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Courier & Press


Former Evansville (Indiana) PD officer Patrick Bradford will ask Supreme Court to hear murder case appeal
Mark Wilson, mark.wilson@courierpress.com

Patrick Bradford
Patrick Bradford
Former Evansville police officer Glenn Patrick Bradford will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review his murder and arson convictions after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its decision to rehear the case.

Attorney Ronald Safer, who represents Bradford, believes the case could ultimately prompt the Supreme Court to add "a substantive claim of actual innocence" as a new grounds for petitioning for habeas corpus  — the right to ask federal courts to determine if a state is lawfully detaining someone.

That is if the Supreme Court accepts the case.

"The Supreme Court has suggested that in the appropriate case, it would rule that federal habeas includes a substantive claim of actual innocence. This is the appropriate case," Safer said.

Bradford, 56, was convicted in 1993 for stabbing 24-year-old Tamara Lohr in her home and then setting fire to her body to cover it up. He is serving an 80-year sentence at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility south of Terre Haute, Indiana. Bradford has exhausted all of the state legal appeals in his case, including direct appeals and a bid for post-conviction relief.

Safer said he has until May 2 to file his petition for the Supreme Court to review the case.

He had been set to argue Bradford's claim of innocence to the Court of Appeals. A panel of three judges initially denied Bradford's appeal in August. However, the court voted to rehear Bradford's case when Safer asked for it to be considered again en banc, by all of the court's judges.

On Feb. 2, however, the court was forced to reverse the order granting the rehearing because the court discovered one of the judges had been ineligible to vote on rehearing Bradford's case and should recuse herself. That meant there was no longer a majority favorable to the rehearing.

Attached to the new Court of Appeals order was a statement by several judges saying they believed Bradford had in fact come forward with "unusually strong evidence of his actual innocence."

According to a statement written by Judge David Hamilton: "That evidence would have been available to him, the Indiana state courts ruled, if Bradford's attorney had taken a different approach to expert testimony concerning the fire in Tamara Lohr's home."

Hamilton went on to write that: "No witness, lawyer, or judge has offered a plausible theory as to how the fire in Lohr's home could have done so much damage in the short time available under the state's theory without leaving signs of much higher fire temperatures."

UPDATE:  Patrick Bradford's Petition for Certiorari was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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