Wednesday, 11 April 2007

My name is Herman Atkins, Senior

what: Herman Atkins, Senior vs. County of Riverside
when: 10 April 2007 - 1:00 p. m. - 5:00 p. m.
11, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25 and 26 April 2007 - 9:00 a. m. - 5:00 p. m.
where: United States Couthouse
312 North Spring Street, Room 3
Los Angeles, California 90012
who: Judge Harry Pregerson, presiding (


Hello. My name is Herman Atkins, Senior. I am writing because during the next three weeks a jury will make a decision which will not only illuminate multiple violations of my own civil rights but which may also set a standard for all California prisoners who have been wrongly convicted, who have been flasely imprisoned and to whom compensation is due.

A seven year uphill battle in other federal and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has come to a head. Starting on April 10th, a potentially landmark civil trial will in Los Angeles begin.

You may know my story. I served twelve years of a 45 year and eight month sentence. In February 2000, post conviction DNA testing proved that I was factually innocent of the 1988 rape, forced oral copulation and robbery of a white woman.

During the course of the trial, my attorneys, Peter Neufeld and Deborah Cornwall of Cochran, Neufeld
& Scheck will argue that my civil rights were seriously violated by Dan Miller, an individual who in 1988 was employed by Riverside County and who investigated my case. Mr. Miller is currently employed by the FBI in a unit dealing with antiterrorism. Mr. Neufeld and Ms. Cornwall will contend that Dan Miller lied on documents, manufactured evidence, coerced witnesses, fabricated the testimony of one witness and in order to obtain a conviction, produced fraudulent photo lineups.

Before the trial is over, Riverside County will have aggressively spent millions of dollars. It has, for example, hired both Christopher Lockwood of Arias & Lockwood and Arthur Cunningham of Lewis, Bribois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP to defend Dan Miller. If Mr. Miller is declared guilty of all charges, Riverside County may have to face the possibility of defending itself in other cases involving wrongful conviction.

I truly hope that if he is found guilty, personnel from Internal Affairs of the United States Department of Justice will get involved and will review all cases to which Dan Miller's signature is attached. I personally believe that Dan Miller was well seasoned at framing innocent people and covering the pernciousness of what he had done. I believe that my case is illustrative.

I also believe that using freedom to unite with family and to return to school will be part of my legacy. I have received both an Associate of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in psychology and am currently working on a master's degree in psychology from California State University Fresno. My wife, Machara, and I have founded Life Intervention for Exonerees (LIFE), an organization which immediately upon their being released, donates funds to exonerees and to their significant others. For the State of California, I chair the Council of the Wrongfully Convicted. I speak frequently and passionately about human rights. I am vocal in support of abolition.

I have in a variety of ways tried to help others who, like myself, have been victims. Now I need your help. I WANT TO PACK THE COURTROOM. I want the public's attention to be drawn to the devastating and to the destructive repercussions of police and of prosecutorial misconduct. I want the public to hear the details. I want the elaboration of details to establish precendents - that is, new ways of looking at American justice and especially at American injustice. That injustice is, I believe, a national plague.

I urge you to be a witness for me and by extension for many others. I invite your presence. Please spread the word. In anticipation and in solidarity, I thank you.
...although this is technically slightly off topic, technically is the operative word....the issue of compensation is one which haunts not only Mr. Atkins but also all other exonerees....Mr. Atkins' statement about being vocal in support of abolition is modest in the extreme....upon release, one of the first presentations he made was at a rally to abolish the death penalty on a hot summer day at the alternative Democratic Convention in Los Angeles....he was a beautiful human being at the time....he still peace...

1 comment:

sisselnor said...

Correction: The judge hearing Herman Atkins' case is Judge Dean Pregerson (who is the son of Judge Harry Pregerson).

Robert D. Bacon, Attorney at Law
484 Lake Park Avenue, PMB 110
Oakland, CA 94610-2768
phone 510-834-6219; fax 510-444-6861