Clerk who helped inmate exonerate himself with DNA evidence firedSubmitted by JO4RP on Sun, 08/04/2013 - 07:11
Thanks to new DNA evidence a Kansas City man was released from prison three decades after a wrongful rape conviction, though the 70-year-old clerk instrumental in his release was fired for insubordination.
Sharon Snyder, who was fired about nine months prior to her retirement after 34 years as a court employee, was let go by a Jackson County Circuit judge in Missouri for offering legal advice to 49-year-old Robert Nelson, convicted in 1984 to 50 years incarceration for a Kansas City rape the year prior.
Nelson maintained his innocence in the case since that conviction, and in August of 2009 filed a motion with the court seeking DNA testing that had not been available at the time of his trial 25 years prior, reports the AP. That motion was denied, evidently due to Nelson’s lack of knowledge of the law to make a proper case.
Two years after that petition Nelson filed another motion seeking DNA testing, but was again denied. Following that second attempt, Snyder gave Nelson’s sister, Sea Dunnell, a copy of a successful motion filed for a different case which had also requested that DNA evidence be tested.
Nelson, who had no legal representation at the time, was able to use that motion as a guide for his own, which he filed successfully in February of 2012. In August a judge sustained the motion and assigned Nelson Laura O’Sullivan, legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project to be his legal representative.