A Man Wrongly Convicted is Freed from Jail…

When a man wrongly convicted is freed from jail we all benefit. We all benefit, because whenever the systems works, albeit, slowly, it renews our faith, as a nation, in our laws and procedures.

This past Friday, a man in Los Angeles, California who spent 34 years behind bars for a decades-old killing he did not commit, was freed from jail when his conviction was overturned.

 

 

Mr. Kash Delano Register, age 53, left Twin Towers Prison in downtown L.A. and was greeted by family members and attorneys. “I’m just in a numb feeling right now,” Register told reporters. “You know, it just hasn’t really set in yet. I know it’s real, but it just hasn’t truly set in yet. It’s a beautiful feeling, though.”

In April 1979, Register was convicted of killing Jack Sasson who was 78 years of age at the time of his death.  Register was sentenced to life in prison. Mr. Register always maintained his innocence, but was convicted mainly on alleged eyewitness testimony. None of the seven fingerprints found on Sassoon’s car matched Register’s, and police never recovered the murder weapon.

On Thursday, Superior Court Judge Katherine Mader threw out the conviction.  Judge Mader ruled that prosecutors used false testimony at trial and failed to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense team.  The prosecution team has stated that they would decide by next month whether to appeal the decision or retry him.

Register’s girlfriend testified that he was with her at the time of the shooting.  The prosecutor´s case relied on the testimony of Brenda Anderson. Anderson identified Register as the gunman. Further, Sheila Vanderkam said she and Sharon Anderson, tried to tell police back in 1979 that their sibling – Brenda Anderson – was lying about seeing Register running away from the crime scene.  The sisters have stated that a detective placed his finger over his mouth, indicating they should keep silent.

Furthermore, Brenda Anderson has changed her account of the incident several times. When she was asked in court last month whether Register had been the shooter, she replied, “It may or may not have been that person.”

 

There is no doubt that this is one of those sad examples of courtroom drama and miscarriage of justice that occurs every day. As a defense attorney with over 38 years of experience of courtroom work, I know that the wrong person can, and does, get convicted more often than we think is possible.   It is regrettable and horrific when district attorneys and police hide or withhold information to achieve a conviction.

I am happy for Mr. Register and his family.  Our congratulations to him and his team.  May we continue to see reversals such as this one, and may families of the wrongfully accused gain strength for their own personal fight from Mr. Register´s success.

I am Attorney Martin E. Regan, JR. and these are my personal thoughts…