Michael Politte Released from Prison After More Than 20 Years

Langdon & Emison pro bono client Michael Politte was released from the Jefferson City Correctional Center on April 22, 2022. Michael will continue his legal fight to clear his name, but starting today he will be able to do so from outside of prison. Joining the firm in this representation is the MacArthur Justice Center and the Midwest Innocence Project.  A Go Fund Me effort has been launched by the Midwest Innocence Project for those who wish to contribute to his fight for full exoneration.

Michael was only 14 years old when he was falsely charged with the murder of his mother. Mike has been falsely imprisoned for his own mother’s murder for over 20 years. In 1998, he woke to the smell of smoke and found his mother’s burning body on the bedroom floor of their trailer.

He was immediately targeted by police as the prime suspect because he was the only family member home at the time and he did not act the way police thought he should. Within hours of his mother’s death, the 14-year-old was interrogated multiple times, by four different law enforcement officers, over the course of the next 48 hours, without sleep, an attorney or the assistance of an impartial adult.

Because police didn’t think he, a shocked child, acted as he “should” they labeled him “a cold, emotionless, remorseless killer” – rather than the traumatized kid that he was. These judgments were then used against him in court.

The only evidence used against Michael has been scientifically proven as false. The only actual evidence to ever purportedly tie Mike to this crime was gasoline found on his shoes, paired with the Fire Marshal’s instantaneous conclusion at the scene that the fire had been started with gasoline. Science now conclusively proves that there was no gasoline on his shoes. The State has admitted this evidence was false. The Fire Marshall’s conclusion has also been debunked and no conclusion can be reached about the source of the fire.

The legal team was on hand to welcome him today in Jefferson City, and will continue the representation for his full exoneration.