Fighting for justice: Two public defenders worked for years to get their client acquitted

Crossposted from For the Defense

Ben Goldsmith and Katharine Edwards advanced a straightforward theory about why Emanuel Fair should be acquitted in the murder of Arpana Jinaga, whose body was found in her Redmond apartment on Nov. 1, 2008. Someone else murdered the young software engineer.

Ben Goldsmith and Katharine Edwards amassed 30,000 pages of discovery in their defense of Emanuel Fair. (Paul Vernon was co-counsel before Katharine joined the team.) (Photo by Leslie Brown)

It took them two trials and 30,000 pages of discovery to make their case. They submitted dozens of pretrial motions, sought the advice of eight expert witnesses, and spent some 8,000 hours of their time. And it cost Emanuel Fair nearly nine years of his life spent sitting inside a cell at the King County jail. He was charged with first-degree murder with sexual motivation. Bail was set at $5 million.

But the two public defenders at the King County Department of Public Defense (DPD) finally prevailed on June 11, when a jury of 11 men and one woman delivered a verdict of not guilty. Mr. Fair walked out of jail on that sunny Tuesday afternoon, looked up at the sky, hugged his waiting aunt, thanked his lawyers, and drove away. Nina Elmore, a mitigation specialist for DPD, is now in contact with him, offering him help in putting his life back together.

“Usually, once a verdict has been handed down, the role of the social worker ends,” Nina said. “But in Mr. Fair’s case, he’s been incarcerated for nearly nine years. I’m trying to help him get his life back in order.”

Read more at For the Defense