Andrew McCullough's Blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Victory for Justice

November 19, 2009

On my birthday, in July, rwo years ago, a man walked into my office to tell me a story which put me in tears. He had just been released from prison, after four and a half years, for a crime he did not commit. The Attorney General had first agreed to a new trial, to avoid an appeal, and then the District Attorney dropped the charge. But not until after he had spent a lot of time in jail and prison. He had been convicted of an armed robbery in Salt Lake City at a time when he almost certainly was in Louisiana recovering from a stroke. He had been the unfortunate victim of the "all blacks look alike" syndrome that still exists in lily white Utah, and had been identified three years after the crime, when he walked into a restaurant.

Under a new Utah law, my client, Harry MIller, is entitled to compensation for the time he was incarcerated. But the Attorney General reads that law in a very restrictive manner, and has fought the compensation hard. Today, the Utah Court of Appeals agreed with me that the law is to be read in a less restrictive manner. We will at least have our day in court, and we will have our chance to prove that my client is entitled to compensation. It is the first of many steps, but it is a giant one, and cause for clebration.

I fully expect the Attorney General to ask the Utah Surpeme Court to hear a further appeal, and to delay justice for another year or so. Please, Mr. Attorney General, consider what you are doing, and let this matter go forward. This is not about being right, and looking tough. It is about doing justice to a man who has suffered through miscarriages of justice for years. Harry Miller deserves what he is seeking; and he deserves the right to go forward and prove his case as quickly as reasonably can be done.

1 Comments:

  • At 2:23 PM, Blogger Ben said…

    You are asking a man who did everything he could to ovrturn Prop. B and win, to have compassion and consider the merits of giving a man just compensation for a mistake that Mark Shurtleff's buddies made to begin with.

    I wish you well in court because I don't think the Attorney General understands the value of your message.

    Ben Valdez

     

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