SUSAN MELLEN TO RETURN TO JUDGE MARK ARNOLD’S COURT (DEPT. G) AT THE TORRANCE COURTHOUSE AT 8:30 A.M. ON NOVEMBER 21, 2014
TORRANCE, CA. – On Friday, November 21, 2014, Judge Arnold will rule on Susan Mellen’s Petition for Finding of Factual Innocence filed by Innocence Matters on Wednesday, October 15. The decision, originally slated for October 24, was delayed for one month at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office’s request, to give the office time to evaluate its position on the motion.
On October 10, 2014, the prosecutor agreed that Ms. Mellen was convicted on false evidence and joined in Innocence Matters’ request for the court to vacate Ms. Mellen’s conviction, dismiss the case, and release her immediately. That same day, Judge Mark Arnold found Ms. Mellen had been convicted on false evidence and he expressed his belief that “not only is Ms. Mellen not guilty, I believe, based on what I’ve read, she’s innocent.”
According to Innocence Matters’ Executive Director Deirdre O’Connor, “Given that all parties and the Court agree there is no credible evidence implicating Ms. Mellen and there is overwhelming evidence pointing to her innocence, I predict a very short hearing. Ms. Mellen only needs to show she is more likely innocent than not.”
A formal finding of factual innocence would pave the way for Ms. Mellen to receive the modest statutory compensation of $100 for each day she was wrongfully imprisoned for a crime she did not commit, pursuant to Penal Code section 4900.
Although not nearly enough to pay for the tremendous loss and suffering Ms. Mellen and her children have endured during Ms. Mellen’s 17-year incarceration, a ruling in her favor will give this 59-year-old grandmother some financial independence.
Since her release last month, Ms. Mellen has been living off the charity and kindness of strangers. She is staying with her oldest daughter and son-in-law, and their two children in a small two-bedroom apartment. More information on the case available here.