Edwin Pile has served 25 years in prison though his court records confirm he was acquitted of some the charges. Eddie Conway speaks to his lawyer, family, and friends.
Eddie Conway: Welcome to The Real News. I’m Eddie Conway and I’m coming to you from Baltimore. We are here in front of a courtroom and I want to talk about a case of innocence of a person that’s been held for decades, Edwin Pile. I want to speak to his lawyer, and his family, and friends, and supporters. Speaker 2: I represented Mr. Pile for about five years now. Mr. Pile was convicted 25 years ago, even though court records now show that he was acquitted of some of the charges that he’s now being held on. What’s worse, 14 years ago he filed a motion with the court to bring this to the court’s attention. He hasn’t gotten a hearing in 14 years. That’s too long that any person should have to wait to get a court hearing when they weren’t even convicted in the first place, so he’s being held illegally. Eddie Conway: What is the issue? Because I understand he’s been convicted. Exactly what happened? Can you kind of like run us through this scenario- Speaker 2: Sure. Eddie Conway: From trial one to trial two and so on? Speaker 2: The first trial ended in a hung jury, but at the first trial he was acquitted of the crime of second degree murder. After the first trial, there was another trial. That trial was reversed on appeal. There was a third trial and a new attorney took over, who didn’t bother to go back and check what happened on the first trial. At the first trial, he had an acquittal of second degree murder. He ended up being convicted of murder in the third trial that he had already been acquitted of. That’s a violation of the Constitution principle of double jeopardy. Eddie Conway: Okay. You said 14 years ago he filed an appeal. Why did it take so long for us to be standing here now 14 years later? Speaker 2: Because 14 years ago he filed a petition for post-conviction relief. Unfortunately, his attorney died. The family never told Mr. Pile. More than a year and a half went by before he even realized that his attorney was no longer alive. He got a new attorney at that point, saved his money, a couple of years. It takes a while. He’s not a rich guy. The second attorney was disbarred. It took him a year or so to get that. He never got the money back from either one of the attorneys and only about five years ago did he get in touch with me and we started renewing this process. To this day we still haven’t gotten into court. Eddie Conway: Okay. I understand you spent some time searching for his transcript and his court records and that stuff. Speaker 2: It had been so long that the court lost his file completely and only when I went to the court after several months of calls, and took a court employee who was helpful that day, and went searching did we find his files in a janitor’s closet where they had been left for years gathering dust. Speaker 3: This has been a long, long journey being there for my brother for all these years and the injustice in the legal system just really sucks. I just hope and pray that God blesses him and free him from the walls, because we need him here with us. It’s not right what’s going on in his case and everything and he’s been found … He’s been acquitted of the situation and they’re doing double jeopardy and everything like that. We just want to get him freed right now. His family really needs him. My sister needs him. Also, his son, his mother, everybody needs him. Speaker 4: 25 years old and my fathers been out of my life for my whole life. He’s been locked up for 25 years so far, still going. In terms of how this has impacted me, now first off, let me say luckily I’ve gotten to stay in contact with my father through the phone. I’m not sure how he does it, or how he did it, but he’s always been able to reach me even if it’s been through letters, or phone call, and I’ve been able to see his growth from hothead to the wise man he is now. I usually like to call him Malcolm X with a couple of other names, because he went from delinquent to wise man who impacts not just me, but other people as you see here standing to support to get him out of here. I want him out. I mean, I’ll be telling him that it’s a good thing that he’s gone through the hell that he’s gone through, it’s just been way too long. As the lawyer has mentioned, his case has been acquitted, so he should’ve been out by now. He has been wrongly accused and he’s on a list of other names that’s been wrongly accused for a very prolonged time. Other names such as Mark Schand, Michael McAlister, Amanda Knox, the Central Park Five. These are people who have been incarcerated wrongfully and because they don’t have the money to buy them big names, big lawyers, really get things moving, they got to sit in prison. It’s kind of similar to the medical system. You could be in need of help, but if you can’t pay for that help, you’re not going to get the help. That’s the same thing with my father and I know he’s amongst many men that sit in prison, but I can’t speak on behalf of those other men. I can only speak on him. That’s my dad, I know what I experience and he’s grown. He’s helped me grow and I need him out here. That’s how it’s impacted me. I need him out here. Straight like that. Speaker 5: I am Edwin’s mom and this has been really hurtful to us. For 25 years he’s been sitting in prison and I don’t know, by the grace of God that he’s still alive and God has given him the strength to hold on, but we want him out here to be with his family, and his son, and his sisters and brothers, and it’s about time that this case is solved, and I can’t wait. Speaker 6: I was wrongfully convicted here at this courthouse that we’re standing before. 19 and a half years I stayed in prison before I was exonerated in 2014, in February. Panama, I call him Panama. He called me yesterday. That was my first time talking to him since we used to be walking around the prisons, in various prisons for the last 20 years almost, and he told me about today, and I felt like it was a no-brainer for me to be here because I know what it’s like and what it’s still like because even though I’m out, I’m still fighting. You know what I mean? Trying to get the damages for my wrongful conviction. I know what it is every day to wake up and you’re innocent, and to lay down that you’re innocent. To talk to your family and you’re constantly trying to give them some type of reservation as to your situation, when at the end you don’t have nothing. It’s like, if I feel like if I could come out here and just say one thing that might wake somebody up and give them some type of acknowledgement to his case, then I’m here. I just want everybody to know that, it’s no joke. I mean, there’s a lot of people in prison that need somebody, but when you’re in prison you’re basically a nobody unless you got somebody. There might not be a lot of people here, but this is more than enough because we’re here. That’s what I want to say. Thank you. Speaker 7: I’m paralegal consultant from the Great Injustice Paralegal Consultant Services where we took the scales of justice for the innocent and wrongly convicted. Edwin Pile is a close friend of mine. He reached out to me. His family reached out to me. They heard what I do in regards to individuals in prison that are seeking justice in their cases, so I called you. You assisted us in these efforts today to bring some light to why he’s still in prison and he should be home right now. As you can see, with your efforts alone, with everybody in the family, Mr. [Burgess 00:08:21], everybody now is seeing that he has support and that attention needs to be brought to this so he can get the justice that is deserved in the courtroom.
Studio: Cameron Granadino
Production: Cameron Granadino, Ericka Blount Danois