On Wednesday (April 27), Terance Calhoun was considered a free man after a Wayne County judge had him exonerated.
In 2006, Calhoun was charged with sexual assault and attempted sexual assault of two teenage girls. After pleading no contest to criminal sexual conduct and other charges related to their assaults, he was sentenced to 17 years in 2007.
Investigators in his case found a condom in the area where the crime occurred and DNA testing found that the samples did not belong to Calhoun. Those authorities withheld that information from Calhoun’s defense team until 2019.
One of the victims told authorities that the perpetrator had braids and a puzzle tattoo — Calhoun had neither. The person whose DNA was found at the crime scene did.
Head of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit, Valerie Newman, said that the actual criminal went on to commit other crimes.
“It highlights the fact that when the police get it wrong and we lock up the wrong person, it leaves the true perpetrator on the street free and clear to continue to commit more crimes,” she said.
When speaking about Calhoun’s exoneration, Newman said it was “about the myriad of things that went wrong, that caused the wrongful conviction of an innocent person.” She added, “There’s so many things that happened in this case that are troubling. And while this is ostensibly a DNA exclusion case, there is a lot more going on here that supports Mr. Calhoun’s innocence than just the exclusion from a condom. There were so many things that were missed along the way in terms of this investigation.”
Calhoun would have been released a week earlier, however, Detroit police officer Robert Kane — who was involved in Calhoun’s original conviction — asked Judge Kelly Ramsey to vacate Calhoun’s convictions. The Detroit Police Department condemned Kane’s actions and said he violated protocol by approaching the judge.
Judge Ramsey apologized for the delay saying, “It was certainly the court’s intent to ensure that there was an opportunity for due diligence, and the court must ensure that justice is done and simply gave an opportunity for a second look.”
Calhoun, now 35, chose not to speak at his hearing and will live with family out of state.