A federal appeals court has ruled that a Santa Monica man, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 14 years on child rape charges, can sue the city of Long Beach and a police officer who he says fabricated the evidence in that case. According to this news report in the Long Beach Press Telegram, Leonard McSherry was exonerated thanks to DNA evidence of the 1988 kidnapping and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl taken from a Navy housing complex in Long Beach. The DNA was matched to another man, George Valdespino, who was serving time in a different kidnapping and molestation case. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment dismissing the case.
We read about these kinds of stories all the time. Wrongful convictions occur more often than we hear or know about. This especially happens in sex crime cases where victims or witnesses identify the wrong person. In the absence of an aggressive and experienced sex crime defense attorney in California, it becomes impossible for a defendant to prove his or her innocence. People such as Leonard McSherry show us the importance of “innocent until proven guilty.” However, too often the media and the public are eager to convict a defendant even before they have been proven guilty.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious felony such a rape, assault or murder in California, please understand that you have legal rights. Call 888-579-4844 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced California criminal defense attorneys at Sitkoff & Hanrahan. We have the tools and skills it takes to get you an acquittal or even get your charges reduced. Contact us to schedule a free and comprehensive consultation.