An innocent man is sitting in prison. Here is everything you need to know.
NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
Following a sexual assault, medical professionals conduct what is known as a rape kit. During this examination, the medical professional collects physical evidence from the victim’s body, clothes, or other personal belongings. When a rape has occurred, the medical professional can expect to find the perpetrator’s DNA (from pubic hair or skin tissue) or seminal fluid.
Kansas Bureau of Investigation scientists testified at Albert’s trial that, while his DNA was found on the young woman’s chest (where he said he kissed her), they identified no other physical evidence. In particular, no seminal fluid or DNA was found on her clothing or on a vaginal swab. If Albert had intercourse with the accuser, both of those things would have come up in a rape kit!
AN IMPOSSIBLE TIMELINE
The alleged attack occurred during Family Day Weekend 2016 – a University of Kansas yearly tradition where students’ families and friends come together to celebrate the start of the new school year. Thousands of people visit, creating a joyful environment that carries into the night, especially in the area known as “The Triangle” – where The Hawk is located. This night in 2016 was no different. KU, home to a Division 1 football team, had won a game the previous week and was playing again on September 10. A police officer at Albert’s trial testified that it was a busy night.
Video surveillance footage captures Albert and the accuser leaving the bar, holding hands, at 12:09 AM, and returning 15 minutes later, at 12:25 AM. The streets were busy with people and the accuser stumbled and jumped on Albert, wrapping her legs around him and kissing him. The walk to and from the bar took approximately 5 minutes – leaving Albert and the accuser alone in his apartment for approximately 5 minutes. For the alleged attack to have occurred within such a narrow window of time does not make sense and undermines the accuser’s narrative.
AN ALL WHITE JURY
After a six-hour deliberation, the all White, majority-women jury convicted Albert. For a Black defendant, having an all White jury is dangerous. Research has repeatedly shown that an all White jury is significantly more likely to convict a Black defendant than a White one. For instance, in a 2012 study, Duke-led researchers examined more than 700 non-capital felony criminal cases in two Florida counties from 2000-2010 and found that all White juries convicted Black defendants 16% more often than White defendants. They found that in cases with no Black jurors in the jury pool, a Black defendant was convicted 81% of the time, while White defendants were convicted 66% of the time. When the jury panel included at least one Black juror, Black defendants were convicted 71% of the time, while White defendants were convicted 73% of the time.
Data from the National Registry of Exonerations also shows that Black defendants accused of sexual assault are at an overwhelming disadvantage. According to a 2017 report from the National Registry of Exonerations, 59% of sexual assault exonerees are Black. This same study found that Black sexual assault exonerees received longer prison sentences than White sexual assault exonerees. It found:
28% of Black sexual assault exonerees were sentenced to life imprisonment compared to 17% of White sexual assault exonerees.
The average minimum term for those who were not sentenced to life was 29 years for Blacks and 19 years for Whites (a 52% increase).