False Rape Accusation Leads to Conviction Being Overturned After Man Spends 11 Years In Prison

In recent years, a number of inmates have been released after spending decades in prison. Often, the accused is exonerated based on DNA evidence. In some of those cases, the accused pled guilty to avoid a more severe sentence, even though he had maintained his innocence in private. A recent article in the American Bar Association’s online version of the Journal highlights a recent case where a man accused of raping his own daughter was exonerated after he had spent 11 years in prison. His release from prison was not based on DNA evidence, but based on the daughter admitting she had made the whole story up because she was mad at her father after he and her mother got divorced. She had heard about a friend who had been molested by a relative, and decided to make the same claim against her father to get back at him.
Continue Reading

Criminal Defense Appeals: Different Perspectives

My last post discussed a recent Supreme Court victory. I represented Kyle Steiner in a habeas corpus action stemming from a child sex abuse case. After years of fighting, Kyle obtained some justice. A week after the Steiner decision was released, the South Dakota Supreme Court issued its decision in State v. Graham. The full text of the decision can be read on my web site, www.murphylawoffice.org. The result in that case, however, was not in our client’s favor. The Court found in our favor on one issue, but ultimately concluded that my client’s murder conviction would stand. His life without parole sentence was also affirmed.
Continue Reading

Thoughts on the Election

The election is over and most of us are happy about that. Whether your candidate won or lost, most folks are ready to get on with their lives. However, I want to suggest that we consider getting ready for the next campaign season by getting familiar with an oft-ignored topic: the cost to society of mass incarceration. As I watched the pundits discuss why particular candidates won or lost, the discussion inevitably came back to themes related to the economy, the debt, and the size of our state and national governments. This led me to consider one issue that none of the candidates — local, state or federal — discussed during their campaigns: the cost to society and to the tax payers of incarceration.
Continue Reading