Saturday, June 18, 2011

Utah Woman Freed After 17 Years in Prison

Debra Brown was released from prison last month after 17 years behind bars. She had been convicted by a jury of killing her 72-year old neighbor in 1994. In May, 2nd District Court Judge Michael DiReda ruled that she was innocent of the crime after hearing new witnesses testify.

During her 1994 trial, prosecutors pointed out that Ms. Brown did not have an alibi for the morning of November 6, 1993, the time when her "victim" supposedly died. Judge DiReda heard from new witnesses who saw the man alive that morning. Ms. Brown had alibis for the rest of her time, so she couldn't have killed him.

As I discussed in a previous post, the Post-Conviction Remedies Act provides for money damages in addition to the opportunity for a prisoner to gain her freedom. Judge DiReda awarded Ms. Brown $570,780.

Unfortunately, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has decided to appeal Ms. Brown's case. He had previously tweeted, "We won't appeal," but his office has now filed a notice to appeal.

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