In 2010, after spending more than 10 years in prison, a federal court found my fiance Daniel Larsen innocent. His 1999 conviction for possession of a concealed weapon was overturned and he was ordered released.
But Attorney General Kamala Harris appealed this ruling and today Daniel is still in prison - stuck in legal limbo - two years after being declared innocent.
In 1999, Daniel 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.
In July 2008, the California Innocence Project filed a habeas petition in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California. One year later, the court held an evidentiary hearing in which three witnesses testified as to Daniel's innocence. Among the witnesses were the Chief of Police and his wife. After a hearing on the matter, the federal court found not only that Daniel was innocent but also that his trial attorney's representation was constitutionally deficient in failing to call these witnesses at the time of his trial.
On June 14, 2010, the District Court judge reversed his conviction and ordered him released. But he remains in prison pending the Attorney General's appeal.
Daniel and I have plans to make a life together - he's already spent 13 years in prison for a crime he was found innocent of. Please join me in asking Attorney General Kamala Harris to drop her office's appeal to Daniel Larsen's release.
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