In 1993, California man William Richards was convicted and sentenced to 25 years for killing his wife Pamela. During the 23 years he spent behind bars, Mr. Richards has always maintained his innocence. For years San Diego-based California Innocence Project lawyers and California Western School of Law students worked to exonerate him. Back in 1993, Pamela was found dead by her husband when he arrived home from work. Her head had been crushed by a cinder block. The police who investigated the case did not find any footprints other than their own, and no defensive wounds on Richards, even though Pamela was missing a fingernail from scratching someone. The bloodstains on Richard’s clothing and shoes corroborate his statements that he had found his wife dead and held her in grief.
Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, took on Richard’s case because he felt there were too many unsolved questions of the crime if Richards had to withstand three trials in order to be convicted. Richard’s conviction had come in his third trial, based on the expert testimony of a dental expert.
It is reported that at least 16 law students from San Diego have worked on his case. Now age 66, penniless, homeless and without relatives, Richards is staying at the Riverside County home of a former student who worked on his case to try to get his life back on track. He was greeted and hugged by a law student who worked on his case when he was released from prison.
Facts About Exoneration
It is reported by Resurrection After Exoneration.org, a nonprofit, that there are currently over 400 people in the U.S. who have been wrongfully convicted and exonerated. In the criminal law context, the exoneration occurs when a person convicted of a crime is later proved to be innocent by the court, and the crimes against him or her are discharged. The increase in exoneration is due primarily to DNA evidence. Studies show that even after being freed, the exonerated face a wealth of troubles. They are chronically unemployed, typically have lost custody of their children, and one in four suffer from PTSD.
On October 13, 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 618. The law streamlines the process for providing damages to those who are wrongfully convicted, exonerated and released from prison. S.B. 618 updated California Penal Code 4900 (enacted in 2000) which provides for $100 for each day of incarceration resulting from a wrongful conviction. It made two important changes by making it so that people who are exonerated do not have to go through another hearing just to get their financial compensation. It also makes any writ of habeas corpus by a judge binding on the compensation board to ensure payment to those wrongfully imprisoned.
San Diego Trial and Constitutional Rights Lawyers
The Law Offices of David M. Boertje will defend your constitutional rights and freedom with zeal and expertise. We are adept at trials and performing under pressure. We will work to ensure your rights through the booking process to charging, and throughout your trial. We will comb through the evidence against you to fight for a fair trial to keep you out of jail. If you have been charged and arrested for a crime, do not hesitate to contact attorney David Boertje today.