Stunning ruling in 30yearold murder of Oregon prisons chief hinged on legal

first_imgPORTLAND — What led a judge to overturn the notorious case against the man convicted of killing Oregon’s prisons chief in 1989 when other judges upheld his verdict and life sentence over decades of appeals?Last week’s stunning ruling boiled down to one critical and difficult legal hurdle cleared by Frank Gable’s federal public defenders, plus two new federal constitutional claims that hadn’t been raised before.First, Gable’s lawyers successfully convinced U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta there was a showing of “actual innocence” supported by new and old information.The judge cited eight material witnesses in the case who have now recanted their testimony and a record of improper interrogation and flawed polygraphs used to question the witnesses and shape many of their statements to police.The “actual innocence’’ showing opened the door for the judge to then consider the merits of Gable’s petition, despite procedural hurdles that typically would have barred further review of his case.last_img

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