On August 19, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals turned away the Monroe County District Attorney’s request to reinstate charges against Han Tak Lee. In 1990, Mr. Lee was convicted of setting a fire in which his daughter was killed and sentenced to life in prison for her murder. Now, 25 years later, we know the testimony given at Mr. Lee’s trial that the fire was intentionally set – as opposed to being a total accident – was wrong and the jury was told conclusions that just do not hold up to science.
Last year, a federal District Court granted Mr. Lee’s petition for a new trial and released him from prison. On the last day he could, the Monroe County District Attorney appealed that decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
A panel of three judges from the Court unanimously rejected the District Attorney’s appeal and upheld the District Court’s decision. We are certainly hopeful Mr. Lee can – finally – grieve the loss of his daughter and regain some semblance of normalcy after 25 years.