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It has received about 100 referrals and reinvestigated about a dozen, Duggan said. One case was dismissed before trial; another case is on track for retrial after the initial conviction was vacated, she said. Prosecutors concluded two other convictions were sound; they’re continuing to review the other cases.

Velazquez’s lawyers say they’re hopeful prosecutors will reach the same conclusions they have about the case. In the meantime, TV viewers will have an opportunity to judge for themselves; a piece about his case is set to air Jan. 8 on “Dateline: NBC.”

“I don’t think there’s anybody who’s fair-minded who’s not going to be outraged by this,” Sheen said Monday. He became aware of the case through his own lawyer, who is a friend of Gottlieb‘s. Sheen said he’d read Velazquez’s voluminous submission to the DA’s office and part of the trial transcript.

He went to meet Velazquez intending to encourage the inmate not to lose heart, but instead, “he’s encouraging us. He’s telling us to stick to it like a stamp,” Sheen said. “He’s telling us that justice will prevail.”


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