Friday, January 20, 2017

Governor McAuliffe: Please Expedite The Promised Review of This Inmate’s Case

Coffeewood Correctional Center
Mr. Ronald Miles #1067348, a 61-year-old inmate at the Coffeewood Correctional Center, has been incarcerated for over twenty years for a robbery in Arlington he insists he did not commit. He has had a petition for clemency before the Governor for over 30 months, since he was unable to get justice from the courts, despite credible evidence and other documents he believes fully support his innocence and make a case for his deserving a retrial. While he was told his case would be reviewed in a timely manner, he has yet to hear from anyone in the over two and a half years that have passed since this promise was made.

Mr. Miles reports having once been arrested as a youngster for robbery, which prompted two Arlington detectives to question him about other crimes after he was arrested in March 1996 for removing an inspection decal which someone had told him he could have. Mr. Miles was then released. However, when he appeared in court on June 27, 1996, for his minor offense of three months earlier, he was arrested by an investigator who allegedly has a long history of wrongfully arresting suspects and falsifying evidence. Mr. Miles was accused of a robbery that occurred on January 22, 1996, at an Arlington hotel, though no witness had identified him as the suspect. The investigator attempted to get a confession, but did not succeed. 

At this time the investigator escorted Mr. Miles to the Arlington Jail to be booked by a sheriff deputy whom Mr. Miles discovered was not a certified booking deputy. The detective gave the deputy an evidence card and the deputy placed Mr. Miles' whole left thumbprint on the card. They alleged later that the thumbprint was found on a hotel room door, and that it took 4 1/2 months to match. 

At the preliminary hearing on July 22, 1996, the victim of the crime falsely identified Mr. Miles at the direction of the prosecutor and the the investigator. Mr. Miles did not have n attorney, and had not waived his right to counsel. The court and prosecutor later falsified the record to have it appear that Mr. Miles had waived his right to counsel, although he has evidence to the contrary.

Further, the original description by the primary witness in court does not match him in size, complexion, and balding, and no mention was made of a speech impediment he has which would have been obvious in the alleged verbal and physical altercation Miles was accused of having participated in at the hotel. So serious questions remain as to the nature of the evidence.  

Mr. Miles has also obtained letters from the state lab,which indicates no record of his thumbprint having been matched. In addition, Mr. Miles demonstrated in court that it is impossible to leave a whole thumbprint on a flat vertical door as the prosecutor falsely alleged. The thumb automatically turns sideways.

But despite many red flags in the prosecution's case he was still found guilty by an all-white jury. There was only one African American to draw from in the entire jury pool, who happened to be Mr. Miles' own sister, a fact the prosecutor falsely alleged she was unaware of.

I have been in ongoing communication with Mr. Miles and his now 86-year-old mother, and truly believe his case has merit. While I am not in a position to prove or disprove his innocence, I would encourage you to urge the Governor and the Parole Board to expedite a thorough review of his case. 

In a Commonwealth that places high values on both justice and liberty, we must make every effort to ensure that those serving time are doing so justly and those who are innocent are granted liberty.

Here's a link to express concerns to the Governor's Office and to the Department of Public Safety.
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