Mississippi Innocence Project

Matthew Norwood

Matthew-NorwoodMatthew Norwood was exonerated on October 6, 2010, after Hinds County Judge Winston L. Kidd agreed that recently discovered evidence showed Norwood had not been involved in a 1995 armed robbery for which he ultimately served fifteen years in prison. Mr. Norwood’s attorneys, Kevin Rundlett, Brad Oberhousen and Vicki Rundlett, with the assistance of Jacob Jordan and Stephanie Butts, two University of Mississippi law students participating in the Law School’s Innocence Clinic, filed the successful petition for relief on behalf of Mr. Norwood this Fall.

In 1995, Mr. Norwood was accused of an armed carjacking in Jackson.  The victim identified Mr. Norwood along with a second perpetrator. Mr. Norwood, who was sixteen at the time of his arrest, had always maintained his innocence. When offered a plea to serve several months in a “boot camp” rehabilitation program, Mr Norwood accepted the offer rather than risk going to trial where he faced a penalty of up to forty-years in jail. Unfortunately, Mr. Norwood was removed from the boot camp program for non-compliance and sentenced to serve fifteen years.

In the Fall of 2008, during the course of an ongoing criminal investigation, Jackson Police Department detectives discovered evidence that convinced them that Norwood likely had nothing to do with the 1995 carjacking.  After confirming their suspicions, law enforcement informed Robert Shuler Smith, the Hinds County District Attorney, about the newly discovered and compelling evidence of Norwood’s innocence.

In an effort to rectify the injustice Mr. Shuler Smith’s office worked through appropriate channels that eventually led to Mr. Norwood being assigned an attorney and the court granting a hearing on the matter.  At an August 2010 hearing, the District Attorney’s Office joined with Norwood’s attorneys to present evidence that Mr. Norwood was, in fact innocent, and that the victim, sadly, had misidentified him as her attacker.  Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, as well as Assistant District Attorney Kimalon S. Melton, and other law enforcement close to the investigation should be praised for their exceedingly professional, expeditious and humane handling of Mr. Norwood’s case.

Matthew Norwood was exonerated on October 6, 2010, after Hinds County Judge Winston L. Kidd agreed that recently discovered evidence showed Norwood had not been involved in a 1995 armed robbery for which he ultimately served fifteen years in prison. Mr. Norwood’s attorneys, Kevin Rundlett, Brad Oberhousen and Vicki Rundlett, with the assistance of Jacob Jordan and Stephanie Butts, two University of Mississippi law students participating in the Law School’s Innocence Clinic, filed the successful petition for relief on behalf of Mr. Norwood this Fall.

In 1995, Mr. Norwood was accused of an armed carjacking in Jackson.  The victim identified Mr. Norwood along with a second perpetrator. Mr. Norwood, who was sixteen at the time of his arrest, had always maintained his innocence. When offered a plea to serve several months in a “boot camp” rehabilitation program, Mr Norwood accepted the offer rather than risk going to trial where he faced a penalty of up to forty-years in jail. Unfortunately, Mr. Norwood was removed from the boot camp program for non-compliance and sentenced to serve fifteen years.
In the Fall of 2008, during the course of an ongoing criminal investigation, Jackson Police Department detectives discovered evidence that convinced them that Norwood likely had nothing to do with the 1995 carjacking.  After confirming their suspicions, law enforcement informed Robert Shuler Smith, the Hinds County District Attorney, about the newly discovered and compelling evidence of Norwood’s innocence.
In an effort to rectify the injustice Mr. Shuler Smith’s office worked through appropriate channels that eventually led to Mr. Norwood being assigned an attorney and the court granting a hearing on the matter.  At an August 2010 hearing, the District Attorney’s Office joined with Norwood’s attorneys to present evidence that Mr. Norwood was, in fact innocent, and that the victim, sadly, had misidentified him as her attacker.  Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, as well as Assistant District Attorney Kimalon S. Melton, and other law enforcement close to the investigation should be praised for their exceedingly professional, expeditious and humane handling of Mr. Norwood’s case.

2006
  • Exoneration Cedric Willis
    Conviction: Capital Murder, Armed Robbery
    Years Served: 12
2007
  • MIP Established Mississippi Innocence Project Established at University of Mississippi School of Law
2008
  • Exoneration Levon Brooks
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 18
  • Exoneration Kennedy Brewer
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 13
  • Legislation Mississippi DNA Task Force Formed
  • Exoneration Arthur Johnson
    Charge: Rape
    Years Served: 16
2009
  • Exoneration Calvin Wilks
    Charge: Murder
    Years Served: 3.5
  • Legislation DNA Preservation and Post-Conviction Testing Signed into Law
  • Legislation Compensation Statute Provides Funds to Wrongfully Convicted
2010
  • Exoneration Kevin Norwood
    Charge: Armed Carjacking
    Years Served: 15
  • Exoneration Philip Bivens
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
  • Legislation Requiring Board Licensing for pathologists performing State Funded Aubottomsies
  • Exoneration Larry Ruffin (Posthumously)
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
  • Exoneration Bobby Ray Dixon
    Charge: Capital Murder
    Years Served: 30
2011
  • Legislation Establishing non-partisan, diverse panel tasked with appointing state medical examiner and creating advisory panel to aid medical examiner office issues
  • Legislation Eye-witness ID training
2012
2013
  • Legislation Helped to defeat HB 788
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