Attorneys for Idaho death row inmate Don Paradis hope public concern can save their man.
Can it happen?
Yes, albeit rarely, say death penalty experts.
Here are two cases where public outcry set convicted murderers free:
Two years ago, 52-year-old Walter McMillian was freed after five years on Alabama’s death row. In a two-day trial, he had been convicted of shooting a store clerk. McMillian’s appeals had been turned down four times.
Then “60 Minutes” produced a story about the case. New attorneys also joined the case and found the testimony that convicted him had been perjured. In the end, all the prosecution witnesses recanted.
Four years earlier, Randall Dale Adams walked out of a Dallas jail after 12 years behind bars for the murder of a Dallas police officer.
The jury recommended Adams be executed, but the sentence later was reduced to life imprisonment.
In filmmaker Errol Morris’ documentary “The Thin Blue Line,” all major witnesses against Adams recanted their testimony. Another man all but confessed to the shooting. The Texas Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Adams.
Two prosecutors in the Adams case resigned, and the assistant district attorney was dismissed.
Adams later sued Morris over the rights to the story.