On February 2 , 2017 the 7th Circuit US Court of Appeals denied Patrick Bradford’s request for relief. Bradford is no stranger to denied petitions, yet his experience at the federal level was anything but typical.
Originally, a panel of three Circuit Court judges reviewed and denied his appeal—it was not unanimous. One judge, Hon. Judge Hamilton, strongly dissented and felt compelled to draft a very involved, informed statement explaining his dissent. He made a road map of the case, so to speak, in hopes that the other members of the court would read it and agree to rehear the case “en banc” (when the whole panel of judges hear the case). Hamilton’s statement worked and a rehearing was granted, yet days before the hearing was to take place it was inexplicably cancelled. As it turns out, one of the judges in favor of hearing the case was ineligible due to ethical conflicts (presumably financial in nature). This meant there was no longer a majority in favor of hearing it—resulting in a tie—which meant the original opinion to deny the relief was affirmed. There must be a majority in order to reverse such a ruling.
Yet, something rather historic and unusual followed on the heels of this loss. Two more judges, one being the Chief Judge, signed on with the strongly dissenting Judge Hamilton. They issued a statement, almost a cover letter if you will, alongside the Opinion to deny the petition. In this statement, the judges explain the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the cancelled hearing and express hope that the Supreme Court will choose to pick up the case because of that. They also noted that there was “unusually strong evidence of actual innocence” and a strong belief that Bradford is “unlawfully detained”.
Something like this is extremely rare. That doesn’t happen.
Three federal judges, a well-known attorney (who has offered his services pro-bono), and many fire-science experts all agree that Patrick is actually innocent.
After nearly 25 years of fighting it, don’t you think it is time to admit that perhaps, just perhaps, the know-nothing’s in Vanderburgh County might have made a mistake—knowingly or not. Keeping an innocent man in prison is equally as wrong as the very crime committed. A life taken. Just because the media says he is guilty, or you hate him, or you knew the victim's family and they think he is guilty, or it makes a dramatic story...none of that makes it real. Read the record and know the truth.
I ask that anyone with information relevant to the crime please come forward via email.This far down the road there is no longer any reason to be afraid and anything helps. (firstname.lastname@example.org)