Court clerk fired for helping exonerate man wrongly convicted of rape

A court clerk in Kansas City lost her job of 34 years after giving a prison inmate a public document that showed him how to seek DNA tests. The move helped the man get released from prison after serving 30 years for a rape he didn’t commit.

Sharon Snyder, a 70-year-old great-grandmother, was fired in June for giving Robert Nelson the document on how to properly seek the DNA tests. Snyder was first suspended without pay after Nelson’s release, then she was fired on June 27.

But she said despite her firing, she would do it again. “I am so happy that he got exonerated on this charge, and felt that would happen or he wouldn’t have filed that motion to start out with,” she said on Wednesday during her first national TV interview with Nelson on “All In With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.

She told Hayes she felt she was being “severely punished” and forced to retire.

According to an Associated Press story in the Kansas City Star , in 1984 Nelson, 49, was convicted of a rape he insisted he didn’t commit. He was sentenced to 50 years for forcible rape, five years for forcible sodomy and 15 years for first-degree robbery. In August 2009, Nelson filed a motion seeking DNA testing that had not been available 25 years earlier, but a judge denied the request. Two years later Nelson asked the judge to reconsider, but again the judge rejected the motion. In October 2011, Snyder gave Nelson’s sister a copy of a motion filed in a different case in which the judge sustained a DNA request. Nelson used that motion as a guide for a motion he filed again seeking DNA testing. That August, the judge sustained the motion. DNA tests excluded Nelson from the rape and he was freed in June.

Read more on the case on MSNBC here.

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