Investigation and Methodology
Five years after Mr. Souliotes was convicted, further investigation disclosed that during
that the scientific method was not used due to the fact it was not made available. The new
evidence determined that the MPDs that was found on his shoes were distinctly different form
the evidence obtained at the scene of the fire. Also, the witness testimony was coerced, because
the original statement given was not of Mr. Souliotes, but later pointed him out in court. During
the time of the trial she was facing assault with a deadly weapon, then shorty after her testimony
those charges were dropped. Furthermore, during the Schlup Gateway Ruling, there were
"significant advances in fire science" (Souliotes vs. CVCB B295163).
and therefore fire experts
could not properly conclude that the fire was definitely caused by arson or accidental. The
Magistrate judge also proved the key witness testimony was unreliable because her original
identification of the suspect and there was no possible way she could clearly see the suspect from
the distance she was standing, poor lighting, and poor weather conditions During the hearing
additional evidence was disclosed about the RV description and it also did not match Ms.
Sandoval original statement. The differences were a letter "W" on the vehicle for the model
Winnebago, and other features she describes was that the RV she seen that morning had a ladder
affixed on the structure and had white curtains on the rear window. Neither of these items were
not found on Mr. Souliotes vehicle. The motive for insurance profit was dismissed due to the fact
even though he already had a awarded prior court ordered eviction with his tenant, he allowed
them to remain in the home during the holiday season. Therefore, there was no reason to destroy
his property. All these factors were reasons for his justified appeal. The Magistrate judge
provided seven claims of merit of the Habeas petition and granted Mr. Souliotes's release. One
being that his trial counsel was "ineffective in failing to present a fire expert in his defense"
(Souliotes vs. CVCB B295163). Ultimately the State of California and with the help of Mr.
Souliotes lawyers, he was release from prison on July 3, 2013 and finally "on September 23,
2021 he was awarded compensation by the California Victim Compensation Board" (NCIP).
Mr. Souliotes was wrongfully convicted and received a life sentence which was
overturned after 16 years of time served. Due to the fact that his attorneys, the fire experts, the
jury failed him and convicted him. Meanwhile the person who may have committed the crime
has not been found and convicted. There were various factors that proved Mr. Souliotes
innocence from the beginning, but nothing I read stated if he actually had the opportunity to
commit the fire or what was his alibi was mentioned in the case file. Because of organizations
like the Northern California Innocence Project, Mr. Souliotes is a free man today.