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FORMER ECM WRITER SPOTLIGHTS INNOCENCE PROJECT'S EFFORTS TO FREE MAN EXONERATED OF MURDER




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Richard Darvas, a freelance investigative journalist who has won awards for his reporting in East County Magazine, has painstakingly dissected the case of William Richards, a prisoner whom the San Diego-based California Innocence Project believes was falsely convicted of murder. 

 By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2012 (San Diego)--In August 1993, William Richards lost his wife of 22 years to a grim murder in Hesperia, Calif. Richard Darvas, an investigative reporter convinced of Richards’ innocence, observes, “State accusers wrested away the last vestiges of his dignity during four murder trials over as many years. At sentencing in San Bernardino Superior Court, the remainder of this man’s life was bartered for a hollow expedient.”  

In 2001, Richards' prospects were revived when the San Diego-based California Innocence Project took up his legal cause. Sixteen years to the day after his wife's homicide, Richards achieved a hard-won exoneration in 2009. Freedom turned out to be illusory, however. A Riverside appellate court reversed the vacated conviction in late 2010.

In an unexpected turn of events, the California Supreme Court recently granted the Innocence Project’s request to review Richards’ conviction. Richards’ attorneys expect to present oral arguments in the coming months—with a final opinion to be issued thereafter.
 
Days ago a website, www.exoneraterichards.com , was launched exclusively to shed light on Richards' plight. It contains an in-depth chronicle by Darvas of Richards' ongoing battle against injustice.
 
“Please share its contents with your colleagues, family and friends,” Darvas asks. “The Project's aim is to raise nationwide awareness of Richards' one-of-a-kind story in order to attain some small measure of justice for the 62-year-old prisoner, who is also fighting cancer.”