Monica Lara, Ojai Valley News correspondent
Dubbed the longest wrongful incarceration in California history, Michael Hanline, 68, had his 1980 murder conviction dropped Wednesday after serving 34 years of a life sentence.
The Ventura County Superior Court dismissed the Ojai resident’s conviction after a 15-year effort — led by the California Innocence Project (CIP) — uncovered new DNA evidence as well as withheld, sealed documents that contained testimony undermining the ruling.
What does this really mean?
“He is an innocent man, and no longer has to deal with this the rest of his life,” said Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project, a legal clinical program, or nonprofit law practice, at California Western School of Law in San Diego. Brooks, along with project associate director Alexander Simpson, represented Hanline through the process.