Crime & Justice

Woman free after 17 years wants innocence declared

File: Susan Mellen looks at the judge as she enters the courtroom for her exoneration proceedings on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 in Torrance. Mellen, who spent 17 years in prison for a murder a judge believes she didn't commit, must wait another month to be declared factually innocent.
File: Susan Mellen looks at the judge as she enters the courtroom for her exoneration proceedings on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 in Torrance. Mellen, who spent 17 years in prison for a murder a judge believes she didn't commit, must wait another month to be declared factually innocent.
Brad Graverson/AP

A Southern California woman who spent 17 years in prison for a murder a judge believes she didn't commit must wait another month to be declared factually innocent.

The Torrance Daily Breeze says a Los Angeles County judge granted a request Friday to delay Susan Mellen's hearing so the district attorney's office can review paperwork.

That office already has agreed that Mellen was wrongfully convicted in 1997 of beating to death a homeless man.

Mellen was freed two weeks ago after Judge Mark Arnold said her conviction was based on the testimony of a notorious liar.

Mellen's attorney says the Gardena woman left prison broke and she wants a formal declaration of innocence because it would force the state to pay her about $600,000 for her years of incarceration.