By Ruby Chavez
SAN FRANCISCO – Kim Long was incarcerated seven years in prison for the murder of her live-in boyfriend, which she did not commit and spent 17 years trying to prove her innocence.
But this week, the California Supreme Court has decided to toss out Long’s 2003 murder conviction in a unanimous decision, noting that if the jury had heard a time-of-death analysis, the results of the trial would have been different.
The California Supreme Court wrote, “The court ruled that expert testimony estimating time of death before arrived home ‘could raise a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors’ and ‘could be fatal to the Peoples case.’ Applying our independent judgment, we agree.”
In 2016, Long was released after Riverside Superior Court Judge Magers reversed her conviction, which found the results of the trial would have been different if the jury had heard from a time-of-death expert about when Kim’s live-in boyfriend died.
Long was released on bail despite an appeal by the Riverside County DA’s Office. The state’s highest court’s recent decision relied on the time-of-death analysis to once again prove Long’s innocence, that she had not murdered her boyfriend.
Justin Brooks, Director of the California Innocence Project and a Professor of Law at California School of Law said, “I was thrilled to read the California Supreme Court decision on Kim Long’s case.” He added “this ruling ends a 17 year-legal battle and affirms that Kim Long never should have been convicted of this heinous crime.”
Even with the years-long battle, Long is employed, reacquainted with family and friends, and has rejoined society as a productive member, while enjoying her freedom.
Alissa Bjerkhoel, Litigation Coordinator at the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law, said “it’s with mixed emotions that we celebrate this tremendous win.”
She added “on the one hand, Kim Long has been vindicated once again and by the highest court of our state. I am so proud of our justice system for correcting this wrong and I am even more proud of Kim, the strongest woman I know, who has had to endure this nightmare for far too long.”
Ruby Chavez is a graduating senior at California State University Sacramento majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Sociology. She is from Visalia, California
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