From the June 2009 Idaho Observer:

Proactive prisoner needs our help

Darrell Van Mastrigt (41) was convicted of murder at age 19. His conviction was based on a false confession that had been tortured out of the young, innocent man during a nine-hour interrogation without counsel present. Van Mastrigt has dedicated his prison time to helping others and, with the help of some friends and family members, founded Innocence Denied several years ago to collect and help publicize cases of wrongful conviction and imprisonment—a problem that has been growing steadily here in the land of the free (see ad below). While Darrell and his crew have been doing their best to address the shameful truths about "justice" in America, he has been attempting to apply the knowledge he has gained to reversing his 22-year-old wrongful conviction. On August 17, 2007, his appeal concerning constitutional rights violations and the appellate court’s refusal to hear evidence of his innocence was denied without a hearing. His appeal of the denial of the appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania was denied Feb. 5, 2009. Van Mastrigt has appealed the Feb. 5 denial to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but he is being realistic when he states, "...the Supreme Court accepts less than one percent of all cases filed for review. I do not expect the court to review my case, let alone accept it and grant me relief."

Van Mastrigt has decided that the only avenue left is to confront the sole piece of evidence that led to his conviction: The false confession that was tortured from him. He is beginning the process of putting a plan into motion that will result in an incontrovertible case for the vacating of his conviction based solely upon the confession of a physically beaten and deeply frightened young man. He wants to hire a false confession expert, a crime scene reconstructionist, a couple private investigators and an attorney to help choreograph the case and present it in court. The target for necessary defense funds ranges between $7,000 and $20,000 depending on which experts and professionals are willing to work pro bono or at reduced rates in the interest of justice.

For more information, contact The Idaho Observer and we will fill in additional details and explain how you can help and where to send donations.

On a personal note, van Mastrigt has been reunited with the woman whom he was planning to marry 24 years ago. Circumstances that tore them apart so many years ago have melted away and they are now engaged. Pamela, who now lives in Florida, has become an integral part of the pending appeal and is revitalizing the Innocence Denied website and bringing new energy to the Innocence Denied newsletter.

If you feel moved to help this couple achieve long-overdue justice for Darrell and help him and Pamela continue working for justice in America, please act on that emotion. This is a vital cause and these are good people who need our help.