Man continues to fight lifetime conviction as court files remain missing


DETROIT – Charles Lewis, 57, was convicted of killing an off-duty Detroit police officer in 1976 when he was 17 years old.

Lewis' family says he is innocent and that he should be set free. He was sentenced to life in prison with parole in 1977.

But the court is unable to find some of the paperwork in his original file from four decades ago that had the sentencing transcript and some of the transcripts from his trial. Judge Qiana Lillard said she wanted to take more time to make sure officials from the court look for the documents before saying for certain that the files are missing.

"I just don't want to say the file can't be found without someone who can testify under oath on behalf of the court about the efforts that were made to find them," she said.

Lewis is scheduled to be in court Wednesday to argue his motion for dismissal. He had a previous hearing in September when the judge said the court would look for the documents, but that didn't end up happening. A hearing on his future was adjourned back in October. 

The prosecutor wants to give Lewis another life sentence, but Lewis' attorney is arguing for a 40-60 year sentence, which means it would be up to the parole board to decide whether to release him or have him serve up to 20 additional years.

Lillard is the same judge who recently freed Bernard Young -- read his story here.

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