Weiser tells Denver court he will not oppose Clarence Moses-EL exoneration case
Feb. 14, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.) — Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser today said he will not oppose Clarence Moses-EL’s Petition for Exoneration in a criminal case from 30 years ago that ultimately ended in acquittal in 2015. The motion filed in court today brings the State’s case to an end and allows Moses-EL to receive compensation provided under the Colorado Exoneration Act, §§ 13-65-101 – 13-65-103, C.R.S., for years he spent in prison.
Weiser said today’s decision will save resources from not having to defend a case it would lose in court, acknowledges the State’s failure to make available DNA evidence it was required to preserve, and will prevent the parties from having to relive the experience.
“The State of Colorado needs to provide compensation to Clarence Moses-EL because it destroyed the very evidence that could have established his innocence,” Weiser said. “I am aware of the pain that the victim has endured over the years and that the destruction of DNA evidence prolonged this case unnecessarily. As Attorney General, I will work hard to learn from this travesty of justice and fight for the preservation of DNA evidence that can be used not only for exoneration purposes, but also to solve cold cases.”
Moses-EL was convicted in 1988 for assault and rape and sentenced to 48 years in prison. A Denver District Court judge released Moses-EL from prison and granted a new trial in December 2015, stating that the mistaken destruction of DNA evidence in the case and a new suspect coming forward would likely result in a jury acquitting him. In a second trial in 2016, a Denver jury acquitted Moses-EL of all crimes in the case.
The Colorado Exoneration Act compensates wrongly convicted individuals $70,000 for each year that they spend needlessly behind bars. In Moses-EL’s case, that totals almost $2 million.
Today’s action by the State of Colorado does not resolve a pending lawsuit Moses-EL has filed in federal district court against the City and County of Denver, the Denver District Attorney’s Office, and others.
Lawrence Pacheco, Director of Communications
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