Monday, April 28, 2008

Tabitha Pollock Wrongfully Convicted For Murder For Not Being A Mind Reader

Tabitha Pollock wrongfully convicted based on what she should have known. Tabitha Pollock was sleeping when her live-in boyfriend, Scott English, killed her 3-year-old daughter, Jami Sue, in the early morning hours of October 10, 1995, at their home in Kewanee, Illinois.

Exonerated Tabitha Pollock was charged with first-degree murder because prosecutors believed she should have known of the danger, Pollock spent more than six years in prison before the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the conviction. The state of Illinois and many other states accept the notion that parents may be held legally accountable for the deaths of their children when they have witnessed or otherwise know of grave threats to their safety. Ms. Pollock's case differed in that she was held responsible on what lawyers call a negligence theory — that Tabitha Pollock should have known of the potential danger, even if she did not.
A negligence standard is seldom used in the criminal law. "Should have known," the high court ruled, was not nearly enough to keep Pollock behind bars.

At her trial, the prosecution produced no witness who had suspected her boyfriend of prior abuse. "How could I have known he would murder my precious baby girl?" Ms. Pollock wrote. "I did not know, yet I received 36 years in prison for not being a mind reader."

With a felony record, she cannot become a teacher, as she wants. She cannot collect damages from the Illinois government.
In Illinois, to regain a certifiably clean record and collect compensation - a lump payment of $60,150 for five years or less in prison, or $120,300 for six to 14 years - an exonerated inmate must obtain a "pardon based on innocence" from the governor. A 15-member state review board interviews the petitioners and makes a recommendation, but the governor is not obligated to make a decision.

To fully clear her name, Pollock needs an official pardon,which only the governor can give. Please let's help Tabitha Pollock with her official pardon and email Gov. Rod Blagojevich, click on link HERE.

She applied in 2002 but has received no word.
Please email Gov. Rod Blagojevich requesting an official pardon for Tabitha Pollock so she can become a teacher.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has this on his website:
"The Governor certainly appreciates your issues and concerns. Please know that your matter will be promptly forwarded to his office for review."

A spokesman for Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) said last month that the governor is flooded with petitions and has not had time to focus on Pollock's case.
Tabitha Pollock was sleeping when her live-in boyfriend, Scott English, killed her 3-year-old daughter, Jami Sue, in the early morning hours of October 10, 1995, at their home in Kewanee, Illinois.
The following year, a Henry County jury convicted Pollock of first-degree murder and aggravated battery based on the prosecution's contention that she “should have known” English posed a danger to Jami Sue's life. The judge sentenced Pollock to 36 years in prison.
The Third District Illinois Appellate Court affirmed the conviction in 1999, even though the trial judge had observed during a post-trial proceeding that Pollock “did not commit the act of killing, nor did she intend to kill the child, nor was she present in the room when her boyfriend killed the child.” Click
here to Read Appellate Court Opinion.
You can read more about the case on University School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic Website.
UPDATE - NOV. 2008
A road to compensation opens in wrongful conviction cases
New Illinois law bypasses wait for a pardon
By Azam Ahmed
Chicago Tribune reporter
October 14, 2008
Former Illinois inmates exonerated of wrongdoing now have another recourse after enduring long delays for clemency decisions by the governor.Lawyers at Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions plan to take advantage Wednesday of a new law that allows the exonerated to circumvent the governor and file for certificates of innocence directly from circuit courts.Previously, those who were wrongfully convicted needed the governor's pardon to obtain compensation for their time in prison, even if their convictions had been thrown out. As a result, many waited years for Gov. Rod Blagojevich—who had amassed a sizable backlog of petitions—to make a clemency decision."We can never give them back the years they lost with their families and the pay they lost, but this bill will give them the opportunity to be educated, be given job training and the necessary assistance to get back on their feet," said Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago), the bill's sponsor.The new law will make the process faster for those whose convictions have been reversed, dismissed or otherwise set aside. Before the legislation was passed, Illinois was among the few states that required a pardon from the governor to obtain compensation for wrongful imprisonment.The bill passed state House and Senate, only to be vetoed by Blagojevich in late August. But both chambers overrode the veto, and the bill was passed into law in late September.Staff from the wrongful convictions center plan to file petitions Wednesday for Marlon Pendleton, Robert Wilson, Marcus Lyons and Tabitha Pollock.Pendleton, who has waited years for a clemency decision by Blagojevich, was the subject of a Tribune story in June that focused on the governor's backlog of pardons and its impact on the wrongfully convicted.Pendleton was hopeful on Monday about his prospects for finally receiving compensation."It's been a long time coming," said Pendleton, who was cleared by DNA testing and released from prison after serving more than decade for a sexual assault conviction.


Zathyn Priest said...

I certainly she gets the pardon she deserves - what an insanely, rediculous reason to put some in prison.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe something like this is allowed to happen in the USA. This woman does not deserve what she has received and the prosecutor deserves to find his ass on the unemployment line. I saw this story on 20/20 and was outraged. I emailed the governor of Illinois in support of her receiving a full pardon and I hope others will do the same.