Court Staffer Fired for Helping Wrongfully Convicted Man
70-year-old great grandmother gave him a public document
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff | Suggested by Ghille
Posted Jul 29, 2013 7:27 PM CDT

(Newser) – Sharon Snyder is 70 years old. She's a great grandmother and has been working at a Missouri court for 34 years. In 2011, she gave an imprisoned man trying to overturn a 27-year-old rape conviction a public document to help him seek DNA tests. Last month, those DNA tests helped Robert Nelson go free. And then Snyder was fired. A Jackson County Circuit judge says she violated court rules by helping Nelson and his family—even though they could have obtained the document she provided them with themselves if they'd known what it was and where to get it, the Kansas City Star reports.

"The document you chose was, in effect, your recommendation for a Motion for DNA testing that would likely be successful in this Division," the judge wrote in his dismissal letter. "It was clearly improper and a violation of Canon Seven ... which warns against the risk of offering an opinion or suggested course of action." Snyder was nine months away from retirement when she was fired. "I lent an ear to his sister, and maybe I did wrong," she says. "But if it was my brother, I would go to every resource I could possibly find. I think I might have been the answer to his prayers."

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Showing 3 of 93 comments
Aug 1, 2013 12:36 PM CDT
so so sad when a court system can wrongfully convict a person for 27 years! let alone fire the person who helps them have a chance at getting out of the prison sentence and the prison that housed the person who should have been free living what they can of this life as a free person, would you like to take their places? what is truth and justice about? what a sabatoge of what is good in humanity.
Jul 31, 2013 9:46 PM CDT
This judge should read up on Gidion v Wainwright, The 1963 landmark Supreme Court decision, witch was a rare handwriten petition from a wrongly convicted prisoner, accepted with errors and all.
Jul 30, 2013 7:48 PM CDT
Once again, a person is punished for having courage, compassion, and integrity...