We often admonish other countries that mistreat their citizens with disregard to basic human rights, and including those that imprison the innocent. So when a flaw in our judicial system is discovered, we should make all haste to remedy it. Acting in any other way should be unacceptable, especially since we send our military to other countries to risk their lives in battle to uphold basic human rights. Here’s a story that is a perfect example:
In 1999, Daniel (Larsen) was convicted of possession of a concealed weapon (a knife) and sentenced to 28-years-to-life under California’s Three Strikes Law. Two police officers claimed they had saw him throw a knife under a car in a bar parking lot, something he didn’t do. There were nine witnesses to prove his innocence – including a Chief of Police from North Carolina, who happened to be within five feet of Daniel at the time the officers claimed to have seen him toss the knife.
But because of ineffective legal representation, these witnesses would not be part of his defense. [....]
That was twelve years ago. In 2010 at a post-conviction hearing, three witnesses testified proving Larsen’s innocence. The judge found Daniel innocent, exonerated him and said he should be set free. Despite the judge’s ruling, the state’s (California) attorney general says Larsen didn’t prove his innocence quickly enough and refuses to release him from jail where he is now, serving a 28-years-to-life sentence. That’s not justice. A petition has been started on Change.org. Read Daniel Larsen’s story below, sign the petition and pass it on everyone you know.
Daniel Larsen is innocent: he knows it, the three witnesses who testified at his post-conviction hearing helped prove it, and a judge exonerated him and said he should be released. But even though Daniel was declared innocent two years ago, he’s still in prison– all because the California Attorney General says he did not present his evidence of innocence quickly enough.
Daniel’s fiance Christina has been waiting for him to come home so they can finally start their life together.
Christina is going to deliver her petition to California’s Deputy Attorney General on Monday, and wants to be able to hand over as many signatures as possible. Click here to sign Christina’s petition.
Daniel was convicted because his original defense attorney didn’t call anyone to the stand to defend him. He was charged with possession of a concealed weapon, and even though there were plenty of witnesses who could back Daniel up, including a former Chief of Police, none of them were called. And because Daniel had other strikes on his record, the judge gave him a sentence of 28-years-to-life.
After being incarcerated for more than ten years, The Innocence Project heard Daniel’s story. They asked the court to hear his case, and with witnesses there this time, the judge found Daniel innocent.
Christina and Daniel got engaged shortly after Daniel was exonerated, and Christina visits Daniel every Sunday. She says that her visits with Daniel are the highlight of her week.
Christina sees no reason why the Attorney General would keep an innocent man in prison because of a paperwork technicality. Click here to sign Christina’s petition and ask the California Attorney General to release Daniel Larsen.