None - the third hour of the afternoon. When the scribes and Pharisees thought they had killed 'Isa al-Maseeh.
If anyone killed a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land, it would be as if he killed all people. And if anyone saves a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people. Qur'an 5:32
SHOUSE LAW GROUP CALIFORNIA APPEALS LAWYERS
888.327.4652 | 24/7 Criminal Appeals Consultations
Grounds on Which to Appeal a California Conviction
- retry the case,
- examine new evidence, or
- accept testimony from witnesses.
- the record of the Superior Court (that is, a court reporter’s transcript which is a transcription of all oral proceedings),
- the clerk’s transcript (that is, a compilation of all exhibits, documents, motions, etc. that evidenced any written communication), and
- the arguments presented by the attorneys (these arguments are presented both in writings…known as "briefs"…and verbally during oral argument).
- whether the judge improperly admitted or excluded evidence,
- whether the judge improperly instructed the jury,
- whether the prosecutor acted unethically or the defense attorney was guilty of ineffective assistance of counsel, and
- whether the judge abused his/her discretion when sentencing the defendant.
- the credibility of a witness,
- the value of a certain piece of evidence, and
- whether the defendant is innocent or guilty
- lacked probable cause when he/she detained or arrested you,
- arrested you in the absence of a California arrest warrant and without complying with the appropriate arrest warrant exceptions, or
- violated California’s search and seizure laws in the course of arresting you…
- the attorney’s conduct was deficient because his/her representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness under prevailing professional norms, AND
- the attorney’s failure to act competently resulted in actual prejudice.6
- instructing the jury to disregard the improper act, and/or
- striking the evidence or prosecutor’s statement…
- commenting on inadmissible evidence,8
- purposely misstating the law or evidence,9 and
- appealing to the jury’s passions or prejudices.10
- refusing to deliberate,
- conducting a factual investigation that goes beyond the admitted evidence, and
- purposely concealing relevant information that could affect an impartial deliberation.11
Call us for help…
- U.S. v. Jannotti, 673 F.2d 578, 614 (3d Cir. 1982)
Note: We add links to updates with the original news articles reporting police and/or prosecutor misconduct, so be sure to scroll down to check for "new news".
[on original site]
The Justice Project’s Recommendations to Ensure Prosecutorial Accountability
- States should require that prosecutors’ offices adopt and enforce clearly defined official policies and procedures.
- States should require open-file discovery in criminal cases.
- States should require that prosecutors document all agreements with witnesses and jailhouse informants concerning conferment of benefits of any kind.
- States should require trial and appellate judges to report all cases of prosecutorial misconduct, including cases where the misconduct is ruled to be harmless error.
- States should establish a prosecutor review board with the power to investigate allegations of misconduct and impose sanctions.
- States should require that prosecutors participate in training and continuing education programs.
Justice in the Balance (Link)
A USA TODAY investigation documented 201 criminal cases across the nation in which federal judges found that prosecutors broke the rules. The abuses put innocent people in jail, set guilty people free.
|A Special Report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel|
How the system allows Milwaukee Police officers to keep their jobs despite run-ins with the law
California. Seventeen years after he was set up by police and prosecutors and convicted of a murder he didn't commit, Obie Anthony is free. Attorneys from the Northern California Innocence Project brought a state habeas petition, which was granted on the basis of the cumulative harm done by egregious prosecutorial misconduct. And while Mr. Anthony sat in prison, the real killer got away with murder.
North Carolina. Pity Durham County. First there was the fiasco of publicity hound Mike Nifong, eventually disbarred for his handling of the infamous "Duke LaCrosse Rape Case." An investigative series by the Charlotte News & Observer examines evidence that his successor, Tracey Cline, may be following in Nifong's footsteps, literally.
|Part 1||Part 2||Part 3|
Missouri. Kenny Hulshof once excelled at asking tough questions in Missouri courtrooms. But did Hulshof push the rules to win? And in doing so, did he convict innocent people?
Maryland. In 1988, the centerpiece of the prosecution's murder case against William Ray -- in fact, the only physical evidence the state had -- was a baseball cap worn by the man who killed Baltimore restaurant owner George Prassos. But when Ray's defense team sought the cap for DNA testing, prosecutors say it has been lost. How convenient; how unbelievable.
North Carolina. The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission has decided unanimously that a three-judge panel should review the cases of Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxsin. Both pled guilty to 2nd degree murder in the death of Walter Bowman of Fairview, NC, even though both maintained their innocence before and after their pleas. DNA results have excluded both men. Worse, convenience store surveillance tape that would have supported their alibis was taped over with footage from a soap opera while in the sheriff's department custody. The ghost of Rosemary Woods must be haunting the Buncombe County Sheriff's Department.
UPDATE: September 22, 2011 - Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson walked free when a panel of judges ruled they didn't kill a man during a home invasion despite their guilty pleas a decade earlier. They pled to avoid the death penalty.
Illinois. In Zion, IL, on Mother's Day in 2005, 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and her friend, 9-year-old Krystal Tobias, disappeared while bike riding. After searching all night, Laura's father, Jerry Hobbs, found them, stabbed to death. There followed a marathon, 48-hour police interrogation, after which it was announced that Jerry had confessed. It was a classic, coerced, false confession, but the media went with it. Nancy Grace called him "a monster." When the physical evidence -- DNA -- proved him innocent, the state took another 2 1/2 years to set him free and look for serial killer Jorge Torrez. How many lives did the coerced false confession cost?
California. Caramad Conley of San Francisco spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit because then-homicide investigator Earl Sanders, who would later become police chief, had stood by in court while the star prosecution witness, a paid snitch, lied under oath. Business as usual.
California. Only a tiny percentage of prosecutors who engaged in misconduct were disciplined by the State Bar of California during a 12-year period, according to a report released October 4, 2010. Among 707 cases between 1997 and 2009 in which courts explicitly determined that prosecutors had committed misconduct, only six prosecutors -- 0.8% -- were disciplined by the State Bar of California. Only 10 of the 4,741 disciplinary actions by the state bar during the same period involved prosecutors. "Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct 1997-2009," issued by the Innocence Project's Northern California chapter, was written by Kathleen Ridolfi and Maurice Possley, a visiting research fellow at the project. Possley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting at the Chicago Tribune. Ridolfi is a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. Click HERE to download the full report (pdf format).
North Carolina. SBI agent Duane Deaver will likely face a judge to explain why he shouldn't be sent to jail for making shifting explanations about criminal blood tests in the case of Greg Taylor, found innocent by the NC Innocence Inquiry Commission. The most likely question a judge will consider in Taylor's case is simple: Did Deaver lie to the commission in September 2009 about blood tests performed on Taylor's SUV in 1991. The answer should be obvious.
Missouri. A northwest Missouri judge has ordered all evidence thrown out in a decade-old murder case in which a former Kansas City attorney is accused of beating his law partner to death in their downtown office. This is some of the most egregious prosecutorial misconduct documented by a court in a long time. When the defense says "show me," the prosecution says "no."
Texas. Police in Richardson, Texas put a lot of effort into coercing a rape confession from deaf teenager Stephen Brodie back in 1990. Maybe that's why they continue to insist they had the right guy, even though the physical evidence tied the crime -- and 15 other rapes in the area -- to Robert Waterfield. Brodie spent 10 years in prison for the crime. He has now brought a petition to establish his innocence, based on Waterfield's fingerprint on the window of the victim's bedroom. The cops remain in denial.
UPDATE: Stephen Brodie was exonerated and freed on September 29, 2010.
Wisconsin. In response to the title of an article posted (below) just a few weeks ago, about the rarity of discipline for Wisconsin prosecutors, we can only add: "You're darn tootin'!" Both the Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Wisconsin Department of Justice determined in 2009 that it was neither unethical nor illegal for Calumet County DA Ken Kratz to send sexually charged text messages to the victim of a vicious domestic abuse case he was prosecuting. His conduct doesn't look so good in daylight. The rats who covered for him have deserted his sinking ship, but remember: The people now prosecuting Kratz are the same ones who covered for him.
UPDATE: Kratz resigned from his post as Calumet County DA on October 1, 2010.
New York. Prosecutors' failure to disclose that hypnosis was used to help a witness recover memories of alleged sex abuse as a child does not invalidate a defendant's guilty plea, a federal appeals court has ruled. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant the habeas petition sought by Jesse Friedman, who was seeking to undo his 1988 guilty plea in a molestation case that rocked Nassau County, N.Y., and became the subject of the documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." While the Court denied the appeal, the judges urged the Nassau DA to reopen the case. In the interest of justice.
Wisconsin. The Office of Lawyer Regulation wants to publicly reprimand Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider, saying she didn’t disclose a plea offer made to a witness and allowed the witness to lie under oath about it. The allegations against Schneider stem from a complaint filed in 2007 by Sheila Martin Berry, the former victim/witness coordinator for Winnebago County who runs Truth In Justice, an organization that publicizes wrongful convictions and misconduct by police and prosecutors. DAs rarely disciplined in Wisconsin.
New York. The trial judge should have caught this, but instead put his seal of approval on a coerced Alford plea by Rashjeem Richardson and sent him to prison for a knife attack someone else committed. Rochester prosecutors said four witnesses identified Mr. Richardson, when only one did so, and she retracted the next day because she had been drunk when she fingered him. When faced with a choice between a conviction and truth,prosecutors in Rochester choose a conviction.
Florida. Now that Anthony Caravella's conviction for the 1983 rape and murder of Ada Cox Jankowski has been tossed by DNA, officials there are forced to face the fact that now-retired Sheriff's Deputy Tony Fantigrassi 's real talent was extracting false confessions from innocent people. And then there's the crime lab. A legacy of corruption.
New Jersey. An assistant Camden County prosecutor accused of withholding evidence resigned yesterday after prosecutors agreed they never turned over all the information required when a Camden man charged with murder tried to prove his innocence. Harry Collins, who has been with the office for more than 15 years, resigned after the prosecution of Perman Pitman came under scrutiny. Pitman was freed last month shortly after officials discovered a handwritten note by Collins that said a witness had been paid to lie. "Please destroy this note."
Maryland. In Baltimore, Donnie Chestnut's trial was delayed 15 times. Small wonder. The state had no basis for the drug charges filed against him, and no justification for shooting him four times. He was acquitted -- and filed suit the same day.
North Carolina. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agent Michael Deaver stands with a foot in each camp -- junk science and egregious police misconduct. He can take a great deal of credit for Greg Taylor's conviction for a crime he didn't commit, because Deaver selectively reported -- and testified to -- finding blood in Taylor's truck, when he knew that more sophisticated tests showed the substance wasn't blood at all. SBI Director Robin Pendergraft stands behind Deaver, but there is a growing call across the state: Re-examine Old Cases.
Colorado. So just what have cops and prosecutors in the Rocky Mountain State learned from the case of Tim Masters--a vulnerable kid targeted to clear a disturbing murder, railroaded through court and convicted on speculation and innuendo because there was no evidence against him? Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver and DA Carol Chambers give a resounding answer: Nothing, absolutely nothing.
Massachusetts. Frankly, we never thought we would see it happen. Between 1991 and 1993, Boston U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn concealed evidence that might have cleared Vincent Ferrara and Pasquale Barone of murder charges. No big deal. Business as usual. In 2005, the USDOJ Office of Professional Responsibility found Auerhahn acted with "reckless disregard of discovery obligations," but all he "suffered" was a private reprimand. But Auerhahn's conduct has been referred to a state agency, and he'll face a 3-judge disciplinary panel. The Tide is Turning. Click HERE for the back story.
Illinois. A case that was about whether a convicted man is innocent has morphed into an increasingly personal brawl between two heavyweights unwilling to back down—with academics, prosecutors, freedom of the press advocates, and students hanging on the judge’s decision. The Professor and the Prosecutor.
Iowa. The U.S. Supreme Court announced late on January 4, 2010 that it had dismissed an important pending case over prosecutorial immunity after being alerted that the dispute had been settled. The action stops in its tracks a case that could have produced a landmark decision that many believed would have reined in the longstanding tradition that prosecutors cannot be held liable for their actions as prosecutors. Close call for crooked prosecutors.
More U.S. Federal Court. This time it's the federal court in Columbus, GA, where U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land issued a 19-page order harshly criticizing the U.S. Attorneys Offices for the Middle and Southern Districts for offering sweetheart deals to big-time drug dealers in order to fabricate a case against defense attorney J. Mark Shelnutt -- who was acquitted of all charges brought by the feds. Same song, east coast verse.
U.S. Federal Court. A federal judge on December 15, 2009 dismissed the entire criminal stock-options backdating case against two former Broadcom Corp. executives, concluding that the government's handling of the case "distorted the truth-finding process" and made a "mockery" of the defendants' due process rights. Before a courtroom packed with observers and other parties in the case, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney of Santa Ana, Calif., entered a judgment of acquittal for former Chief Financial Officer William Ruehle, who has been in trial since Oct. 23. Carney's decision was met at first with stunned silence. These prosecutors aren't used to losing or getting caught.
California. Ed Jagels, renowned as one of California's toughest district attorneys, built his career on the Kern County child molestation cases of the 1980s, putting more than two dozen men and women behind bars to serve decades-long sentences for abusing children. Appellate judges now say most of those crimes never happened. Since the late 1980s, all but one of 26 convictions Jagels secured have been reversed. Kern County has paid $9.56 million to settle state and federal suits brought by former defendants and their children. But he's retiring, leaving on his own terms, not held accountable for his actions. Why not? Because Kern County voters kept re-electing him.
Florida. William Dillon spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit based on fraudulent "evidence" from dog handler John Preston (discredited in 1984) and perjured "snitch" testimony from another jail inmate. Now that the snitch testified at a legislative hearing about how Brevard County detectives got him to lie under oath, the Brevard County Sheriff's Office reopened the homicide investigation. Isn't it a bit late?
Florida. Actually, all over the US, but the latest example of a wolverine prosecutor who gets convictions regardless of guilt is in Broward County, Florida -- Robert Carney. Of course, he's a judge now, and that's typical, too. A belt full of scalps qualifies prosecutors to move up to the bench and apply the same, twisted legal rationales to the cases tried by and before them. Congratulations, Judge Carney. Strike Four.
Wolverine prosecutors travel in packs. Robert Carney's successor, Carolyn McCann, launched a full-court (no pun intended) effort to assault the credibility of Edward Blake and his lab, Forensic Science Associates. Why? Blake not only found DNA in the Anthony Caravella case, but his tests cleared Caravella of rape and murder charges. In 2001, the Broward County Sheriff's crime lab "couldn't find" any DNA evidence. They travel in the same pack. Seek the truth? No. Protect the conviction.
Mississippi. Former Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter, 55, has resigned his job and pled guilty to misleading authorities. His plea means he'll be spending a little over a year--18 months--in a federal prison, and he will lose his law license. He'll not have to answer for what he did to Cedric Willis. DeLaughter sent an innocent man to prison for the rest of his natural life, even though evidence was available to the contrary.DeLaughter is no victim.
California: As Michael Gressett waited for a jury verdict in a molestation trial, the Contra Costa County sex crimes prosecutor had what he called a "nooner," bringing a fellow prosecutor to his Martinez home for intercourse. What happened next, on May 8, 2008, is the subject of an explosive rape case brought by the state attorney general. It involves a gun and an ice pick, but rests on a simple question that Gressett often asks juries to decide: Was the sex consensual or forced? Do as I say, not as I do.
Illinois: A Cook County judge ordered a new trial for convicted murderer Victor Safforld on May 22, 2009 after finding three Chicago police detectives once supervised by disgraced former Cmdr. Jon Burge likely beat him into confessing. "... I have a more complete history of the behavior of these detectives," Circuit Judge Clayton J. Cranesaid. "That evidence is staggering. That evidence is damning."
Wisconsin: Records show that over the past four years, Michael Froehlich, the son of Outagamie County (Appleton) Circuit Judge Harold Froehlich, has been arrested more than a dozen times for allegedly making threatening phone calls, drunken-driving related offenses, resisting arrest, battery, false imprisonment and threatening a sheriff’s deputy. During that time, Froehlich has been criminally prosecuted just once — in 2008 — after he was caught driving drunk for the third time with a 0.361 percent blood-alcohol level, more than four times the legal limit. Is there a quid pro quo here between the judge and the DA? (See Morphing DNA, Disappearing Evidence.) There's just something fishy about it.
Virginia: A top state lawyer defending Virginia death sentences has been accused of misconduct by the Virginia State Bar, an agency of the Virginia Supreme Court. The Virginia State Bar alleges that Katherine Baldwin Burnett, senior assistant Virginia attorney general and director of the office's capital litigation unit, made false statements during a bar hearing in April 2006 and interfered with another lawyer's access to evidence. Scaring jurors into silence after the trial is over.
Illinois: When Johnny Savory was 14, Peoria, IL police and prosecutors used his coerced, false confession to convict him of murdering two of his friends. When he was re-tried, the state trotted out two prison snitches who claimed Johnny confessed the murders to them, and again got a conviction. The snitches have recanted, Johnny has been paroled, but he continues to seek his own exoneration and the real killer's identity. Hoping DNA will do it.
New York: Nineteen years ago, police in Huguenot, NY forced 17-year-old Kevin Keller to sign a confession to the murder of Elaine Ackerman. Kevin spent 18 months in jail before the local court suppressed the confession and threw out the state's shaky case. Then, in early 2009, a DNA cold hit was made, identifying James Babcock as Ms. Ackerman's rapist/killer. Will Keller finally clear his name?
Wisconsin: About 14 years ago, Dane County Assistant District Attorney John Norsetter allegedly got a call that attorneys for Ralph Armstrong say would've blown the murder case against their client apart — if only they'd known about it. A proposed rule pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court would require prosecutors who receive such explosive information to reveal it to the defense — and possibly to investigate it. The current Supreme Court rules for prosecutors require only that exculpatory evidence be turned over to the defense before trial. No more turning a blind eye.
ARMSTRONG UPDATES: 4/1/09 -- John Norsetter, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Ralph Armstrong for the murder of UW-Madison student Charise Kamps in 1980, testified Wednesday that he didn’t recall until recently that he’d gotten a telephone call in the mid-1990s from a Texas woman who claimed Armstrong was innocent. "The only thing that I clearly remember is (saying) we convicted the right man," the now-retired prosecutor said. Armstrong Hearing, Day 1.
4/2/09 -- The 29-year-old murder case against Ralph Armstrong appeared in jeopardy Thursday after a judge found that a Dane County prosecutor failed to notify the defense of a reported confession by Armstrong’s brother in 1995. Reserve Circuit Court Judge Robert Kinney also found that Assistant District Attorney John Norsetter violated a court order in 2006, resulting in destruction of key DNA evidence. Armstrong Hearing, Day 2.
8/1/09 -- Ralph Armstrong’s long wait for freedom, four years after his conviction for the 1980 rape and murder of a UW-Madison student was overturned, came closer to an end Friday after a judge dismissed the charges against him. Reserve Judge Robert Kinney, of Rhinelander, said a Dane County prosecutor in 1995 should have told Armstrong’s attorneys about a reported confession to the murder of Charise Kamps by Armstrong’s brother. He also said a prosecutor-ordered test in 2006 caused the destruction of a semen stain on a piece of evidence that could have eliminated Armstrong as a suspect in Kamps’ murder. Is it really almost over?
Wisconsin: It was one of the most terrifying crimes ever to hit Kaukauna, WI, a community of 13,000. On June 25, 2000, Shanna Van Dyn Hoven, a 19-year-old UW-Madison student, was stabbed to death as she jogged by a quarry near her home about 6 p.m. Prosecutors said Kenneth Hudson stabbed Van Dyn Hoven, a stranger, in a fit of misplaced rage, and that they caught him red-handed, covered in her blood. Newly uncovered evidence, however, appears to support Hudson's contentions -- and raises more questions about the conduct of the police and the prosecutor, Vince Biskupic. Morphing DNA, Disappearing Evidence
|Key Points of Motion||Evidence Graphics Sheet|
|Comprehensive Motion (pdf)||DA's Tactics Questioned|
Click HERE for full coverage of Wisconsin's Vince Biskupic money-for-leniency scandal.
Click HERE for more on Vince Biskupic's approach to cooking up a case.
California. As part of a criminal justice review unprecedented in county history, the Santa Clara County public defender's has launched a massive project to revisit 1,500 or more sexual assault convictions dating back two decades to determine whether innocent people may have been put behind bars. Members of Valley Medical Center's Sexual Assault Response Team have been videotaping examinations of patients since 1991, but prosecutors failed to inform defense attorneys in cases involving those patients that such critical evidence existed. Under pressure to answer for the failure, District Attorney Dolores Carr has since revealed there are 3,300 such tapes in existence, and this week she vowed to inform defense attorneys of each case involving a medical-exam videotape where a defendant was convicted. Better late than never.
United States. An angry federal judge held Justice Department lawyers in contempt yesterday for failing to deliver documents to former senator Ted Stevens's legal team, as he had ordered. "That was a court order," U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan bellowed. "That wasn't a request. I didn't ask for them out of the kindness of your hearts. . . . Isn't the Department of Justice taking court orders seriously these days?" Judges rarely hold prosecutors in contempt. They're following in Mike Nifong's footsteps.
Pennsylvania. For years, the juvenile court system in Wilkes-Barre, PA operated like a conveyor belt: Youngsters were brought before judges without a lawyer, given hearings that lasted only a minute or two, and then sent off to juvenile prison for months for minor offenses. The explanation, prosecutors say, was corruption on the bench. In one of the most shocking cases of courtroom graft on record, two Pennsylvania judges have pled guilty to taking millions of dollars in kickbacks to send teenagers to two privately run youth detention centers. $2.6 Million in Payoffs.
But that's just the beginning. The two former judges, now admitted felons, are cooperating with federal law enforcement officials as they continue their probe into corruption at the courthouse Conahan used to run. The U.S. Attorney's Office is, in fact, investigating possible case fixing in Luzerne County's uninsured and underinsured motorist cases and has been for some time. So you think it's just bad kids and adult criminals who were abused? Everybody suffers.
North Carolina. It used to be that all you needed for a conviction was a vague allegation of sexual abuse by a very young child and a signed confession by a day care worker. But jurors in Franklin, NC are picky. In Michael Bradley's case, they demanded actual evidence. All that the state could give them was the word of a detective who thinks he can tell in minutes if someone is guilty and will use harsh techniques against a timid person to coerce a conviction to a crime that may not have happened at all. Their verdict: Not Guilty.
District of Columbia/Alaska. A special agent with the FBI is accusing government prosecutors in the Ted Stevens case of intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence from Stevens' lawyers and scheming to conceal a witness from the defense team. Did the government cheat to convict the Senator?
California. Herbie Gonzalez of Los Angeles, CA spent 196 days in jail, framed by two sheriff's investigators, Katherine Gallagher and Randy Seymour,who didn't hesitate to perjure themselves to make murder, robbery and residential burglary charges stick. When Judge Cary Nishimoto dismissed the charges because Herbie's "confession" was clearly coerced, Detectives Gallagher and Seymour implied he got off on a "technicality." And when the real killer, Milton Gallardo, was identified by DNA, Gallagher and Seymour continued to claim that Herbie was "somehow" involved in the crime. Once you frame a suspect, never admit you are wrong.
Illinois. DNA evidence has been widely embraced over the last two decades as a powerful forensic tool to prove a defendant's guilt or innocence. But in Lake County, authorities have sometimes pressed for convictions even when the DNA doesn't match a suspect. When DNA evidence excluded a man convicted in the rape and battery of a 68-year-old woman, Mermel suggested the victim had consensual sex with someone else. When DNA evidence excluded a man in the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl, Mermel and another prosecutor suggested that the girl may have been sexually active. The DNA, he said, was a "red herring." And, just recently, when lawyers for the man charged in the killing of his 8-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old friend said in court that DNA evidence from semen excluded him as the perpetrator, the Lake prosecutor had another explanation. Never let scientific facts stand in the way of a conviction.
Illinois. At last, former Chicago Police Lt. Jon Burge has been arrested. Burge or police officers who were under his command systematically tortured suspects to get confessions. The torture included suffocation, burns, electric shocks to the genitals, heads slammed with phone books and "games" of Russian roulette. But it's too late to charge Burge with torturing people. He's charged with lying about the torture.
Cook County Judge Dennis Dernbach is the last remaining defendant in the multi-million dollar lawsuits that four alleged torture victims brought against the city and county. The lawsuits claim murder confessions were coerced by former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his officers. He is being sued by Leroy Orange, a Death Row inmate who was pardoned and freed from prison by Gov. George Ryan in 2003. Orange accuses Dernbach, who was an assistant Cook County state’s attorney at the time, of coaching Orange’s confession. Orange also claims he told Dernbach he was tortured. Last man standing.
It doesn't get much more ironic. On the same day Jon Burge was arrested, former Cook County Judge Thomas Maloney died. He was the first—and remains the only—Cook County judge to be convicted of rigging murder cases for cash when he was found guilty in April 1993 of taking thousands of dollars to fix three separate murder trials and a fourth felony case. Not so tough on crime.
California. Contending that a top local prosecutor repeatedly sought to subvert justice, the state bar is recommending that Ben Field be suspended from practicing law for three years — a punishment that would represent an unheard of public discipline against a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney. Defense lawyer Jamie Harmon is facing trial in late October, 2008 on a 20-count state bar complaint, accusing her of neglecting the cases of some criminal defendants and misrepresenting what would happen to other clients if they pleaded guilty without going to trial. And the 6th District Court of Appeals has overturned several convictions in recent months after finding errors by Santa Clara County judges in their conduct of cases — including four cases in the past six months that were presided over by Judge Paul Bernal. Held accountable in Northern California.
UPDATE: A California State Bar Court appellate panel has upheld a four-year suspension for former Santa Clara County prosecutor Benjamin Field, despite an amicus curiae brief from the California District Attorneys Association warning of a chilling effect on prosecutions. Not Dissuaded.
Maryland. In at least nine homicide, sex assault and burglary cases, Baltimore police detectives instructed crime lab technicians not to follow up on convicted criminals' DNA found on evidence at crime scenes because they determined it was not relevant to their investigations. How tunnelvision works.
North Carolina. An all-white jury in Concord, NC convicted Ronnie Long of the rape of a prominent white widow -- the wife of a Cannon Mills executive -- in 1976, a crime Ronnie has always denied committing. His conviction was based on the victim's eyewitness identification of Ronnie. Now staff and attorneys with the NC Center on Actual Innocence have uncovered laboratory evidence that clears Ronnie -- evidence the state had all along and hid from Ronnie's defense for 32 years. The state cheated to keep a rapist free.
Maryland. Baltimore crime analysts have been contaminating evidence with their own DNA -- a revelation that led to the dismissal of the city Police Department's crime lab director and prompted questions from defense attorneys and forensic experts about the professionalism of the state's biggest and busiest crime lab. Baltimore police are talking out of both sides of their mouths, saying, 'Oh, it's not a problem at all,' and on the other hand they have fired the crime lab director. How did this lab get accreditation?
California. In Bakersfield, the crime lab is part of the DA's office. There is no "firewall" between the prosecution side and the science side of the office. This creates a conflict that recently moved prosecutor Nick Lackie to tell a jury, "So what?" This conflict issue has come to a head in a recent case in which a lawyer, Daniel Willsey, stands charged with causing the death of Joe Hudnall, a local deputy by driving under the influence of methamphetamine and causing Hudnall to crash. Defense attorneys have learned that testing of the defendant's blood was conducted by a lab analyst who is a close friend of the dead deputy's family. Cops in lab coats.
But wait -- there's more. When Daniel Willsey's defense attorneys went back to court to argue motions related to mishandling evidence by the DA office's crime lab, everyone got a big surprise. The crime lab had "inadvertently" destroyed the sample of Willsey's blood that the lab claimed tested positive for methamphetamines. Gosh, it's not like the DA wanted to make sure Willsey's defense attorneys can't have a private lab test the sample. Ooops -- Butterfingers.
Maryland. Raymond Jonassen, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, spent four months in jail based on information that turned out to be false. In charging documents related to a burglary from earlier in 2008, county police Detective Tate, wrote in an application for arrest warrant that Raymond H. Jonassen's fingerprints matched a set discovered at the crime scene. In fact, there was no match, and the county crime lab never indicated a match. It took another two weeks to dismiss the charge against Raymond. Neither the county police nor the chief prosecutor see a problem in what happened. Business as usual.
Prince Edward Island, Canada. In 1989, prosecutors wedged Anthony Hanemaayer between a rock and a hard place, convincing that despite his innocence, he needed to plead guilty to a rape he did not commit in order to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison. He took the deal, spent 2 years in prison, and has endured the stigma of a rapist since then. And when notorious rapist/killer Paul Bernardo confessed to police and prosecutors in 2006 that he, not Anthony, had committed the crime, they didn't bother to tell Anthony. Defense counsel in another case stumbled on it.
Illinois: In 1995, Alan Beaman of Normal, IL was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend, Jennifer Lockmiller, in 1993. The prosecutor, James Souk, didn't tell the jury about evidence that showed Alan was 140 miles away when Jennifer died, or that forensic evidence linked another man, not Alan, to the murder scene. Thirteen years later, the Illinois Supreme Court has reversed Alan's conviction, calling the evidence against him "tenuous." James Souk was rewarded for his misconduct in the usual way -- he's a judge now. The current county prosecutor, Bill Yoder, says he is "saddened for the family of Jennifer Lockmiller." Apparently Mr. Yoder thinks it is okay to let a killer go free, so long as somebody does the time. Career advancement at its typical
Ohio: In 1998, when he was 12 years old, Anthony Harris of New Philadelphia, OH was subjected to a brutal interrogation, then charged and convicted of the murder of Devan Duniver, who lived near Anthony. Two years later, an Ohio appeals court threw out the conviction, ruling that the interrogation was so coercive that Harris "had no choice but … to confess." Prosecutor Amanda Spies got mad and got even; when Anthony tried to enlist in the Marines, she told military officials he was a murderer. But vindictive conduct is not protected conduct. The 6th US Circuit Court has ruled that Anthony can sue the prosecutor.
Nevada: Roundly denouncing a Las Vegas federal prosecutor for withholding 650 pages of evidence potentially helpful to two lawyers charged in a stock fraud case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of all 64 charges and refused to allow a retrial. The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, not surprisingly, cleared Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Greg Damm of any misconduct, and did so without contacting defense attorneys. Conduct in flagrant disregard of the United States Constitution
Texas: The Dallas County district attorney who has built a national reputation on freeing the wrongfully convicted says prosecutors who intentionally withhold evidence should themselves face harsh sanctions – possibly even jail time. "Something should be done," said Craig Watkins, whose jurisdiction leads the nation in the number of DNA exonerations. "If the harm is a great harm, yes, it should be criminalized." Punish Unethical Prosecutors
Mississippi: The exonerations of Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks exposed the corrupt underbelly of rural and sparsely populated Noxubee County. But the corruption isn't limited to small towns with little outside oversight. Take a look at Jackson, where judges take money from prosecutors to guarantee "justice" and consider exonerations bad publicity. The Mississippi system.
Ohio: A judge dismissed aggravated murder charges against Arian S. O'Connor after Summit County prosecutors asserted that Youngstown police ''compromised'' ballistic evidence in the 2002 slaying for which O'Connor was charged. When they say "compromised," they mean "planted" evidence. That's fraud.
Pennsylvania: It took a Fayette County, PA jury just 25 minutes to figure out Bret Shallenberger was innocent of hiring a former employee to burn down Shallenberger's profitable business. It's the local prosecutor, who promised the actual arsonist immunity in exchange for framing Shallenberger, who should be on trial. Wrong Defendant
North Carolina: A day after Glen Edward Chapman was freed from death row, the State Bureau of Investigation agreed to review allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice against Dennis Rhoney. The former Hickory police detective led the 1992 double-murder investigation that resulted in Chapman's convictions. Ex-Cop Who Led Discredited Case Probed
California: A federal appeals court removed a controversial judge, U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real of Los Angeles, from another case, accusing him this time of "excessive and biased interventions" that denied two defendants a fair trial. Biased Judge
California: The Orange County case against James Ochoa for robbing three restaurant workers was tainted at every level: police misconduct in manipulating the victims' identification of James and misrepresenting the responses of a police tracking dog; efforts by the DA's office to bully crime lab scientists into lying about the DNA exclusion of James as the robber; and the inexcusable conduct of Judge Robert Fitzgerald in extorting a guilty plea from James by threatening him with life in prison.
In a rare series of real-time reports about the prosecution of James Ochoa, R. Scott Moxley told readers of the Orange County Weekly exactly which public servants were perverting justice and how they were doing it. As you read these, keep in mind that for the police, prosecutors and judge, business goes on as usual. Moreover, the DA is starting up his own crime lab, so he won't have to put up with scientists who refuse to lie about their findings.
|The Case of the Dog Who Couldn't Sniff Straight||There Once was a Judge from Nantucket|
|Oops. Quiet Admission They got the Wrong Guy||If Evidence Doesn't Fit, Alter It|
Also see how the California Attorney General played games with James Ochoa's compensation: Making a Chew Toy of Justice
Alabama and the U.S.: Don Siegelman, former Democratic Governor of Alabama, has a lot in common with Georgia Thompson. Both were prosecuted for acts that were not crimes, by politically motivated U.S. Attorneys, at the behest of vengeful politicos highly placed in the Bush administration. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals tossed Thompson's conviction at the conclusion of oral argument, ordering her immediate release from prison. It has taken longer, but the foundation of lies and corruption underlying Siegelman's conviction is starting to crumble. Sadly, Bush and his cronies have turned the U.S. Department of Justice into a cadre of political operatives. Justice in Amerika.
South Dakota: Start with a 20-year-old cold case, two missing teenagers, and call their disappearance murder. Pick a suspect, a rapist serving a long prison term. Use a state psychologist to "help" the suspect's sister come up with "recovered memories" of seeing the missing teens at her family's farm. Recruit a seasoned snitch to get a confession on tape. Voila! You've got a conviction -- almost. Then someone noticed it wasn't the suspect's voice on the taped confession ...
Texas: After he was snared in a net of swirling controversies including an e-mail scandal and the high-profile indictment of a sitting Supreme Court justice followed by an immediate move to dismiss that case, Harris County (Houston), Texas, District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal resigned from office. It was a stunning reversal of fortunes.
In a press release, Rosenthal said prescription drugs had impaired his judgment. But it was what happened inside a southeast Houston home six years earlier that led to events in a federal courtroom and to Rosenthal's resignation. Erik and Sean Ibarra -- the power of common men.
Mississippi: The Innocence Project has asked the state to fill the long-vacant position of State Medical Examiner, and to stop using state pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne. Dr. Hayne's work lies at the heart of the wrongful convictions of Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. His credentials and the results of his work have been solidly discredited for several years, but he is under no oversight because the State Medical Examiner position has been vacant for more than a decade. How many more wrongful convictions before the state acts responsibly?
But Dr. Steven Hayne is only half of the despicable duo. Forensic odontologist Dr. Michael West found "bite marks" no one else could see on the bodies of the little victims in both cases, and in both cases, testified that Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks were each guilty. "If you fabricate evidence in a capital murder case, where you know that if the person's convicted they are going to be executed -- as far as I'm concerned that's the crime of attempted murder,'' says Peter Neufeld. "He's a criminal."
Massachusetts: Stephan Cowans spent nearly seven of his 37 years of life behind bars, locked up for a crime he did not commit. Exonerated in January 2004, Cowans sued and ultimately received a $3.2 million settlement from the city of Boston in 2006. This past October (2007), he was shot dead in his Randolph home. Cowans never learned how, or why, he came to be blamed for the non-fatal shooting of Boston police officer Gregory Gallagher in 1997. Now, the Boston Phoenix has uncovered substantial new information about the Cowans case. These revelations are troubling, as they suggest that key members of the Boston Police Department (BPD) knew that Cowans was innocent, even as they forged the case to prosecute him. Incompetent--or Corrupt?
New York: New York state investigators are probing how police and prosecutors handled the 1988 bludgeoning and stabbing deaths of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, whose son, Marty Tankleff, served 17 years in prison for their murders before being released in December, 2007. What Took So Long?
New York: A teen shooting suspect's quick decision to record his interrogation with a hidden MP3 device has played out as a perjury case against a veteran detective. Testifying at the trial of Erik Crespo in April, Detective Christopher Perino, 42, emphatically stated that he hadn't questioned the then-17-year-old about a Christmas Day 2005 shooting in The Bronx before the kid's mother and aunt showed up at the 44th Precinct station. But Crespo had secretly pressed record on his MP3 player - a small device used to download music from the Internet - hidden in his pocket and captured the bullying interrogation. "Testilying" vs. Tape.
Hawaii: A hard-won victory for the common man: Pinkerton v. KPD (Link)
Arizona: In a breathtaking abuse of the United States Constitution, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik, used the grand jury to subpoena "all documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present." More alarming still, Arpaio, Thomas, and Wilenchik subpoenaed detailed information on anyone who has looked at the New Times Web site since 2004. Taking a Sledgehammer to the Constitution
Within hours of the Phoenix New Times blowing the whistle on Sheriff Arpaio, County Attorney Thomas and special prosecutor Wilenchik, the two top executives of the newspaper were arrested. By the next day, public outcry was such that the charges were dropped and Wilenchik was fired. Which leads to our question: Why are Sheriff Arpaio and County Attorney Thomas still in office?
North Carolina: A Durham, NC judge on October 8, 2007 dismissed murder and robbery charges first filed in 1993 against a mentally retarded defendant, ordering his release from a state hospital after 14 years in custody without a trial. Floyd Brown, a 43-year-old Anson County man with an IQ of 50, was charged in the robbery and beating death of 80-year-old Katherine Lynch in 1993. He was found at the time to be incompetent to stand trial, and has remained in state custody at Dorothea Dix Hospital ever since as prosecutors refused to drop the case against him. (Hey, wasn't Mike Nifong the Durham County DA?) The System Failed Him at Every Level.
Canada: The Supreme Court of Canada, in a 6-3 decision, has broken new legal ground by ruling suspects can sue police investigators for negligence in cases of shoddy detective work. In a judgment that said police officers are not immune from civil liability, the court set its eyes squarely on combating wrongful convictions and institutional racism, requiring police to face the same legal consequences as other professionals who fail in their public duties. Ruling Applies Across Canada.
Illinois: Not since club-swinging cops in baby-blue helmets chased demonstrators through clouds of pepper gas at the 1968 Democratic National Convention have Chicago police been so awash in trouble. Federal prosecutors have charged special operations officer Jerome Finnigan with planning the murder of another member of the unit to keep him from talking to the government. U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald has announced the federal government was stepping into the torture case, saying it would seek evidence of "perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice by members of the Chicago police department." It's political, it's cultural, it's systemic.
Wisconsin: Award-winning journalist Dee Hall of Madison, WI's Wisconsin State Journal has filed a stunning series on the prosecutorial misconduct of Dane County Asst. DA Paul Humphrey, as well as the response -- or lack of response -- of Wisconsin's Office of Lawyer Regulation to Humphrey's conduct in particular and prosecutorial misconduct in general.
|Some of Humphrey's Questionable Cases||30% Longer to Handle Felonies|
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial
|Devastating Consequences||25 Prosecutors Disciplined since 1981|
UPDATE: 9/22/07 - Ingham County DA Stuart Dunnings, III has joined Claude McCollum's lawyer in asking the Michigan Court of Appeals to grant Claude a new trial. According to the joint motion, Lansing Community College Police turned over a videotape which apparently showed that Claude was somewhere else on campus at the time of Carolyn Kronenburg's murder. Dunnings said if he knew in 2005 what he knows now, he would still prosecute Claude. Why wasn't the videotape turned over before trial?
UPDATE: 9/24/07 - The Michigan Court of Appeals has granted Claude McCollum a new trial.
UPDATE: 10/16/07 - Claude McCollum released on bail. State says he poses no danger to public. Translation: He's innocent.
UPDATE: 10/24/07 - Charges against McCollum dismissed
Pennsylvania: Sometimes justice happens in spite of the justice system. Sometimes it only happens when the people in the justice system get their noses rubbed in their messes. On 9/11/07, Lancaster County District Attorney Donald R. Totaro did the right thing by freeing Charles T. "Ted" Dubbsfrom a 12- to 40-year prison term in two sexual attacks he probably did not commit. Dubbs was sentenced in May 2002. Wilbur Cyrus Brown, a serial rapist who confessed to 13 other rapes, including one on the same jogging trail where Dubbs supposedly committed his crimes, confessed to those attacks in November. But Totaro had to spin things to portray his office as a well-oiled machine that immediately turned to fix an honest error when it came to their attention. That’s not what happened.
Wisconsin: In a three-year span, Milwaukee Police Department Sgt. Jason Mucha was accused at least 10 times of beating suspects, planting drugs or both - claims so similar that judges took notice. Mucha's record shows how an individual can be the subject of numerous misconduct allegations and continue to advance his career inside a department that lacks a reliable way to track problematic behavior. His story also shows how a single officer was instrumental in changing the way Wisconsin courts consider claims of police misconduct. Forceful Impact
Mississippi: Kennedy Brewer of Macon, Mississippi, a mildly retarded, Black defendant, was convicted of raping and killing a 3-year-old girl and sentenced to death in 1992. In 2002, he was cleared by DNA, but he wasn't released. He has spent the past 5 years in the local jail, awaiting retrial. Because you can bet, the local authorities plan to get another conviction and another death sentence. The Sheriff says he can't look for a DNA match because Mississippi doesn't have a DNA database -- which is news to the state's crime lab director. The prosecutor will bring back his star witness, dentist Dr. Michael West, whose bite mark testimony has been disproven by DNA in other cases, and who resigned from professional forensic dentistry groups to avoid expulsion. Prosecutors are so sure they're right about Kennedy's guilt that they're Willing to Bet His Life on It.
UPDATE: 2/9/08 - Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks, both convicted of killing 3-year-old girls in Noxubee County, Mississippi, and both cleared by DNA, are slated to be released. What did it take to reach this point? Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood had to take the prosecutions of these murders away from the Noxubee County DA, something almost unheard of in the state's history. The Attorney General has charged Albert Johnson with the murders of both children.
California: A coalition of national nonprofit groups has asked the Justice Department to investigate and suspend FBI employee Danny Miller, who was found by a jury to have falsified evidence against Herman Atkins, a man who served 12 years in prison before being exonerated by DNA evidence. Miller is in a position to continue doing harm to the innocent.
Wisconsin: Wisconsin Dept. of Justice special agent Greg Eggum put away a lot of people during the time he worked as an arson investigator for the state. It was the means he sometimes used that caused the problems -- forensic fraud, hiding and tampering with evidence, committing perjury -- and state agencies that should have investigated his conduct refused to do so. In 2006, Milwaukee investigative consultant Ira Robins asked the state supreme court to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Eggum's conduct. The state high court instead converted Robins' petition to an appeal in John Maloney's criminal case and dismissed it. Robins is back with a federal lawsuit detailing Eggum's misconduct and asking for a federal investigation. Click HERE to read the Complaint (pdf format).
Ohio. Lee Lucas has had an extraordinary career as a DEA agent in Miami, in Bolivia, and now in his hometown of Cleveland. He's gotten a lot of convictions, but with "issues" like evidence tampering, beating informants, suborning perjury and lying under oath himself. Lucas dodged all the investigative bullets, until May of 2007. That's when one of his informants, Jerrell Bray, told federal public defenders: "I could fill a room with the innocent people I've helped Lucas put away."
Jerrell Bray said he wanted to come clean. But would anyone believe him?
Joshawa Webb won't answer the door. Joe Ward won't leave his room. Lowestco Ballard's wife had a miscarriage. And Geneva France is a ghost. Collateral damage when police become criminals.
Wisconsin. A judge on July 25, 2007 threw out an Oshkosh man 's 1995 conviction for threatening to kill disgraced former Winnebago County District Attorney Joseph Paulus after authorities agreed that a prosecutor withheld important evidence and solicited false testimony from a key witness. The prosecution of the case by former Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic "is an example of really egregious conduct " by a prosecutor, said an attorney for the man, Mark Price. Vindication.
United States. The power, if not the arrogance, of prosecutors grated on Angela Davis throughout her 12 years at the D.C. Public Defender Service, three as its director. Now a law professor at American University, she has made a mission of exposing that power--on radio and TV and in a new book,Arbitrary Justice--with hopes of reining it in. Her beef is not so much with prosecutors breaking the rules, although plenty do. Davis' greater worry is all the behavior considered within bounds but outside any reasonable notion of fair play. Abuse at the early stages.
Massachusetts. In what appears to be the largest sum of money ever awarded to people who were wrongfully convicted, a judge today ordered the federal government to pay $101.8 million to make amends for framing four men for a murder they did not commit. Two of the men died in prison after being falsely convicted in the 1965 gangland murder. Another, Peter Limone, spent 33 years in jail before he was exonerated in 2001. The fourth, Joseph Salvati, spent 29 years in prison. Justice -- Better Late than Never.
Colorado. Somewhere between the spot Peggy Hettrick was abducted and the Fort Collins field where her partially clad body was dumped, her killer would have shed pieces of himself, mothlike. As he pulled her through the grass that dark morning on Feb. 11, 1987, his skin cells could have sloughed off onto her black coat. A strand of his hair could have hooked onto her shoes. A sneeze could have dampened her blouse. This is the law of forensic science: When two people come into contact, they leave cells on each other. But in the Hettrick murder case, authorities strayed from this law by losing some of these biological relics and destroying evidence linked to a prominent doctor they never investigated for the crime. In doing so, they may have covered the killer's genetic tracks. This happened in Fort Collins, where a detective clung to his belief that a 15-year-old boy committed the crime, despite no physical evidence. In a county where prosecutors opposed saving DNA, let alone testing it. In a state where the law doesn't create a duty to preserve forensic evidence. The result: An innocent man goes to prison for life, and the real killer moves on. Tim Masters is the innocent man.
UPDATE: January 3, 2008: Innocence Bid Gets Boost. Fort Collins, CO authorities violated evidence-discovery rules when they withheld expert opinions that conflicted with their theory that a 15-year-old Tim Masters murdered Peggy Hettrick in 1987, according to special prosecutors.
UPDATE: January 22, 2008: Tim Masters released and his conviction vacated. DNA excludes Masters and points to another suspect.
UPDATE: September 9, 2008: Prosecutors in Tim Masters case get public censure for their misconduct. Both Terry Gilmore and Jolene Blair are judges now, and this isn't Gilmore's first censure for prosecutor misconduct. Nonetheless, they are expected to be easily re-elected in 2010 -- assuming anyone runs against either of them -- because the public has such a short span of attention, and the voters don't really care.
UPDATE: July 30, 2010: Murder conviction was built on cop's lies. Lt. Jim Broderick, one of the lead investigators in the case against Masters, appeared before specially appointed Judge James Hartmann in a hearing that lasted about 12 minutes. Broderick listened to the perjury charges against him but waived his right to hear a formal reading of the indictment. He did not enter a plea. He is scheduled to be back in court for a status conference September 28, 2010.
Massachusetts Chief US District Judge Mark L. Wolf, in a rare rebuke to the US Justice Department, has asked the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers to launch disciplinary proceedings against a veteran federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Auerhahn, who withheld key evidence in a New England Mafia case from the early 1990s. His Victim Wants Auerhahn Disbarred. Click HERE for the back story.
Manitoba, Canada There has been intense scrutiny of cases handled by George Dangerfield, who until his retirement was considered the most formidable prosecutor toiling for Manitoba Justice. Since his retirement, however, he has been dogged by allegations that some of his most famous cases were miscarriages of justice. He was at the helm of two confirmed wrongful convictions: James Driskell and Thomas Sophonow. In both cases, judicial inquiries determined that Dangerfield committed errors, and failed in his duty to disclose relevant evidence to the defence. The Hon. Roger Salhany, former justice of the Ontario Court, has been retained to review the cases of former top Manitoba prosecutor George Dangerfield. Prosecutorial Misconduct Knows No Borders
Michigan After a house burned down on Bay-Arenac County Line Road near Bay City, MI, Pinconning-Fraser Fire officials called Michigan State Police fire investigator Jeffrey Wallace to the scene. They suspected arson, they told him. And when Wallace showed up with his arson dog named Cops and produced evidence that accelerants fueled the blaze, they had all the evidence needed to bring charges - against Wallace. That's because local firefighters intentionally ignited the abandoned structure - without using any accelerant - in a ''sting'' on Wallace executed in conjunction with Michigan State Police and other agencies. Faking Your Way to Glory.
Wisconsin: The trend of prosecuting non-criminal conduct has spread from New York, where former U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani initiated it, to the heartland. In Wisconsin, Georgia Thompson was a civil service employee when she was convicted of fraud, after being accused of steering a state travel contract to a firm whose top officials were major campaign contributors to Gov. Doyle. Never mind that she knew nothing about the campaign contributions and was just trying to save the state money. In a stunning and extremely rare move, a 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appealsacquitted Thompson at the conclusion of oral arguments on April 5, 2007, and ordered her immediate release from prison.
Not a politically motivated prosecution? Not a thinly veiled attempt by U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic to wound a sitting (Democrat) governor in the heat of an election? If not, then why was Thompson repeatedly offered deals, even after she was convicted, if she would "talk about higher-ups." Of course it was. And an innocent woman was Caught in a Political Squeeze Play.
UPDATE: 9/12/07 - The federal case against Georgia Thompson is long dead, and she is back to work in her state job. But questions about the feds' failed prosecution of Thompson just won't go away. And with good reason. Questions on Thompson case won't quit.
from Liestoppers Blog
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