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Archive for Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Group at KU agrees to review case of Lawrence man convicted in deadly fire at Boardwalk Apartments

September 6, 2011

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Recent prison mug shot of Jason Rose, who was convicted on three counts of manslaughter by a Douglas County jury for his involvement in the 2005 Boardwalk Apartment fire in Lawrence. Rose's case has recently been taken by the Kansas University Project for Innocence. Rose is serving a 10-year sentence, and is eligible for parole in June 2014.

Recent prison mug shot of Jason Rose, who was convicted on three counts of manslaughter by a Douglas County jury for his involvement in the 2005 Boardwalk Apartment fire in Lawrence. Rose's case has recently been taken by the Kansas University Project for Innocence. Rose is serving a 10-year sentence, and is eligible for parole in June 2014.

The Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies at the Kansas University School of Law plans to review the case against the Lawrence man convicted of the deadly Boardwalk Apartment fire.

The fire at the apartment building on Oct. 7, 2005, killed three people. Jason Rose, who lived at Boardwalk, was convicted of setting the fire and is serving 10 years in prison on three counts of manslaughter.

Alice White, attorney for the Project for Innocence, said her office was contacted by someone who knew Rose, asking the group to take a look at Rose’s legal case.

After a preliminary review, White said she was concerned about some aspects of Rose’s appeal, as well as the overall investigation of the case.

“We’d just like to review it,” she said.

Rose, who confessed to investigators days after the blaze, has since maintained his innocence.

There’s a chance that no more options for appeal are available, White said. A Kansas Appeals Court denied an appeal filed by one of Rose’s court-appointed attorneys, Kari Nelson, in March 2010. Rose then had a year’s window to file an appeal in the federal courts, but did not do so. That could mean there isn’t any legal avenue to keep case the alive, White said.

“We need to figure out how to get it back in court,” she said.

Rose, who’s incarcerated at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, is eligible for parole in June 2014.

Comments

goodcountrypeople 2 years, 12 months ago

There's a big problem with wrongful convictions in KS, mostly because of all the power abuses and conflict-of-interest politics among those in charge, including prosecutors. Heard the KS novelist Nancy Pickard on KPR Presents Sunday evening talking about a novel she wrote on the topic, The Virgin of Small Plains. It's pretty disappointing for idealistic people who have high expectations for those in charge to have to deal with such low, dishonest liars. Even local judges seem implicated. Boo Southern-justice, criminal injustice system! Sincerely hope Rose can get his case back in court. Secretly, I bet Douglas County prosecutors realize that many KU officials who viciously try to frame people, including their lawyers and HR Department, would make extremely impeachable and discreditable witnesses in open court.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 12 months ago

While any wrongful conviction would be troubling, there are things that trouble me even more. One might be armchair quarterbacks second guessing the findings of 12 jurors who heard all the evidence, saw all the exhibits, saw the expressions of the witnesses and then had time to deliberate their decision. Will wrongful convictions happen anyway? Obviously the answer is yes. But what should be also obvious is that those will be rare indeed. The justice system is heavily weighted in favor of the defendant, as it should be. And a big part of that is the presumption of innocence. However, once a jury declares a person guilty, they lose that presumption of innocence and are now presumed guilty. Also, as it should be.
Whatever troubles you have with the criminal justice system in general or the system here in Kansas, the fact is that this individual was tried and convicted by a jury. If there are problems with this particular case, certainly, we can re-visit the issues. That's what an appellate court is designed for. And I certainly have no problem with interested third parties like the Project for Innocence looking into the matter. Government needs all the transparency it can get. But in this case, given the conviction, I would argue that we must start from the premise that this man is guilty until proven innocent.

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Eride 2 years, 12 months ago

HA HA HA. Do you have any idea what the wrongful conviction rate is?

What is the harm of having a bunch of volunteers review a conviction to make sure nothing was amiss?

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 12 months ago

As I said, I have no problem with interested third parties looking into cases. I said government can use all the transparency it can get.
You asked "Do you have any idea what the wrongful conviction rate is?" No I don't. What is it?

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Bob Forer 2 years, 12 months ago

As a former public defender and prosecutor, I agree with you--there are problems with the criminal justice system..... in some rural areas of Kansas. Lawrence is different, though. Remember, we are "25 square miles surrounded by Kansas."

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classclown 2 years, 12 months ago

Kind of hard in Bundy's case wouldn't you think?

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