News 08.11.09

California Man Could Be Freed After 24 Years

Bruce Lisker

could be freed as early as this evening

after 24 years in California prisons for a murder he says he didn’t commit. A judge granted him bail today after overturning his conviction on Friday based on the finding that he was convicted of killing his mother based on “false evidence.”

He could become the sixth person freed based on evidence of innocence in the last six days. Last Wednesday,

Kenneth Ireland was freed in Connecticut

based on DNA evidence of his innocence. On Thursday,

three men in the Norfolk Four case in Virginia were pardoned

. On Friday,

Innocence Project client Ernest Sonnier was freed in Texas

.


A Los Angeles Times editorial

today called Lisker’s case “deeply disturbing” and said frequent exonerations prove that criminal justice reform is needed in California.

The truth is that this is an ongoing problem in California. And thanks to knee-jerk obstruction by district attorneys and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state has made little progress in fixing it.

Last year, the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice issued a 196-page report outlining procedural and structural flaws in the state's criminal justice system, along with recommendations to ameliorate them. The Legislature responded by passing bills in 2006 and 2007 regarding eyewitness identification and the video recording of police interrogations, but Schwarzenegger vetoed both. Legislation regulating the use of jailhouse informants passed as well, but met the same fate as did a bill increasing compensation for wrongfully convicted people.

Visit our

What Can I Do

? page to take action today on exoneree compensation and other issues.

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