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Court issues ‘actual innocence’ writ

The en banc Virginia Court of Appeals today issued a writ of actual innocence to Thomas Haynesworth, a Richmond man who spent nearly three decades in prison for at least one rape he didn’t commit.

An appellate panel heard Haynesworth’s case in March, and the en banc court took up the matter last July.

Today the full court granted Haynesworth’s petitions under Virginia Code Sec. 19.2-327.13 and vacated Haynesworth’s convictions.

The court’s decision was not unanimous. Judge Larry G. Elder filed an 11-page dissent, joined by Judge William G. Petty. Judge Randolph A. Beales and Judge Robert J. Humphreys filed separate dissents.

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By Deborah Elkins

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