National Poetry Month: A Poem for Justice by Innocence Project Client Leroy Harris

04.17.18 By Emma Zack

Leroy Harris at the 2018 Innocence Network Conference in Memphis, TN. Photo: Lacy Atkins.

Leroy Harris at the 2018 Innocence Network Conference in Memphis, TN. Photo: Lacy Atkins.

In honor of National Poetry Month, today we are featuring a poem titled Blind, which Innocence Project client Leroy Harris wrote during one of the 30 years he was wrongfully incarcerated.

In November 2017, Harris was released after spending nearly 30 years in a Connecticut prison for a robbery and sexual assault that new evidence—including exculpatory DNA testing results and serious prosecutorial misconduct—strongly suggested he did not commit. While the sexual assault charge against Harris was dismissed, the other charges were not. In exchange for his freedom, Harris agreed to enter “Alford” pleas to the remaining charges.

Although Harris would’ve rather been—and deserved to be—fully exonerated than to take the “Alford” pleas, such pleas allow him to maintain his innocence of the crimes. Upon his release, Harris reunited with his mother, who is in declining health.

If you have a poem about justice that you’d like to share, send it to [email protected] or comment below. We’ll be selecting a number of pieces to share on and on social media this month. Yours might be chosen!




Justice is blind

So many of us suffer in her name

Justice cannot function

Unless she finds someone to blame

There’s no rhyme or reason to her control

In the psychopathic scheme of things

She(I) do what I want

Out of control

Justice Justice

I love you

I will try to fix you

I love you

I will try to fix you




Leroy Harris: Freedom at a Cost

Wrongfully Convicted Forced into Plea Deals to Gain Freedom

The Harms of Alford Pleas When There Is Strong Evidence of Innocence

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Julie Tipton April 23, 2018 at 5:44 pm Reply   

I can relate completely with this. Justice is blind. I have a mentally disabled son who molested my two youngest daughters. In the process of trying to get him help and listening to him beg me everyday to come home. One day it all changed and my husband (his step dad) and I were accused of molesting him over 10 years ago. First a specific year, then wasnt sure so somewhere in a 3 yr period. I’ve done everything to try and get him help since he was 3 and now this. I will have a trial some time this summer, no plea offered so im a little scared. My three daughters dont understand why they cant come home with me its been over a year. If they go for max its 62 years. No evidence except what he said and none of it makes sense or adds up.
But it was enough for the judge to say he shouldn’t be punished for what he did, because of what had been done to him.
That left him free to go around the home he is in stating “I had sex with my sisters”. I have that in reports from the placement.

Jill Bertrand April 22, 2018 at 6:04 pm Reply   

God Bless You Leroy Harris.

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