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Judge: Convicted murderer released, conviction vacated due to jail transfer violation

todayFebruary 13, 2024 3

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester man found guilty of murder for a 2015 drive-by shooting was released from custody and had his conviction vacated after a judge determined his pre-trial transfer from the Monroe County Jail to a federal prison in Pennsylvania violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act.

Terrence Lewis was convicted in 2018 for the death of Johnny Washington, who was fatally shot on May 26, 2015 on Sixth Street in Rochester. Lewis was in federal custody in Pennsylvania on unrelated charges when he was named as the suspect in the shooting.

According to court paperwork, Lewis learned about the pending local charges on November 3, 2017. Four days later, he “exercised his rights” under the IAD Act. That paperwork was signed by a judge and prosecutor in Monroe County on December 21, 2017.

The IAD applies to sentenced prisoners who are transferred from one state to another, or between federal and state custody. Under the IAD, a trial must begin within 180 days of the prosecution receiving the defendant’s request.

The Anti-Shuttling Provision of the IAD Act also says if a trial is not held before the prisoner is returned to their “original place of imprisonment, such indictment, information or complaint shall not be of any further force or effect, and the court shall enter an order dismissing the same with prejudice.”

Lewis was held in the Monroe County Jail until May 2018, at which point court paperwork states, “the Monroe County Jail unilaterally made the determination to send [him] back to [Pennsylvania] without any input from the parties and absent any judicial input or direction.”

Lewis was returned to Monroe County, tried, and found guilty months later, but his May transfer was ultimately found to violate the IAD Act’s Anti-Shuttling Provision.

“The harsh reality is that despite a jury of 12 members of our community determining, after hearing all the evidence set before them, that [Lewis] 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 [Lewis] to dismissal of the murder in the second degree indictment with prejudice under the exacting requirements of the anti-shuttling provisions of the IAD,” Judge Stephen Miller wrote in his February 5 decision.

Also in that decision, Miller blamed Lewis’ then-attorney for failing to address the shuttling issue.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter responded Tuesday evening in a statement saying:

“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. I extend my sincere apology.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says it has since taken a number of steps to address its handling of IAD cases, including:

An audit of the Monroe County Jail dating back to 2018 to determine whether any other current or former incarcerated individuals were held on an IAD

MCSO said it found none

A review of transfer procedures

Trained appropriate staff members in IAD Law

Implemented new procedures

The MCSO says it has reached out to Washington’s family.

Read the judge’s decision:

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A Rochester man found guilty of murder for a 2015 drive-by shooting was released from custody and had his conviction vacated after a judge determined his pre-trial transfer from the Monroe County Jail to a federal prison in Pennsylvania violated the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act.

Terrence Lewis was convicted in 2018 for the death of Johnny Washington, who was fatally shot on May 26, 2015 on Sixth Street in Rochester. Lewis was in federal custody in Pennsylvania on unrelated charges when he was named as the suspect in the shooting.

According to court paperwork, Lewis learned about the pending local charges on November 3, 2017. Four days later, he “exercised his rights” under the IAD Act. That paperwork was signed by a judge and prosecutor in Monroe County on December 21, 2017.

The IAD applies to sentenced prisoners who are transferred from one state to another, or between federal and state custody. Under the IAD, a trial must begin within 180 days of the prosecution receiving the defendant’s request.

The Anti-Shuttling Provision of the IAD Act also says if a trial is not held before the prisoner is returned to their “original place of imprisonment, such indictment, information or complaint shall not be of any further force or effect, and the court shall enter an order dismissing the same with prejudice.”

Lewis was held in the Monroe County Jail until May 2018, at which point court paperwork states, “the Monroe County Jail unilaterally made the determination to send [him] back to [Pennsylvania] without any input from the parties and absent any judicial input or direction.”

Lewis was returned to Monroe County, tried, and found guilty months later, but his May transfer was ultimately found to violate the IAD Act’s Anti-Shuttling Provision.

“The harsh reality is that despite a jury of 12 members of our community determining, after hearing all the evidence set before them, that [Lewis] 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 [Lewis] to dismissal of the murder in the second degree indictment with prejudice under the exacting requirements of the anti-shuttling provisions of the IAD,” Judge Stephen Miller wrote in his February 5 decision.

Also in that decision, Miller blamed Lewis’ then-attorney for failing to address the shuttling issue.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter responded Tuesday evening in a statement saying:

“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. I extend my sincere apology.”

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office says it has since taken a number of steps to address its handling of IAD cases, including:

An audit of the Monroe County Jail dating back to 2018 to determine whether any other current or former incarcerated individuals were held on an IAD

MCSO said it found none

A review of transfer procedures

Trained appropriate staff members in IAD Law

Implemented new procedures

The MCSO says it has reached out to Washington’s family.

Read the judge’s decision:

Lewis Decision by News 8 WROC on Scribd Read More Monroe CountyRochesterFirst  

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