July 28, 2023
Prof Laura Cohen
Laura Cohen, Rutgers Law Professor & New Jersey Innocence Project Director (Credit: NJ Attorney General's Office)

The New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers University (NJIP) has helped exonerate a Hudson County man who served 20 years for a crime he did not commit. Dion Miller, now age 54, was released from prison on July 27. He was represented by NJIP Director, Professor Laura Cohen, and Managing Attorney, Nyssa Taylor.  Mr. Miller was wrongfully convicted of the murder of Romeo Cavero in 2007 and sentenced to a term of 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Mr. Miller’s conviction was based entirely on three false confessions that detectives obtained after subjecting him to 17 hours of grueling and coercive interrogation. Those statements were inconsistent with each other and inconsistent with the other evidence in the case, and bore many of the known hallmarks of false confessions. Mr. Miller steadfastly pursued every available legal avenue to establish his innocence over two decades, often without the benefit of legal representation.

Dion Miller
Dion Miller

Earlier this year, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit launched an extensive reinvestigation of the case and concluded that Mr. Miller was innocent of the crime. The Unit joined in the NJIP’s motion for a new trial, which Hudson County Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez granted. The Attorney General’s Office then moved for a dismissal of the indictment with prejudice. Mr. Miller’s exoneration is the second sought by the Unit since its formation in 2019.

“Mr. Miller, his family, and the New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers University are deeply grateful to Attorney General Platkin, Director Murray, and the entire team of the Conviction Review Unit for their vigorous, thorough, and thoughtful work on this case, and for their determination to correct this grave injustice,” said Professor Cohen. “We hope that the lessons learned from this matter, particularly with regard to the causes and frequency of false confessions, will lead to exonerations of other innocent people and help prevent future wrongful convictions from occurring in New Jersey.” (Watch the press conference below.)

Officially launched in 2022 under the aegis of the Rutgers Criminal and Youth Justice Clinic, the NJIP represents factually innocent people in New Jersey in their efforts to vacate their wrongful convictions and obtain their freedom from incarceration. It is the first New Jersey affiliate of the National Innocence Network.

For more information about the NJIP or Mr. Miller’s case, please contact:

Professor Laura Cohen: laura.cohen@rutgers.edu
Managing Attorney Nyssa Taylor: nyssa.taylor@rutgers.edu

Click here to read more on the case from the New Jersey Attorney General 

Media mentions: NJ.com | NJ Monitor | Jersey City Times | Daily Voice | RLS Media | TapInto | Patch | News 12 NJ | NJ 101.5 | NJ Spotlight News | KYW Newsradio | Medium | Gothamist | Shore News Network

Dion Miller Exoneration Presser at NJ Attorney General's Office
NJIP Managing Attorney Nyssa Taylor and Prof. Cohen (far left) join NJ Attorney General Matthew Platkin (center) and the Conviction Review Unit at the announcement. (credit: NJOAG)

Rutgers Law Media Contact:
Shanida Carter

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