S.F.: Man wrongfully convicted of 2 murders freed
Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, January 13, 2011
(01-12) 18:02 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- To the cheers of family and friends, Caramad Conley took his first steps as a free man outside San Francisco County Jail on Wednesday after serving 18 years for a double-murder conviction that a judge ruled had been arrived at through perjured testimony.
Conley, 40, clutching a sack filled with his personal items and dressed in a white T-shirt and white sweat pants, was ushered into the backseat of a waiting Hummer 2 a little after 4 p.m.
Before the SUV sped away from the jail at Seventh and Bryant streets, Conley said of his newfound freedom, "I'm going to take it one day at a time."
Conley's attorney Dan Purcell declined to comment on the occasion. "I've said enough to newspapers," he said. "I'll let it be."
Last month, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller ruled that San Francisco police and prosecutors had failed to reveal to Conley's defense team before his 1994 trial that the city had paid thousands of dollars and provided the use of a house to the star prosecution witness, police informant Clifford Polk.
Miller cited what she called "voluminous evidence" that Polk, who is now dead, had lied on the stand when he said he was not in a city witness protection program and therefore receiving benefits.
Polk testified that Conley had confessed to him about the April 8, 1989, drive-by shooting on Third Street that killed Roshawn Johnson and Charles Hughes and injured 13 others.
Miller also found that then-homicide investigator Earl Sanders, who would later become police chief, had stood by in court while Polk lied.
"I find that Sanders knew the testimony was false and did not correct it," Miller wrote.
Conley was sentenced to two life terms without parole. He had been housed until recently at Calipatria State Prison.
San Francisco prosecutors said in court Tuesday that they would not retry the case. A spokesman said the decision had been made by newly appointed District Attorney George Gascón.