Va. attorney general blocks innocent man's release

November 12, 2012 - 6:34 PM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's attorney general says a judge did not have authority to order the release of an imprisoned man whose accuser recanted her sexual assault allegation.

Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, says Jonathan Montgomery's case is a tragedy. But he says in an email Monday that Circuit Judge Randolph West's order exonerating Montgomery and vacating the final two years of his sentence is void under state law. He says Montgomery probably needs to petition the Virginia Court of Appeals for a writ of actual innocence, which Cuccinelli will support.

Montgomery's father, David Montgomery, says his son should be released immediately. He says the attorney general's office is holding an innocent man captive.

Montgomery's case was first reported by The Daily Press newspaper.