Monday, March 3, 2014

Action Item: “Credible Recantations Shouldn’t Require Six Years of Litigation”, Repeal Virignia's 21 Day to Recant Rule

Taken from the below article: 

“Obviously, Mr. Olsen’s decision not to re-prosecute Edgar Coker is the right one under the circumstances. We appreciate that he moved swiftly to bring finality to the relief ordered by Judge Roush,” she said. 

But she added that Coker’s case illustrates problems inherent in Virginia’s legal system. 

“We need to make the changes necessary to prevent something like this happening again, and to provide relief for the other Edgar Cokers out there, and they are out there,” she said. 

“Credible recantations shouldn’t require six years of litigation.” 

Enright added that 15-year-olds with no criminal record shouldn’t be threatened with trial as an adult. 

Until Virginia repeals our archaic 21 Day (to Recant) Rule there will be many, many more innocent Virginians with misdemeanor and felony sexual convictions who are left to bear the label Sex Offender, to abide by the restrictions and to register under the penalty of a new felony.   

Email or call your Virginia Delegate and Senator asking them to patron a bill in 2015 to repeal Virginia’s 21 Day Rule and another bill to allow sexual misdemeanors to be included in our Writs of Actual Evidence that today only allow for felony convictions. Also contact Governor McAuliffe asking him include these proposals in his legislative agenda for next year’s Virginia General Assembly session. 


No retrial for Coker in 2007 rape case
By Pamela Gould              March 3, 2014

Edgar Coker’s legal ordeal is over. 

Stafford Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Olsen notified Coker’s legal team over the weekend that he won’t seek to retry Coker in a 2007 case in which the girl who accused him of rape recanted. 

Olsen’s decision followed word from the Office of the Virginia Attorney General that it was not appealing the Feb. 10 ruling of Judge Designate Jane Marum Roush that exonerated Coker. 

Roush, a Fairfax County judge appointed to the case after Stafford’s circuit judges recused themselves, ordered Coker’s rape and breaking-and-entering convictions vacated, and his name removed from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry. 

Roush’s order resulted from her finding that court-appointed attorney Denise Rafferty of Stafford violated Coker’s constitutional right to effective counsel when his case was in juvenile court.