3 Retired Detectives To Stand Trial For Perjury Stemming From 2016 Exoneration


Three former Philadelphia police detectives, now in their 70s, are facing trial after being accused of lying under oath during the 2016 retrial of Anthony Wright, who was exonerated of a 1991 rape and murder.

The case marks a rare instance of law enforcement officials facing criminal charges for alleged misconduct leading to wrongful convictions.

Former detectives Martin Devlin, Manuel Santiago, and Frank Jastrzembski had hoped to have the case dismissed due to evidence presented before the grand jury.

Defense lawyer Brian McMonagle argued that the prosecutors tainted the process by highlighting the detectives’ history of perjury and coercion during the grand jury proceedings.

However, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Lucretia Clemons ruled that there was enough evidence to proceed to trial, although she may allow the defense to appeal the grand jury issue before the trial begins in November.

The case against the detectives stems from Wright’s conviction in 1993, which was overturned after DNA evidence excluded him as the perpetrator.

Despite the DNA exclusion, the detectives were called out of retirement to testify at Wright’s retrial. Wright’s confession, which his lawyers argued was coerced, remained a key piece of evidence in the retrial.

During the retrial, Wright testified that he had signed the confession without reading it, leading to his eventual acquittal by the jury.

Wright, who spent 25 years in prison, later received a substantial settlement from the city.

Santiago and Devlin are accused of lying about the confession, while Santiago and Jastrzembski are accused of lying about their knowledge of the DNA evidence.

Jastrzembski is also accused of lying about finding the victim’s clothes in Wright’s bedroom.

Despite maintaining their innocence, the detectives are now facing trial for their alleged misconduct.

District Attorney Larry Krasner has been a vocal advocate for exonerees and has pursued police perjury cases, charging the Wright detectives just days before the statute of limitations expired.