Jersey Man Released from 30-Year Prison Sentence Following CRU Investigation into 2003 Homicide


The Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) has managed to free Dion Miller, a Jersey City man wrongly convicted of a 2003 felony homicide, marking the second time that the CRU has successfully intervened in such a manner.

In a remarkable legal turnabout, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Director Carolyn Murray of the Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit (CRU) have successfully facilitated the release of a man serving a 30-year sentence for a 2003 felony homicide in Jersey City. This marks the second exoneration carried out by the CRU since its inception in 2019, making it a national leader in statewide conviction review efforts.

Dion Miller, a 54-year-old Jersey City resident, was originally convicted in a 2007 retrial of felony murder, robbery, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and unlawful possession of a weapon, following the assault and robbery of a 74-year-old man. Miller was sentenced to serve all 30 years without the possibility of parole. The victim, Romeo Cavero, was attacked and robbed outside a Van Nostrand Avenue senior citizens' building in 2003. He later succumbed to his injuries at Jersey City Medical Center.

Following his conviction, Miller applied to the CRU for a re-investigation of his case. Upon rigorous scrutiny of Miller's claim amongst hundreds of similar applications, screening attorneys found sufficient reason to revisit the evidence presented in Miller's trial.

In an official statement, Attorney General Platkin emphasized the commitment of the CRU and the Cold Case Network to uphold justice, acknowledge past errors, and right wrongful convictions. He referred to Miller's release as a new beginning and a renewed push to bring the true perpetrator of Cavero's murder to justice.

An extensive re-investigation of Miller's case, including a review of new evidence previously unavailable to the jury, led the CRU to the clear and convincing conclusion that Miller was wrongly convicted. A joint motion for a new trial was put forward on July 27, 2023, and approved by Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez.

Professor Laura Cohen of the New Jersey Innocence Project at Rutgers University, who along with attorney Nyssa Taylor represented Miller, expressed deep gratitude for the thoroughness and commitment of the CRU in correcting this grave injustice.

The CRU review revealed that the only evidence tying Miller to the crime were three inconsistent and unreliable confessions, which did not align with the crime's description provided by the victim. Evidence uncovered during the CRU's re-investigation exposed a disturbing sequence of 17-hour-long interrogations, during which the officers appeared to feed Miller information that he later echoed in his confessions. Additionally, information that Miller did not commit the crime and confessed only due to fear was never presented to the court, prosecutor, defense, or jury during the original trial.

Miller's exoneration has led to a fresh investigation into the robbery, assault, and murder of Cavero, under the aegis of the Attorney General’s Cold Case Network. Carolyn Murray, Director of the CRU, highlighted the importance of justice system accuracy and reaffirmed the commitment of the CRU to ensure fair, accurate, and evidence-based convictions.

The Attorney General’s CRU continues to be open for applications from diverse sources to review claims of actual innocence. Since its formation, the CRU has received approximately 600 applications for review. 

For more information on the CRU or to submit a case for review, visit here and here respectively.

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