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After over eight years of being stalled in committee, the Michigan House Bill - 4536, commonly known as the "wrongful imprisonment compensation act", passed 8 to 0. Thirty other states have enacted such a bill in the recognition that the state must be responsible when it deprives individuals of years of their lives when they are indeed innocent.
Not only has it passed committee, but a reading of the bill shows that it has jetisoned much of the weaknesses of earlier versions. Those versions had layer after layer to restrictions about the particular causes of the alledged crime and that it only applied to convictions overturned by strong scientific evidence, such as DNA. Such restrictions were a result of political concessions that made no sense and catered to lawmakers full of myths about wrongful convictions and thier causes. In fact, while many urged acceptance of such a bill because "politics is compromise" and "get what you can now", others invested in the passage of such a bill, such as Ken Wyniemko, himself an exoneree and activist in this cause, could not put their support behind it. It was, indeed, disappointing and infuriating to read. It inexplicably said that being exonerated by the same courts that convicted the person wasn't enough.
The current bill as it was introduced into committee is a breath of fresh air. It is more rational, acknolweging that when the courts acknowledged the error, the state needs to act out of a responsibility which it has to make things right, to the degree that such a thing is even possible. Below this article you will find the link to download the bill. Next step, call your representative and express your support.
The case of Temujin Kensu is what first provoked journalist Bill Proctor to investigate cases of claimed actual innocence. Out of that, Proving Innocence was born. Proving Innocence does not provide legal counsel, but since our inception, we have been supportive of Kensu and his seeking exoneration of the murder of Scott Macklem.
At the heart of Temujin Kensu's appeals of late has been maintaining that the photo lineup originally presented to eye witnesses made the picture of Kensu stand out amoung all the others. When it came time for the trial, the prosecution reset the photos so that they appeared not to be bias. (In reality this cases has so many other flaws. For the best, quickest summary of the case, see Bill Proctor's news series Ninja Killer.)
On November 10th, St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael West issued a 24-page order and opinion denying Temujin Kensu's motion for a new trial. The Michigan Innocence Clinic's staff attorney, Caitlin Plummer, said they were disappointed in the verdict and almost certainly planned to appeal.
For a more in-depth look, see The Times Herald's article Judge denies new trial in 1986 SC4 parking lot murder case.
Technicalities trumps Substance
- Baffling and Egregious Decision by New Calhoun County Prosecutor
- Judge Orders New Trial for Lorinda Swain
- Temujin's Habeas Reversed!
- Ray Must Wait Another 5 years!
- Kirstin "Blaise" Lobato
- Michigan's Law to Videotape* Interrogations
- Michigan Indigent Defense Law Signed by Snyder
- Hurray for the Michigan Advisory Commission on Indigent Defense!
- Good-bye to the Hurricane
- Prosecutors and Balanced Justice
- New Year Reflections
- Anatomy of Injustice
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