Kris, a former self-made millionaire and racehorse owner, was convicted and sentenced to death for the October 16, 1986 murders of Derrick and Duane Moo Young in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in downtown Miami. In 2002 Kris’ death sentence was quashed because of due process violations in his trial, but he was resentenced to life imprisonment despite evidence of his innocence which has only become more blatant since.
On December 21st, 2012, Reprieve filed an appeal calling on the US courts to change the inexplicable rule that the Federal Constitution does not bar the conviction of the innocent – indeed, that innocence is not a substantive issue requiring release insofar as the US constitution is concerned.
This week the Florida prosecutors urged the judge to reject Kris’ appeal for reasons that include:
- the appeal should not be heard because it exceeds the page limit
- the appeal should not be heard because some of it is printed single spaced instead of double spaced
- the prosecution thinks that the oath verifying the appeal should have been written differently
It is notable that Kris’ appeal reveals that:
- the crimes were actually committed by the Colombian drug cartels
- another person has confessed to the offences
- Miami police sources have belatedly come forward to admit that there was a corrupt conspiracy between law enforcement and the cartels, where some police officers would frame an innocent suspect for the cartels’ murders
Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve’s Director and Kris’ pro bono lawyer for over 18 years, said: “This is the kind of nonsense that bedevils the Law when lawyers ignore justice and focus on procedures best suited to the Middle Ages. The British government must intervene in the case and insist that Kris belatedly receives a fair hearing on his innocence.”
Notes to editors:
1. For further information, please contact Clemency Wells in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 7739 188 097 / donald.campbell [AT] reprieve.org.uk / clemency.wells [AT] reprieve.org.uk
2. For copies of the appeal and the state's response, please see here and here:
3. For further information on Kris' case, please see Reprieve's website: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/krishnamaharaj/
4. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’
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