On Wednesday, hours after the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office decided not to retry George Allen Jr. for the rape and murder conviction that was overturned last week by Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green, the Missouri Attorney General Offices announced it will appeal the court decision granting Allen habeas relief.
In a released statement, the Attorney General’s Office said the trial court’s findings should be examined by the appellate court as part of the normal safeguarding process, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Barry Scheck of The Innocence Project, which took on Allen’s case along with the Bryan Cave law firm in St. Louis, called the attorney general’s move “disgraceful.”
“This is an overwhelming case of suppression of exculpatory evidence of actual innocence, (plus) a clearly false confession taken from a mentally disturbed person,” Scheck said. “The appeal is wholly without merit and just cruel.”
In order for the Attorney General to win this appeal he needs to show that the trial court abused its discretion in granting habeas relief and acted arbitrarily and unreasonably in doing so. In the meantime, the Attorney General’s appeal will potentially keep Allen in prison until the Western District Court of Appeals’ makes a ruling. Allen’s attorneys will, however, ask that Allen be released on bail while the litigation is pending.
Scheck noted that he and the other lawyers had presented evidence of actual innocence to Green, but ultimately decided to proceed just on the Brady argument, which they felt was strong enough alone.
He said lawyers for the attorney general had indicated that narrowing the argument would be the best way to avoid a drawn-out, unnecessary appeal.
“That’s why I’m so disappointed,” he said. “We were trying to narrow it legally so the man who’s been in 30 years can get out.”