Truth in Justice Newsletter - July, 2003
LANDMARK REPORT ON PROSECUTORIAL
over two years, Steve Weinberg, a veteran investigative journalist,
working closely with Attorney Neil Gordon, writer Brooke Williams and a
team of researchers with the Center for Public Integrity,
conducted an exhaustive study of prosecutorial misconduct across the
United States. The project
is well suited to the Center for Public Integrity, a
consortium of journalists, lawyers and researchers in Washington, D.C.,
that specializes in uncovering systemic problems. Funding
for the prosecutorial misconduct project came from several sources,
most prominently the Open Society Institute, New York City.
Learn what you don't know, before
it hurts you! Click the title to read the report.
|RICARDO "RICK" WALKER
In 1991, Rick
Walker of Santa Clara County, CA was convicted of murder, thanks to an
amoral trial prosecutor willing to trade truth for a deal with a liar
and a near-vegetative defense attorney. Thanks to a dogged
defense attorney and an honest prosecutor, Rick has been freed and
declared factually innocent.
In 1981, Eddie Lowery was a young
soldier stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. Interrogated for hours,
he finally confessed to raping a 74-year-old woman. Eddie served
10 years of
a sentence of 11 years to life and was released on parole. Now,
years later, Eddie has been cleared by DNA.
Walker and his mother
Wyniemko of Mt. Clemons, Michigan served 9 years of a 60 year sentence
for rape and robbery before he was cleared by DNA testing. He
has been freed, at last. Macomb County Prosecutor
Carl Marlinga, moved to tears, declared, "I want people to know this man is
Christopher Conover, 48,
of Towson, Maryland, spent 18
years behind bars for two murders. He has been freed following
DNA tests that prove two hairs found at the crime scene and used
against him at trial weren't his after all.
DENNIS HALSTEAD, JOHN
KOGUT AND JOHN RESTIVO
In 1984, a coerced false
perjured jailhouse snitch testimony sent Dennis Halstead, John Kogut
John Restivo to prison for 30 years for the rape and murder of a Long
NY teenager. DNA tests in the early 1990's excluded them, but was
as "unreliable" by the court. New DNA tests not only excluded
but identified the assailant. The state still won't admit they
innocent, but they have been set free.
Dana Holland, 35,
was freed after a Cook County judge found him not guilty in a retrial
on the 1993 attempted murder and armed robbery of a woman in Chicago. Holland
had been linked to that crime by a wallet found at the scene that had
belonged to another woman, a rape victim. Holland was originally
convicted of that rape, but DNA evidence exonerated him of it earlier
He had been sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for both crimes
and served 10 years. The victim
of the attempted murder testified against Holland again at his retrial,
identifying him in court.
MICHAEL EVANS AND
More than a quarter-century after they
were sent to prison for one of the most sensational crimes of the
1970s, two Chicago men, Michael Evans and Paul Terry, walked free into
the arms of tearful relatives and a dramatically different world after
prosecutors agreed they should have a new trial. Prosecutors will retry
them, although DNA has excluded them.
A LOAF IN TWO DEATH PENALTY CASES
On June 26, 2003,
the Ohio Supreme Court denied without comment Jerome Campbell's request
for a new trial based on DNA findings. On June 27, 2003, Gov. Taft
clemency, sparing him execution but keeping him in prison for life
possibility of parole.
On June 25, 2003,
the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Kevin Wiggins death sentence but
reinstated his murder conviction.
|And the Junk Goes On
More Forensic Fraud ~ More Business as Usual
CRIME LAB SCANDAL
made by lab scientist Ranae Houtz in Bethlehem could call into question
evidence in 615 criminal
cases in 27 counties across Pennsylvania. Would you buy a used car from
these people? For years we've been buying junk convictions.
BACK IN TEXAS . . .
grand juries investigating problems in Houston's police crime
laboratory have widened their inquiry to include local prosecutors,
asking about their potential culpability for winning convictions with tainted evidence.
||MILWAUKEE, WI ATTORNEY
Claims of ineffective assistance and outright legal
malpractice by former clients are always "bulls---" to Milwaukee
defense attorney Gerald Boyle. When a jury awarded former client
Thomas Frasier $75,000 for the representation he didn't get, Boyle told
the press it was "bulls---". When John
Maloney based his habeas on
failure to meet minimum standards of practice, Boyle declared, “Now he’s saying we
our jobs … bulls - - - we didn’t do our jobs.” Another
client has settled his malpractice suit against Boyle for $625,000, and
of course, it's just more "bulls***" from Gerald Boyle.
One of four Death
Row inmates pardoned by Illinois Gov. George Ryan before he left office
in January, Madison Hobley has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Chicago
police of torturing and framing him for setting a 1987 fire that killed
seven people, including his wife and infant son.
|POLICE AND PROSECUTOR MISCONDUCT
Illinois: State Trooper Joan
Blomenkamp, charged two years ago with issuing dozens of phony charges
for driving under the influence, has resigned and has pleaded guilty of
writing two false reports. Making Quota
Maryland: In Prince Georges County, just outside Washington,
DC, police have now interrogated, locked up and charged a total of five
absolutely innocent people for the murder of Denise Mansfield --
three tourists extradited from their homes in Arizona. Each time
the PG County cops claimed they got confessions. Somebody's
the Office of Orange Co., CA District Attorney Tony Rackauckas
(Don't miss the DA's response to the grand jury report on
corruption in the DA's office.)
17 Detroit police officers
have been indicted on federal charges ranging from
looting money from drug dealers and prostitutes to possession of stolen
HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS
The US criminal justice system needs an overhaul to make
it more scientific, more reliable, and ultimately more just. That's the
view of lawyer Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Cardozo Innocence
Project. New Scientist reporter Rachel Nowak visited
Neufeld in New York to find
out what criminal justice can learn from science.
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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There are now over 800 pages at Truth in Justice. The site search
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And remember, YOU can make a difference!
Sheila and Doug Berry
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