Truth in Justice Newsletter - June, 2003

Free!
MICHAEL EVANS AND PAUL TERRY

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 Friday after prosecutors agreed they should have a new trial. Prosecutors will retry them, although DNA has excluded them.


MICHAEL MERCER

After 11 years in prison, DNA has cleared Michael Mercer of raping a 17-year-old girl.  The victim saw Mercer 2 months after she was attacked and identified him as her assailant.
She was certain, but she was wrong.


GLEN "BUDDY" NICKERSON

The past several years have been full of high legal drama for Glen "Buddy" Nickerson as he and his lawyers have relentlessly pursued his release from state prison for a double murder he said he never committed.  He finally got
the freedom he'd been looking for when the Santa Clara district attorney's office announced it would not retry Nickerson for the 1984 slayings of two San Jose drug dealers.


Glen Nickerson tastes freedom

Tim Brown
TIMOTHY BROWN

In February, 2002, ten years after Timothy Brown and Keith King were sent to prison based on coerced confessions to the 1991 murder of a Broward County Sheriff's Deputy, another deputy confessed to the killing.  (See
The Real Killer has Confessed )  The killer subsequently recanted, but even after Timothy Brown's confession was thrown out, the State of Florida refused to let him go.  Finally, 15 months later, an innocent man has been freed -- and a killer remains on the loose.

JOHN THOMPSON

Eighteen years after he was sent to death row for a 1984 murder, John Thompson of New Orleans, LA has been found not guilty by a second jury.  Now he is a free man.


 

BARRY LAUGHMAN

The biggest "stars" converged on Adams County, PA in 1987 to convict Barry Laughman of murdering his elderly relative, Edna Laughman.  State Trooper Jack Holtz
--who took $50,000 from author Joseph Wambaugh for information on the case against Jay Smith, framed for a murder he didn't commit--got Barry, who is retarded, to "confess" by saying "yes" to whatever Holtz suggested.  Then crime lab chemist Janice Roadcap came up with the fanciful theory that antibiotics Edna was taking at the time of her death changed Barry's blood type from B to A, the killer's blood type.  Holtz and Roadcap have been exposed as frauds.  Barry is still in prison.  

THE DEATH PENALTY AS CRAP SHOOT
Jane Eisner of the Philadelphia Inquirer observes, "We acknowledge innocent people are on death row, we acknowledge that sometimes they are killed for crimes they did not commit - yet we believe that this is an acceptable by-product of a punishment that, far as anyone knows, has little deterrent value. Perhaps we believe it's justified as the collateral damage in a war without end."



Junk Science
And the Junk Goes On

More Forensic Fraud ~ More Business as Usual


MONTANA'S ARNOLD MELNIKOFF
Former Montana State Crime Lab director Arnold Melnikoff's troubles keep piling up.  Melnikoff's testimony convicted Jimmy Ray Bromgard and Paul Kordonowy, both of whom have been cleared by DNA.  Now the state has identified five more probably innocent people Melnikoff's junk science pronouncement put in prison.

FBI CRIME LAB TAKES CARE OF ITS OWN
Anthony Bragdon spent 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit because FBI Crime Lab analyst Michael Malone gave inaccurate testimony and withheld evidence.  Bragdon has finally been freed, but Malone's misconduct was not disclosed until 2 years after he retired.

INSIDE THE DNA LABS
Former FBI lab technician Jacquelyn Blake admitted she failed to follow required scientific procedures while analyzing 103 DNA samples during the last few years.  But her errors indicate more serious problems.  "The FBI peer-review system never caught the Blake errors," says Peter Neufeld of the Cardozo Innocence Project. "That tells us that the system is bogus and at least ineffective."

PHOENIX, AZ CRIME LAB - MISCALCULATED OR MANIPULATED?
Phoenix police crime lab technicians blundered nine cases while analyzing DNA evidence to be used against murder, rape and aggravated assault suspects.  Have you noticed how these mistakes never help defendants, only the prosecution?

VICTIMS OF DR. JOAN WOOD
For nearly a quarter century, the citizens of Florida's Pinellas and Pasco Counties suffered with an incompetent and corrupt Medical Examiner, Dr. Joan Wood.  Some suffered more than others.

John Peel
David Long
Amos King


police badge
POLICE AND PROSECUTOR MISCONDUCT

California: All Andrea Torres wanted was to get home after a hard day of work. Instead, she and two other family members wound up battered, arrested and spending the night in jail.  The Night They Pulled Me Over

Illinois:  Madison Hobley, one of four Death Row inmates pardoned by Gov. George Ryan before he left office in January, 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.  A Manufactured Confession

New Jersey:  When Atlantic City police officer James Andros, III came home to find his wife dead at her computer, he was charged with killing her.  Then a defense expert found evidence of a rare heart condition that caused her death, not murder;  the charge was dismissed and the medical examiner was blamed.  Trying to rebuild his life, Andros says it was more than a botched autopsy -- it was knowing and deliberate.  He 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 Botched Autopsy

Links to Important Series

Haunting Questions: The Stephanie Crowe Murder Case

Justice Betrayed in South Georgia



LINKS

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Sheila and Doug Berry



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