On January 28, 1953, a San Francisco jewelry store was held up and diamond rings worth $2,800 were stolen. 40-year-old Franklin J. Hamlin, who had served time in prison for other crimes in the 1930s, was arrested in connection with the robbery.
Hamlin insisted he was not in San Francisco on the day of the robbery, but a San Francisco store clerk reported seeing him purchase a television a few hours after the robbery. The jeweler who had been robbed, Remo Bosia, and his assistant, Joseph Angeli, were both witnesses to the crime, and both men positively identified Hamlin as the robber. Based on these eyewitness identifications, Hamlin was convicted and sentenced to five years to life in San Quentin State Prison on October 30, 1934.
In early January 1954, 38-year-old Harry Kistler was arrested, along with two other men, for a string of robberies in northern California. During his interrogation, Kistler confessed to the jewelry store robbery for which Hamlin was in prison. Following Kistler’s detailed confession, California Governor Goodwin J. Knight granted a full pardon to Hamlin in January 1954.
Hamlin had maintained his innocence all along, saying he “almost went crazy” being in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In August 1957, Hamlin received $5,000 from the State of California to compensate him for his wrongful imprisonment.
- Meghan Barrett Cousino
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.