WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A man convicted of manufacturing meth in Smith County in 2007 sued the state for wrongful conviction after his conviction was reversed. Last week, a Shawnee County judge ruled against him in the lawsuit.
Francis R. Everett, 64, was released when his 2007 conviction was reversed on appeal. A court found that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of a prior conviction. Everett was not retried in the Smith County case. But, he is currently in the Hutchinson Correctional Facility on another drug-related conviction.
Shawnee County District Court Judge Teresa Watson presided over the wrongful-conviction lawsuit trial on Jan. 6. Everett appeared by videoconference.
After the trial, Watson ruled that Everett failed to satisfy the requirements established in the mistaken-conviction statute. The law requires the claimant to prove, among other criteria, that he did not commit the crimes and was not an accessory to the acts that were the basis for the original conviction.
A witness at both Everett’s hearing and his 2007 trial testified that she was present with Everett in the making of meth and subsequent use during three months in 2006. The witness gave a detailed account of how she and Everett drove across state lines to acquire the necessary components to make the illegal drugs and subsequently use them in a secluded area.
Watson said in her ruling that Everett severely undercut his credibility as a witness in his claim against the state, admitting under oath that he “probably did” use methamphetamines during the time in question, despite earlier testimony to the contrary. A copy of Watson’s ruling is available at https://bit.ly/3FOoDHX.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said that from December 2018 through the present, 14 individuals have filed lawsuits against the State of Kansas under the mistaken-conviction statute. Of those, six have now reached judgment, and payment has been made or is in process. In a seventh case, the district court ruled against the claimant, and the Kansas Supreme Court affirmed that no payment was owed. Everett’s case was the eighth case.
Five other cases remain in litigation in district courts.