20 votes

Clerk who helped inmate exonerate himself with DNA evidence fired

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.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


I ask for divine intervention on behalf of the clerk. Give the clerk her earned retirement.

ecorob's picture

In 1934 they would have made a movie about this lady.

In 2013 she got fired from her job and threatened with prosecution for obstructing "justice" if she fought it!

34 years of loyal service so the "machine" can eat you.

Welcome to Amerika.

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

This needs bumped up. This so called justice system is a joke.

Must see. The states attorney in this vid I am linking deliberately withheld so much evidence and lied about other stuff. He should serve the rest of his life in prison like so many of his wrongful convictions did to others. So sad. Graves now fights against the torture that is solitary confinement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dvF3gIDu6Q



This statement is telling...

Chief Justice John G. Roberts said that such an allowance risked “unnecessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice.”


Don't we all think the established SYSTEM of criminal justice should be to determine innocence or guilt? Evidently Roberts believes whether innocent or guilty, the SYSTEM must be maintained. Roberts is convinced potentially innocent people should remain in prison because to question the innocence of a person after conviction would "unnecessarily overthrown" the SYSTEM. Never mind innocent people are spending decades in prison for crimes they didn't commit.

We should all examine the "established SYSTEM" to which he refers, it is our duty as citizens.

Having a Chief Justice who would prefer the injustice...

...of keeping innocent people behind bars is a mockery of the very "system" he wants to protect.


The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges don’t need confirmation — by Congress or anyone else.

No other part of U.S. law works this way. The chief justice can’t choose the judges who rule on health law, or preside over labor cases, or decide software patents. But when it comes to surveillance, the composition of the bench is entirely in his hands, and, as a result, so is the extent to which the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can spy on citizens.


It's very scary that someone who unshamedly prefers to keep innocent people imprisoned for the sake of the "established system" would have such a role as he does when it comes to the surveillance leviathan.