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Stolen time & Stolen lives

Robert Baltovich | Jason Dix | Randy Druken | Michel Dumont | Walter Gillespie and Robert Mailman | Ivan Henry | Clayton Johnson | Yvonne Johnson | Herman Kaglik | Peter Klassen | Donald Marshall | Chris McCullough | Michael McTaggart | Felix Michaud | David Milgaard | Guy Paul Morin | William Mullins-Johnson | Shannon Murrin | Wilson Nepoose | Frank Ostrowski | Jamie Nelson | Greg Parsons | Romeo Phillion | Benoit Proulx | Louise Reynolds | Thomas Sophonow | Gary Staples | Steven Truscott | Leon Walchuk | Joe Warren

Canadian wrongful convictions are on top with a link above; U.S. and British are below. We don't even pretend that this is a comprehensive list. Each image is clickable.

When we first went online in June, 1998, we knew of five definite cases of wrongful convictions in Canada: Steven Truscott and the four M's (Marshall, Milgaard, Morin and McCullough). All had been convicted of murders with a sex connection. This was a category we could keep track of, we thought, as we pursued justice in the false accusations of sex crimes against children in the Foster Parent case. The connection was clear -- being charged publicly with sex crimes (especially against small children) is to have your life changed in a way that cannot ever be restored.

We soon discovered that many others were using the Internet to publicize injustices done to them, their friends or members of their families. Sometimes they have received some local publicity which died out -- or was censored by media unwilling to spend the time to do proper investigations and instead accepting official versions as fact.

To have spent time incarcerated among criminals, even others convicted with murder, and to have come out the other side is to have survived the degradation and humiliation that certainly builds strong character while setting one apart. Adults who sexually assault small children are considered by everybody else to be the lowest of the low. Even when one is finally exonerated, some of the slime from the original accusation sticks. It is defamation of the worst kind, which is why Brian Dueck sought to have us jailed and muzzled when we publicly accused him of aiding and abetting in the rape and torture of an 8 year old girl.

We did not make this accusation lightly. We had written letters to every official with any power to change things and had provided the police and the media with all of our accusations. While awaiting our trials for defamation (we were acquitted of all charges) we were under strict gag orders prohibiting us from speaking, postering or demonstrating on our original allegations. But for some recognition in this country of the right to free speech, our story and the others we have posted on this website would be untold. We were banished from Sympatico's webspace and attempts were made to have us booted off the Internet locally. Were it not for the strength of the First Amendment of the Consititution of the United States (where our server is located) we would have been silenced.

Of course if we were posting defamatory speech, we could have been booted as well -- and rightly so. Many lawyer-hours have gone into fine-combing this site looking for lies. None has been found.

CBC's internationally respected public affairs show, the fifth estate, found our story on the Internet and produced respected public affairs show, the fifth estate, found our story on the Internet and produced a prize-winning show based on our material. Many of the stories on this page were brought to light by the fifth estate.

In our four years in cyberspace, membership in the club of falsely convicted persons has grown at an alarming rate. Or perhaps we should say falsely convicted pesons we have heard about. Robert Mailman and Walter Gillespie, for instance, have been cleared but remain in prison. They don't have the resources to get free and no one on the outside has time. They were disadvantaged to begin with so maybe it doesn't matter so much that they have each lost almost 20 years of their lives? The recantation of the eye-witness testimony which convicted them should surely be sufficient for their release. In hundreds of cases in the U.S. it has been shown that eye-witness testimony is unreliable.

Thomas Sophonow was more fortunate. While David Milgaard was cleared by DNA evidence, Barbara Stoppel's real killer's alibi fell apart and it was proven the crime was committed by someone else. Still, government lawyers put forth the view that Sophonow's life was not worth much because of his disadvantaged position. Judge Peter Cory thought otherwise and ordered a substantial award -- which has not yet been paid. [It has]

Our own David Milgaard (this is a Saskatchewan-based site) is still being slandered by Saskatoon Police (when Larry Fisher was convicted of murdering Gail Miller, the person David was charged with murdering, they put out the word that Fisher had raped her but Milgaard had killed her -- even though the two did not know each other). An inquiry was promised into his case but it has not happened, just as the new trial he was ordered by the Supreme Court of Canada did not happen. [It did Inquiry into the prosecution of David Milgaard]

Since we went online, another murder case in Saskatchewan received biased and sensational publicity: Leon Walchuk was convicted of murdering his estranged wife. The judge, Larry Kyle made inflammatory, improper remarks during conviction and sentencing; the appeal court unanimously rubber stamped this injustice. Walchuk has been incarcerated for almost two years. He will be eligible for a handsome compensation package when those working on his case get it to court.

The compensation packages paid out to Marshall [3M pension], Milgaard [$10M], Morin [$1.25M], Sophonow [$2.3M], Parsons [$1.3M], Kaglik ($1.1M secret deal), Mullins-Johnson [$4.25M], and Truscott [$6.5M] are a cheap price for society to pay for justice. What has been taken from the wrongfully convicted can never be restored; each one of them has said that no one should have to repeat their experience. Punitive, or exemplary damages are important as a deterrent to reckless officials. How much stolen time do all these photos represent?

Only once the officials responsible for the wrongful convictions have publicly accounted for their actions can the wrongfully convicted begin to rebuild their shattered lives and reputations. And only then can the public have restored to it that Justice is in the hands of responsible and thoughtful persons.

In the mean time, we must live with the fact that the system is flawed and that none of us is safe from the possibility of having our daily life ripped apart, perhaps on the whim of a malicious and unscrupulous cop who sees a vulnerable family as an opportunity to get his sergeant's stripes as Saskatoon's Brian Dueck did with the Klassen family in 1989 (or was it 1987? He claimed to have been investigating it that long when he went on TV to announce his big bust, although his files go back only to 1989). As long as police departments tolerate and promote bad cops like Dueck, we can hardly trust them to serve and protect the rest of us.

Restoration of reputation has little value to a dead person, although it is important to the families. Two of the people Dueck framed as vile molesters of children have died.

Several of the photos on top represent wrongfully convicted who have been executed -- In U.S. and U.K. The U.K. has stopped capital punishment but, as in Canada, it is always on the agenda, brought up in polls and surveys; when the public fever is right, there are politicians in the wings waiting to bring in legislation to have it restored. This is one of many important reasons we must not allow Steven Truscott's case to receded in the public mind. We now KNOW he was innocent, and yet, as a teen-aged boy, scared speechless, he sat in a cell and listened while the gallows to hang him was being built.

56 countries still carry out the death penalty in 2016

Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Botswana, Chad, China, Comoros, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Qatar, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Death Penalty Countries 2016

There are gruesome and harrowing stories online about botched executions, mentally challenged persons [Derek Bentley] executed without their cases being properly examined, and families left destitute after spending their last cent to try to get justice for condemned loved ones.

The Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty has an overwhelming number of death penalty cases posted. From their site we learn that 154 executions have been performed on George W. Bush's watch. Texas and Florida, Bush country, continue to execute at a rate that is difficult to keep track of. Those executed are still overwhelmingly black and poor. Carlos DeLuna: Probe says wrong man executed in Texas.

Every one of these cases started somewhere: with police, social workers, family court, prosecutors, or media. We are intervening at the beginnings, doing what we can to alert the public -- and the misled authorities involved -- to their mistakes at an early stage so they can correct them. For instance, in the Foster Parent case, we were on to Brian Dueck early. We tried every conceivable way to have him stopped. We were unsuccessful (he rose to top Superintendent in the Saskatoon force and is still there) in this instance but we know that there are many police within his organization who do not support his methods. We knew early on that Crown prosecutor Terry Hinz did not approve of the actions in the prosecutor's office and that he was an honest man; we were far too timid about getting him to speak out (he could have stopped it all in 1992), accepting his fears of losing his career as valid.

Every case that has made it to the public arena has got there because someone decided to take a risk. We encourage everyone who knows information which could exonerate innocent people to take that risk. We encourage those who have been wrongly treated to step out of the victim role and tell their stories. Let's put the bullies out of business!

Janet Reno The state of Florida has been the setting for many egregious injustices, largely through the influence of Janet Reno (seen at right wearing a mountie hat), who has mowed her way through America much as Henry Kissinger has mowed his way across the world. Does the name Janet Reno bring the place Waco to mind? What is Fair settlement?

Monique Turenne is a Canadian woman Florida is seeking to extradite on murder charges, although they will not provide disclosure on their case against her. [found guilty]

Brenton Butler was the subject of the Academy award winning documentary feature, "Murder on a Sunday afternoon".

Most defence lawyers in this country have retreated to their comfortable estates, ignoring the injustices done to others. A few have not: Clayton Ruby | Alan Young | James Lockyer | Rocco Galati | Tom Engel | Julian Falconer | Jerome Kennedy | Tony Merchant | Robert Borden | Anne Derrick and Rocky Jones

Sites with more cases: Association in defence of the wrongly convicted (Canada) | Justice Denied (U.S.) | Innocence Project (U.S.) | Northwestern Law Center on Wrongful Convictions
NOVA's list of cases cleared by DNA (to 1999)

Rhode Island policeman Jeffrey Scott Hornoff framed (by his own), jailed, and freed [2002]

From the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law: A whole list of famous trials prepared by Dr. Douglas Linder