Family member of murder victim upset by 'Writ of Actual Innocence' law [Letter]

This letter was sent to Del. Samuel Rosenberg, a Democrat representing District 41-Baltimore, in the Maryland General Assembly. A copy was provided for publication.

I am writing this email to you because you need to be aware, if not already, what your legislation has accomplished. This past week my family suffered the decision of a Frederick County judge who has granted a twice convicted murderer a new trial via his "Writ of Actual Innocence" plea.

The evidence in question discredited by DNA testing was one small piece in a mountain of evidence utilized by two juries to convict John Huffington of then, capital murder. The law states that the lack of this discredited evidence would have to had substantial impact and possibly changed the juries verdict. I need not explain all that; you introduced this legislation. Trust me Delegate, this was not a model case for your legislation. But, the unintended consequences of legislative malfeasance has contributed to this inexplicable perversion of the law.

Because legislators like yourself failed to include the appropriate safeguards, activist judges and high powered attorneys, more consumed with having their names published in the Harvard Law Review than they are with actual justice, have successfully freed this animal from his rightful place in prison and opened a wound that my family thought was healing and a thing of the past. I am deeply ashamed of my state and vow to use every ounce of strength in my being to see that this well-intentioned but seriously flawed law is changed.

I hope that I can count on your support to correct this law so that it may not be used by ill intentioned parties to irresponsibly free those who any reasonably minded individual, especially a judge, would determine to be clearly guilty. To place this decision in the hands of one single individual provides an opportunity for a potential act of moral turpitude. That act, sir, was committed by a judge in a Frederick County Courtroom and it has shaken the trust of the people and the scales of justice. As a past board member of the ALCU I'm sure you are sensitive to the plight of those to whom justice has not be adequately served. In this case it is the justice not served to the victim and her family, not the convicted felon. I hope you're able to see that, Delegate and understand what needs to be done.

Bill Watson

Havre de Grace

The writer is the brother of the late Diana Becker, a homicide victim in the case involving John Huffington.

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