Our client, Julie Rea, was the victim of what University of San Francisco Law Professor Lara Bazelon calls “innocence deniers” in her January Slate cover story describing how some State’s Attorneys actively work against justice.
Three overzealous prosecutors blocked Julie’s attempts to prove herself innocent of murdering her 10-year-old son, Joel, in 1997. She described in detail an intruder, with whom she struggled. Yet, with minimal investigation, prosecutors charged her with capital murder, punishable by death at the time.
In a classic move to fight justice, prosecutors announced they would no longer seek the death penalty so they could prevent Julie from obtaining the protection of state death penalty resources that would have entitled her to special investigators and two defense attorneys qualified to represent clients facing the death penalty. Instead, she ended up with an attorney who had never tried a capital case and who was suffering migraines during the trial.
Julie was imprisoned for four years until her conviction was vacated. In the meantime, a serial killer confessed to the murder. Still, prosecutors refused to let go of the case and tried her again. She was fully exonerated in 2010.
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