Monday, December 7, 2009

Lackey back in court, suing state for false conviction

Comments will be interspersed.

Daniel Lackey suing for false conviction and imprisonment.

UTICA -- A Madison County man was back in court Monday morning, arguing that he was falsely convicted and imprisoned for sexual assault because police took advantage of his diminished mental capacity. Lackey is suing New York State for $8-million dollars.

In 2004, Daniel Lackey was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman in the city of Oneida. Then in July 2007, a judge threw out the conviction because Lackey's accuser admitted she falsely accused someone of rape in another case.

So the accuser had previously accused someone falsely. One wonders if rape shield laws prevented that information from being presented at Mr. Lackey's trial?

Lackey spent three years and a half years behind bars before he was released.

On Monday, Assistant State Attorney General Joel Marmelstein asked Court of Claims Judge Norman Siegel to throw out Lackey's suit. The state contends that Lackey contributed to his own conviction when he confessed to the crime.

Marmelstein also pointed out that Lackey's confession was the subject of a Huntley hearing prior to his trial. Madison County Court Judge Biaggio DiStefano heard evidence about Lackey's mental disability, yet allowed the confession to be used as evidence at the trial, according to Marmelstein.

Lackey's attorney Neal Rose argued that Lackey does not have the mental capacity to make a voluntary confession. Rose says Lackey is easily coerced by authority figures. Rose also pointed out that when Lackey was set free, Judge DiStefano apologized and admitted he made a "mistake" when he ruled Lackey's confession could be used against him.

So the judge admitted the "mistake", and the Attorney General's office thinks this shouldn't be allowed. Sorry, but if the judge made that mistake, then the AG's office shouldn't even be trying to squash this.

Rose also cited a recent task force report on wrongful convictions that found 23 percent were the result of false confessions.

Interesting. And that is just the result of false confessions. How many more are in prison that didn't confess, but are still innocent?

Judge Siegel reserved decision in the case.

It could take 60 to 90 days for a ruling to be issued.