News 11.23.11

Congressmen Call for Case Review

Two Missouri Congressman have called on the state’s Attorney General to review the case of Innocence Project client George Allen, Jr., who has served 29 years in prison for a murder DNA now proves he didn’t commit.

The Innocence Project filed legal papers in September asking the court to overturn Mr. Allen’s conviction and release him from prison.  U.S. Representatives Emanuel Cleaver II and William Lacy Clay are now urging the Attorney General, who represents the state in the case, to conduct a thorough examination of the case. 

“It appears that this is a grave injustice that can be remedied only through swift action by Attorney General Koster. He has the facts, he has the evidence, and he can make the decision to release Mr. Allen and return him to his family,” Clay said in a statement on Nov. 18.

Allen was convicted in 1983 of committing a murder the year before. He became a suspect after police accidentially picked him up for questioning, thinking he was someone else. A schizophrenic who had been admitted to psychiatric wards several times, Allen eventually ended up making a recorded confession. On the recording itself, Allen informs the officers that he is under the influence of alcohol, and throughout the interrogation, the officer prompts Allen to give him answers to fit the crime, often asking Allen to change his answer to do so. 

“This appears to be an example of law enforcement ‘tunnel vision’ at its worst,” Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck said of the case in September. “Police arrested Mr. Allen thinking he is someone else, interrogated him anyway, knowing all the time that he was profoundly mentally ill and then withheld critical evidence that might have set him free.” 


Read statements from Reps. Cleaver and Clay here

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Read more in yesterday’s Kansas City Star

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Read more background on Allen’s case

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