Derrick Harris

County of Conviction:

Convicted of:





case details

Derrick Harris was wrongly convicted of armed robbery in 2013 at the age of 22. He was exonerated in 2020 after 7 years in prison.

The Crime
The incident occurred on July 1, 2013, when Curtis Blackwell visited Hawkins House of Hamburgers and engaged in conversation with two individuals, Desmen Mixon, and another man, while waiting outside for his food. During their interaction, Blackwell noticed tattoos on Mixon’s chest bearing the initials “B” and “H,” which Mixon claimed represented his girlfriend’s name. Shortly thereafter, the second individual pulled out a gun and demanded Blackwell’s belongings, resulting in a robbery. Blackwell provided descriptions of the perpetrators to the police, including physical features and tattoos.

Detective Dennis Parker conducted a search based on Blackwell’s descriptions and arranged a photo lineup, from which Blackwell identified Derrick Harris and Mixon as the suspects. However, subsequent investigations raised doubts about Harris’s involvement. Mixon admitted being present at the scene but denied direct participation in the robbery. Harris also denied any involvement, providing an alibi supported by his then-girlfriend, Keisha Brown.

Further scrutiny revealed discrepancies in the evidence linking Harris to the crime. Notably, the only substantial evidence against Harris was Blackwell’s identification. However, Harris presented a credible alibi and testimony from witnesses attesting to his character as a non-violent individual, which contradicted the image painted by the prosecution.

New Evidence
Following the trial, efforts to uncover the truth persisted. Officer Sharon Kim, who had initially provided guidance leading to Harris’s identification, continued to investigate the case. Eventually, she obtained information implicating other individuals, including Mixon and a person known as “Little Rock,” in the robbery. This revelation, coupled with Mixon’s confession and corroborating evidence, cast further doubt on Harris’s guilt.

In subsequent years, additional evidence emerged, including a declaration from Mixon affirming Harris’s innocence. This declaration, along with ongoing efforts by Harris’ attorney, Michael Semanchik, prompted a review of Harris’s case by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit. Following a thorough examination, Harris was exonerated on October 6, 2020, after spending seven years wrongfully incarcerated.

The case of Derrick Harris highlights the potential flaws in eyewitness identification and the importance of diligent investigation to ensure justice is served. Despite initial convictions based on witness testimony, subsequent revelations and efforts by legal advocates ultimately led to Harris’s exoneration. This outcome underscores the significance of ongoing scrutiny and review mechanisms within the criminal justice system to rectify wrongful convictions and uphold the principle of innocence until proven guilty.

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