After 8 years in prison and 7 more years of the threat of being sent back to prison, Lorinda Swain has been granted a new trial! We are ecstatic! The absurdity of the claim of sexual abuse, immediately recanted by her son, has been hanging over her head for all these years. The Court's Order is worth quoting in it's entirety.
On order of the Court, leave to appeal having been granted and the briefs and oral arguments of the parties having been considered by the Court, we REVERSE the February 5, 2015 judgment of the Court of Appeals and we REMAND this case to the Calhoun Circuit Court for proceedings consistent with its judgment ordering a new trial. The Court of Appeals erred in applying People v Cress, 468 Mich 678 (2003), to an analysis of a successive motion filed pursuant to MCR 6.502(G)(2). Cress does not apply to the procedural threshold of MCR 6.502(G)(2), as the plain text of the court rule does not require that a defendant satisfy all elements of the test. The Court of Appeals erred in failing to give proper deference to the specific findings of the trial court that the defendant was entitled to a new trial. The defendant provided “a claim of new evidence that was not discovered before the first” motion for relief from judgment, MCR 6.502(G)(2), and we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering a new trial on the facts of this case. In light of this disposition, we decline to address the other issues presented in our order granting leave to appeal.
We do not retain jurisdiction.
This was a case of tunnel vision and extreme "group think" that blinded the Calhoun County prosecutor's office to any possibility of her innocence.The tax payers of Calhoun County can now rejoice because their hard earned money will no longer be spent on this senseless pursuit to maintain their precious conviction. We believe that the last Calhoun County prosecutor lost her re-election because of this senselessness and we were dumbfounded when the current prosecutor chose to stay the course. The present prosecutor could have been a hero and put this nonsense to bed, but for whatever reason he chose not to.
The Calhoun County's prosecutor's office had no case, which is why they kept appealing the original judge's decision to grant Lorinda a retrial. So, with a modicum of sanity, Calhoun County responded by saying that they will not retry Lorinda, but will move to dismiss. IT IS OVER!
We at Proving Innocence rejoice with Lorinda, her family and her friends.
We also want to make a special note of how fortunate we all are to have a man like Dave Moran who is committed to freeing the innocent. We encourage you to watch his argument before the Michigan Supreme Court, ably persuading the judges to recognize Lorinda's right to a new trial. As it happened, Dave Moran was scheduled to be present at our PI Board meeting Wed. evening. Instead, he spent the evening speaking with Lorinda and fielding questions from the media. There will be a big celebration at the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic!
Written by Zieva Konvisser
“What Happened to Me Can Happen to Anybody” – Women Exonerees Speak Out
We are doubly delighted to be able to post the second article written by Zieva Dauber Konvisser, Ph.D. and published in a special Innocence Network issue of the Texas A&M Law Review (Fall 2015, 3). This article follows on her first article “Psychological Consequences of Wrongful Conviction in Women” that appeared in the DePaul Journal for Social Justice, (Spring 2012, 5(2)). Dr. Konvisser recently joined the board of Proving Innocence. She is an independent trauma researcher, Fellow of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Wayne State University.
Dr. Konvisser’s research focuses on studying the human impact of traumatic events, like terrorism, genocide, combat, and wrongful conviction. Her passion is to give voice to trauma survivors, in particular the innocent women who have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated, and to learn from them about their experiences, their unique qualities and needs, the strategies that have helped them cope with their situations, and their ongoing needs to rebuild their shattered lives post-exoneration and move forward.
This Article presents findings from in-depth interviews with twenty-one exonerated women, including supporting quotes in their own voices, to address the problems particular to female exonerees and portray the emotional and psychological consequences of a wrongful conviction. By giving voice to their lived experiences, this Article seeks to personalize and contextualize the events surrounding the cases, to humanize the people whose lives have been destroyed, and to establish identities amidst an overwhelming sea of facts and statistics. In addition, this Article provides valuable insights and information for clinicians, counselors, families, friends, employers, and communities working to help wrongfully convicted women, and for lawyers, policy-makers, and advocates working to promote social justice and criminal justice reform. By documenting a final message from the interviewed women to other exonorees, Dr. Konvisser gives voice to their unique experiences and encourages the innocence movement forward.
The article may be downloaded below.