How Many Innocent People Are In Missouri Prisons? (Ken Middleton)
“ IN MISSOURI INNOCENCE IS NOT ENOUGH BECAUSE PROCEDURE’S AND FINALITY IS MORE IMPORTANT!
People who have been through our broken justice system know the pain and frustration of that all to well. Not to mention the heartbreak of watching a family member languish in prison for a crime they didn’t commit or a ridiculous sentence due to an inept attorney.
My father Ken Middleton’s case should really shock the conscience of most people and I would encourage you to take a look at my website for all the details. But in short, in 1990 my “bonus mother” tragically mishandled a pistol causing it to fire and striking her on the left side of her forehead. My father was convicted the following year of her death and I have spent my entire adult life relentlessly crusading for his exoneration and freedom. Although, his trial was severely flawed most of my frustration is with our broken appellate system.
In Missouri we execute people, either with a date or without a date like my fathers sentence of life without parole. In a state with such severe sentences being administered you would think we would want to make every effort as a society to get it right, but that’s clearly not the case.
In 2004 the same trial judge that sent my father to prison to die saw flaws so shocking that she reopened his case and held a two day evidentiary hearing in which strong evidence of actual innocence was presented to her. In fact, our case was so strong that after the hearing but before the judge even ruled the Jackson Co Missouri Prosecutor offered my father an Alford plea and immediate release and he refused!! Not a guilty man in prison would turn that down!! So eleven months later when the trial judge overturned his conviction due to ineffective assistance of counsel, rather than give him the fair trial the judge ordered the Prosecutors appealed the decision and took our new trial away on jurisdictional grounds only! Never addressing the merits of the trial judges ruling that an innocent man may be dying in prison.
With the recent passing of Senate Bill 53 in 2021 the lawmakers have given jurisdiction to local courts (just like where my father won his new trial) but only if a prosecutor agrees they have information of innocence or an erroneous conviction due to constitutional error.
Who could provide a prosecutor with more information of innocence and an erroneous conviction than the same trial judge’s order who just so happens to now be the advisor to the Jackson co Prosecutor office??? With all of this Jean Peters Baker refuses to give jurisdiction back to the local courts and is content with my father dying in prison over a jurisdictional defect.
So before you jump on the Jean Peters Baker bandwagon for freeing Kevin Strickland….. which I believe she should do ASAP!! Ask yourself this, if Ken Middleton doesn’t have enough information of an erroneous conviction what chance does anyone else have ?? S.B 53 is only as good as the Prosecutor standing behind it!!”