February 27, 2008

State liable for falsified evidence

This morning's Ithaca Journal has a story on the continuing echoes of one of the darker stories of Dryden's past, the Harris family murders of 1989. The New York State Court of Claims - which pretty much decides which lawsuits against the state are allowed to proceed - ruled that Shirley Kinge can collect damages against the state as a result of the State Police lab's failure to supervise an investigator who falsified a fingerprint that was supposedly on a gas can in the garage of the house. Kinge was convicted on the basis of the fingerprints, plus her use of credit cards taken during the murders, and served 18 months in prison before being released because of the evidence problem. Her son, Michael Kinge, died in a shootout with police at his Etna apartment.

The Journal notes a key part of the decision, in which the judge is plainly not happy with any of the participants in the story:

"Notwithstanding the fact that the court has found in her favor, claimant should take no satisfaction in this decision," Midey wrote. "She should be ashamed of her criminal conduct. However, throughout history a crucial question for society has been how to protect its citizens from abuses by those individuals who swear to guard them and enforce the laws. Put another way, who guards the guardians? The answer is: the Courts."

Posted by simon at February 27, 2008 12:20 PM in , , , ,
Note on photos


Philip Adams said:

I don't know how I came across this article, but recall living in Syracuse and hearing the news. I though this woman deserves to rot in jail for aiding her son. After hearing that she was falsely set-up I recall another story of woman whose son had committed heinous crimes and how much pain it caused her knowing her son could perform those acts. This woman is guilty of using these credit cards and deserved a sentence for that, knowing her son has committed these crimes should be enough for her to live with, as for the lack of remorse I recall from the news, how could she feel remorse knowing she was being found guilty of a crime she did not commit, the hatred towards our public defenders would be too overpowering for any other feelings knowing there was evidence when there should be none. If the courts do not monetary reward her, then it would be a model that no other innocent persons found guilty should collect.