My question involves false allegations of child molestation in the State of: Arkansas.
Some years ago I was falsely accused of molesting two boys. One of the arresting officers at the time told an eyewitness the accusers and their families were not very trustworthy.
The two boys were afraid to take a polygraph. I wanted to, but when my attorney at the time finally agreed, the assistant district attorney refused to allow me to take a polygraph. A little later, I did take a polygraph test, twice, and passed both times.
The uncle of one of the accusers openly and without any coercion admitted to friends the boys had been coached in what to say.
The state police investigator used interrogation methods that have since fallen under serious criticism, including the assumption I was guilty even before beginning the interviews. Unnamed individuals were present during some if not all the interviews, and were never identified. The interviews were not videotaped, just on audio tape. The investigator later "lost" the tapes of all interviews with one accuser, along with many related paper reports. The DA even sharply verbally criticized her for doing such a "botched job", according to my attorney at the time.
I had ample evidence--eyewitnesses and documentation--to thoroughly disprove one of the original charges and to throw serious doubt onto the other. For one of the charges, I was in a different part of the state on the days specified.
The district attorney told me that I did not have to copy all my evidence, this on the day discovery motions were made and followed up. Within 24 hours, the prosecution amended the original charges, now claiming I had molested the two boys at some unspecified time within a 3-month period. As far as I have learned, there were no records of any kind coming from the meeting the DA and the ADA had with the accusers, their families, and the state police investigator--no minutes, nothing.
The amended charges contained a blunder I did not finally see until it was too late. The amended charges included the days the authorities interviewed my accusers, and several days afterwards. My attorney at the time either did not see the error, or chose not to tell me about it.
I have a much stronger indication now that my attorney at the time thought I was guilty. At about this same time, he rather coldly told me: "My job is not to believe you are guilty or not. My job is to try to keep you from going to jail." My attorney during the months between my initial arrest anf finally going to court interviewed my witnesses exactly twice, and only at my urging, and only when I said I would be present at one such interview. The other interview was via telephone, again only when I was present and when I insisted.
Following the collapse of any chance to take a polygraph, my attorney at the time said I must enter a nolo contendere plea, or else prepare to go to jail. If a trial was in fact held, he assured me, I would be found guilty no matter what.
I was under great stress, still traumatized, and caved in. In a plea arrangement, I did not go to jail; I entered a no contest plea, sentenced to three years' supervised probation, and ordered to pay a fine and court costs, which I did. At first the plea included provisions for my record to be expunged, but I was forced to register as a sex offender for a total of 15 years.
This is the major blunder on my part, as I was told again and again.
Even my attorney at the time tried to get me off the registry, unsuccessfully. I challenged the "level" I was given, but the State Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, primarily on a technicality.
I got the services of a different attorney after that, and the new attorney told me that I had gotten horrible advice, and less than effective legal representation from the first attorney.
Over the years, one accuser and his family were kicked out of the US, as undesirable aliens. The other has spent some time in jail on various charges, and there are unconfirmed stories that he was a teenaged sexual predator.
I am getting closer to the end of the 15-year period, but recent developments may make the whole nightmare continue, and worsen. My worst case is having to live on the streets, which risks my going to jail. The economy has just about wiped me out, and many, many potential employers refuse to hire any sex offenders.
It is an understatement to write I am in serious financial trouble.
If anyone needs more detailed information, I shall be only too happy to provide it, as well as putting the person/s in touch with the investigator for my case. He can and will provide further information, which further show I was falsely accused. I have kept as thorough records as possible, including all correspondence, and a detailed, written account of what was going on, as I saw and understood it.
I need help, beginning with the answers to these questions:
What can I do to see about getting my nolo plea overturned?
What arguments can I use to overcome the hysteria that always is "attached to the hip" in such cases, and successfully apply and petition for a pardon?
(Many people have said the effort would be too politically risky, but I still hope.)
What pro bono sources are available to me, particularly in Arkansas?