The Law Office of Daniel A. Horwitz, Esq.

October 28, 2020

Horwitz Secures First-Ever Exoneration of Nashville Man Wrongfully Convicted of Murder; Joseph Webster Released, Has Conviction Vacated After 14 Years In Prison

Following a four-year effort to exonerate Joseph Webster for his wrongful conviction of a 1998 murder, the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office has announced that it “no longer has confidence in the conviction of Mr. Webster” and recommends that “Mr. Webster’s conviction be vacated and the charges against him dismissed.”  Acting on its Conviction Review Unit’s recommendation, the District Attorney’s Office filed a formal Notice of Intent to vacate and dismiss the charges against Mr. Webster on October 29, 2020.  Mr. Webster’s exoneration will be the first in Nashville history since the Davidson County Conviction Review Unit was established in 2016.

“After a decade and a half in prison for a murder that he did not commit, I am overjoyed that Joseph Webster’s wrongful conviction will finally be overturned,” said Daniel Horwitz, Webster’s attorney. “Mr. Webster is immeasurably grateful to those who took the time to conduct a thorough reinvestigation of his case and see that this wrong was righted.  Mr. Webster is also thinking of the entire Owens family at this time, which has to process the painful news of learning that the wrong person was convicted of committing this brutal murder.” A hearing that will enable Mr. Webster’s immediate release from prison is scheduled for November 10, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.  Webster’s case also resulted in the Conviction Review Unit’s first reinvestigation of a potential wrongful murder conviction in Nashville’s history.

Webster’s conviction was formally vacated on November 10, 2020.  He was released from prison the same day.  Selected case documents and media coverage appear below.

Daniel Horwitz is an innocence and post-conviction attorney based in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Selected Case Documents:

*Order Granting Petition for Writ of Error Coram Nobis Vacating Conviction

District Attorney’s Notice of Intent to Vacate

Petitioner’s Motion to Reopen Post-Conviction Petition and Petition to Issue Writ of Error Coram Nobis

District Attorney’s Response

Selected Media Coverage:

-USA Today: ‘Oh, it’s been so long’: Mother collapses with joy after wrongfully convicted son freed

-The Tennessean: Judge overturns murder conviction of Nashville man serving life in prison in 1998 case

-The Tennessean: Nashville DA’s office moves to overturn conviction of man serving life for 1998 murder

-New York Times: Imprisoned Nearly 15 Years, but Now Cleared of a Murder He Didn’t Commit

-NBC: Tennessee man freed after nearly 15 years in prison for wrongful murder conviction

-CNN: Tennessee man exonerated after serving 15 years for a murder he didn’t commit

-The Tennessean: Nashville judge hears arguments for dropping charges against Joseph Webster

-The Tennessean: ‘The conviction is wrongful’: Attorney discusses Nashville man’s life sentence case

-The Nashville Scene: DA’s Office Seeks Release for Nashville Man Convicted of 1998 Murder

-NPR-WPLN: Nashville District Attorney Agrees To Review Conviction In 1998 Murder Case

-NPR-WPLN: Investigation: After Pledging To Examine Innocence Claims, Nashville DA Has Yet To Open A Case

New York Post: Tennessee man walks free after 1998 murder conviction is overturned

-People: Tennessee Man, 41, Exonerated After Judge Overturns 1998 Murder Conviction

-Channel 5: Joseph Webster adjusting to freedom after judge dismisses murder conviction

-Channel 4: Joseph Webster reunites with family after judge vacates murder conviction 14 years into prison sentence

-Fox 17: Nashville man imprisoned for murder for almost 15 years may walk free

-Fox 17: FERRIER FILES: Nashville murder conviction investigation to be reopened

-Fox 17: FERRIER FILES: Is Nashville man serving a life sentence innocent?

-Fox 17: FERRIER FILES: Imprisoned man’s DNA not on murder weapon

-Channel 5: Wrongful conviction requests are getting a second look

-The Tennessean: District attorney redesigns ‘burdensome’ process of searching for wrongful convictions

October 26, 2020

Horwitz Secures $1 Million Judgment for Nashville Woman Terrorized by Ex-NYPD Officer’s Home Invasion

Federal District Court Judge Eli Richardson has formally approved a $1 million civil judgment in favor of Conese Halliburton against ex-NYPD Officer Michael Reynolds, who was convicted in 2019 of multiple crimes related to a racial slur-laden Nashville home invasion.  After being sentenced to jail by Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Mark Fishburn, Reynolds resigned from the NYPD in disgrace before termination proceedings could be completed.  While he was serving his jail sentence, Ms. Halliburton also sued ex-Officer Reynolds in federal court, after which Reynolds declared bankruptcy.

Following litigation in both the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, a $1 million civil judgment has now been entered against Reynolds regarding the incident, which comes in addition to his ongoing criminal sentence.  The court’s order reflects that Reynolds has also admitted that all of the allegations in Ms. Halliburton’s Complaint—including her allegations regarding misconduct by other NYPD Officers—are true, and that Reynolds has stipulated to liability regarding Ms. Halliburton’s claims for trespass, trespass to chattels, conversion, assault, violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, negligence, negligence per se, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

“Ms. Halliburton promised from the beginning that she would hold ex-Officer Reynolds fully accountable for his criminal misconduct and obtain justice for her family regarding this despicable incident,” said Nashville attorney Daniel A. Horwitz, who represented Ms. Halliburton.  “We are certainly pleased with this development, but we also aren’t finished here.”  Selected case documents and media coverage are linked below.

Daniel Horwitz represents victims who have suffered serious injuries as a result of criminal and other misconduct in Tennessee.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from him, you can do using the form below.

Consultation Payment Form

Payment for: 30-Minute Consultation

Amount: $200.00

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Selected Case Documents:

*Final Order Granting $1 Million Judgment

Plaintiff’s Complaint

Transcript of Plea Hearing, Davidson County Criminal Court

Transcript of Sentencing Hearing, Davidson County Criminal Court

Selected Media Coverage:

-The Tennessean: Ex-NYPD cop who terrorized Nashville residents during break-in must pay $1M, judge rules

-WKRN: Ex-NYPD officer ordered to pay $1M after breaking into 12South home, using racial slurs

-New York Times: Officer Who Admitted Making Racist Threat Quits After an Uproar

-New York Post: White NYPD cop who broke into black woman’s home, hurled racist slurs ordered to pay $1M

-Fox 17: Judge approves $1M judgment against ex-NYPD officer who broke into Nashville woman’s home

-New York Daily News: Disgraced ex-NYPD cop who forced his way into woman’s Nashville home must pay her $1 million

-Insurance Journal: Former NYPD Officer Ordered to Pay $1M Over Tennessee Break-In

-The Root: Former NYPD Officer Ordered to Pay $1M Over Tennessee Break-InEx-NYPD Officer Ordered to Pay $1 Million to Black Tennessee Woman Whose Home He Broke Into Before Hurling Racial Slurs

-ABC: Woman files $5 million suit against officer who broke into her home, yelled racial slurs

-The Tennessean: Airbnb terror ends in jail time for drunk NYPD cop who broke into Nashville home, threatened residents

-New York Post: Racist ex-NYPD cop who broke into stranger’s Nashville home files for bankruptcy

-WSMV: NYPD officer arrested for assaulting Nashville family while he was on vacation resigns

-The Tennessean: Woman files $5M lawsuit against ex-NYPD cop who broke into her Nashville home and threatened her

-CNN: Tennessee woman wants a New York police officer who barged into her home and was accused of a racial slur to be fired

-New York Post: Activists want NYPD cop Michael Reynolds fired for racist tirade in Nashville

-US News and World Report: NYPD Officer Accused of Home Break-In, Attack Enters Plea

-NBC News: A white NYPD officer broke into a black woman’s home and threatened her. Activists want him fired.

-Newsweek: NYPD OFFICER PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULT AND TRESPASSING FOR BREAKING INTO NASHVILLE FAMILY’S HOME AND THREATENING THEM WITH THE N-WORD

-Reason: New York Cop Finally Quits—More Than a Year After He Broke Into a Woman’s Home and Threatened Her

-The Grio: White NYPD officer, who spewed racist threats to a Black woman after breaking into her home, resigns

-The Tennessean: NYPD cop takes a plea deal after breaking into a Nashville house next to his Airbnb

-WTVF: Attorney: Resignation of NYPD cop in Nashville racist attack long overdue