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UPDATE: Lawsuit By Man Exonerated For Murder Is Dismissed

UPDATED Tuesday, October 2, 2012 --- 8:05 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge has dismissed a civil rights lawsuit filed by a man exonerated in the 1980 rape and strangulation of a University of Wisconsin-Madison student.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb says Ralph Armstrong failed to identify the people or agencies who he claims violated his civil rights. Armstrong, acting as his own attorney, only named the state of Wisconsin as a defendant. Crabb says the state as an entity cannot be sued.

Armstrong's conviction in the death of Charise Kamps was overturned in 2009 after a Dane County judge found prosecutors violated a court order about the testing of certain evidence. The State Journal ( ) says the 60-year-old Armstrong in imprisoned in New Mexico, where he's being held for violating parole on a different crime.


Information from: Wisconsin State Journal,

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


UPDATED Wednesday, August 19, 2009 --- 12:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Prosecutors say they won't appeal a judge's ruling last month that 29-year-old murder charges be dropped against a man who had previously had his conviction overturned.

The decision announced Wednesday by the Dane County district attorney's office ends the criminal investigation into Ralph Armstrong.

The district attorney says Armstrong will be sent to New Mexico where he has pending parole violations related to a conviction he had in that state.

Armstrong's attorney Jerry Buting did not immediately return a message.

Armstrong was convicted in 1981 of raping and murdering fellow University of Wisconsin-Madison student Charise Kamps.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATE Wednesday, August 19, 2009 --- 11:37 a.m.

Release from the Dane Co. District Attorney

Today the State files notice that it does not intend to appeal from the order of Judge Robert Kinney issued orally in open court on July 31, 2009, dismissing the case against Ralph Armstrong for the rape and murder of Charise Kamps on June 24, 1980, in Madison. The decision not to appeal, ending the criminal prosecution, was based on an assessment of the low prospects of the State prevailing at each stage of further appellate proceedings, followed by further trial proceedings, followed by further appellate proceedings. This decision was made after careful consideration and consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The detailed evidence and arguments that have been presented by the State in this case--from its earliest stages in 1980 through the recent litigation before Judge Kinney--are all a matter of public record. That record demonstrates that prosecuting attorneys and their colleagues in the Madison Police Department pursued this case in good faith at every stage of the process, and that any errors that occurred during the course of the investigation and prosecution were the product of innocent mistake or oversight during a complex case that has spanned 29 years. Those 29 years have seen remarkable developments in the advancement of forensic sciences, which in itself presented significant challenges for the State.

Investigation and prosecution of crime is a human endeavor in which perfection is of course not possible. This is all the more reason that police and prosecutors must operate in good faith and within the ethical rules. This office believes that that occurred throughout the course of this case.

The focus of police and prosecution efforts from the earliest stages of this case have always been on collecting, analyzing, and then professionally presenting the evidence in an effort to see that justice was done for Charise Kamps and her family. That effort, which officially ends with the filing of today's notice, was done at each stage of the case honorably and with all of the resources then available to the State.

Ralph Armstrong will now be returned to the State of New Mexico. His custody status going forward will be governed by the laws of that state related to alleged parole violations following his conviction for crimes in that state.


Posted Friday, July 31, 2009 --- 11:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A judge has thrown out the murder charges against a man who's been serving a life sentence since 1981 but has always maintained his innocence.

Ralph Armstrong was convicted in the 1980 rape and murder of 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student Charise Kamps. His conviction was overturned in 2005 by the Wisconsin Supreme Court after DNA testing failed to link the now 56-year-old Armstrong to the crime.

The Supreme Court ordered a new trial. Armstrong's attorneys argued the charges should be dropped.

Dane County Circuit Judge Robert Kinney ruled Friday that harm done to Armstrong by misconduct by prosecutors cannot be fixed and the charges should be dropped.

Prosecutors are considering an appeal, which will delay Armstrong's release from prison.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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