MI Attorney General Bill Schuette
We continue to seek petition signatures for the Governor’s executive clemency based on Freeman’s actual innocence and his poor health. In order to sign up, please click on Change.org and share with others. A special "thank you" to those who have already signed.
Freeman has one other hope besides executive clemency (which the petition is about). It is one last appeal (called a habeas) before the Federal Court. It will take months or even a year or more to be ruled upon.
But on that score, we just got discouraging news, which makes executive clemency that much more important. We have recently learned that Bill Schuette’s Attorney General's office is fighting Freeman’s habeas appeal. (The AG is also fighting exonerees from getting their just compensation, but that is another story.) That office first said it would examine Freeman’s actual innocence but then changed its mind and did not review the abundance of evidence that he was not connected with the murder in any way.
The sad fact is that the AG does not want to reveal or highlight the documented misconduct used to convict an innocent man. It does not want to embarrass a prominent Federal Judge (who prosecuted Freeman) whose authority and influence is considerable. The AG does not want the public to know that the State and St. Clair County have spent 32 years shielding this case from re-examination, protecting a conviction that is totally unsupported by the evidence. (By the way, this is not necessarily just a “Republican” matter. The AG under Granholm and, indeed, Granholm herself did nothing to help redress this miscarriage of justice).
Having signed into law the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, Rick Snyder is probably more aware of the problem of wrongful convictions than any of his predecessors. Not being eligible for re-election this November, outgoing executives typically are less politically motivated and are more likely "do the right thing". The more signatures we get, the more we get the point across to Snyder that people no longer want "law and order", which translates into "lock more people up". We want simple justice. And for Fred Freeman, justice means freedom!