A man who spent eight years in prison for a sex crime he did not commit has finally been cleared, the Northern California Innocence Project reports.
“It took 24 years, but the truth finally came out,” said Paige Kaneb, co-counsel for Ed Easley.
The Shasta County case turned after the adult victim, molested at age seven, admitted she wrongly accused Easley to protect a cousin.
“It took 24 years, but the truth finally came out”
Easley’s name is now cleared, and the victim’s conscience can be cleared for the miscarriage of justice said Kaneb.
Easley served an eight-year sentence, and after a five-year parole he was required to register as a sex offender, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
After Easley’s release, the victim came clean as a remorseful adult and contacted the Northern California Innocence Project.
Initially a court informed Easley he likely had no case because he was no longer in custody. Four appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court were denied. However, one judge who turned Easley down wrote that the new evidence, including the victim’s recantation, would have not likely resulted in a conviction, granted a new hearing.
The new evidence had to meet the toughest standard in the country and point, “unerringly to innocence and completely undermine the prosecution’s case.” However, two laws that came into effect in January related to issues in Easley’s case enabling people released from custody to prove their innocence.
One law changed the standards for introduction of new evidence to prove innocence from “unerringly to innocence” to “more likely than not” and would have made a difference in the original trial.
Innocence Project Director Linda Starr stated, “The new standard is a game-changer.” The charges against Easley were dropped, and the conviction was vacated. Kaneb said Easley can now stop registering wrongly as a sex offender, and he can find a home, take electrical jobs and recover.