Howard can only go home if the court releases him on bail. The judge handling the case said he intended to send Howard home on unsecured bail and with electronic monitoring until the prosecutors decide whether to move forward with the second trial; the attorney general’s office may still appeal the decision to release Howard, as well. Howard could have remained in prison until that trial — as long as a year, according to Howard’s attorney.
The prosecutor in the original trial was the Durham prosecutor who was disbarred after the Duke University lacrosse team scandal. In that case, state investigators discovered that the prosecutor had withheld evidence that proved the players’ innocence.
It’s important to remember that Howard has not been exonerated. If the prosecution goes ahead with the second trial, the evidence that was wrongly withheld would be included, and either the court or a jury would decide the matter. If no trial occurs, the May order to overturn the decision will hold, and Howard could then have his name cleared once and for all.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “NC appeals court clears imprisoned man for bail,” Emery P. Dalesio (AP), July 15, 2014