Convicted Murderer Released On Technicality In New York

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Thomas McGiffin Contributor
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A man sentenced to 22 years to life in prison for murder was released in February on a legal technicality in Rochester, New York.

Terrence Lewis was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder after the 2015 drive-by shooting of Johnny Washington, who was shot multiple times and eventually died, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.

Lewis was serving time in November 2017 at a federal prison in Pennsylvania for drug charges when he was indicted for the murder of Johnny Washington and was transported to New York to be arraigned in a Monroe County court. After the arraignment, he was transported back to Pennsylvania before his trial in New York, according to the outlet.

This series of moves was ruled as grounds for dismissal of the murder charges by a state Supreme Court justice, as it violated anti-shuttling sections of the 1970 Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) law, the Democrat & Chronicle reported. The law reportedly says prisoners must be tried on an indictment before returning to the original point of incarceration, or the charges are to be dismissed.

Although Lewis was later transported back to New York and eventually convicted on the second-degree murder charges, the judge ruled that the violation of the IAD law meant the court would have to dismiss Lewis’ murder charge, according to the outlet. (RELATED: State Judges Slammed For Releasing Hundreds Of People Accused Of Violent Crimes)

“The harsh reality is that despite a jury of 12 members of our community determining, after hearing all of the evidence set before them, that defendant is guilty of the murder of Johnny C. Washington, this administrative jail decision made based on jail population and timing, not the law, unequivocally entitles defendant to dismissal of the murder in the second-degree indictment with prejudice under the exacting requirements of the anti-shuttling provisions of the IAD,” acting state Supreme Court Justice Stephen T. Miller said in his decision, according to court documents obtained by the Democrat & Chronicle.

Lewis was released from the prison where he was held, Five Points Correctional Facility, earlier this month after his conviction was vacated, according to a statement from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

“To the family and friends of Mr. Johnny Washington, there are no words to take away the pain you are justly feeling that undoubtedly comes with the lack of fairness being served based on this decision, which violates the principles of justice,” Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxter said in the statement.