Clarence Moses-EL released after 28 years in prison

This afternoon Clarence Moses-EL walked free for the first time in 28 years.

Supporters gathered in Denver District Court this morning where Judge Kandace Gerdes set a $50,000 bond for Clarence Moses-EL, whose decades-old convictions she overturned last week.

Bond was posted for Moses-EL at 10:10, and he is expected to walk free today for the first time in more than 28 years.

“It’s time,” said his wife, Stephanie Burke, who was in tears in Gerdes’ courtroom. “It’s finally time.”

Since Moses-EL was arrested for a rape and assault in North Denver in 1987, he steadfastly has maintained his innocence in the attack of his neighbor.

In her outcry to police, the victim named three other men as her possible attackers. None of those men were investigated, however, because the victim — who had been fighting with Burke the week before her attack and had vowed to “get back” at her — said Moses-EL’s identity as her assailant came to her in a dream. Her dream statement was the main evidence on which Moses-EL was convicted and sentenced to 48 years.

L.C. Jackson, the first of the three men the victim named in her outcry, has come forward to take responsibility for the brutal assault of the victim, who was a friend of his live-in girlfriend at the time. He and the victim had been drinking together at a party earlier that night. L.C. Jackson is a convicted rapist doing life in prison for the rapes at knifepoint of a 9-year-old and her mother a few years after the attack in Moses-EL’s case.

If L.C. Jackson had simply been investigated to begin with, the mother has said in a news report, the attack on her and her daughter could have been prevented.

Jackson testified in court last summer that his guilt in the Moses-EL case has weighed on his conscience for years. Finally confessing, he said, is his way of making things right with his god.

Based on Jackson’s testimony and other new evidence, Judge Gerdes, who’s a former Denver prosecutor, vacated Moses-EL’s convictions, ruling against the District Attorney office for which she worked for many years. Now the District Attorney’s office has the opportunity to retry Moses-EL in May, which is unlikely given the lack of evidence in the case.

Moses-EL’s family and supporters have rallied together to pay his bond, and his lawyers said he’ll likely walk out of custody by this afternoon.

After this morning’s hearing, family and friends gathered outside the courtroom in an emotional celebration.

Moses-EL’s supporters have organized a Facebook page where people can donate money, clothing and other items he needs to start his life over again outside prison.

Photo credit: Greg Hoenig



  1. The more and more these stories of injustice come to the for front of what America chooses to either pretend they don’t exist or are just blind to the fact that these kind of tragedies happen, the clearer the picture becomes of the state of our justice system. And believe me, there are stories like this on a regular basis, you just need to open your eyes a little bit. For the individuals and their families who have gone through or are currently going through these situations it is like screaming in a room full of people wearing ear plugs, and that has to be one of the worst feeling in the world.

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