In his second full day on the job, District Attorney George Gascón dropped all charges against a man convicted of murder and sentenced to up to life in prison because there is insufficient evidence to retry the case.
Caramad Conley, 40, who was convicted in 1994 of a double homicide in the Bayview, will walk away a free man. The prosecution’s case had relied heavily on star witness Clifford Polk, now deceased.
Last month, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller ruled that Conley was denied a fair trial because Polk accepted reimbursement for his testimony.
According to Conley’s attorney, Daniel Purcell, Polk received thousands of dollars through a witness protection program and personal payments from one of the investigators, former police Chief Earl Sanders. Polk then lied under oath about the payments, Purcell said.
The new district attorney made his decision based on the current state of the evidence and the death and unavailability of key witnesses, a spokesman said.
“While we respectfully disagree with the judge, we are unable to retry the case,” District Attorney’s Office spokesman Seth Steward said.
Purcell said Conley will be vacating his cell Monday and “walking out of the Hall of Justice a free man.”