(KCPW News) A Louisiana man convicted of an aggravated robbery that took place eight years ago in Salt Lake City has been found factually innocent of the crime. 3rd District Judge Royal Hansen overturned Harry Miller’s conviction Monday, officially exonerating him after a jury found the 57-year old guilty of stealing a woman’s purse at knifepoint. Miller’s defense attorney, Jensie Anderson, says evidence showed Miller was in Louisiana recovering from a stroke on the day of the crime, but that didn’t stop him from being convicted.
“Harry didn’t have money to aid in his own defense. He was assigned a public defender,” she explains. “The investigation was not thorough into his alibi of being in Louisiana and unfortunately when an eyewitness gets up on the stand, juries tend to believe that eyewitness testimony is the best testimony out there.”
The victim identified Miller in a lineup three years after the crime, even though he didn’t match the woman’s original description of an 18-to-22 year old male.
“I think that this is a case that really points out the problems with eyewitness identification and the problems in our system. And I think this is also a case where we need to applaud the state in their decision to right what went wrong nine years ago and to let Mr. Miller get on with his life and do it as an innocent man,” says Anderson.
Miller was released from prison in 2007 after his case was dismissed. Rocky Mountain Innocence Center attorneys appealed the conviction under Utah’s factual innocence law in 2008. Anderson says he plans to return to Louisiana.