California Innocence Project pushes for release of man facing life in jail over a 'technicality'
POSTED: Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 1:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Supporters of a Los Angeles man who remains in jail despite being declared innocent by a federal judge, delivered more than 90,000 petition signatures to the state Attorney General's Office calling for his release on Monday.
Daniel Larsen was convicted in 1999 of possession of a concealed weapon and sentenced to 27 years to life, but had the conviction overturned when a judge in 2009 found his constitutional rights had been violated.
At a press conference on Monday, Larsen's fiancée, Christina Combs, joined Brian Banks, a football star who was exonerated after serving a five-year sentence after his accuser admitted she lied about him raping her, and members of the California Innocence Project to call for his release.
"I just need him to come home," said Combs, who recently launched the petition on Change.org, which pushes for social change. "I love him."
In the petition Combs calls on state Attorney General Kamala Harris to officially exonerate Larsen and rescind the state's objection to his release from jail.
The group presented thousands of signatures in boxes and signs calling for Larsen's release.
Larsen was convicted in 1999 of possession of a concealed weapon after two police officers testified they saw Larsen toss a knife under a nearby car in the parking lot of a bar.
Supporters say Larsen was the victim of poor representation.
His his trial attorney reportedly failed to call as many as nine witnesses, including a former police chief who said he saw another man toss the knife.
As a result Larsen was convicted and sentenced to 27 years-to-life in prison under California's Three Strikes Law.
He had two prior strikes for burglary.
Larsen was later ruled innocent by a federal judge, who reversed his conviction and declared that his constitutional rights had been violated.
Larsen has remained incarcerated since that ruling because the Attorney General claims that he did not present proof he was innocent quickly enough -- a legal technicality that could keep him in prison for life, according to the California Innocence Project.