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Gerry Goldstein is among the most respected criminal defense attorneys in the USA and has represented clients in many high-profile cases. In 1974, he defended a San Antonio theater operator charged with showing the film “Deep Throat”, a conviction he had reversed in Dexter v. Butler. He has helmed the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the NACDL. He is an outspoken critic of mandatory sentencing laws, officers who beat inmates or suspects, and what he calls the “warehousing of young African American males.” He fought for the exoneration of Michael Morton, who steadfastly proclaimed his innocence and was finally exonerated in 2011, leading to the disbarment, conviction, and imprisonment of Ken Anderson, who had prosecuted that case over 25 years before and since become a judge.
Robert Pickett has a different take on "independence." He was leaving a friend's house when officers received a burglary call describing two black men in Inglewood, and in responding, collided with, and killed, a girl crossing the street. When an officer arrived at the scene, he shot Mr. Pickett 9 times (his colleague, Darryl Lewis, was shot six times). The witnesses did not ID Mr. Pickett or Mr. Lewis. Still, they were charged, and held in Men’s Central Jail for 32 months while consistently proclaiming their innocence. A jury quickly acquitted them at trial. This year, Mr. Pickett will celebrate his independence with those he loves.