|FRAMED IN LIFE, DENIED EXONERATION
Okay, Lt. Chism isn't a cop. He's a 20-year veteran
fire fighter from Spokane, WA. In Todd's case, this works much
the same way being a cop has worked against the other men and women
featured here. His years of service made him a target. When
his wife's identity was stolen and used to download child pornography
from the internet, what did the Washington State Police do?
Arrested Lt. Chism, of course. He's been suspended with pay since
January 29, 2008. The WSP may not always be right, but they are
never wrong. Even though no pornography could be found on Lt.
Chism's computers, WSP investigator Lt. Chris Gunderman says that
"doesn't mean he isn't guilty."
On November 20, 2010,
Laurie Bembenek died, following a brief battle with liver cancer.
Her pardon application had languished before Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's
pardon advisory board for two years. When public pressure mounted
on Doyle, in the closing days of his administration, to do the right
thing, Doyle's lack of a spine and a conscience became obvious.
First, he claimed that she had to appear at a pardon hearing.
Then he announced he was doing away with pardon hearings during the
last six weeks of his term, only to change his mind the next day and
reinstate hearings. The next lame excuse was a claim that
Laurie's pardon application was incomplete, that she had failed to
notify the DA and the judge and get forms completed by them. But
Laurie's steadfast investigator, Ira Robins, had personally served
notice on both the DA and the judge. So while Florida's Gov.
Charlie Crist pardoned the late Jim Morrison of the Doors for exposing
himself at a concert 40 years ago, Wis. Gov. Jim Doyle grasped at one
bogus excuse after another, to avoid pardoning a woman who was
sacrificed to protect so many law enforcement, crime lab and legal
The state's intent, of course, is to shovel the dirt
covering Laurie's grave over the unconscionable crimes committed under
color of law and in the name of "justice" to frame her for a murder she
didn't commit. They presume they are safe from exposure
now. They are wrong. Ira Robins has undertaken the task of
making public all the
evidence of Laurie's innocence and the guilt of everyone from the
trigger man who committed the crime to the crooked cops who planted
evidence, the prosecutors who hid evidence of Laurie's innocence and
the crime lab analysts who altered tests to back up the
prosecution. Find out what really happened. Why?
Because it can happen to YOU.
KEY EVIDENCE WITHHELD
IN BEMBENEK CASE
|LAWRENCIA (BAMBI) BEMBENEK
A former Milwaukee,WI police officer, Laurie Bembenek was convicted in
1982 of murdering her husand's ex-wife, Christine Schultz.
Although Laurie was cleared in the court of public opinion
following her 1991 escape from prison and subsequent extradition
hearings in Canada, Bambi is still running to prove her innocence with
DNA tests. (The initial tests have been inconclusive,
although none of Laurie's DNA was found.)
from sworn statements by state crime lab officials shows
that Laurie Bembenek did not kill Christine Schultz, who was murdered
in 1981, Bembenek's lawyer said. The
lawyer, Mary Woehrer, contends that Bembenek's conviction should be
overturned because, "Put together, there's no evidence left to convict
this woman. The whole case was based on fabrication."
APPEALS MURDER CONVICTION
attorney for Laurie Bembenek asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court on
Tuesday to overturn her 1982 conviction, arguing "there remains no more
evidence linking her to the murder."
The appeal contends new DNA and ballistics tests show Bembenek is
innocent in the 1981 slaying of her then- husband's ex-wife, Christine
Schultz of Milwaukee.
REVERSE MY MURDER CONVICTION
a person who pleaded no contest to a crime have her
conviction overturned now that DNA and other forensic tests have
exonerated her? That's
the question former Milwaukee Police Officer Lawrencia Bembenek wants
the U.S. Supreme Court to answer.
Brian Franklin's career with the Fort Worth, Texas
police came to a screeching halt in 1995 when he was convicted of
sexually assaulting a child. There was no physical evidence
against him, and he had multiple alibis demonstrating he could not have
assaulted the child. The child's false testimony convicted him,
and prosecutors let his conviction stand even after they learned three
years later that the girl's step-father had been assaulting her.
New case law in Texas requires that people convicted on false testimony
are entitled to a new trial. This time, it only took an hour for
a jury to acquit Brian.
Technically, Raymond Tempest of Woonsocket, RI was
never a cop. It was his close ties to law enforcement that
targeted him and played a key role in his 1992 conviction for the 1982
murder of Doreen Picard. Tempest is the brother
of former Woonsocket police detective
Gordon Tempest and the son of the late Raymond
Tempest Sr., who was the former second-in-command of the Woonsocket
police and the sitting high sheriff for Providence County when the
murder took place. On July 13, 2015, Judge Daniel
Procaccini overturned the conviction and released Tempest to home
confinement, pending the state's appeal.
UPDATE: The state Supreme Court on July 14, 2016 ruled in favor
of Raymond D. "Beaver" Tempest Jr., finding that the Woonsocket native
is entitled to a new trial in the 1982 bludgeoning death of a former
|Ten years after
Vickie Barton was murdered on the farm she and her
husband, Lt. Jim Barton of the Springboro (OH) Police Department owned,
Jim was charged and convicted of masterminding her death. The
evidence? The word of a jailhouse snitch and notorious liar and
the prosecution's interpretation of Barton's 911 call for help.
Listen to the audio -- decide for yourself whether Barton said "I gotta
call for help" or "I gotta call Phelp."
On May 15, 2015, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals REVERSED Jim Barton's
conviction and GRANTED his petition for habeas. He
was freed on
bond in April, 2016, and finally out from under this cloud when he
reached a plea agreement with the state.
Lt. Todd Chism
Sept. 28, 2000, Kim Camm and her two children were victims of a triple
murder in New Albany, Ind. They were found shot to death at home in
their garage. But
just hours after the memorial service, police arrested their prime
suspect, David Camm, for murdering his wife and two children.
Camm, who claims his innocence, has a very good alibi. Eleven witnesses
say they were with him at the time of the murder. Nonetheless, he
was convicted. His conviction was overturned in August, 2004 --
but the charges were reissued and Camm was convicted again at retrial.
- June 30, 2009 - David Camm's second conviction has been
overturned. Prosecutors say they intend to retry him.
UPDATE - October 30, 2013 -- David Camm's third trial has ended in a
NOT GUILTY verdict. His 13-year nightmare is over. Now, at
long last, he can grieve his family, and begin to rebuild his life.
UPDATE: On May 1, 2008, the Stevens County (WA) prosecutor's
office announced that Lt. Chism will not be charged with possession of
child pornography. The Washington State Patrol reaffirmed that no
evidence of child pornography had been linked to Lt. Chism. The
officer who headed the investigation has been reassigned due to
Former Vancouver, WA police officer
Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was
convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children
say it never happened.
former western Wisconsin police officer on
trial for a second time in the murder of his
ex-girlfriend was cleared on April 29, 2005 after a district attorney
couldn't prove his guilt. Eau Claire County District Attorney
asked a judge to drop the first-degree intentional homicide charge
against Evan Zimmerman, whose previous murder conviction was overturned
UPDATE: Evan Zimmerman died of cancer on July 1, 2007, only two
years after his exoneration.
After he won his freedom, Zimmerman sued Eau Claire, WI Police for his
wrongful conviction. He lost that case in September, 2006.
What drove the case against Evan Zimmerman is the same phenomenon that
drove the cases against Scott Hornoff, John Maloney and so many of the
other innocent men and women -- those who have been cleared and those
who languish in prison -- tunnel vision on the part of
investigators and prosecutors. Even when proven to be absolutely
wrong, they cling to theories that keep dangerous criminals on the
street and put us all at risk.
On 1/6/04, RI
Superior Court Judge Joseph Rogers wrote, "An
innocent man should not have spent six years in jail for a crime he did
not commit, and an innocent man should not be burdened by a wrongful
conviction." With that, Judge Rogers ordered Scott reinstated to
the Warwick RI Police Department, with back pay and benefits.
Former Pawtucket, RI resident Todd Barry is behind bars after suddenly
confessing to the 1989 killing of Victoria Cushman, for which former
Warwick police detective Jeffrey Scott Hornoff has been in prison since
his conviction in 1996. Scott had exhausted his appeals and, with
the backing of the New England Innocence
Project and the National Police Defense Foundation, had been seeking
DNA testing in an effort to clear himself.
Hornoff speaks out about his fellow officers, the media, prosecutors
Scott's Autobiography: WithPrejudice
STILL FIGHTING REINSTATEMENT: Two years after Scott's
exoneration, the City of Warwick continues to fight Judge Rogers' order
UPDATE: Scott and the City of Warwick have reached a settlement,
but there's a catch: Hornoff may lose
bulk of settlement to ex-wife.
Returning home after an
evening out, James Andros, III, a veteran Atlantic City, NJ police
officer, the son of a police captain, calls 911 to say his young wife
is dead. The medical examiner rules the death a homicide — asphyxia by
suffocation — and the husband is charged with killing his wife, his
childhood sweetheart. Facing a life sentence, he loses his job and his
children, and finds himself vilified by neighbors and the news media.
Brutal wife killer? No. Botched autopsy.
Andros has filed a federal civil rights claim against Atlantic County
officials, alleging that they "conspired to concoct a
motive" with his in-laws and distorted or misrepresented evidence.
More Than a
Update (4/20/07): Jim Andros has settled his claims against
Atlantic County for $2.3 Million. He will continue to press his
claims against Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz, First
Assistant Prosecutor Murray Talasnik, Sgt. Bruce DeShields, and Lt.
Jan. 25, 1995, Kenneth Conley was a young patrol officer from South
Boston, MA dispatched to a shooting and foot chase. Pursuing one
of the shooting suspects on foot, Conley was so focused on his prey
that he didn't see other Boston police officers beating an undercover
officer. When he testified to what he saw -- and didn't see --
the U.S. Attorney charged Conley with perjury. His conviction was
overturned twice after it was
learned Asst. U.S. Attorney Theodore Merritt withheld from the defense
evidence that his star witness actually couldn't remember where Conley
was in relation to the location where the undercover officer was beaten.
In December, 1991, Ken Berry was a newly-hired officer with the
University of Chicago Police Department. But his world came
crashing down when a woman with whom he had consensual sex accused him
of rape. Thanks to a defense attorney later described by U.S.
District Judge Robert Gettelman as "clueless" -- he never prepared for
trial and failed to call witnesses who could exonerate Berry -- Ken was
convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. In 1999, his
habeas was granted and he was retried. It took the jury less than
2 hours to acquit Ken. He has distinguished himself as a
litigation paralegal and in his pro
bono (free of charge) work with the poor and elderly, but what
he really wants is a pardon.
UPDATE: Police and court records relating to the arrest and
conviction of Wilder "Ken" Berry for a crime he has since been
exonerated of have been ordered expunged by Cook County Chief Criminal
Judge Paul Biebel. Gov. Rod Blagojevich refused Berry's request
for clemency, prompting Berry to seek a court order. "I may never
be financially compensated for losing those eight years, but my name
restoration means much more," Berry said.
federal jury has awarded
nearly $6.6 million in damages to former
Chicago police Officer Steven Manning, finding two veteran FBI agents
framed him for a Cook County murder that put him on Death Row.
The jury also held that one of the FBI agents also framed Manning in a
Missouri kidnapping case. Manning spent 14 years in prison before both
convictions were overturned and the prosecutions were dropped.
Along with Steve Manning, Willow Springs, IL police officer Gary Engel
was framed by an FBI agent and a Buffalo Grove, IL cop in the Missouri
kidnapping case. He spent 19 years in prison, was finally
exonerated in April, 2010, and has filed a lawsuit in federal court
against the FBI agent, the cop and the Village of Buffalo Grove.
OTHER WRONGFULLY CONVICTED COPS
AREN'T AS FORTUNATE AS THESE
-- THEY'RE STILL IN PRISON
A veteran Green Bay, WI police
officer, John Maloney was convicted of murder, arson and mutilating a
corpse in the 1998 death of his estranged wife, Sandra. But the
evidence of arson was concocted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice
investigators, who used forensic fraud and perjury to help a
now-disgraced prosecutor get the first conviction of a Wisconsin police
officer for the most serious felony under the law. Despite
evidence of his innocence, Maloney remains in prison for lack of legal
Defense attorneys for James A. Kulbicki
alibi witnesses, and he flat-out said he didn't do it. He was, after
all, a Baltimore police sergeant, and, he insisted, not a killer.
But a state police ballistics expert named Joseph
convict the officer by saying that bullet fragments found in his truck
and in his mistress' head could have come from his gun - testimony that
is now being questioned. Kopera recently killed
himself after being confronted with evidence that he lied about his
credentials. Kulbicki's attorneys challenged
Kopera's findings and assertions in
court papers filed a year earlier, arguing that the firearms examiner's
testimony did not match his notes. And that was before they discovered
that Kopera claimed to have degrees that he never earned.
captain Douglas Prade had served nearly 15 years of a
life sentence after being convicted
of the 1997 shooting death of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo S. Prade. But
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter ruled on January 29, 2013
DNA test results exclude him as a suspect and he is “actually innocent
of aggravated murder.” Hunter ordered that Prade be set free
UPDATE: July, 2014 - After a year of freedom, Douglas Prade's
exoneration was reversed and he was sent back to prison after state
appellate courts ruled Judge Hunter's orders were invalid. His
attorneys are seeking a new trial for him.
City public defenders have identified 55 felony cases
in which Kopera testified and have begun collecting the police reports,
court transcripts and other documents needed to determine what role his
analysis played in the defendants' convictions. Perjury by Forensics
Expert Throws Cases into Turmoil.
UPDATE: It's easy to understand why the Baltimore DA wanted to
blindside James Kulbicki and his attorneys. They have to be
steaming mad after Kulbicki's lawyers exposed the systematic forensic
fraud committed by police ballistics expert Joseph Kopera. But
their reach exceeded their grasp when they did DNA tests -- without
court approval or notice to Kulbicki's lawyers -- on bone fragments
that were contaminated 14 years ago when they were collected. Will One-Upsmanship
Replace Law and Science? [Includes full texts of state and defense
joint project by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes reviews the
conviction of James Kulbicki, in which key testimony and the science
behind it has been discredited.
People around the world are learning how the U.S. legal system works
based on James Kulbicki's case -- a web of lies woven around junk
science and blatant prosecutorial misconduct, a politicized judiciary
unwilling to correct injustice, and an apathetic public more interested
in entertainment than in truth. As Ludwig
De Braeckeleer capably demonstrates for South Korea's Oh My News, The Whole World is
UPDATE: On August 27, 2014, the Maryland Court of Appeals
reversed James Kulbicki's conviction. Baltimore prosecutors are
assessing the feasibility of a new trial.
We've all heard about criminals "getting off on a technicality."
Patrick Bradford, a former Evansville, Indiana police officer, was
denied exoneration "on a technicality." He was denied en banc
hearing by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals because one of the judges
who voted to grant the hearing had been ineligible to vote on it.
Several of the judges wrote that they believed Patrick had in
fact come forward with "unusually strong evidence of his actual
innocence." Patrick turned to the U.S. Supreme Court for relief,
but the Supreme Court turned its back on him.
Cameron Todd & Son
Todd was a police officer in Houston, MS. He stood out in the
small community because his wife at the time, was
an Asian-American and
the couple, both from California, had no prior ties to Mississippi.
Cameron stood out even more when he began asking questions about gang
activities. One of the juveniles he questioned, a 13-year-old girl,
alleged Cameron had sex with her. He was convicted of sexual battery
and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The girl subsequently wrote to a
friend, admitting she had lied, that nothing had happened between her
and Cameron. A handwriting expert says the letter was signed by the
victim. The state crime lab says its tests were inconclusive and asked
to see more of the girl's handwriting. The Supreme Court of Mississippi
has decided not to allow the letter into evidence. Cameron remains in
to visit Cameron Todd's website.
FOUNDATION DEFENSE CASES
Defense Foundation (NPDF), through its expanded
legal referral service program, provides legal and medical consultation
to any law enforcement
member in need. It is
the belief of the NPDF that the defense cases
at its website reflect
alleged police injustices wherein the civil
of dedicated law enforcement officers may have been violated.