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Judge Orders New Trial for Lorinda Swain

On Tuesday, August 21, Lorinda Swain called Kate Branham of PI, to tell her the good news.  Judge Sindt, the judge in her original trial, ruled in her favor, granting her a new trial!
Lorinda has spent eight years in prison and three years out on a tether during her appeal.  Sentenced to 30 to 50 years convicted solely on the testimony of her adopted son.  Ronnie, her son, has long since recanted his testimony.  He says the story was all a fabrication; a child’s attempt to take the spotlight off his own misbehavior at the time.
But, even after three years in appeal and the only evidence removed from the table, Lorinda continues to live in limbo.  After two favorable rulings by the court, Calhoun County prosecutor, Susan K. Mladenoff may move for the new trial, appeal the judge’s decision or drop the charges.  Lorinda has said “every time the phone rings, I jump…wondering if it’s the call which will send me back to prison.”  And even though the ruling by the Judge is in her favor,  she will continue to live every day as she has these last three, jumping every time the phone rings.
Click on “Read More” below to see the Wood TV (Grand Rapids)video story.
There remains no evidence now that Ronnie has recanted.  The crime was simply never committed.  So Mladenoff will only either appeal or drop the charges.  In this case, the prosecutor has already appealed ad nauseum, wasting taxpayer money and most importantly years of Lorinda’s life.  Traditionally, the courts and prosecutors incline against accepting post-trial recantations.  And Mladenoff appears almost pathological in her defense of her office’s “win”, seemingly more concerned with the scoreboard than the fact that there is no evidence in this case.

You may download Judge Sindt's judgment for yourself. He did not grant her a new trial based on all the issues brought by the Michigan Innocence Clinic, but only one is necessary. The most significant charge by the defense against the prosecution was the failure to turn over exculpatory evidence, something which happens often as a result of tunnel vision, but sometimes due to dishonesty.

Judge: Dead cop withheld Swain evidence


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For Those Desiring PI to look at Your Case


At this point in our development, PI is only taking on cases in cooperation with other innocence projects. If you have been wrongfully convicted and your case involves DNA evidence, we recommend you contact the Cooley Innocence Project at Western Michigan Cooley Law School. If your case does not involve DNA, please contact the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. A third member of the Innocence Network is SADO, the State Appelate Defense Organization. For cases outside of Michigan, here is a list of innocence projects by state.