Judge Overturns Wrongful Conviction of Missouri Woman Imprisoned for 43 Years

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In a landmark ruling, a judge has overturned the wrongful conviction of Sandra Hemme. The Missouri woman spent 43 years in prison for a crime she did not commit. Hemme was a psychiatric patient when she incriminated herself in a 1980 killing. 

She was exonerated after her attorneys presented compelling evidence suggesting that a now-deceased police officer was the true killer.

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Wrongful Conviction

Larry Harman, who played a crucial role in getting Hemme’s initial guilty plea thrown out and later became a judge, remarked in the petition, “The system failed her at every opportunity.” 

Judge Ryan Horsman ruled on Friday that Hemme had established evidence of actual innocence. The judge ordered her release within 30 days unless prosecutors decide to retry her. The court found that Hemme’s trial counsel was ineffective and that prosecutors failed to disclose evidence implicating another suspect.