Can you imagine spending a decade in prison for a crime you did not commit? It is a nightmare that became reality of Tim Masters. Wrongly convicted of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick, Masters was released from custody in 2010 after he was exonerated on all charges. Upon the new trial it was discovered that the prosecutors involved in the case, Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair, failed to turn over evidence to Master’s defense team. In another blow to the prosecution of the case against Masters a key investigator, Fort Collins Police Lt. James Broderick was accused of lying to the Grand Jury to indict Masters and was charged with perjury. Recently all charges against Lt. Broderick were dropped.
Despite the recent legal activities surrounding the aftermath of Tim Master’s wrongful conviction, the case remains a testament on the importance of a proper criminal defense. When prosecutors brought charges against Tim Masters there was not physical evidence tying him to the crime. A circumstantial case at best, the prosecution based their whole case on a psychological profile discerned from a few violent drawings, a collection of knives and a perceived “strange” behavior by Masters as a teen.
It is cases like these that prove how vital a proper criminal defense is for all citizens. Tim Masters’ rights were clearly violated and the justice system made a huge mistake. For people who are facing criminal charges their biggest fears are realized in the Masters case. It is something that defense attorneys face on a daily basis. It is their job to make sure your rights are protected and fight in your stead when there is clear evidence of prosecutorial misconduct as in the Masters case.