Many congratulations to Private Investigator and FLIP member Sheila Klopper from San Jose, CA and of course to John Stoll who was just awarded a 5 million dollar settlement to be paid by Kern County, CA. Sheila won her well deserved CALI’s Investigator of the Year award for her excellent work in conjunction with the Northern CA Innocence Project on John’s case which resulted in his exoneration and release in 2004. No amount of money can make up for 20 years of wrongful incarceration, but perhaps John’s portion of the 5 million dollar settlement will at least make the rest of his days a little easier.
Stoll’s award was a result of his wrongful conviction in the 1980’s, part of a string of child molestation cases that sent 34 innocent Bakersville, California residents to prison. Klopper located the former child witnesses, now grown, who originally testified against Stoll through the use of social security numbers, highlighting the legal and investigative community’s need for continued access. These witnesses subsequently testified on behalf of his innocence.
Stoll was featured in the “must see” the Sean Penn documentary, Witch Hunt.