|Truth in Justice Newsletter - September, 2003
|JOHN TENNIS0N AND
Thirteen years ago,
when he was a homicide detective, San Francisco Police Chief Earl
Sanders hid evidence the John Tennison and Antoine Goff were innocent
of killing Roderick Shannon -- the real killer's confession.
and Goff went to prison; Sanders' duplicity helped take him to the top
of the heap. Now a federal judge has overturned those convictions
pinned the blame squarely where it belongs.
After 17 years in prison -
most of it seeking DNA tests to prove his
innocence - Lonnie Erby walked free on August 25th because genetic
conclusively showed he had not committed two of the three rapes for
which he was convicted. His exoneration came despite strenuous
opposition by Circuit Attorney Jenniver Joyce, who argued the DNA
testing would cause unnecessary upheaval for victims and their
families and unneeded
expense. All three victims picked him out of a line up.
2nd Appellate District Court has overturned Jose
Salazar's murder conviction in the death of Adriana Krygoski.
conviction was based on the testimony of LA Dep. Coroner James Ribe,
who claimed that "shaken baby" injuries -- in this instance,
intracranial bleeding -- could be accurately "timed" and therefore used
to identify the assailant. This "theory" has been discredited by
Barry Scheck greets a
free Lonnie Erby
Rea calls her 10-year-old son Joel "the best kid in the world" — even
though she was convicted of stabbing him to death. "I am innocent
and I've done everything I can to prove that to you."
Now serial killer Tommy Sells, on Texas' Death Row, has confessed that HE KILLED JOEL
Sells is also a
suspect in the murders of Devon and Damon Routier. Their mother,
Darlie Routier, has been sentenced to death for their murders.
Visit her website and learn the facts: For Darlie Routier
HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS
Harkins was locked up
in the Cook County, Illinois jail and looking for a deal that would get
him out of jail, so he volunteered to become part of the mainstay of
the criminal justice system -- a jailhouse snitch. "Under the
influence of freedom", Harkins was coached and rehearsed by prosecutors
to tell a grand jury that James Ousley confessed to stomping a man to
death. But that had never happened, and at Ousley's trial,
Harkins decided to finally tell the truth.
IT'S NOT ABOUT TRUTH --
IT'S ABOUT WINNING
After seeing more
prisoners freed by DNA testing in
the last 15 years, prosecutors in Florida and across the country have
mounted a vigorous challenge to similar new cases.
Prosecutors acknowledge that DNA testing is reliable, but they have
grown increasingly skeptical of its power to prove innocence in cases
where there was other evidence of guilt such as confessions (often
coerced or even forged) or eyewitness identification (wrong as much as
80% of the time).
what the justices cited in Salazar's case was Ribe's longstanding
record of incompetent work and astounding lack of credibility, which
the prosecution failed to disclose. The most heartening aspect of
this case, besides Salazar's retrial on level ground, is that a
prosecutor, Dep. DA Dinko Bozanich, broke the code of silence and
disclosed the "intolerable and unethical practices at the highest
levels" of the LA DA's office.
|JUNK FORENSIC MEDICINE
2nd Appellate District Court has
overturned Jose Salazar's murder conviction in the death of Adriana
Krygoski. That conviction was based on the testimony of LA Dep.
Coroner James Ribe, who claimed that "shaken baby" injuries -- in this
instance, intracranial bleeding -- could be accurately "timed" and
therefore used to identify the assailant. This "theory" has been
discredited by medical science.
DR. ELLIOT GROSS
The coroner whose career
was derailed after he botched Ellen Andros' autopsy -
prompting a murder charge against her husband, police officer James Andros, an
innocent man - will retire. He has lost his license and failed in
his bid for reinstatement. But this isn't his first
mistake. He couldn't tell a beating death from cardiac arrest, or
strangulation from the impact of an air bag. And by the way, this
is the guy who performed Martha Moxley's autopsy.
1742, Charles-Louis de
Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, wrote, "There is no crueler tyranny
than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name
Two hundred forty-three years later, in 1985, Dorothy
Rabinowitz, a syndicated columnist and television commentator,
encountered the case of a New Jersey day care worker named Kelly
Michaels, accused of 280 counts of sexually abusing nursery school
children -- and exposed the first of the prosecutorial abuses described
in No Crueler Tyrannies.
is at once a truly frightening and at the same time inspiring book,
documenting how these citizens, who became targets of the justice
system in which they had so much faith, came to comprehend that their
lives could be destroyed, that they could be sent to prison for years
-- even decades. No Crueler Tyrannies shows the complicity of
the courts, their hypocrisy and indifference to the claims of justice,
but also the courage of those willing to challenge the runaway
prosecutors and the strength of those who have endured their
depredations. (Click book cover for reviews.)
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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Sheila and Doug Berry