Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bulletin: Japan: Iwao Hakamada: (Read this and weep: HL); Sentenced to death in 1966, a Japanese court frees him after finding that DNA analysis obtained by his lawyers suggests police had fabricated evidence; Associated Press;

STORY: "World's longest-serving death inmate freed over evidence doubts,"  by reporter Mari Yamaguchi, published by  Associated Press on March 27, 2014. (Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for drawing our attention to this disturbing case. HL);

SUB-HEADING: "The Shizuoka District Court suspended the death sentence and ordered a retrial for 78-year-old Iwao Hakamada, who had been convicted in a 1966 murder."

SUB-HEADING: "A Japanese court grants a retrial to the world's longest-serving death-row inmate after doubts emerge of DNA evidence in a crime committed 48 years ago."

GIST: "The world’s longest-serving death row inmate was freed Thursday by a Japanese court that found investigators had likely fabricated evidence in the murder case that put the former pro boxer behind bars for nearly half a century. The Shizuoka District Court suspended the death sentence and ordered a retrial for 78-year-old Iwao Hakamada, who had been convicted in the 1966 murder of a family and was sentenced to death in 1968.........The court said Thursday that DNA analysis obtained by Hakamada’s lawyers suggested that investigators had fabricated evidence. Blood stains detected on five pieces of clothing, which investigators said were worn by the culprit during the crime, did not match the DNA of Hakamada, and trousers that prosecutors submitted as evidence were too small for Hakamada and did not fit when he tried them on."

The entire story can be found at:

See Mainichi News story: "In the decision, Presiding Judge Hiroaki Murayama approved DNA test results that indicated the DNA type from blood stains detected on five items of clothing, which were said to have been worn by the culprit, is different from Hakamada's. "It is unjust to detain the defendant further, as the possibility of his innocence has become clear to a respectable degree," he said, while also indicating that investigators might have faked the evidences.
The Shizuoka District Public Prosecutors Office said the decision was surprising and it would consult with the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office on whether to file an appeal. Defense lawyers told reporters Hakamada has remained in a diminished capacity due to his long years of detention, urging prosecutors not to file an appeal."

"Previous posts on Hakamada case here and here. This is a case from 1966. Iwao Hakamada has been held in confinement for 48 years. He is at Tokyo Detention Center, on death row. Shizuoka District Court granted Hakamada’s petition for retrial today, saying that a new DNA testing result indicates that one crutial piece of evidence did not come from Hakamada.  It is the 6th time since 1945 that the courts grant a retrial in a death penalty case. However, the prosecutors still have a chance to appeal the decision."
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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