enforcement associates Chris Walsh and Yana Grishkan, and litigation associate Annie Hancock. Government enforcement partner Jim Dowden, antitrust associate David Young, former government enforcement partner Steve Braga, and former government enforcement associate Sue Dyer were also instrumental during the course of Mr. Perrot’s litigation.