A California man sentenced to life in prison under a Three Strikes Law remains in prison while prosecutors appeal a federal court's finding he is innocent.
Daniel Larsen won the federal ruling more than two years ago but prosecutors, who argue there was adequate evidence to convict him, say he filed the federal appeal after deadlines had passed, the Los Angeles Times reproted.
Larsen, who had two convictions for burglary, was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison after police officers who had gotten a call about a bar fight in 1998 said they saw him throw a double-edged knife under a car. His lawyer, who didn't call any defense witnesses, was later disbarred and other witnesses now say someone else was carrying the knife.
Robert Weisberg, a Stanford Law School professor, says prosecutors are afraid of endless appeals from inmates with weak cases.
"What they're saying is, this guy had his chances. At a certain point the music has to stop and a case just has to be closed," Weisberg said. "We're afraid that lots of people who were not unjustly convicted are going to be encouraged to frame their case as the injustice of the century."
But Larsen's lawyers argue the state Attorney General's Office simply wants to preserve the conviction record.
Larsen could remain in prison for several more years while the case is appealed.
"He's living in legal limbo just waiting to be released," his fiancee, Christina Combs, told the Times.
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