Previous posts on Govinda Mainali’s case here.
From the Japan Times:
¥68 million redress eyed for Mainali
May 25, 2013
The Tokyo District Court has endorsed paying about ¥68 million in compensation to a Nepali man who was wrongly detained and imprisoned in Japan for 15 years, according to sources.
Govinda Prasad Mainali, 46, was charged with murdering a Japanese woman in 1997 and was handed a life term that was finalized in 2003 before being cleared in a retrial last November.
Mainali was kept in prison until the decision on his retrial was reached last June after the prosecutors were shown to have withheld crucial DNA evidence that could have cleared him. He was acquitted in his initial trial.
- Two co-defendant exonerees in China awarded state compensation
- Clarence Harrison was arrested in Decatur, Georgia on rape charges and spent 18 years in prison before DNA evidence freed him. Two musicians want to record an album that tells his story and helps the Georgia Innocence Project.
- May newsletter of the National Registry of Exonerations
- In Maryland, John Norman Huffington gets new trial based on flawed hair evidence
- Nice profile on the Northern California Innocence Project
- David Onek named Executive Director of Northern California Innocence Project
- In Washington state, a new law grants the wrongfully convicted $50,000 for each year spent behind bars, but an apology is harder to come by
- In Canada, a man who spent decades behind bars on a wrongful murder conviction has lost his bid to sue the police involved. In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a $14-million lawsuit for damages filed by Romeo Phillion. The defendants included two Ottawa police officers and Ontario’s attorney general. In his suit, Phillion alleged “malicious, reckless and negligent conduct” led to conviction for the 1967 murder of an Ottawa firefighter.
- A new advocacy group is launching a national advertising campaign calling for prosecutor accountability and the importance of conviction integrity. The nonprofit group, Blind Justice, says it wants to “ensure that elected officials don’t turn a blind eye to prosecutors who trample on the rights of the accused to get a conviction.” The television ads will feature an alleged wrongful conviction case involving local district attorneys and will begin airing Wednesday on television networks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Houston, Texas.
What financial number would you put on the loss of nine years, nine years of freedom exchanged for nine years in prison? What’s the price of family separation, damaged relationships, stress and anxiety? What’s fair compensation for health ramifications and ongoing required treatment? What about lost wages and impaired future earnings? As mentioned on this blog today (here), Nicholas V. Midey Jr., Judge of the New York Court of Claims, ruled on April 4, 2013, that for Daniel Gristwood, 46, a father of five who spent nine years in prison for a crime he did not commit, the appropriate compensation from New York state is $5,485,394.
Directly from Judge Midey’s 22-page ruling: Continue reading
- Actor Martin Sheen said Thursday he won’t stop backing a man’s bid to be exonerated in a 1998 killing, although prosecutors have concluded the case was sound. Sheen said in a statement he was outraged by the Manhattan district attorney’s recent decision in the case of Jon-Adrian Velazquez, who was convicted of killing a retired police officer. Some witnesses have since backtracked, but prosecutors say an 18-month-long review didn’t turn up enough proof to clear Velazquez. ”I promised Jon-Adrian that I would not give up the fight to see him walk out of prison a free man and I repeat that promise today,” Sheen said in the statement, provided by Velazquez’ lawyers, who filed papers Thursday asking a judge to dismiss the case. ”He is an innocent man, wrongfully convicted. May justice prevail,” Sheen added.
- A central New York man who spent nine years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of trying to kill his wife has won $5.5 million in damages from the state. Syracuse-area media outlets report a state Court of Claims judge ordered the payment to 46-year-old Daniel Gristwood of Pennellville. The judge ruled in 2011 that state police coerced him into falsely confessing in 1996. Gristwood was released from prison in 2005 after another man admitted attacking the sleeping Christina Gristwood with a hammer.
- A review of Amanda Knox’ new book
- After wrongful conviction in Nicaragua, Jason Puracal wants to work to change the system
- The legislature in the state of Washington has approved a measure that allows people who were wrongfully convicted to receive a minimum of $50,000 a year for each year they were behind bars. The House on Monday unanimously concurred with changes made by the Senate last week when that chamber unanimously passed the bill. It now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it into law, and Washington will join 27 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government with similar laws on the books.
- Dr. Greg Hampikian, director of the Idaho Innocence Project, has developed a tool to help prevent DNA contamination in labs
- Article about confirmation bias in the forensic sciences
- Texas moves one step closer to establishing an exoneration review commission
- Kevin Curtis, the Elvis impersonator falsely accused of mailing letters laced with ricin to Barack Obama and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, was released Tuesday night and gave an exclusive, and bizarre, interview to CNN’s Piers Morgan.
- In Canada, man wrongfully convicted of rape sues government 43 years later
- California Innocence Project supporters soon to begin their 600 mile walk for justice
- Great DNA access decision by Kentucky Supreme Court
- Spotlight on new West Virginia Innocence Project
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has refused to hear en banc a 2012 decision affirming a grant of habeas corpus where the panel referenced scientific literature submitted by amicus curiae, The Innocence Project, on ways in which in-court identifications can be tainted by the facts of the crime, prior identification procedures and other factors.
Myles Frederick McLellan from the University of Ottawa Department of Criminology has posted the above-titled article on SSRN. Download article here. The abstract states:
The plight of the wrongfully convicted is gaining prominence with the growing awareness of the prodigious harms to innocent persons at the hands of the criminal justice system. Most of the attention, both scholarly and legislatively, has been focused on the causes of miscarriages of justice. What needs to now be addressed more comprehensively is the issue of how to provide redress to those persons whose lives have been inexorably damaged; and how to best compensate them in their efforts to rebuild a life. Virtually all western democracies have turned their attention to this issue, some more effectively than others. This paper looks at the similarities and the differences in the approaches between the United States and Canada in this regard. Lessons can be learned from both.
- Statute of limitations issues may haunt prosecution of former prosecutor now judge Ken Anderson, charged with criminal offenses for his conduct leading to the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton.
- After 24 years in prison, Wyoming man gets retrial, taste of freedom, and a cookie
- Georgia needs a method to compensate the wrongfully convicted.
Yesterday, the Texas House voted on HB 166, a bill that would create the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission. This so-called innocence commission would investigate past exoneration cases to find out why the wrongful conviction happened in the first place. The group would not intervene in pending cases or open cases without an exoneration.
A Vancouver man suing for compensation for 27 years in prison for sex assaults he didn’t commit has won a preliminary round in court against the provincial government. The government opposed Ivan Henry’s application in B.C. Supreme Court to change his legal claim that would spell out the circumstances where the province can be held liable for breaching his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government claimed the rule of prosecutorial immunity only allows claims for charter breaches to succeed if they arose from malicious conduct by the prosecutor. But Justice Richard Goepel ruled in Henry’s favour, finding “that a claim lies against the province for charter damages if the plaintiff can establish that Crown counsel acted in a marked and unacceptable departure from the reasonable standards expected of Crown counsel.”
- Nice profile of Donna McKneelen of the Innocence Project at Cooley
- Article about torture during interrogations in South Africa, exposed by the Wits Justice Project
- Some lawmakers in the Florida want to speed up executions
- How the Retrial Act (which allows old cases to be reopened when new evidence of innocence surfaces) has given hope to the innocent in Thailand
- In California, walking 600 miles for the innocent
- Connecticut Innocence Project gets new director
- The Mississippi Supreme Court has thrown out the testimony of the prolific and controversial medical examiner Steven Hayne and ordered a new trial for convicted murderer David Parvin in a unanimous decision. It’s the second time in 20 years that the court has found problems with Hayne’s testimony in a murder case and may foreshadow things to come.
- Editorial on the need to compensate exonerees in the state of Washington
- Dallas DA Watkins discusses freeing the wrongfully convicted
This month marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant Supreme Court decisions this country’s criminal justice system has ever known – Gideon V. Wainwright. The case, along with later decisions, cemented the 6th amendment right to counsel for anyone, regardless if they have the ability to pay.But in a quick scan of the media today of monthly magazines to news dailies on the topic, readers will find one unified reflection expressed — half a century after Gideon, we are far from realizing effective representation for all. Keep reading here…
- Exoneree and football player Brian Banks talks about signing with the Atlanta Falcons
- Details on Innocence Project New Orleans’ upcoming 12th annual gala
In 2011 the Better Government Association in Illinois reported that wrongful convictions had cost taxpayers $214 million in settlements. An update (here) indicates that, since the 2011 investigation—which was done with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law—government agencies have agreed to pay another nearly $39 million to settle lawsuits resulting from persons wrongfully convicted, primarily of murder and other serious felonies. And according to an ABC7 report (here), at least ten cases are currently pending in Illinois courts, which could soon move the cost of wrongful convictions to $300 million or more in the state of Illinois alone.
Of course, the settlement costs do not include the cost of incarcerating 85 innocent people for a total of 926 years since 1989, nor the human costs of wrongful incarceration, nor the costs of crimes committed by the real perpetrators who escaped apprehension while innocent persons languished in prison. Continue reading
- The Manhattan district attorney will not reverse the conviction of a New York City man found guilty of killing a retired police officer during a botched 1998 robbery in Harlem, saying its re-investigation of the high-profile case found no evidence to warrant tossing the verdict. Defense attorneys called the decision “unjust” and a “tragedy” and vowed to continue their fight to free the man. Jon-Adrian “J.J.” Velazquez was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 25 years to life for the shooting death of Albert Ward at the illegal numbers parlor the former NYPD officer operated.
- A review of the film L’Affaire Dumont, about a wrongful conviction in Canada
- Alabama set to pardon Scottsboro Boys
- In Arizona, Louis Taylor experiences shock upon release and looks forward to starting his new life
- After 30 years, Jeffrey MacDonald, who was notoriously convicted of murdering his family, may be freed from prison. A celebrated filmmaker explains why he believes in MacDonald’s innocence.
- Bill in Pennsylvania to compensate the wrongfully convicted
- In St. Louis, Rodney Lincoln’s lawyers, from the Midwest Innocence Project, argue that DNA results contradict faulty science and misleading testimony that was key to sending him to prison three decades ago on a double life sentence.
- Karen A. Goodrow, former Director of the Connecticut Innocence Project, appointed to the bench in CT.
- The Illinois Appellate Court on Friday granted an evidentiary hearing to a Chicago man, Charles Johnson, who has long claimed he was wrongfully convicted of a 1995 double murder, saying new evidence that defense attorneys claim implicates another man “would probably” lead to his acquittal at a retrial. The appeals court also took the unusual step of assigning the case to a new trial court judge, agreeing with defense attorneys that Cook County Judge Joseph Kazmierski “appears to have prejudged a central issue” regarding the evidence. Kazmierski had presided over the original trial.
- New Jersey bill would raise compensation for wrongfully convicted
- A woman who served 27 years of a life sentence for her husband’s murder — despite not being present when he was killed — was among 87 people granted clemency by Gov. Pat Quinn on Friday. Peggy Jo Jackson left the Logan Correctional Center on Friday and headed to South Carolina, where she’ll live with her sister and mother and complete her parole, said Erica Nichols-Cook, an attorney with the Illinois Innocence Project at the University of Illinois-Springfield.
- Prosecutors across Northeast Texas expressed concerns last week about a Texas senator’s proposal to require DNA testing of all biological evidence before trials in state death penalty cases.
- The Oklahoma Innocence Project ranks the state among the top 10 for wrongful convictions, which a report issued Friday said could be lowered by law enforcement officers, attorneys and judges. The Oklahoma Justice Commission, formed by the Oklahoma Bar Association, unveiled its recommendations following a two-year study into convictions of people for crimes they didn’t commit. The 33-member group’s suggestions follow each step of the wrongful conviction process, from arrest to release.
- Nearly nine years after being freed from prison, where he served 17 years for a double murder in the central Illinois city of Paris before being freed for lack of evidence, Gordon “Randy” Steidl has won a second multimillion-dollar judgment in his case against the people who put him behind bars. A federal judge on Wednesday entered a $3.5 million agreed-upon judgment in a long-running wrongful conviction and malicious prosecution case against former Paris police Chief Gene Ray, former lead detective James Parrish and former Edgar County State’s Attorney Michael McFatridge.
- Law enforcement in Buffalo, NY believe prisoner Josue Ortiz is innocent