LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – After spending greater than 20 years in jail for a 1998 double homicide and theft conviction, Michael Brizendine walked out of courtroom a free man Thursday, a end result set in movement months in the past when a federal decide threw out the conviction.
“Michael Brizendine went to jail due to police and prosecutorial misconduct,” Washington protection lawyer Eric Sandberg-Zakian stated after a brief listening to during which Brizendine was sentenced to time served. “He was an innocence man.”
Brizendine beforehand entered an Alford plea to expenses of theft and manslaughter 2nd, which means he maintained his innocence however acknowledged prosecutors had sufficient proof to probably get a conviction.
Prosecutors didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Earlier this yr, Assistant Commonwealth’s Lawyer Scott Drabenstadt acknowledged there have been issues with the case however insisted Brizendine might be retried for the 1996 murders of Jeffrey Wilson and Johnny Nash.
“No matter occurred when it comes to prior trial counsel being ineffective, no matter occurred when it comes to maybe LMPD officers both being grossly negligent and even being dishonest when it comes to an merchandise of proof with the pockets, this case can nonetheless resolve in a conviction for Mr. Brizendine, little question about that,” Drabenstadt informed a decide in February.
Louisville protection lawyer Ted Shouse, who additionally represents Brizendine, stated the change of coronary heart by the Jefferson Commonwealth’s Lawyer’s workplace to supply a plea and time served moderately than retry Brizendine “speaks for itself.
“… It is disheartening to see how issues like this occur however now Mr. Brizendine must get on together with his life,”
Throughout closing arguments of Brizendine’s trial, a Louisville prosecutor confirmed jurors a photograph of a sufferer’s turned-out pocket and famous the person’s pockets was lacking and had not been recovered.
The implication: The person had been robbed.
However the pockets had been eliminated by police and later given to the sufferer’s household – a reality the prosecutor, detective and even Brizendine’s personal lawyer knew or ought to have recognized however didn’t right through the trial, based on courtroom data.
As well as, police have been accused of ignoring and probably dropping a driver’s license discovered on the scene – a attainable various suspect, Sandberg-Zakian stated.
“Police botched the crime scene, hid proof after which both missed or coated up an important lead,” he stated. “Then, at trial, these officers obtained…