The conviction of Roynes Dural has been officially set aside by the Hawaiʻi Supreme Court, thanks to work on his case by students, faculty members and volunteer attorneys at the William S. Richardson School of Law.
The Hawaiʻi Innocence Project, headquartered at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa law school, has been working on Dural’s behalf for the past decade, said co-director and faculty member Kenneth Lawson.
The Supreme Court justices dismissed the state prosecutor’s writ of certiorari from the Intermediate Court of Appeals, “which means our client’s wrongful conviction has officially and finally been set aside,” said Lawson. “Roynes spent eight years in prison and six years on parole for a crime that he did not commit. The matter will go back to the trial court where the state can either dismiss the case or try it again. With all of the new evidence showing Roynes’ actual innocence, we fully expect that the state will dismiss.”
Dural was accused of statutory rape. He was confined in the Hālawa Correctional Facility and then sent to private mainland prisons in Mississippi and Arizona, before the Hawaiʻi Innocence Project presented evidence that convinced the state Paroling Authority to place him on early parole while his case was appealed.
“This has been a long and difficult struggle for Roynes and his family,” said Lawson. “Volunteer attorneys William Harrison and Brook Hart, along with numerous students, always believed that one day Roynes would finally have his wrongful conviction overturned.”
This is the third successful case pursued and argued by the Hawaiʻi Innocence Project. It has recently been expanded dramatically through the addition of many more volunteer attorneys and a recent $567,206 federal grant to assist in DNA testing, which is often a useful tool in proving innocence.
See the full story on the law school website.
—By Beverly Creamer