Tag Archives: IPNW

Wrongfully Convicted Man Released After 10 Years in Washington State

Congratulations to Brandon Olebar and to the Innocence Project Northwest!

From the Seattle Times:

December 23, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Wrongly convicted King County man released after 10 years in prison

Posted by Mike Carter

A man who spent 10 years in prison for robbery and burglary has been released after the Innocence Project Northwest persuaded King County prosecutors to re-examine the man’s conviction, which was based solely on eyewitness testimony.

The case of Brandon Olebar came to the attention of the Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW),  based out of the clinical law program at the University of Washington Law School, in 2011. The project said two students “developed a body of evidence” that showed Olebar was not among the assailants who in February 2003 broke into the home of Olebar’s sister’s boyfriend, pistol-whipped and beat him unconscious and then stuffed him in a closet. The victim said as many as eight attackers beat him for more than 10 minutes, during which time he recognized Olebar’s sister as one of them. He told police the attackers had “feather” facial tattoos.

Two days after the beating, the victim identified Brandon Olebar from a photograph montage. Despite the fact that he does not have a facial tattoo and that he had an alibi, Olebar was charged with burglary and robbery, convicted by a King County jury solely on the basis of eyewitness testimony, and sentenced to 16 1/2 years in prison.

IPNW Director Jacqueline McMurtrie said two law students, Nikki Carsley and Kathleen Klineall, tracked down and interviewed three of the assailants, who signed sworn statements admitting their involvement and denying that Brandon Olebar was present. Working with IPN attorney Fernanda Torres, they presented the new evidence to Mark Larson, the chief criminal deputy prosecutor to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Continue reading

Innocence Project Northwest Fights for the Compensation Bill in Washington

From Seattle Weekly:

The Innocence Project Tries Again with Wrongly Convicted Compensation Bill

 By Matt Driscoll Wed., Feb. 6 2013 at 8:00 AM

As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

 Thwarted during the last two legislative sessions in an ongoing attempt to push a bill through that provides financial compensation for the wrongly convicted, the Innocence Project – with help from its local, University of Washington-affiliated chapter and sponsor Rep. Tina Orwall (D – Des Moines) – have gotten back on the horse, championing HB 1341. If passed the legislation would require the state to dole out payments to those who were unjustly convicted of a crime they didn’t commit.

The bill is scheduled for a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, with advocates planning a rally at the Capital Building in Olympia to coincide with the event. But much like was the case in 2011 and 2012, the bill’s ultimate fate is likely tied to something far more straightforward than public support and rallies – how much it will cost. Continue reading