An 82-year-old Pennsylvania prisoner was released after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled that the state parole board showed “retaliation or vindictiveness” for refusing to release him when he committed a parole violation after the governor commuted his sentence, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Former Gov. Robert Casey (now a U.S. senator) commuted the life sentence of Louis Mickens-Thomas in 1995. He ended up spending more than 45 years inside Graterford Prison.
Mickens-Thomas was convicted of the 1964 murder of a girl, 12, largely on the testimony of a crime-lab worker who later was accused of having a long history of perjury and of faking her scientific credentials. He has always maintained his innocence, and for the last 20 years, Centurion Ministries has worked to free him. “He's completely innocent,” said Centurion's Jim McCloskey. “He had nothing to do with that crime.” His parole violation involved a discharge from a sex-offender treatment program for making an intimidating remark to a therapist after admitting he kissed a woman at church who did not want him to.