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KU Innocence Project claims win in appeal case of woman convicted in high-profile Topeka murder

Source: 
Lawrence Journal-World
Author: 
Sara Shepherd
Date: 
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"As Abby West researched similar cases to prepare for the federal appeal of a woman convicted in a high-profile Topeka murder case, she encountered a recurring theme.

'I read a lot of cases where people didn’t win,' said West, a May Kansas University law school graduate.

But for defendant Kimberly Sharp, West’s efforts resulted in a different outcome — and a big success for the KU law school’s Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.

The Project for Innocence filed the appeal on Sharp’s behalf and presented oral arguments in the case in March before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. On July 15, the court ruled that Sharp was unconstitutionally convicted in the 2006 slaying of a Topeka homeless advocate.

In this type of federal case involving constitutional claims — a habeas corpus case — it’s nearly impossible to win, said Jean Phillips, Project for Innocence director and KU law clinical professor.

'This is really pretty rare,' Phillips said. 'They’re very difficult ... it’s really hard to meet that standard of review.'”