Praise Woman for Sacrificing Job to Prove Inmate’s Innocence


Target: Sharon Snyder, Kansas Courtroom Clerk

Goal: Praise court clerk for seeking justice and sacrificing job

Court clerk Sharon Snyder aided an inmate in receiving a DNA test that ultimately proved his innocence and allowed his freedom. Snyder was immediately fired for her role in providing the DNA test, although the test was a necessary step in finding justice for the inmate.

Robert Nelson was accused of rape and was imprisoned for twenty-five years. When he first went to prison, he was unable to take a DNA test because the technology was not available. When the technology did become standard, those imprisoned were not told of the technology, and once Nelson did hear of it and tried to take a DNA test, he was rejected twice by the acting judge. Snyder, knowing that Nelson was acting without a lawyer, gave a motion to Nelson’s sister as an example of one way that another defendant had been able to receive a DNA test. Using the information provided by Snyder, Nelson was able to receive a DNA test, get a lawyer, and prove his innocence. The DNA test made it clear that Nelson had not committed the rape for which he was imprisoned for twenty-five years.

Sharon Snyder had worked as the court clerk for the Kansas City Police Department for over thirty-four years when she was fired for aiding Nelson in his court case. She was to retire the same year she was fired, but this plan was cut short when she was told that she would lose her job for helping Nelson prove his innocence and gain freedom.

Snyder’s decision to aid Nelson proved to be absolutely crucial, for without it Nelson would not have been able to get the DNA test and prove his innocence. Had Snyder not helped, Nelson would not have been given a lawyer, could not perform the DNA test on his own, and faced much opposition to his desire to scientifically prove that he had been wrongly imprisoned. Snyder’s decision to help was momentous because she sacrificed her own job security in order to maintain justice and prove the innocence of an inmate.

By signing the petition below you will be commending Sharon Snyder for her brave decision that ultimately let an innocent man out of prison and cost Snyder her job.


Dear Sharon Snyder,

Dedication to the truth and justice for all individuals in the United States is incredibly meaningful and should be a priority of all members of our community, even when it means sacrificing one’s own security and happiness.

I am writing you to praise you for your tremendously brave decision to support Robert Nelson in his quest to prove his innocence by providing him with the necessary information to obtain a DNA test. Had you not helped Nelson, he would have remained wrongfully imprisoned for an act he did not commit. Your dedication to Nelson and justice is highly impressive and you should have been rewarded for your actions, rather than punished. Thank you for following your conscience and allowing your morals to override your job security.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: my_southborough via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Billy Holifield Billy Holifield says:

    Why would any judge deny a man the opportunity to prove his innocence? DNA testing should be readily available to any person who requests it. No judge, no district attorney, no one should have the right to deny anyone access to DNA testing. The judge should be fired and the clerk reinstated with pay and a commendation for his ethics and humanity. The judge is a disgrace to the legal system and should not be presiding of anything.

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