For Immediate Release
Justice Fails Freeman Again
In a troubling ruling, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Fredrick Thomas Freeman's (aka., Temujin Kensu) recent appeal and continued a 33-year miscarriage of justice. The May 17th ruling failed to examine the full record and the abundance of evidence of actual innocence and relied upon the errors and deception of the St. Clair County prosecutor's office (see attached). The Michigan Innocence Clinic of the University of Michigan's Law School will be requesting a rehearing of the decision.
"The court appears not to know the basic facts of the case", commented Errol Liverpool, President of Proving Innocence. "The opinion states things that are just plain wrong or deceiving. That's extremely disturbing and makes you question the fairness of our criminal justice system".
The Sixth Circuit's ruling follows a pattern of the judicial system repeatedly failing to acknowledge one of Michigan's worst wrongful convictions. The exception was the 2010 decision of Denise Page Hood, Chief Justice of the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, who granted Freeman's habeas appeal on a claim of actual innocence. She ordered that Freeman be given a new trial or be released. Most concerning, she ruled that prosecutor Robert Cleland, now a federal judge, illegally solicited perjured testimony to secure the wrongful conviction - a clear case of prosecutor misconduct. Unbelievably, Judge Hood's decision was overturned by the Sixth Circuit in 2012 solely on procedural grounds (tardy filing of habeas) having nothing to do with Freeman's actual innocence.
"The Sixth Circuit's decisions suggest that a powerful federal judge has his thumb on the scales." said Barbara Kennedy, a Grand Rapids area attorney who examined Freeman's case. "What else explains the continued incarceration of a man that's so obviously innocent?"
Fredrick Freeman was convicted of the murder of Scott Macklem in Port Huron, Michigan in 1986. Around the time of Macklem's murder, nine unimpeached alibi witnesses place Freeman in Upper Michigan's Escanaba area about 450 miles from the crime scene in Port Huron. There was absolutely no evidence at the crime scene - documentary, forensic, or physical – that connected Freeman to the killing. No murder weapon was produced. No gunshot residue was found on his clothing. An ammunition box found at the scene contained a fingerprint not belonging to Freeman. Police conducted a several-hour, warrantless, and illegal search of his house, trailer, and property and found nothing incriminating. Freeman and his primary alibi witness both passed polygraphs administered by a respected former Michigan State Police polygraph examiner.
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