Patterico's Pontifications

4/22/2004

Question

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:44 pm

It appears to me that the Los Angeles Times is once again making assertions without evidence to back them up. The latest example is today’s story titled: Man Falsely Imprisoned for 24 Years Seeks Damages.

I have discussed this case in a previous post. My limited understanding of the case is that the man in question, Thomas Lee Goldstein, filed a habeas petition which was granted. Generally, the granting of such a petition is not considered an exoneration of the defendant. Exoneration can be obtained through a declaration of factual innocence, which — as far as I know — has not been obtained in this case. A successful habeas petition generally means only that errors in the case have undermined the court’s confidence in the verdict. In most cases, the state is allowed to retry the defendant.

In this case, as I have said before, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office apparently stood ready to re-prosecute the man in question. However, a judge gutted the prosecution case, by ruling that the prosecution could not use the testimony of the sole eyewitness against Mr. Goldstein. As I have said before, the judge’s ruling may well have been correct. I have no idea.

However, I still don’t understand on what basis the Times so confidently states that Goldstein was “falsely imprisoned” or that he “spent 24 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.”

Now Goldstein is suing everyone in sight, including the prosecutor who was going to re-prosecute him until that adverse ruling was handed down. That seems like overkill.

Does anyone have any insight into this?


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