Wrongful Conviction Admitted, But Will Compensation Be Approved?

This is one of those rare cases in which a District Attorney's office has admitted a mistake without being forced to do so by DNA evidence or other conclusive proof of a defendant's innocence. For that Guy Randolph is grateful, even though he spent ten years in prison and another seven years as a registered sex offender after his release.

Randolph was cleared after prosecutors agreed that the case against him was weak from the beginning. There was no physical evidence tying him to the crime, and the victim initially had said he was not her attacker. During the grand jury investigation, she described her attacker in ways that did not match Randolph.

Randolph was indicted and pleaded guilty under the Alford plea, which allows a defendant to assert innocence while acknowledging that the state has enough evidence for a conviction.

Randolph suffers from schizophrenia, which might account for his decision to enter into an Alford plea. It is difficult to understand why his lawyer would have advised him to do so, if that's what happened, in light of the weak evidence.

Randolph is now seeking compensation from the State of Massachusetts for his wrongful conviction. Whether he will receive it is unclear, given that the burden rests on Randolph to prove his innocence, and the absence of DNA evidence to make his innocence conclusive.

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    he, the victim and the (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by cpinva on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 11:44:34 AM EST
    citizens of the commonwealth of MA are all shafted:

    mr. randolph for losing a good chunk of his life, and probably ending up with a worse case of schizophrenia (convince me jail is good for, or neutral, in the case of mental illness.) then he had before he was imprisoned.

    the victim for not having justice done in her case.

    the citizens of the commonwealth, because the real perpetrator is still out there.

    a lose, lose, lose situation all around.

    I do think that jail is not the place (none / 0) (#3)
    by hairspray on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:47:03 PM EST
    to be a schizophrenic.  We can only hope that he received his medications faithfully.

    Compensation? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 12:38:49 PM EST

    He ended any hunt for the real criminal as a direct result of his own plea!  He wants compensation as a direct result of his own guilty plea!  

     The guy has no shame.  

    Uhh (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:30:05 PM EST
    Did you miss the part about the bad advice from a lawyer on top of a mental illness?

    Also, he didn't "plead guilty" he "asserted his innocence while acknowledging that the state had enough evidence to convict him".


    Yeah (none / 0) (#5)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 01:37:18 PM EST
    I'm sure if he had pleaded not guilty, the state would have kept on searching for the real criminal.  Right.

    If he had plead (none / 0) (#6)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 03:23:58 PM EST

    If he had plead not guilty, he may not have been convicted with weak evidence.  Whatever else is true, he contributed to his own misfortune.  Perhaps his crappy lawyer should pay him compensation.

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 05:09:08 PM EST
    I'd imagine he has a pretty viable malpractice claim.

    But I find it hard to tell someone that, if the state falsely accuses you of a crime, you have an obligation to the state to defend yourself because you might get off and enable them to go looking for the real bad guy.

    It's entirely plausible that an innocent person might believe they're likely to be convicted anyway.  You can hardly blame them for taking the best deal they can get under the circumstances.


    who should be sued (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:12:58 PM EST
    If he has a viable legal malpractice claim, then he should pursue that.  I don't see anything rising to the level of negligence/criminality on the DA's part (e.g. suppressing evidence that should have been given to the grand jury).  If the Grand Jury stupidly indicted him, that was a judgment call.  You can't sue grand juries.  

    Falsely accused? (none / 0) (#10)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 08:16:56 AM EST

    ...if the state falsely accuses you of a crime...

    Was he "falsely" accused?  The accusation was apparently made in good faith on weak evidence.  

    Should every acquittal or dropping of charges result in the state paying the defenses fees and costs?

    Should the same apply to civil cases?


    Again (none / 0) (#9)
    by jondee on Wed Jul 09, 2008 at 06:27:27 PM EST
    what part of he has a severe mental illness and was given very poor legal advice dont you understand, eejit?

    bad legal advice (none / 0) (#11)
    by diogenes on Thu Jul 10, 2008 at 03:43:11 PM EST
    1.  Compensation for bad legal advice comes from a civil action for legal malpractice.
    2.  There are a couple million people with severe mental illnesses (schizophrenia, chronic bipolar, etc) in this country.  You don't get a free pass unless you can't aid in your defense or are judged not guilty by reason of insanity.  If his lawyer didn't pursue this, that's still legal malpractice.  If his lawyer didn't defend him although he was innocent, that is still the lawyer's problem.  Why should Massachusetts pay him anything?