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After Eight Years In Prison, North Park Man Cleared Of Charges

The San Diego County District Attorney's office has exonerated a man who spent eight years in prison as a result of a wrongful conviction.

The San Diego County District Attorney's office has exonerated a man who spent eight years in prison as a result of a wrongful conviction.

Uriah Courtney was convicted on drug, rape and kidnapping charges after a November 2004 sexual assault in Lemon Grove. The victim told the jury during the eventual trial that she was sure Courtney was the man who had pulled her off the street.

A judge, however, reversed the conviction in May of this year after finding that the biological material from the victim did not match Courtney's. It instead matched that of a man who "bore a striking physical resemblance to Courtney," according to a news release from California Western School of Law.

"The National Institute of Justice has funded us to do DNA testing in cases such as this because identifications have often proved to be faulty," said Alissa Bjerkhoel, one of Courtney's attorneys with the California Innocence Project, a clinical program dedicated to studying wrongful conviction cases and getting them overturned. "Flawed identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions."

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