Truth in Justice Newsletter - September, 2003

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JOHN TENNIS0N AND ANTOINE GOFF

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.  Tennison and Goff went to prison; Sanders' duplicity helped take him to the top of the heap.  Now a federal judge has overturned those convictions and pinned the blame squarely where it belongs.
 
LONNIE ERBY

After 17 years in prison - most of it seeking DNA tests to prove his innocence - Lonnie Erby walked free on August 25th because genetic testing 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.

JOSE SALAZAR

California's 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.
Gregory Bright and Earl Truvia
Barry Scheck greets a free Lonnie Erby

 

JULIE REA

Julie 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 KIRKPATRICK

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

SNITCH JUSTICE

Eddie 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 than 130 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).





MORE ON CHECKBOOK JUSTICE IN WISCONSIN


August 2, 2003
Prosecutor Deals Under Fire


August 9, 2003
Judges Fail to Take a Stand


August 13, 2003
When a Law Partner of a Biskupic & Paulus Crony Got Busted
The Charges Went Up -- and Away

JUNK FORENSIC MEDICINE


DR JAMES RIBE

California's 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.


But 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.

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.

No Crueler Tyrannies
RECOMMENDED READING

In 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 of justice."

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.


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.)


LINKS

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



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