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Ollie Church

Other Washington No Crime Exonerations
On April 8, 2011, 44-year-old Ollie Church was charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Grays Harbor County, Washington.

Church went to trial in Grays Harbor County Circuit Court in June 2011 and chose to have a judge decide the case without a jury. The prosecution presented evidence that Church had been convicted of statutory rape in 1987. A sheriff’s deputy testified that on March 3, 2011, Church reported to the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office that he was transient and did not have an address. When Church subsequently failed to check in with the sheriff’s office as required, he was charged with failing to register as a sex offender.

On June 27, 2011, Grays Harbor Circuit Court Judge Gordon Godfrey convicted Church of failing to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to 43 months in prison.

In July 2011, the Court of Appeals of Washington reversed the conviction of Homer Taylor III for failing to register as a sex offender. Taylor had been convicted of third-degree statutory rape in 1987—the same offense for which Church had been convicted.

The appeals court noted that in 1988, the Washington state legislature had repealed the statutory rape statute. As a result, it ruled that Taylor was not required to register and vacated his conviction. The charge against Taylor subsequently dismissed in 2011.

Church appealed his conviction, citing the decision in Taylor’ case. He was released from prison in March 2012. On May 12, 2012, the Court of Appeals reversed his conviction and ordered the case dismissed after the prosecution conceded that Church’s case was “indistinguishable” from Taylor’s case.

On August 13, 2012, the prosecution dismissed the charge against Church.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 1/27/2017
County:Grays Harbor
Most Serious Crime:Sex Offender Registration
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2011
Sentence:3 years and 7 months
Age at the date of reported crime:44
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No