Retrial and Exoneration of a Man Wrongfully Convicted in 2007
February 24th, 2017
After being wrongfully convicted of two counts of criminal sexual conduct in 2007, Dennis Tomasik was finally vindicated when a jury came back with not guilty verdicts after deliberating for just 19 minutes.
The ordeal began when a teenager with a history of lying claimed that a neighbor had assaulted him when he was younger - he couldn't remember the man's name, but he said that it was the father of a boy he was friends with between 1996 and 1998. He made this claim after he was arrested for stealing in hopes of getting out of trouble, which he admitted during the second trial. This claim eventually resulted in charges against Mr. Tomasik, as his son was the same age as the complainant and lived down the street.
After his conviction, Marty and Kris Tieber of Tieber Law Office fought for 9 years to free Mr. Tomasik from prison. Mr. Tomasik steadfastly maintained his innocence, and his family never wavered in their support of him.
At the second trial, Mr. Tomasik’s new legal defense team, headed by attorneys Mary Chartier and Takura Nyamfukudza and assisted by paralegals Lizzy Cary and Kim Thelen, presented numerous witnesses, including 22 new witnesses on Mr. Tomasik’s behalf who were not presented at his first trial.
These witnesses included co-workers and Mr. Tomasik’s supervisors, who testified that he was at work when these assaults allegedly happened. Timesheets corroborating the testimony were also admitted as evidence.
Witnesses also included adults who were neighborhood children at the time. All these witnesses testified that the complainant did not play at the Tomasik household as he claimed. This was significant because the complainant said he was at Mr. Tomasik’s house playing with his son five times a week, and the neighborhood children refuted that.
Also, receipts and other documents were admitted into evidence that showed that the complainant’s allegations about the house were false, and a teacher and two counselors testified that the complainant lied frequently and often believed his own lies. Finally, the complainant's wildly inconsistent and ever-changing stories were finally brought to the attention of the jury in a manner that the attorney in the first trial never did.
After 11 years, Dennis Tomasik finally can sleep with the knowledge that his name has been cleared and he is a free man. His exoneration is now included in The National Registry of Exonerations, which tracks exonerations nationally and is operated by the Michigan State University College of Law, the University of Michigan Law School, and the University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society. Read a more detailed account of his exoneration.
Congratulations to the Tomasik family and the entire legal team!!!
Categories: Case Successes