The Federal government released the Report on the Prevention of Miscarriages of Justice. This should be required reading for every prosecutor, cop, and criminal defence lawyer in the country. Federal prosecutor's report 2005
This is one of our first pages. Along with Steven Truscott, we identified the David Milgaard case as a gross miscarriage of justice in 1998.
The public, on the other hand, is interested in learning. This page is one of the most often visited — as people scour the Internet looking for information. We are learning of new cases of wrongful convictions in Canada every week! We try to catch them all but we have no way of telling if we have missed one. (We no longer even attempt to keep up with the U.S. which has become a wrongful-conviction factory. We are always interested in cases people send to us.)
"It doesn't matter if Milgaard is innocent...
The whole judicial system is at issue — it's worth more than one person."
Serge Kujawa, Saskatchewan Crown prosecutor
See also news articles and comment on the Milgaard settlement as it was unfolding. Injusticebusters receives many requests for information regarding the wrongly convicted. Full reports on the Larry Fisher trial (which resulted in his conviction for killing Gail Miller)
David Milgaard received a settlement far too late for it to have much meaning for him personally. Joyce Milgaard fought her way through indifference and outright lies and still, the Saskatoon Police Service vilifies him. In the new millennium, they do not seem to have changed their tune at all. This same police service has promoted the vile Brian Dueck to the rank of Superintendent. It has resisted efforts by the Native Community to get it to clean up its act.
Nonetheless, certain truths are coming to light and many who have accepted the lies of the past will be shown to be the craven and malicious cowards they are. It is injusticebusters' intention to do everything in our power to get rid of the corrupt police officers and to support those honest cops who don't want to be smeared with the lies of the past. The longer they remain silent, the more implicated they become!
This page has been up since December, 1998. We keep it up here to remind us that all the hard work is worthwhile. Joyce Milgaard is our hero and we hope she is getting some time to relax. We hope that David Milgaard is able to find some peace. It is important that some Saskatchewan people keep fighting against a justice system run on greed and malice.
This is the granddaddy of the growing number of cover-ups in Saskatchewan. The tradition in this province is to keep adding more layers to the cover. Let's scrape these lies off our province!
Action: Joyce Milgaard announced she will camp on the lawn of the Regina Legislature to pressure the Saskatchewan government to pay David. She points out that money received so far has gone to lawyers. inJusticebusters will join Joyce. We urge all Saskatchewan citizens who have been damaged by the Saskatchewan government's whitewash and cover-up apparatus to join also. Some of the stories they have tried to cover appear on this website. We know that there are many more grievances which have been more successfully covered through coercive gag orders negotiated by lawyers or covered through other methods of intimidation. There are deadly secrets in the uranium industry. Saskatchewan holds itself up as a world leader in health care, but that claim becomes a joke as we watch how it manipulated the nurses. Roy Romanow has strutted on the international stage, trading on his reputation as an honest negotiator. All signs indicate it is his intention to move out of provincial politics and into a larger arena. We must not let him out of here until his government comes clean and deals honestly with the backlog of shame. Pay David Milgaard!
Joyce Milgaard is publicising her new book, A Mother's Story co-authored with justice journalist Peter Edwards. Her commitment to seeking justice for falsely accused persons is an inspiration to us all. David Milgaard's case is the granddaddy of the cover-ups and Joyce Milgaard is the godmother of justice.
In her footsteps is Maureen Miller who will not stop until the cops who she believes killed her son Clayton Miller are brought to justice.
This page provides a history of the events leading to the financial compensation which David Milgaard finally received. We will keep this page here, as an example of what hard work can accomplish and with the hope that others who have had their lives wrecked by greedy officials and malicious administrations can also get proper compensation. Saskatchewan is not the only place which is guilty of smearing and victimizing its citizens. But it is a prototype. Let the shred of justice which has finally been extended to David Milgaard become the model for future settlements!
Most of us tend to think the American justice system is biased in favour of the accused, right? Not always, according to this chilling book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes; a study on the large numbers of innocent people convicted of crimes because of over-zealous, all-powerful prosecutors, unscrupulous cops, and judges whose hands are often tied, even when unmistakable evidence turns up showing innocent people are languishing in prison.
Humes notes that of approximately 6,000 death sentences imposed between 1973 and 1997, 76 have been reversed, with a third involving substantial allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct. That means one out of every 80 people sentenced to death in the U.S. in that time has turned out to be innocent. And the pace has quickened in the last few years.
To illustrate the problem, Humes uncovers the story of one man's battle against false evidence and official misconduct in a community notorious for the number of innocent people wrongly convicted. It's set in Bakersfield, California, a town which prides itself on its frontier, tough on crime mentality, an area settled by 'Okie' immigrants, immortalized by John Steinbeck in The Grapes Of Wrath.
The story involves an elderly retired school principal Pat Dunn whose wife Sandy disappeared on an early morning run, and whom he was later convicted of murdering, for which he is serving a life sentence without parole.
Humes shows conclusively how the case was tainted from the start, involving hidden witnesses, concealed evidence, malicious neighbours, behind the scenes lobbying by powerful politicians, and false statements by career criminals in return for deals. Humes notes that in America, the prosecutor is the single most powerful figure in the justice system and in all government, for that matter. And if police and prosecutor gang up on you and decide you are the culprit, instead of searching for the truth — look out. (Distican)
Saskatchewan Justice is still in a snit over the David Milgaard case. They failed to whitewash their wrong-doing in the case that took 23 years from his life; now they don't want to pay him! background below
David Milgaard says he's being revictimized by the system over delays in receiving compensation and his mother says she's ready to pitch a tent on the grounds of the Saskatchewan legislature in frustration.
Milgaard, the man who spent 23 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, told Edmonton radio station 630 CHED that he's been waiting almost two years now and just wants to get on with his life.
"Waiting for the compensation is like another prison sentence. I've been retraumatized," Milgaard said in an interview from his home in Vancouver.
"This thing has to be over. We have to walk away," he added.
In an interview from the Calgary stop of her book tour, Joyce Milgaard said she has been trying in vain to talk to Saskatchewan's Justice Minister John Nilson, about the delay.
"I've heard he is a very compassionate man but his staff told me it's totally inappropriate for me to talk to him. It's shades of Kim Campbell all over again."
Milgaard's efforts to free her son from prison were finally rewarded after she confronted Campbell, the former federal justice minister, with TV cameras rolling in 1991.
"We need to have this finalized so David can get on with his life. That's all we're asking for," she said Sunday about her latest struggle.
According to Milgaard, her son's trauma has been worsened watching his 69-year-old father work through heart problems.
"David knows it's his dad's pension money that went into fighting for him. He blames himself, no matter how much we tell him not to blame himself," she said.
"I've asked my lawyer how much trouble I can get into for putting a pup tent on the grounds of the legislature. I'm very, very serious. If we don't hear something in the next couple weeks, I'll have no recourse."
David Milgaard, 44, was convicted of the 1969 rape and murder of Saskatoon nursing assistant Gail Miller. He was set free in 1992 and exonerated in 1997 following DNA tests.
The Saskatchewan government appointed retired Montreal judge Allan Gold in 1997 to negotiate a compensation package with Milgaard's lawyers.
So far, Milgaard has received $350,000 in interim payments but he said he's given most of that money to his family. Milgaard's mother and sister, Susan, say Saskatchewan Justice received a recommendation from Gold back in January.
"They're putting him through more torture now in waiting for a final outcome. There seems to be no legitimate reason for dragging his feet," Joyce Milgaard said.
Officials with Saskatchewan's Justice Department refused comment on the matter.
David Milgaard said his family members were also victims because they too "went through hell." Milgaard, now married, said the stress of the wait has been so acute, it's driven him into therapy. "I'm experiencing a lot of trauma."
Last September, officials said they were close to settling the matter.
Experts familiar with the case have suggested the final compensation figure could reach $5 million for Milgaard, his parents, two sisters and brother.
That includes money for lost income, pain and suffering and loss of family life.
REGINA - They didn't talk numbers, but David Milgaard's lawyer says some progress toward a final compensation package for his client from the provincial government was made during a weekend meeting with former Quebec judge Alan Gold. "We had a very pleasant meeting," Winnipeg lawyer Hersh Wolch said Monday, referring to his meeting with the government's key negotiator.
"We are just going forward. There's nothing dramatic to report."
He said there was some progress in discussions of how "appropriate principles of law" should apply to "critical areas" the two sides must sort out before reaching a settlement for the 23 years Milgaard spent behind bars after being convicted of the 1968 murder of Saskatoon nursing aide Gail Miller.
Milgaard, who was released from prison in 1992, was exonerated in July 1997 when DNA testing revealed semen on Miller's clothes was not his.
A month later, the Saskatchewan Department of Justice appointed Gold, a retired Quebec Superior Court judge, to enter into negotiations with Milgaard and his family to determine compensation.
More than 16 months later, the two sides are far apart.
Government sources say there's a tremendous discrepancy between what Milgaard's lawyers are asking and what the Saskatchewan government is willing to pay.
Sources told LeaderStar News last week that communications from Milgaard's lawyer's "could be interpreted" as asking for "tens of millions of dollars" for Milgaard and his entire family. However, Justice Department lawyers are arguing the total payout to Milgaard and family should be in the $4- to $5-million range, sources said.
Wolch would not comment on how far apart he and Gold are or whether these numbers are accurate. Sources also told LeaderStar News last week there may be some differences of opinion between the $4- to $5-million payout justice lawyers see as appropriate and what Gold sees as appropriate.
Wolch said another meeting with Gold would be held soon, but he would not say when that meeting is.
This story began on Friday, Dec. 4. 1998
When we launched the website in July, 1998, the only article on David Milgaard was the one reprinted below:
In 1969, at the age of sixteen, David Milgaard was arrested and later convicted of capital murder in the rape and murder of Saskatoon resident Gail Miller. Milgaard has always maintained his innocence and after a long struggle he was able to convince government officials to have his case reviewed by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Nursing assistant Gail Miller is found dead in an alley, stabbed fourteen times with a paring knife
Based on "fresh evidence," such as a key witness recanting part of his testimony, and the 1970 confession made by Larry Fisher that he committed sexual assaults against women in Saskatoon around the same time Gail Miller was raped and killed, a Supreme Court decision on April 14, 1992 concluded that "continued conviction of accused would constitute miscarriage of justice." The court further related that "we are satisfied that there has been evidence placed before us which is reasonably capable of belief, and which taken together with the evidence adduced at the trial could reasonably be expected to have affected the verdict. We will therefore be advising the Minister to quash the conviction and to direct a new trial."
Justice Minister and Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Robert Mitchell, later stayed the proceedings against Milgaard, who was then released on April 16, 1992. However, Mitchell refused a call for an inquiry into the case.
David Milgaard is now in the process of lobbying the Saskatchewan government in an attempt to have a public inquiry into the entire affair. Milgaard is attempting to organize an event at SFU as part of his ongoing effort to raise money, and to gain signatures for a petition that he hopes will pressure the Saskatchewan government to open an inquiry into his conviction and incarceration of almost 23 years. He hopes to raise money for his campaign to establish an inquiry by selling a book of poems called Rabbits Paw, For Bandit Blues, which he compiled while in prison.
Although relieved to be out of prison, Milgaard is still demanding an inquiry into his conviction, and in regards to what he feels was an unreasonable amount of time government officials took to finally allow his case to go to the Supreme Court. When contacted, Milgaard disclosed that in order to fully clear his name and to ensure that the same thing doesn't happen to another sixteen year old, an inquiry is necessary. Although the 1992 Supreme Court decision stated that Milgaard had the benefit of a fair trial in January 1970, and that they were presented with no information that the police had acted improperly, many of Milgaard's supporters assert that coercion was used by the Saskatoon police in order to force witnesses to testify against Milgaard.
injusticebusters.org editorial: How can any trial be called "fair" when an innocent person gets convicted. Somewhere, presumption of innocence should have kicked in. [The Constitution Act, 1982 section 11d] It did not exist in 1969 but the concept has been around since the Magna Carta. It was a horrendous crime and a quick resolution was needed. This long haired teen-aged hippie from out of town was the perfect target.
Milgaard personally feels that he has been treated unfairly from the time of his arrest, and feels that an inquiry would expose the unjust treatment he experienced from the Saskatchewan justice system. The need for an inquiry is shared by observers such as Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan, president of the Criminal Lawyers' Association. Greenspan has declared that the Milgaard matter needs to be addressed and that without an inquiry it would be difficult for Milgaard to achieve financial compensation.
When asked if his motivation for a public inquiry was directly related to his hopes of getting financial compensation, Milgaard reiterated that his main concern is that the same thing does not happen to another young person. He further relates that prison is a very horrible place and he does not want to see innocent people incarcerated: "Compensation is one thing; the people involved are the most important." Milgaard avoided providing a figure on the financial compensation he is seeking other than that there can be "no price tag on what has taken place." He suggested that both he and his family suffered greatly, both throughout his incarceration and afterwards.
Although Milgaard seems determined to lobby the Saskatchewan government until he achieves his goal, it appears unlikely that an inquiry will ever come to pass. The NDP government in Saskatchewan is reluctant to call an inquiry. The official government line is that there is no reason for an inquiry due to the Supreme Court's conclusion that the original trial in 1970 was fair. This has lead some critics to suggest that the government's actions are politically motivated, due to the possible fear within NDP ranks of dredging up skeletons from the closet. This accusation is made due the fact that during the 1970 conviction of Milgaard, the now Premier of Saskatchewan, Roy Romanow, was serving as the Attorney General. As well, NDP backbencher Serge Kujawa was a Crown prosecutor who had some involvement in the Crown's original case; however, the government strongly denies the accusation that their decision against having a public inquiry was based on political self interest.
Whatever the result of such issues as the inquiry, compensation, or accountability, David Milgaard looks forward to it coming to an end — "I would just like to see it all over with at this point."