Monday, November 26, 2012

Va.: Montgomery release at last

Convicted on the word of a stupid woman. More details here

Elizabeth Paige Coast has been charged with perjury

Johnathan Montgomery stepped into the chilly night air Tuesday evening as a free man. After receiving a conditional pardon from Gov. Bob McDonnell, he was finally released from the Greensville Correctional Center where he had remained incarcerated for four years for a crime he did not commit.

About a month ago, his accuser admitted she had fabricated a story that Mr. Montgomery had sexually assaulted her. On Nov. 9, a Hampton Circuit Court judge ordered that his conviction be overturned. But due to a convoluted Virginia process, Mr. Montgomery was not going to be released until a petition had made its way through the Virginia Court of Appeals. This was despite the fact that the Hampton Circuit Court judge, the Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney, the Virginia Attorney General all advocated his release.

Not only did Montgomery lose the four years he'd spent in prison, he had to endure another 11 days of incarceration while the powers that be jockeyed for a solution. Eleven days may not sound like much to those of us who take our liberties for granted, but in this young man's case, that delay was especially unjust. As he said when he left Greensville, "You don't know what is lost until you've lost it."

Our Governor did a good thing Tuesday, and his personal calls to apologize to Montgomery and his parents were also the right thing to do. While Mr. Montgomery's freedom is no doubt exhilarating, his exoneration will not be truly complete until all the paperwork is signed and his record is expunged of the wrongful charges and conviction.

Original report here

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