Missouri Circuit Court Judge Fires Longtime Court Personnel For Helping
Wrongly Accused Innocent Defendant
In 1984, Robert Nelson was wrongly convicted of rape. Even though you are
supposedly innocent until proven guilty, apparently this defendant had
to prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. He did so. In 1983,
evidence was collected from the rape scene. However, DNA technology was
not available at the time and he was the one blamed. He continued to claim
his innocence and had been asking the court for an examination of the
DNA evidence and an analysis. Unfortunately, the judge kept denying the
request until Mr. Nelson filed a motion he copied from another case, which
was of public record. That is when the judge granted the motion and it
was soon afterwards determined that Mr. Nelson was not the rapist. He
was freed on June 12.
While the document Mr. Nelson used to make his own motion was a public
record, he didn't know about it or where to look. Therefore, 70 year
old Sharon Snyder, who was a 35 year court personnel veteran, gave the
defendant's sister a copy of the motion. Because of this deed, the
truth was realized.
However, instead of receiving accolades, the judge fired her because she
shouldn't have given advice or opinions regarding the legal matter.
Although she was fired, Snyder said, "I think I might have been the
answer to his prayers." She was planning on retiring in March anyway,
and this will not remove her pension benefits.
Interestingly enough, both the lawyer for the State in Jackson County and
one of the previous the
criminal defense attorneys in the Nelson case objected to her actions.