Truth in Justice Newsletter - December, 2003
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the State of Ohio to release or retry Wyman Castleberry because the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office and the Columbus Police Department hid evidence of Mr. Castleberry’s innocence. Their misconduct is a black stain on the State of Ohio.
For the first time in more than 16 years, Barry Laughman of Hanover, PA is surrounded by family and friends rather than bars, guards and other inmates. The DNA that freed him was tracked down by investigative reporter Pete Shellem of the Harrisburg, PA Patriot News.
Barry's conviction was based entirely on the "confession" Troopers Blevin and Holtz obtained from him. Read the actual "confession" (online Powerpoint presentation) and decide for yourself: Did a retarded man write this? Or did Troopers Blevin and Holtz write it? Confession
EDWARD AND KARI LABOISINNOCENT IMPRISONED
A couple who became fugitives in 1984 following accusations that they abused their 4-year-old daughter left jail feeling vindicated after prosecutors dropped the charges, but said their lives had been ruined. Edward and Karri LaBois fled Minnesota with their daughter 19 years ago after the abuse accusation was made. They were arrested Nov. 10 when an informant tipped police that they were living in a Salt Lake City suburb.
After three indictments, two trials and a handful of appellate proceedings, some of the best legal minds in Virginia still are trying to decide whether Merry Pease was a domestic-violence victim or a cold-blooded killer. It is the claim of prosecutorial misconduct -- which was one of the reasons the case was overturned the first time around -- that is drawing new attention to it. What Can Go Wrong, Did Go Wrong
UPDATE: On October 31, 2003, the Virginia Supreme Court affirmed Merry's conviction. As ordered, Merry reported to the Wise Co. jail on Nov. 3rd, and the paperwork to send her to prison for 18 years was begun. Then new counsel stepped into the picture, Anthony Collins of Wise, VA. Collins brought a motion to re-empanel the jury and question them individually in chambers. Judge Stump sidestepped the motion, but indicated he would take it up again once Merry has exhausted all appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court. In the meantime, the judge Released Merry on Bail.
When a 19-year-old black man was charged with the murder of 25-year-old Deborah Sykes, it set off a case that has helped define race relations in Winston-Salem for nearly 20 years. Hunt was convicted twice despite the lack of physical evidence and DNA tests that excluded him. Although such DNA test results have freed numerous others in rape and murder cases, Hunt remains in prison.
Landmark Series from the Winston-Salem, NC Journal
Murder, Race, Justice
The State of North Carolina v. Darryl Hunt
The links pages at Truth in Justice are frequently updated. Be sure to check them for resources, "must" reading, websites of inmates with compelling innocence claims and more. Start at http://truthinjustice.org/links.htm
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