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A Long Island man’s conviction is vacated after almost three decades in prison

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After spending 27 years wrongfully incarcerated for three gas station robberies, a former Central Islip resident had his charges vacated by the Suffolk County district attorney due to withheld information in his 1985 trials.

Rodolfo Taylor — a now 61-year-old Brooklyn resident — was sentenced to two indeterminate terms of nine to 18 years in prison following three gas station robberies on Long Island in 1984.

He was released 12 years ago, but now prosecutors found a Brady violation in his case. That means two decades ago, prosecutors failed to turn over helpful evidence to Taylor and his legal representation to ensure the constitutional right to due process and a fair trial.

“I chose to dismiss all charges against Mr. Taylor because he was unfairly convicted, period,” Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said.

“Today’s actions reinforce my mission in this office to seek out justice in all cases by investigating claims of innocence, remedying identified wrongful convictions no matter what their age, and providing proactive support, training and recommendations to prevent wrongful convictions, such as this one, to happen in the first place,” Tierney said.

An investigation led by the district attorney's Office Conviction Integrity Unit revealed a police report detailing witnesses who said they had lacked confidence in identifying the perpetrator through photo books provided by law enforcement. That report was not present in the district attorney’s files, which makes the suppression of those materials a Brady violation.

"I left prison 12 years ago but today, for the first time in 40 years, I feel free," Taylor told Newsday.

Samantha is a former news intern with WSHU Public Radio.