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Man Whose Murder Conviction Was Overturned Is Free

Michael Hanline is pictured with his now-wife, Sandee Hanline, in 1974.
California Innocence Project
Michael Hanline is pictured with his now-wife, Sandee Hanline, in 1974.
Man Whose Murder Conviction Was Overturned Is Free
Man Whose Murder Conviction Was Overturned Is Free
Man Whose Murder Conviction Was Overturned Is Free GUEST:Alex J. Simpson, associate director of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law and the attorney who argued Michael Hanline's petition.

A 69-year-old man convicted of murder 34 years ago was freed Monday after prosecutors told a judge they're no longer sure he committed the crime.

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Michael Hanline posted $2,500 bail Monday afternoon after a morning hearing at which the judge ordered his movements electronically monitored and that he not contact prosecutors, detectives or the family of the victim.

Prosecutors in Ventura County will decide whether they want a retrial at a hearing scheduled for Feb. 27.

Hanline was convicted in 1980 of killing Ventura resident J.T. McGarry and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

His case was taken up by the San Diego-based California Innocence Project, whose lawyers persuaded prosecutors to re-examine the evidence.

Subsequent testing showed DNA found at the crime scene did no come from Hanline or his alleged accomplice. In addition, prosecutors withheld evidence that should have been disclosed to Hanline's legal team during the trial.

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While prosecutors have not concluded Hanline is innocent, "We don't have confidence in the conviction at this point," prosecutor Michael D. Schwartz said.

The California Innocence Project says Hanline's case was the longest wrongful incarceration in state history.

A photograph provided by the project shows Hanline and his wife after his release. He wore a sweatshirt with the image of a California license plate and the letters "XONR8," representing the word "exonerate."

Michael Hanline poses with his wife, Sandee Hanline, after posting bail Nov. 24, 2014 at Ventura County Superior Court. He wears a sweatshirt with the image of a California license plate and the letters "XONR8," representing the word "exonerate." A judge ordered Hanline be released from prison because prosecutors said they were no longer sure he killed Ventura resident J.T. McGarry 34 years ago. Hanline was serving a life sentence for the murder.
California Innocence Project
Michael Hanline poses with his wife, Sandee Hanline, after posting bail Nov. 24, 2014 at Ventura County Superior Court. He wears a sweatshirt with the image of a California license plate and the letters "XONR8," representing the word "exonerate." A judge ordered Hanline be released from prison because prosecutors said they were no longer sure he killed Ventura resident J.T. McGarry 34 years ago. Hanline was serving a life sentence for the murder.