Sylvia Boykin is a mother and grandmother who is serving a life without possibility of parole (LWOP) sentence for a murder she did not commit. She was present during a 1992 shooting that erupted over a drug dispute in North Philadelphia. Everyone agrees that Sylvia was not the shooter and was not armed. However, fearing retaliation, Sylvia did not initially identify the shooter to police. Prosecutors charged her with 1st degree murder and conspiracy. She was subsequently convicted alongside two male co-defendants. Her case has been featured on the Wrongful Conviction podcast with Maggie Freleng and Jason Flom. Listen here.
Over three decades later Sylvia–now in her 60s with serious health issues–remains incarcerated. Her only hope is clemency. We believe Sylvia Boykin deserves a second chance.
On February 20, 2013, a Philadelphia court found India Spellman guilty of second-degree murder, robbery, and related charges. She received a sentence of 30 years to life in prison. India was just 17 years old at the time of her arrest and had never previously been in trouble with the law.
Working alongside India, her family, and her appellate attorney, we were able to get her wrongful conviction overturned. After serving more than a decade in prison, India was freed on February 9, 2023. She is the first woman in more than a decade to be exonerated in Philadelphia. Read about our work on India’s case here.