From the day the FBI arrested him in 2003 and told him the government was seeking the death penalty, Benjamin Frandsen labored fiercely for his release. His case was overturned twice on appeal (his third trial will likely be overturned again this year), and he was found suitable for parole three times in a row. Five separate times he beat LIFE in California. After 18 years fighting a sentence that began as Life Without the Possibility of Parole, the Parole Board finally released him on December 10, 2021
Ben tells how his appeals revealed everything that can go wrong in criminal trials: Trial 1–his judge refused to give self-defense jury instructions (convictions overturned); 2–the same judge knowingly admitted a juror who didn’t understand English, and lied—on the stand—about what he had done (overturned again); 3–now under review over the DA using an outlawed felony-murder theory to prosecute him. Though he has been released, only once he’s shed light on these injustices that so many have experienced will Ben feel truly free.