An Update: The Burning Bed- Has an Innocent Man Been Locked up for 35 Years for an Arson that Never Happened?
As regular readers will recall, we wrote about a case that we are pursuing an Innocence Claim. The details can be read here: The Burning Bed- Has an Innocent Man Been Locked up for 35 Years for an Arson that Never Happened?
Since January 2014, as noted in the blog post, we filed for funds that must be appointed for the advancement of indigent defense per the United States Supreme Court case of Ake v. Oklahoma
There has been no action by the Court, it is over 4 months now.
Recently and shortly after the writing of the blog post, our office received notice that the President Judge of Dauphin County has decided to remove us from all Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) and similar case appointments. We are currently holding 12 cases. The jurist made it a point to make sure it was not due to our quality of work that lead to the decision. But instead, according to the Court, it was a measure of “cost effectiveness” after viewing 2 years worth of invoices. The only case specifically mentioned in the communication for reassignment was the James Hughney, Sr. case.
After discussion with my staff and attorneys of the office, we decided to keep the case pro bono. It is the right thing to do.
While we wish to make clear that we are not accusing the Court of reassigning this specific case or all of our cases as a result of our successful litigation of this case or other cases, and we want to applaud the Court for its concern over cost savings as all of the 23 employees and their families of The McShane Firm are citizens and taxpayers of Dauphin County, we will simply take the case on as a matter of principle. We will continue to do the right thing.