Denial of "Certificate of Innocence" to Allegedly Wrongly Convicted Murderer Upheld - Criminal Law - DC Circuit
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Denial of "Certificate of Innocence" to Allegedly Wrongly Convicted Murderer Upheld

Diamen v. US, No. 09-5177, involved a motion for a "certificate of innocence" in order to pursue a damages claim in the Court of Federal Claims for unjust conviction and imprisonment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1495.  The D.C. Circuit affirmed the denial of the motion, holding that the district court had declined to issue a habeas corpus writ setting aside petitioner's conviction, and was thus unable in the subsequent 28 U.S.C. section 2513 proceeding to certify the statute's first requisite fact--that petitioner's conviction had been reversed or set aside--for the simple reason that it had not been.

As the court wrote:  "Salvatore Infantolino a/k/a Michael A. Diamen served twenty years in
prison on a 1976 murder conviction. Diamen and two codefendants--Joseph Wayne Eastridge and Joseph N. Sousa--sought habeas corpus relief in the district court on the ground they had been wrongly convicted. The district court issued a writ for Eastridge and Sousa but not for Diamen who had died while the action was pending. Diamen's estate (Estate), along with Eastridge and Sousa, then moved for a "certificate of innocence" in order to pursue a damages claim in the Court of Federal Claims for unjust conviction and imprisonment pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1495. The district court granted the motion as to Eastridge and Sousa but denied it as to Diamen because his conviction had not "been reversed or set aside," a prerequisite to obtaining a certificate of innocence under section 28 U.S.C. § 2513(a)(1). The Estate appealed. We affirm the district court's judgment."

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