i’ve written before about my inside student, philip scott cannon, an inmate at the oregon state penitentiary serving life without parole for murdering three people. he has spent the last ten years in prison, watching his two sons grow up in the stifling visiting room of the prison, and losing everything he owned to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for his defense.
while he has maintained his innocence and served his prison sentence, the forensic evidence used to convict cannon has been discredited and dismissed as “junk science.” bimla boyd, the star witness who testified against cannon, has gone on to serve a prison term for committing a different murder on the same property. and new witnesses have come forward, disputing the timeline of the boyd’s account and placing her at the scene of the murders.
today, big news from the penitentiary: philip scott cannon’s conviction has been overturned. i happened to be in the prison today to meet with students and i got to hear the news from philip in person. he is no longer convicted, but he was still indicted on these charges and he will be transferred to the county jail to await a new trial. i only hope the district attorney doesn’t keep him waiting in county jail – where his youngest son will not be allowed to visit him – for long.
philip’s case reminds me that justice is messy, very human, and sometimes mistaken. i’m appalled it’s taken more than ten years for his conviction to be overturned, but relieved and glad that he’s getting a second chance to go to trial and have all of the evidence heard. i do hope justice is ultimately served.