CHEYENNE, WYOMING – Today attorneys for the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC) filed a motion in Wyoming’s First District Court on behalf of Andrew Johnson, a man convicted of sexual assault and aggravated burglary over 23 years ago. Initial tests on the newly found DNA evidence confirm his innocence.
Mr. Johnson was arrested for first-degree sexual assault and aggravated burglary in June of 1989. Mr. Johnson has maintained his innocence throughout his trial and has continued to do so during his over 23 years spent in a Wyoming state prison.
RMIC Managing Attorney, and co-counsel on the case, Elizabeth Fasse stated, “The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center has been working on Andrew’s case for over 10 years. We are confident the Wyoming judicial system will do the right thing and exonerate Andrew.”
“We’ve been pleased to be able to work closely with Laramie County District Attorney Scott Homar to correct Andrew’s wrongful conviction,” says Attorney Aaron J. Lyttle, of Long Reimer Winegar, Beppler LLP, and Wyoming co-counsel on the case.
Mr. Johnson’s potential exoneration would not have been legally possible just a few short years ago. Prior to 2008, the state of Wyoming did not have a statute in place providing prisoners with a right to petition courts for DNA testing in their cases. RMIC, working closely with prosecutors in Wyoming, helped to draft the law allowing Wyoming prisoners to petition for DNA testing to prove their innocence.
“Wyoming state officials and legislators should be applauded for passing legislation that gave Andrew a chance to prove his innocence,” stated RMIC Executive Director Jennifer Hare Salem.
A hearing on the motion for a new trial has yet to be scheduled.
The Rocky Mountain Innocence Center is a non-profit organization working to correct and prevent the conviction of innocent people in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming. RMIC also conducts outreach and education about the causes and consequences of wrongful convictions and promotes legal reforms to prevent the conviction of innocent people.