George Kennedy, District Attorney
For Release on February 7, 2006     MORE on RICK WALKER - Alison Tucher's Letter   After Mr. Walker’s appeal from his murder conviction was denied (the appeal was handled by the attorney general), I received a letter from my former deputy Alison Tucher asking me to preserve the physical evidence in the case.  I directed Assistant D.A. Dave Davies to do that.  And, because I felt a person of Alison’s quality would not be involved without a reason, I asked Dave to look into whether there was new evidence.  He assigned our cold-case investigators who reported back that Tucher would not let them interview her client. (Our investigators had never interviewed him; this was a Sheriff’s case.)   I told the investigators they could call it off at that point.  I felt if Mr. Walker were innocent, Alison would allow us to talk to him freely to get direction on proving his innocence.  Further, I felt our investigators could do more good for more people working on cases where we had cooperation.   Although I had recruited and hired her to work as my deputy, Tucher never communicated with me about this case, except the letter asking me only to preserve the physical evidence after she had gone into private practice.  One can only speculate about the outcome if she had urged or shared beliefs with me. Years later when we were reviewing some older cases, I independently remembered the Walker case and told my chief investigator to assign our best investigators to it and to put it near the front of the line.  I then told Assistant D.A. Karyn Sinunu to add the Walker case to those she was reviewing.  Days later she told me she had called Tucher as directed and that the two of them had agreed to discuss Walker when Karyn returned from a trip to Viet Nam.  Karyn took over supervision of the investigation.   When the investigators and Karyn concluded during the investigation that Walker was innocent, I met with them and they told me they were sure of innocence and that Tucher had done much of the work in preparation for a future habeas filing and that their investigation was confirming what she had found and taking it forward.   I directed that an order be prepared to produce Mr. Walker in Santa Clara County from prison and that my investigators expeditiously pick him up and bring him here to be released while Sinunu and Tucher worked out further procedural details.   Sinunu did the legal work on things such as the factual finding of innocence and was masterful in working with Senator Simitian to expedite Mr. Walker’s getting the maximum from the relevant state compensation fund.  I advised county counsel that Mr. Walker’s pending civil suit should be settled appropriately.   My investigators located the real killer, a parolee in Texas.   ###

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