For Immediate Release
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Miami Judge Set to Rule Tomorrow in Kris Maharaj Case
WASHINGTON - Miami Judge William Thomas announced yesterday that he will rule at 09:30 EST on Friday, January 9th on Kris Maharaj’s application to overturn his 28-year old conviction for capital murder.
British citizen Kris was convicted and sentenced to death for the October 16, 1986, double homicide of Derrick and Duane Moo Young, in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in downtown Miami. 76 years old this month, Kris has always insisted on his innocence.
In November 2014, Judge Thomas presided over a four-day evidentiary hearing that revealed fresh evidence that the Moo Youngs were laundering money for notorious Medellin Cartel boss Pablo Escobar, and that their murders were committed by Colombian hitmen because the Moo Youngs had lost Escobar’s money.
Reprieve Director Clive Stafford Smith and Miami attorney Ben Kuehne have represented Kris pro bono for more than 21 years, previously securing him a resentencing trial in 2002 when he received a life sentence, but Kris has no chance of parole until after his 100th birthday.
Kris has asked Judge Thomas to determine simply that he is innocent, but – bizarrely, but consistent with many states - Florida has not, to date, recognized a claim of innocence. Alternatively, Judge Thomas could vacate his convictions and grant a new trial.
Clive Stafford Smith said: “It is difficult to see how anyone can justify upholding Kris’ conviction. Along with his long-suffering wife Marita, Kris is confident but obviously very nervous. If the judge delivers justice, I just hope that the prosecution does not try to keep him in prison while they take a fruitless appeal. We will be ready for a retrial in a very short time.”
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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.