Gov. Jennifer Granholm has officially denied a request for clemency from Frederick Freeman, who is serving a life sentence for a murder in Port Huron, but an appeal in federal court is progressing.
Freeman's guilt in the 1986 fatal shooting of Scott Macklem has been questioned, as no physical evidence tied him to the murder scene in the parking lot of St. Clair County Community College in November 1986, and only one eyewitness, under questionable circumstances including hypnosis, placed Freeman at the scene. Several alibi witnesses testified Freeman was in the Upper Peninsula at the time of the shooting. (See "Reasonable doubt, parts 1 and 2," Aug. 1 and 8, 2007.)
Freeman confessed, according to a jailhouse snitch. But that informant was found to have received favors from prosecutors and recanted before his death. Freeman's defense attorney was later censured for his cocaine use.
In 2007, the governor's Executive Clemency Advisory Council decided Freeman's case merited review, which was completed a year ago without the council holding a hearing. The case then moved to the Parole Board for review; the board recommended against clemency, in part because Freeman, who has changed his name to Temujin Kensu, had not shown remorse for his past.
"You can't show remorse if you're innocent," says Freeman's wife, A'miko Kensu.
Last month, according to spokeswoman Liz Boyd, Granholm followed the board's recommendation and officially denied him clemency, which would have meant his freedom.
With his appeals in state courts exhausted, Freeman filed a habeas corpus petition in 2007 in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleging his constitutional rights have been violated by his conviction and imprisonment.
Judge Denise Page Hood issued an opinion last month that will allow Freeman to further argue his claims that jury instructions were made in error, his counsel was ineffective, that he is innocent and that he should receive a new trial.
Hood denied Freeman's request to review files and evidence related to his case that he says have been withheld from him. But she left open the possibility that, after she reviewed "voluminous" materials regarding the case, she would reconsider that decision as well as hold an evidentiary hearing.
"She can go back to those if she feels the need," A'miko Kensu says.News Hits is edited by Curt Guyette. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or NewsHits@metrotimes.com