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Crime Discovery of prosecutors' racist emails prompts release of woman jailed for 17 years in parents' murder

20:01  01 october  2020
20:01  01 october  2020 Source:   nydailynews.com

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The discovery of racist emails sent by attorneys who successfully prosecuted a Massachusetts woman accused in her parents murder has prompted her release from jail nearly 17 years later.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Attorney Joseph Krowski, Sr., of Brockton, Mass., has brief words with his client, Frances Choy, 17, of Brockton, Mass., during her arraignment in the Brockton District Court on two counts of murder, on April 18, 2003. © ROBERT E. KLEIN Attorney Joseph Krowski, Sr., of Brockton, Mass., has brief words with his client, Frances Choy, 17, of Brockton, Mass., during her arraignment in the Brockton District Court on two counts of murder, on April 18, 2003.

Frances Choy was convicted of killing her parents, Anne Trinh-Choy, 53, and Ching “Jimmy” Choy, 64 after a third trial in May 2011. Her first two court appearances both ended with hung juries.

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“This may be the first case in the U.S. where a murder conviction has been thrown out because of racism on the part of prosecutors,” John Barter, attorney for Frances Choy, told WBUR.

Choy was just 17 years old when both of her parents died in a brutal house fire in April 2003.

Prosecutors at the time claimed Choy was motivated by her parents' life insurance and wanting to be with her boyfriend. She was sentenced to life without the possibility for parole for the killings.

In a new motion obtained by PEOPLE, however, Plymouth Superior Court Judge Linda Giles said “newly discovered evidence of racial bias established that justice may not have been done" in Choy’s case.

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After uncovering racist emails as well as additional scientific evidence, Giles determined Choy’s convictions should be vacated.

“The trial prosecutors exchanged numerous images of Asian people, some accompanied by pejorative comments and some unexplained,” Giles wrote.

“They exchanged jokes about Asian stereotypes and mocking caricatures of Asians using imperfect English.”

The judge additionally questioned the role of Choy’s then 16-year-old nephew, Kenneth Choy — who was also in the home when the fire broke out — as the prosecutor’s key witness. He was acquitted on murder charges in 2008 and then testified under immunity during his second trial.

He then fled to Hong Kong ahead of her third appearance in court.

During a status hearing Tuesday afternoon, the Plymouth County District Attorney filed a nolle prosequi — meaning it will not seek another trial in the case.

Choy, who was released to home confinement in April, was freed after spending 17 years behind bars as a result.

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This is interesting!