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Help Wrongfully Convicted Sheldon Thomas

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Hello, my name is Rebecca. My husband William Kastin, a public defender at Appellate Advocates in NYC, represented Sheldon Thomas on direct appeal from 2008 through 2010, after the 2007 conviction. Professor Lesley Risinger of The Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall Law School and Donald Yannella filed additional legal claims in state and federal court from 2010 through 2018, exhausting all avenues in those forums, the entire time both representing Mr. Thomas pro bono. In 2018, William and Lesley joined together, determined to obtain justice.

Mr. Thomas was arrested in 2004 at the age of 17, convicted of murder and other counts in 2007, and served more than 18 years in prison before being exonerated by the Conviction Review Unit of the Kings County District Attorney's Office on March 9, 2023. The DA's Office consented to vacate his conviction due to misconduct by the police, prosecutors, judge, and trial counsel. They also found that the Appellate Division's 2009 decision affirming his conviction was incorrect and without support.

Mr. Thomas was arrested based on a photo array that did not even include his photograph, a detective admittedly lied in court about it, the judge wrongly determined there was probable cause for his arrest, the prosecution committed misconduct in the hearing court and at trial, and the trial attorney's failures contributed to the conviction. As the DA's exoneration report states, Mr. Thomas "was denied due process at every stage of this case such that his conviction was fundamentally unfair."

Now 35, Mr. Thomas is without money, housing, health insurance, and basic necessities that we all take for granted. While Appellate Advocates is able to assist him short-term, they are a non-profit public defender office that is inadequately funded to meet the needs he requires.

More than 18 years of Mr. Thomas's life have been taken from him, all because of the misconduct of others. He is a remarkable man who continues to face incredible challenges since New York provides nothing to him upon his release. Please donate today to help Mr. Thomas move forward with his life.

All contributions will go directly and solely to Mr. Thomas.
If you would like to also contribute to Appellate Advocates so that they can continue to assist other clients like Mr. Thomas, please visit www.appad.org
Thank you!
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Organizer

Rebecca Kastin
Organizer
Croton-on-Hudson, NY

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