Missouri Circuit Court Judge Fires Longtime Court Personnel For Helping Wrongly Accused Innocent Defendant

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.

Categories: Criminal law
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