The Milgaard Case Essay

This essay has a total of 2109 words and 8 pages.

The Milgaard Case



MILGAARD

If one was asked to think of one phrase to describe the Milgaard case the only
phrase which would be suitable and appropriate would be the old saying “at the wrong
place, at the wrong time”. Mr. Milgaard’s whole case revolves around those words.
His trial is one full of corruption, misleading and dishonesty by the people and system
that we trust in daily. It is an example of a misidentify and the incapability of the justice
system to provide the Mr. Milgaard with a fair and equal trial since the beginning of this
whole tragic story.
On January 30, 1969, a 16 year old David Milgaard decided to take a road trip
accompanied by his friends Ron Wilson and Nicholl John. Their trip would take them
from Regina to other destinations in the west part of Canada. It was also decided that
they would stop in Saskatoon to visit Milgaard’s friend Albert Cadrain. In the early
hours of January 31 the trio arrived at Saskatoon looking for the Cadrain house. None
knew the city well and although Milgaard had visited his friend before he could only
remember certain vantage points. Around 7:00 am, they arrived at a motel where they
asked the manager for directions to Albert’s house. However, shortly after, they became
stuck in an alley way and took shelter in Mr. Walter Danchuk’s house, the owner of the
car that they had been stuck behind. They arrived at Albert’s house around 9:00 am and
then spend the rest of the day waiting for their car to be fixed. After their car had been
fixed they set out once again in their trip. On the same day, roughly at 8:30 am the
stabbed and sexually assaulted body of nursing assistant Gail Miller was found a block
from Albert’s house in an alley way.
When the group returned to Regina, Albert was arrested for vagrancy. He was
questioned by the police and initially denied any connection by him or the others to the
Saskatoon murder. However, once he returned to his home town he commented to his
brother that he had noticed blood on David Milgaard’s pants. His brother apparently
advice the police of this and the police adapted Milgaard as a suspect.
As the investigation proceeded the police gathered evidence which pointed David
as the prime suspect. David who held his innocence, provided the authorities with any
thing requested, including bodily samples. However, it was no use since he was charged
with the non-capital murder of Gail Miller. Exactly a year later after his initial road trip
David Milgaard was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in jail.
Shortly after the conviction, the Milgaard family appealed to the Saskatchewan
Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. However both courts dismissed the
case. Since then David’s mother, Ms. Milgaard has fought for her son’s innocence. She
joined with Herch Wolch, Q.C., and David Asper of a law firm to help her save her son.
One of the lawyers, Mr. Asper reviewed the trial transcripts and the preliminary enquiry
to the exhibits. He then concluded that the evidence provided not the guiltiness of
Milgaard but quite the opposite, it proved that he was innocent.
After reading an article on DNA on genetic finger printing, Mr. Aspen informed
Ms. Milgaard on it. Ms. Milgaard then went to Dr. James Ferris a forensic pathologist.
He was granted with many of the exhibits present in the trial, but due to the age and size
of the sample the results were inconclusive. However, in a report dated September
13,1988, Dr. Ferris stated that the evidence, since inconclusive could not link David
Milgaard with the murder and could be considered “to exclude him from being the
perpetrator of the murder.” Beside this Mr. Aspen had also been working in getting other
evidence to prove the innocence of David.
On December 28,1988 an application was present to the Minister of Justice who
that time was Joe Clark. He was a follower of the Section 617 of the Criminal Code of
Canada. This section states that the Minister can order a new trial or hearing as well as
appeal to the Courts of Appeal and ask the Court of Appeal for their opinion or ask a
question. After the application was submitted new fragments of evidence were provided
which proved and supported David Milgaard’s innocence. However, besides all these
new facts provided it was not until Ms. Milgaard attended the Opera show that the
Canadian government paid close attention to the case. In 1994 Prime minister Jean
Cretien ordered a retrial and it was during this trial that the true colors of the Saskatoon
police appeared.
It is hard to believe that it took 22 years for the courts to accept that Mr.
Milgaard was not guilty. One needs to just look at the evidence and one can see that
there was no possible form that he could have committed the crime. If you commence at
the beginning from where it all started you can recognize all the missing pieces of the
puzzle. In fact by using the own Crown’s evidence against Milgaard one can prove that
he is innocent.
In the trial Milgaard’s friends had testified against him. Wilson and Nicholl
testified that the site were the car had broken down had been in the area were the crime
was committed. They in addition said that both Milgaard and Wilson had left the car to
get help and it was at this time that Milgaard met the victim. Nicholl added that she had
witnessed the crime from her sitting position in the car. Although it must be noted that
she tried to withdraw her evidence. Later in the trial Cadrain and Wilson declare that
Milgaard had admitted to them about the crime and that they had seen blood in his pants.
Wilson also said that he recalled Milgaard carrying a knife similar to the one supposedly
used in the crime.
In the beginning of the whole account, Wilson had first stated that neither he or
anyone of his friends had been involved in the crime, but as the police interviews
continued he changed his story and held Milgaard as the murderer. However in 1990 Mr.
Wilson admitted to lying in trial to the Department of Justice. It was also investigated
that Cadrain suffered a mental illness. This could have contributed to his testimony since
he suffered this illness during and after the Milgaard trial. In contribution to this,
Cadrain has claimed that his declarations were the result of extreme pressure by the
police. Shortly after the trial Cadrain was admitted to a mental hospital. One can then
conclude that he was in no capacity to testified and any of part of his testimony could not
be taken very serious. Thus one can see that this part of the crowns case is worthless and
cannot possibly lead to anyone believing that Mr. Milgaard was guilty.
The other part which contributed to the conviction of Milgaard was the forensic
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