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Schnader Attorneys Successful in Securing Parole for Pro Bono Client William J. Barnes

03/22/2012

On Friday, March 2, 2012, Firm pro bono client William J. Barnes was paroled almost two years after a Philadelphia jury acquitted him of murder in the death of Police Officer Walter T. Barclay, whom he shot and wounded in 1966. In May 2010, a team of Schnader attorneys successfully obtained a full acquittal on murder charges brought against Barnes. Barnes was charged with causing the death of Philadelphia Police Officer Walter T. Barclay in 2007, 41 years after Barnes had shot and partially paralyzed Barclay. He remained incarcerated on a technical parole violation and four times the state Board of Probation and Parole refused to grant him parole on pretextual grounds.

In 2011, Schnader filed a habeas petition on Barnes' behalf, challenging the denial of parole as a violation of Barnes' constitutional rights. After extensive discovery, briefing and argument before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, the Judge issued a detailed report agreeing with Schnader's contentions and recommending that Barnes be released immediately. The Parole Board quickly reviewed Barnes a fifth time and granted him parole, leading to his release on March 2, 2012. Led by attorneys Samuel W. Silver and Bruce P. Merenstein, the team also included attorneys Emily J. Hanlon, Monica C. Platt, and Sara A. Aliabadi.

In March, the team was recognized by The Legal Intelligencer as "Unsung Heroes" for their work on the case. Media coverage has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on March 1 and 5 and on Newsworks.org.