This site should not be necessary. If the state of Missouri cared about innocence as do the other 49 states in the United States, Christopher Dunn would have been released in September 2020 when the 25th Circuit Judge William Hickle issued an order stating that Chris meets the standards for actual innocence and that no jury would convict him now.
That didn't happen, because Missouri does not recognize proven, actual innocence for prisoners who are not sentenced to death or cannot prove that a constitutional violation occurred at their original trial. Therefore, innocent Missourians who are sentenced to anything but death are simply kept in prison. See the case law of Lincoln v. Cassady (2016).
So, while Christopher Dunn remained caged, we continued fighting to save his life. We never had deep pockets, well-heeled sponsors, high-powered connections, or a public relations team. We are ordinary people, but our fight to save an innocent man has always been extraordinarily important.
The Midwest Innocence Project, along with renowned attorney Justin Bonus, joined the effort to save Chris. Our previously tiny team grew enormously in skill and strength. We are grateful beyond words.
The Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear Chris' habeas corpus petition in August 2020, without providing a reason. The Attorney General office's opposing brief suggested that Chris pursue the avenue provided by new Missouri Statute 547.031 - an odd response given that its office would also oppose any such effort.
Next, Chris' attorney filed a petition with the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), asking whether it is cruel and unusual punishment to keep an innocent person incarcerated. After an initial show of interest, the Court declined to consider the case.
Throughout this time, Chris' legal team focused pursuing the avenue provided by RSMo Statute 547.031, which would require the St. Louis Circuit Attorney to file a motion in support of Chris' innocence. CA Kimberly Gardner indeed filed the motion in May 2023, asking that Chris' conviction be vacated. However, she resigned soon afterwards. Her successor, CA Gabriel Gore, withdrew the motion, much to the despair of Chris, his family, and legal team, saying that he needed to review the case himself before he could stand behind Chris' innocence. He predicted a final decision by the end of 2023.
Mr. Gore appointed esteemed, retired Judge Booker Shaw to conduct the case review. On February 7, 2024, after months of work, Mr. Gore announced the re-filing of the motion to vacate Chris' conviction. Chris, his family, his legal team, and his supporters rejoiced with relief. A hearing has yet to be scheduled, but we are hopeful that this nightmare is nearing its end.
Absent a higher court ruling or a timely and successful legislative effort, Circuit Attorney Gore's support is Chris' last hope for exoneration and freedom.
Justice Rally Flyer for Christopher Dunn