Saturday, March 31, 2012

Prof. Bibi Sangha's bid to fix a hole in Australia's judicial system; Flinders News. (She is truly inspirational. HL)

STORY: "Bid to fix a hole in our judicial system," by Flinders News, published on March 28, 2012.

GIST: "Ms Sangha says that the self-imposed limitations have fundamental implications for justice. “For instance, the Court of Appeal says that even in the face of compelling new evidence, it cannot hear a further appeal once an initial appeal has been rejected,” Ms Sangha said. Similarly, the High Court says that constitutionally it is unable to receive fresh evidence indicating a possible miscarriage of justice. And in South Australia, the remaining option of a statutory petition falls to the discretion of the Attorney-General, meaning that the petition may never achieve a judicial review. This is even when there is new evidence, or clear evidence of errors by the prosecution’s expert witnesses, Ms Sangha said. Ms Sangha’s initial work on the area prompted the introduction into State Parliament of The Criminal Cases Review Commission Bill 2010 by MLC Ann Bressington, which has been referred to the Committee. Ms Sangha says that the self-imposed limitations have fundamental implications for justice. “For instance, the Court of Appeal says that even in the face of compelling new evidence, it cannot hear a further appeal once an initial appeal has been rejected,” Ms Sangha said. Similarly, the High Court says that constitutionally it is unable to receive fresh evidence indicating a possible miscarriage of justice. And in South Australia, the remaining option of a statutory petition falls to the discretion of the Attorney-General, meaning that the petition may never achieve a judicial review.This is even when there is new evidence, or clear evidence of errors by the prosecution’s expert witnesses, Ms Sangha said.“In effect, unfair convictions are being excluded from the judicial review process, which is clearly inconsistent with the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” she said."

PUBLISHER'S VIEW: It is inspiring to see the impassioned, articulate campaign that Professor Bibi Sangha, of Flinders University, is spearheading to secure an independent review body that will openly and fairly address and remedy wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice. Her efforts will undoubtedly be followed closely in other countries where rank injustices are commonplace because of unreasonable legal limitations which give far too much power to politicians to keep wrongful convictions from judicial and public scrutiny. Bravo to Ms. Sangha and to her university.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://blogs.flinders.edu.au/flinders-news/2012/03/28/bid-to-fix-a-hole-in-our-justice-system/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Shirley Ree Smith: Worth Repeating; New York Times calls for a pardon; Labels case "A very likely miscarriage of justice."

STORY: New York Times editorial; "A very likely miscarriage of justice," published on January 3, 2012;

GIST: "The power to pardon is an essential means of justice, allowing a governor to right what the law got wrong. Gov. Jerry Brown of California has been asked to commute to time served the sentence of Shirley Ree Smith, who was convicted in 1997 of killing her grandson and has already served 10 years of a 15-years-to-life sentence. We urge the governor to commute her sentence so she does not now have to return to prison as a result of a misguided Supreme Court ruling. Ms. Smith was convicted of shaking her grandson to death. When the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned her conviction in 2006, it found “no demonstrable support” for it. There was “no physical evidence” and “no other evidence” of the severe bleeding or swelling that are the most common signs of shaken baby syndrome. The court concluded “there has very likely been a miscarriage of justice in this case.” This fall, however, five years after Ms. Smith was released, the Supreme Court overruled the Ninth Circuit, which means that she must complete her sentence unless it is commuted. The Supreme Court acknowledged that “doubts about whether Smith is in fact guilty are understandable.”.........Ms. Smith has already served 10 years for a crime she likely did not commit. She should not now be made a victim of the Supreme Court’s pique."

THE ENTIRE EDITORIAL CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/04/opinion/a-very-likely-miscarriage-of-justice.html?_r=2
PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bulletin: Prosecutorial abuse: Innocence Project releases new research; Shows lack of accountability for prosecutors in Texas;

STORY: Innocence Project releases research on lack of effective sanctions against prosecutors in Texas; (Earlier today);

GIST: "The research released today was conducted by the Veritas Initiative, which issued a groundbreaking report on prosecutorial misconduct in California last year. The group reviewed all of the published trial and appellate court decisions addressing allegations of prosecutorial misconduct between 2004-2008. To see what, if any, consequences prosecutors face for their misconduct, Veritas looked at Texas’ public attorney disciplinary records from 2004 to November 2011. From 2004 to 2008, courts found that prosecutors committed error in 91 cases. Of these, the courts upheld the conviction in 72 of the cases, finding that the error was “harmless.” In 19 of the cases, the court ruled that the error was “harmful” and reversed the conviction. From 2004 until November 2011, only one prosecutor was publicly disciplined by the Texas Bar Association, and this was from a case that arose before 2004. The Prosecutorial Oversight coalition notes that this review doesn’t begin to fully illustrate the scope of the problem. Almost all of the errors identified were of cases where defendants went to trial (only 3% of Texas criminal cases according to 2010 data) and had access to an attorney who raised the error on appeal. Courts declined to directly address the issue in many of the cases where the issue was raised. Additionally, many opinions are not in writing and many aren’t published. Furthermore, the distinction between harmful and harmless is problematic because it doesn’t illustrate how serious the misconduct was, merely that the court determined that it wouldn’t have affected the ultimate outcome of the trial. "

THE ENTIRE RELEASE CAN BE FOUND AT:

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/1365f75ff7cc09e5

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Shirley Ree Smith: NPR reveals new evidence in Shirley Ree Smith "shaken baby syndrome" case; Joseph Shapiro and A.C. Thompson; Must read!


STORY: "New Evidence In High-Profile Shaken Baby Case," by Joseph Shapiro and A.C. Thompson, published on NPR on March 29, 2012.

GIST: "A senior pathologist in the Los Angeles County coroner's office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict a 51-year old woman of shaking her 7-week-old grandson to death, identifying a host of flaws in the case. The new report by the pathologist, James Ribe, details eight "diagnostic problems" with the coroner's 1996 ruling that the child had died from violent shaking or a forceful blow to the head. Ribe wrote that he saw little evidence that the infant had been attacked, noting "the complete absence of bodily trauma, such as face trauma, grab marks, bruises, rib fractures, or neck trauma."...Documents obtained by ProPublica, NPR and PBS Frontline show the coroner's office in January asked several staff doctors to take a second look at Glass's death. As part of that effort Ribe examined the autopsy report, tissue slides and other forensic evidence. In Ribe's view, the injuries to the child's brain were relatively minor and could have been caused by the birth process. He also noted the baby's lungs were speckled with tiny blood spots called petechiae, which are often linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and suffocation, and pointed out that Glass had been sleeping face down on an "unsafe sleep surface" – a couch cushion – on the night of his death. The "bottom line," wrote Ribe, is "there was head trauma, but we don't know when it happened or how it happened. We don't know if it's related to the cause of death. The conservative approach would be to acknowledge these unknowns. The cause of death should be diagnosed as undetermined."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: In July, 2011, I announced the awarding of "The Charles Smith Blog award" to National Public Radio, Frontline and Propublica, for their timely, revealing joint investigation "The Child Cases" and particularly NPR reporter Joseph Shapiro and producer Sandra Bartlett, who I had met while they were working on the Canadian side of the story - the Charles Smith saga. On announcing the award, I noted that: "The probe makes the point that when a child dies under suspicious circumstances, abuse is often suspected, as in the case of six-month-old Isis Vas, whose death was deemed "a clear-cut and classic" case of child abuse, sending a man named Ernie Lopez to prison for 60 years. It points out that now a Texas judge has moved to overturn Lopez's conviction, and that new questions are being asked about the quality of expert testimony in this and many other similar cases. The NPR, Frontline, Propublica joint investigation unearthed more than 20 child death cases in which people were jailed on medical evidence -- involving abuse, assault and "shaken-baby syndrome" -- that was later found unreliable or flat-out wrong. Are death investigators being properly trained for child cases? (The answer was clearly "no.") The investigation exposes the harm to innocent parents and caregivers caused by a misguided belief in the infallibilty of "shaken-baby syndrome." Of particular note is a ground-breaking interview by NPR's Shapiro with Norman Guthkelch, the pediatric neurosurgeon who is credited with first observing the condition in young children, who speaks out for the first time about his concerns regarding how that diagnosis is used. Guthkelch worries that it is too often applied by medical examiners and doctors without considering other possible causes for a child's death or injury. As shaken-baby syndrome is currently under attack in countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom - where a disturbing number of wrongful convictions have been exposed - this interview could help contribute to the syndrome's welcome demise. Our congratulations to NPR, Frontline and Propublica for their admirable investigation on such an important, timely, largely neglected topic which is of interest far beyond America's boundaries."

HAROLD LEVY; PUBLISHER; THE CHARLES SMITH BLOG;

---------------------------------------------------------
THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/29/149576627/new-evidence-in-high-profile-shaken-baby-case?sc=ipad&f=1001

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Lucy Allan: Prospective MP branded an unfit mother by experts who'd never met her - a nightmare shared by many other families; Daily Mail;


STORY: "The 'experts' who break up families: The terrifying story of the prospective MP branded an unfit mother by experts who's never met her - a nightmare shared by many other families," by reporter Sue Reid, published on the Daily Mail on March 28, 2012;

GIST: "So why has her faith in the system she once facilitated been shattered? Because, thanks to a bewildering chain of events, this eloquent, educated woman found herself under attack from social workers and fighting to stop her own son being taken into care. Hers is a Kafkaesque story involving family experts who passed judgment on her fitness as a mother without, in some cases, even meeting her. Lucy’s story is particularly disturbing in the light of a report released this month which found that decisions about the futures of thousands of children are being based on flawed evidence from well-paid ‘experts’, some of whom are unqualified and, time and again, never meet the families concerned. The damning study by Professor Jane Ireland, a forensic psychologist, examined more than 127 expert witness reports used in family court cases in three areas of England. She found that 90 per cent were produced by clinicians who no longer practise, but instead earn their living entirely as ‘professional expert witnesses’ paid for by council social work departments. Sixty-five per cent of the reports were poorly or very poorly carried out. This has led to accusations from MPs, lawyers and families that many of the experts are on a gravy train — ‘hired guns’ paid to write precisely what social workers want to read."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121886/The-experts-break-families-The-terrifying-story-prospective-MP-branded-unfit-mother-experts-whod-met--nightmare-shared-families.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Michael Burell: Merced, Cal. Prosecutor says no charges will be brought against father in death of 7-month-old son; Fall could not be ruled out.

STORY: "Merced district attorney: No charges against father in death of 7-month-old son," published in the Sun-Star on March 27, 2012.

GIST: "The criminal case was launched after Children's Hospital Central California doctors who examined the child concluded the injuries were severe and could have been the result of shaken baby syndrome. On the flip side, Burell claimed his son suffered a head injury when he fell onto a hard plastic toy in the living room of the apartment where he lived. (District Attorney) Morse said a pathologist and a pediatrician, who were consulted in the investigation, were unable to rule out the possibility that such a fall, as Burell described, could have resulted in the brain injury that led to Jacob's death. "In speaking with the doctors in Jacob's case, they are unable to make a conclusive determination of the cause of his death," Morse said in a statement. "As a result, we cannot meet our ethical obligation as prosecutors, which requires we file a case only if we believe we have a reasonable likelihood of obtaining a conviction."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/03/27/2285964/da-no-charges-against-father-in.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Julie and David Nevin: (UK); An innocent couple's struggle to clear themselves - and keep their baby. The Daily Mail;


STORY: "Social workers took away our baby for nine months: With no evidence against them, couple were banned from looking after their son," by reporters Tom Kelly and Richard Savill, published in the Daily Mail on March 23, 2012;

GIST: "Then in February last year, the couple were arrested for suspected assault. A few weeks later however, police told the Nevins the case was being dropped because of lack of evidence. Despite this, social services still sought a care order and told the couple Reilly might be put up for adoption. Over the next few months, the couple, who have been married for nearly four years, attended the family court in Swansea four times to try to get Reilly back. A second consultant paediatrician, instructed by Reilly’s guardian, initially told the hearing the bruising was caused ‘most probably by a hand slap’. But after various alternatives were put to him he changed his evidence, conceding the bruising was narrower than he would have expected if Reilly had been slapped. He eventually said he believed the most likely cause was Reilly bumping against a sofa leg. District Judge Jane Garland-Thomas dismissed the care order application, ruling that Neath Port Talbot Council had failed to prove the injury was non-accidental and that there was ‘no evidence whatsoever’ of any other causes of concern."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2119580/Social-workers-took-away-baby-months-With-evidence-couple-banned-looking-son.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Michael Morton: A part of the Morton story that '60 Minutes' did not include; Reporter Brandi Grissom The Texas Tribune.

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-dept-criminal-justice/michael-morton/60-minutes-exoneree-seeks-accountability-not-reven/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Michael Morton: The Huffington Post on how "60 Minutes' Interview Exposes Power Of Prosecutors."

STORY: " Michael Morton's "60 Minutes" interview exposes power of prosecutors Video)," by reporter Chris Gentiviso , published by the Huffington Post on March 25, 2012.

GIST: Back in 1987, Michael Morton was convicted of murdering his wife. Upon being led to prison, he vowed that he was innocent, telling onlookers "I did not do this." After almost 25 years in prison, DNA evidence proved that Morton was innocent, with samples connecting a different male to his wife's slaying. Morton was freed on Oct. 4, 2011, and "60 Minutes" brought his case into the national spotlight on Sunday.

THE FULL STORY - AND ACCESS TO A TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO - CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/25/michael-morton-60-minutes_n_1378773.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kristine Bunch: Indiana; Appelate win based on new arson science seen as "huge victory" by Innocence Institute of Point Park; (Link to opinion);

STORY: "Another huge victory," released on March 21, 2012, by the Innocence Institute of Point Park University;

GIST: 'The Center on Wrongful Convictions just won a tremendous victory in the Kristine Bunch case in the Indiana Court of Appeals. Reversed and remanded!...Bunch’s trailer home went up in flames, killing her three-year-old son. Within hours, investigators jumped to the conclusion that Bunch had intentionally set the fire — without any hint of a motive. These investigators relied on indicators of arson that are outdated and have since been repudiated by forensic research. In November 2008, the CWC filed a state post-conviction petition for a new trial based on the conclusions of leading arson scientists and investigators from around the country that there is no evidence that the fire resulted from arson. In addition, we have uncovered Brady material that was not tendered to the defense prior to trial. The post-conviction judge, who was also the trial judge, denied the petition after an evidentiary hearing."

Here’s a link to the opinion:

http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/03211201mgr.pdf

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://innocenceinstitute.org/blog/another-huge-victory/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kristine Bunch: Indiana; Old "arson science" under attack. Greensburg woman jailed in son's death closer to freedom WTHR TV;

STORY: "Greensburg woman jailed in son's death closer to freedom," published on March 22, 2012, published on MTHR TV.

GIST: 'Attorneys working with the Northwestern University Center for Wrongful Conviction have spent countless hours free of charge, pushing for a new trial. "It's indescribable. I never thought anyone would step up to help me, and now I have more lawyers than I can name and more investigators. People that I've never ever met," Bunch told 13 Investigates. The Indiana Attorney General's office has 30 days to ask for a rehearing by the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, or to transfer the case back to Decatur County for re-trial. If Decatur County declines to prosecute, Bunch will be set free and the case will be dismissed."

THEE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46823201/ns/local_news-indianapolis_in/t/greensburg-woman-jailed-sons-death-closer-freedom/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Lab: "Army threatens to fire whistleblower for talking to McClatchey."

STORY: "Army threatens to fire whistleblower for talking to McClatchey," by reporter Marisa Taylor, published by McClatchey Newspapers...

GIST: "The military's embattled crime lab is trying to fire an outspoken whistleblower who's spotlighted its problems. Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory warned its firearms branch chief, Donald Mikko, in a memo of its plans to fire him, in part for talking to a McClatchy reporter...McClatchy has written more than a dozen stories about the lab since last March, which included details of the misconduct of two former analysts who made serious errors during DNA and firearms testing and who later were found to have falsified and destroyed documents when confronted with the problems As a result of McClatchy's articles, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D- Vt., and Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the committee's top-ranking Republican member, urged the military to look into the lab's handling of the misconduct by one of the analysts. An investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general is ongoing. "The Army is looking for a scapegoat to blame for the recent adverse media reports," Lown said."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/03/19/142444/army-threatens-to-fire-whistleblower.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring the allegations made against the lab.  Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com
Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Joel Escobedo: Texas; Condemned killer may get new psychological review. (Impugned psychologist George Denkowski involved in case). AP;

STORY: "Condemned killer may get new psychological review," published by the Associated Press on March 21, 2012.

GIST: "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has sent the case of a condemned killer back to his trial court in Houston to examine again claims the convicted man is mentally impaired and ineligible for execution. A jury in 1999 convicted Joel Escobedo of capital murder for robbing and fatally shooting a 65-year-old man at a Houston bus stop in 1998. The 50-year-old Escobedo is among more than a dozen inmates who wound up on Texas death row after they were examined by psychologist George Denkowski. He's been reprimanded by a state medical board for questionable evaluation methods in criminal cases."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.kltv.com/story/17211485/condemned-killer-may-get-new-psychological-review

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bulletin: Kristine Bunch; Arson conviction vacated by Indiana Court of Appeals; Advances in fire science cited; May influence other appeals. WCB.

STORY: "Important Court of Appeals ruling yesterday may inform other arson appeals," by Nancy Petro published on the Wrongful Convictions Blog on March 22, 2012.

GIST: "The Indiana Court of Appeals vacation of the arson conviction of Kristine Bunch, who spent 16 years in prison after a mobile home fire killed her young son, will likely be raised in other arson convictions. More on this case here and here. The court cited advances in fire science that discredit forensic testimony used in this and many arson cases. Bunch is now presumed innocent. Prosecutors must decide if they will re-try her. The Indiana Attorney General’s office disagrees with the ruling and has 30 days to ask the Court of Appeals to rehear the case or appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court."

The entire post can be found at:

http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2012/03/22/important-court-of-appeals-ruling-yesterday-may-inform-other-arson-appeals/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bulletin: LGC Forensics: (UK): Devon man wrongly linked to rape of woman in Manchester; Company calls it "human error".

STORY: "DNA blunder: Man accused of rape after human error," published by BBC News on 21 March, 2012."

GIST: "A forensic science firm which wrongly linked the DNA of a Devon man to the rape of a woman in Manchester has said the blunder was down to human error...The company said in a statement: "The forensic science regulator has agreed with LGC Forensics that the root cause of the contamination was human error in the incorrect re-use of plastic trays as part of the robotic DNA extraction process. "New processes have been introduced to prevent such an error happening again and 26,000 samples that have been processed since the robotics were introduced in March 2011 have been checked to ensure they had not been contaminated. "This checking is now complete and no other cases of contamination have been found."

THE ENTIRE STORY VAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-17460661

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this situation. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Bulletin: Hassan Diab: Canada; Justice Minister's extradition decision once again delayed; Reporter Chris Cobb; Ottawa Citizen;

STORY: "Extradition terror bombing delayed," by reporter Chris Cobb, published on March 20, 2012 in the Ottawa Citizen.

GIST: Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has given no reason for once again delaying his decision on whether to extradite terrorism suspect Hassan Diab to France - in a case where the French handwriting evidence alleged to have tied Diab to the crime has come under blistering attack.

PUBLISHER'S VIEW; (Published on this Blog on Monday February 13, 2012, after Justice Minister first delayed his decision on whether to send Hassan Dian to France, under the heading, "Hussan Diab: Publisher's view: Where is the Canadian media in the face of Canada's pending complicity in a potential miscarriage of Justice?") That's still a valid question!

"The Ottawa Citizen reports a major development in the Hassan Diab extradtion case - that Justice Minister Rob Nicholson will wait another month before deciding whether to surrender for extradition former University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab who is wanted by France in connection with a 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue, and was committed for extradition last summer by an Ottawa judge.

The Ottawa Citizen quotes a lawyer who says the Canadian Justice Minister needs the extra time "because of "new material and new assessment of the French case" against Diab.

While the Ottawa Citizen has covered the case intensively through its thorough reporting by reporter Chris Cobb, it has been largely ignored by the Canadian media - even though Canada risks sending a man to the vagaries of French justice in a case which would never be able to stand scrutiny in the Canadian courts.

As I noted in a "Publisher's View" which an on August 4, 2011 under the heading, "Amanda Knox: Her case shows the huge risk inherent in extraditing the accused alleged terrorist Hassan Diab to France.

"Revelations of the terribly flawed DNA evidence used by Italian police to connect Amanda Knox to the murder of her roommate impact strongly on another potential wrongful conviction on foreign soil: Efforts by the French government to have Canada extradite Professor Hassan Diab to face charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the deadly bombing outside a Paris synagogue in 1980. Hassan Diab is a Lebanese-born Canadian who taught sociology at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. As the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported in its story of Judge Robert Belanger’s decision to approve the extradition order on June 5, 2011, “ France alleges that Diab France alleges Diab was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who made and planted a bomb that killed four people and injured more than 40 others on Oct. 3, 1980, outside the Copernic Street synagogue in Paris. But Diab insists his case is one of mistaken identity.” Although Stamps in Diab's 1980 passport indicated he was not in France at the time of the bombing. The French government alleges that Diab’s handwriting appears on a hotel registration card — evidence his lawyers have contradicted through a trio of highly regarded defence handwriting experts. It is notable that although Judge Maranger admitted the disputed French expert evidence, he likened handwriting to a “pseudo-science” and described the critical French handwriting analysis as “problematic”, “very confusing”, and with “suspect” conclusions. (Toronto Sun: February 18, 2011). Moreover, when Maranger ruled in June that he had no choice but to extradite Diab under Canada’s extradition treaty with France, he also noted that France had presented a “weak case” that is “unlikely” to result in a conviction. The Amanda Knox debacle has shown us how easy it is for an injustice to occur when forensic evidence plays a critical role in a foreign jurisprudence. (Yes, she and her co-accused were finally freed – but only after for horrible years behind bars in a foreign country, cut off from their friends and families, and facing the possibility of many more years in prison.) The difference between the Knox and Diab cases is that Canada is in a position to avoid the danger of a wrongful conviction by exercising its political authority not to ship Diab off to France to stand trial. I urge Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to stand up for justice in the case of Hassan Diab: Do not put him to the risk of trial in France on such flimsy forensic “evidence" - on such a weak case. Do not put him in the same position as Amanda Knox."

I am disappointed that the Canadian Media - other than the Ottawa Citizen have chosen to sit back quietly while the Canadian Government risks being party to a terrible miscarriage of justice by allowing Diab to be extradited in these circumstances. It is not too late to send the justice minister the message that his decision is being closely watched - by the media watchdogs - and that such complicity with a potential miscarriage of justice would not be tolerated. At the very least, the Canadian media should report fully on what is happening right now - and give the Canadian public the opportunity to make up its own mind.

HAROLD LEVY: PUBLISHER; THE CHARLES SMITH BLOG.

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Diab+extradition+terror+bombing+delayed/6331011/story.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kerry Max Cook: DNA and actual innocence: Michael Hall takes a look at "The last man exonerated," in Texas Monthly.

STORY: "The last man exonerated," by Michael Hall," published by Texas monthly on March 1, 2012.

GIST: 'The intent of the DNA motion seems to be to start the ball rolling to get Cook eventually declared actually innocent. This is a tall order in Texas, especially this long after the verdict. The motion states:

Mr. Cook is factually and actually innocent of the 1977 rape and murder of Ms. Edwards and requests further DNA testing to verify and corroborate the other powerful evidence of his innocence. While previous DNA testing has already provided exculpatory evidence and established overwhelming proof of Mr. Cook’s innocence, there is a substantial volume of additional un-tested evidence that will further corroborate Mr. Cook’s innocence.

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://tmdailypost.com/article/criminal-justice/last-man-exonerated

STORY: "The last man exonerated," by Michael Hall," published by Texas monthly on March 1, 2012.

GIST: 'The intent of the DNA motion seems to be to start the ball rolling to get Cook eventually declared actually innocent. This is a tall order in Texas, especially this long after the verdict. The motion states:

Mr. Cook is factually and actually innocent of the 1977 rape and murder of Ms. Edwards and requests further DNA testing to verify and corroborate the other powerful evidence of his innocence. While previous DNA testing has already provided exculpatory evidence and established overwhelming proof of Mr. Cook’s innocence, there is a substantial volume of additional un-tested evidence that will further corroborate Mr. Cook’s innocence.

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://tmdailypost.com/article/criminal-justice/last-man-exonerated

Dr. George Hibbert: Accused of falsifying psychiatric reports on parents; massive class actions against government in store; Sunday Express;

STORY: "Doctor faces adoptions scandal axe," by reporter Ted Jeory, published by the Sunday Express on March 18, 2012,

GIST: "As a result of the GMC investigation, a lawyer acting for a mother known for legal reasons as ‘Miss A’, who had her child removed after she says she was misdiagnosed with bipolar by Dr Hibbert, now believes a massive class action against the Government is in store. Paul Grant, of Bernard Chill & Axtell Solicitors, said he had already been contacted by several other parents who have been allegedly misdiagnosed by experts like Dr Hibbert all over the country. He said: “This is a wider problem than just one case. These experts start out as clinicians but then they seem to get corrupted by money and the commercial opportunities.”

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case - and its serious ramifications. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jeffrey Havard: Radly Balko says the only real evidence against him came from disputed pathologist - and says he's "perilously close" to execution;


STORY: Brief note by Radley Balko published in the Agitator on March 18, 2012, with a link to a "good summary" from one of Balko's previous posts.

GIST: "Jeffrey Havard again denied by the Mississippi Supreme Court. I’ve written about Havard’s case several times, but here’s a good summary. The only real evidence against him was now-disputed testimony from Steven Hayne. Yet he’s now perilously close to an execution date. I’ll have more on this later."

GIST OF THE PREVIOUS POST: " I won’t go so far as to say that Havard is innocent of killing the child. Because there were no witnesses, it’s impossible to know. He had no history of child abuse or violent behavior. And unlike in the Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer cases, DNA testing won’t play a role in this case. But it is clear that he shouldn’t have been convicted, and certainly shouldn’t be on death row. In turning down Havard’s latest appeal, Mississippi’s Supreme Court has decided that even after all of the questions raised about Dr. Hayne’s methods, practices, and credibility, they’re still willing put their faith in him, even in a case where his testimony was critical to securing a death sentence, and even when that testimony has been challenged by a medical examiner who, unlike Hayne, has the respect of his peers, isn’t seen as a hack for the state, and is actually board certified in forensic pathology."

THE ACTUAL NOTE CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.theagitator.com/2012/03/18/sunday-links-88/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Family Justice Council report: Channel 4 News asks "How competent are expert witnesses?


STORY: "How competent are expert witnesses?" published by Channel 4 News on March 13, 2012.

SUB-HEADING: "Around 20 per cent of psychologists acting as expert witnesses for the family courts are not qualified, according to a Channel 4 News investigation broadcast tonight, writes producer Phil Carter."

GIST: "Channel 4 News spoke to families across the country involved in court proceedings and heard time and again concerns about the experts used by the courts to determine whether children are at risk and should be removed from their birth parents. But because of the secrecy of the family courts - designed to protect the identity of the children at the heart of proceedings - the experts used have largely been beyond scrutiny. This research is the first time these concerns have been to some degree independently substantiated. The research found serious concerns across a range of issues beyond the startling finding that around a fifth of so-called psychologist expert witnesses are not qualified. The assessments of the expert reports found that some 20 per cent of the psychologists were working beyond their area of knowledge; around a third had no experience of mental health assessments; and some 90 per cent of experts were not in current practice. The net result was that the research concluded that around 65 per cent of expert reports in the study were of either 'poor' or 'very poor' quality. Professor Ireland told Channel 4 News: "I think we were very concerned and perturbed by some of the reports that we read, not just in terms of qualification but also the quality of the reports that we read ...Prof Ireland and her team were given unprecedented access to psychologists' expert witness reports from three undisclosed courts across England by the FJC, an arm's length body of the Ministry of Justice. Experts play a critical role in family court cases: research suggests that at least one expert is used in 90 per cent of public law children's proceedings and many cases involve three or more experts...The findings are based on research published on Wednesday for the Family Justice Council (FJC). It was led by Professor Jane Ireland, a forensic psychologist at the University of Central Lancashire. Prof Ireland and her team were given unprecedented access to psychologists' expert witness reports from three undisclosed courts across England by the FJC, an arm's length body of the Ministry of Justice...Nigel Priestley, a lawyer closely involved in family proceedings, tolof the gravity of the research's findings. "After the death penalty the most draconian act that the state can do is remove a family's child," he said. "What is at stake for many carers is the loss of their children and on the basis of a report which might or indeed might not be questionable."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.channel4.com/news/how-competent-are-expert-witnesses

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring the aftermath of the Family Justice Council report: Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Kerry Max Cook: (Texas); (2); He asks why his prosecutors are not facing an inquiry - in essay published by Grits For Breakfast:

STORY: Kerry Max Cook: "Rogue DA's don't deserve prosecutor of the year honours" published in Grits for Breakkast on March 13, 2012.

GIST: "What do Williamson County’s Ken Anderson and Smith County’s Jack Skeen share in common? Both were awarded "Prosecutor of the Year" by the County and District Attorneys section of the Texas State Bar. And both were later appointed to District Judgeships by Gov. Rick Perry. When a Tyler Judge in Smith County moved my case to Williamson County in 1992 for the first of what would become a series of retrials in the ‘90’s, then-District Attorney Jack Skeen sent me back to death row a second time. In fact, of all the things you can say Jack Skeen and Ken Anderson have in common, the one thing they don't is that Jack Skeen is not facing a Court of Inquiry and Ken Anderson is."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2012/03/kerry-max-cook-rogue-das-dont-deserve.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bulletin: Colin Matchim; Newfoundland. Extraordinary "shaken-baby syndrome" case. Released on bail post conviction - pre-sentence. VOCM.

STORY: "Matchim granted bail," reported by VOCM on March 16, 2012.

GIST: "Matchim was convicted of aggravated assault in May, after his infant daughter suffered injuries from being shaken. Citing new medical evidence that could change the outcome, his defense team has applied to have the case reopened. Matchim has already been in custody for 10 months, so the Crown has consented to his release..........The Crown is having medical professionals from the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto review new evidence brought forward by the defense", and the case will be called in court again on April 24 to set a date to officially reopen it.

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.vocm.com/newsarticle.asp?mn=2&id=21625&latest=1

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Bulletin: Dr George Hibbert (UK); Psychiatrist who damned hundreds as 'unfit parents' faces probe by General Medical Council; The Daily Mail.

STORY: "The doctor who broke up families: Psychiatrist who damned hundreds as 'unfit parents' faces GMC (General Medical Council) probe," by reporter Katherine Faulkner, published on March 16, 2012 in The Daily Mail."

SUB-HEADINGS: "Dr. George Hibbert could be struck off over his conclusions that hundreds of patients had 'personality disorders'..."Millionaire is now being investigated over shocking suggestions he distorted the assessments to fit the view of social services."..."Lib Dem writes to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke demanding a full public inquiry."

GIST: "A leading psychiatrist faces extraordinary claims he deliberately misdiagnosed parents with mental disorders – decisions which meant their children were taken away from them. Dr George Hibbert faces being struck off over his conclusions that hundreds had ‘personality disorders’ after assessing them at his private family centre. He was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by social services for the reports which tore children from their parents – many of them young mothers. He is now being investigated over shocking suggestions he distorted the assessments to fit the view of social services. In one case, he is alleged to have wrongly diagnosed a ‘caring’ new mother – named only as Miss A – with bipolar disorder because her local authority wanted the baby adopted. After being confronted with this allegation, Dr Hibbert offered to surrender his licence to practise as a doctor rather than face a General Medical Council inquiry. But his request has been rejected by the GMC which says there are still ‘unresolved concerns regarding his fitness to practise’. He will now face a full fitness to practise hearing. Yesterday John Hemming MP, who has raised concerns about Dr Hibbert in Parliament, described the claims as shocking...Earlier this week, a study for the Family Justice Council revealed how life-changing decisions about the care of children are routinely being made on the basis of flawed evidence. A fifth of ‘experts’ who advise the family courts are unqualified."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2116175/The-doctor-broke-families-Psychiatrist-damned-hundreds-unfit-parents-faces-GMC-probe.html

SEE RELATED CHANNEL 4 NEWS INVESTIGATION: HOW COMPETENT ARE EXPERT WITNESSES? AT:

http://www.channel4.com/news/how-competent-are-expert-witnesses

FOR A LINK TO THE REPORT BY PROFESSOR JANE IRELAND COMMISSIONED BY THE FAMILY JUSTICE COUNCIL), PLEASE GO TO:

http://researchingreform.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/how-competent-are-expert-witnesses-channel-4-investigates/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I will be monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Kerry Max Cook: (1): Reporter who's investigation helped free him knocks incompetent cops, zealous prosecutors and junk science. daily Post; (Texas);

STORY: "Innocence Project," by David Hanners, published in the "TM Daily Post" on March 5, 2012.

GIST: David Hanners, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the Dallas Morning News, wrote more than forty stories about the Kerry Max Cook case, starting in 1988, and broke much of the news that is now used by Cook’s lawyers and supporters as evidence of his innocence.........

"I just don’t believe Kerry Max Cook killed Linda Jo Edwards. In discussing this case with others, I have often described it as Murphy’s Law personified; everything that could go wrong, did. The initial police investigation was hopelessly incompetent and relied on pseudo-science that was bad even for 1976.........I also wish to speak to the DNA evidence and the way the prosecution has handled it. I clearly remember David Dobbs, the prosecutor handling the retrials, telling me prior to the testing that they were excited about the prospects of a test because the semen sample “could only have been left by the killer.” Those were his exact words to me, and I remember him saying it as if it were yesterday. So then the sample is sent away for testing, the deal with Mr. Cook is offered and accepted—and then the results come back showing the semen belonged to someone other than Mr. Cook. Suddenly, the prosecution’s story changes. Now they say, “Well, of course it was somebody else. But Mr. Cook is still the killer.” 

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://tmdailypost.com/article/criminal-justice/innocence-project

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bulletin: Jeffrey Havard. One step closer to execution even though key witness changed her acccount and pathologist his opinion; Clarion-Ledger.

STORY: "Death row appeal rejected. Jeffrey Havard convicted of capital murder in baby's death," by reporter Jerry Mitchell, published on March 13, 2012, in the Clarion-Ledger.

GIST: "Justices last week rejected the 33-year-old inmate's appeal, writing, 'There is no merit to Havard's claim that newly discovered evidence exists that supports his innocence. This issue is procedurally barred by time'.........In looking through the records of the case, Havard's attorneys on appeal noticed a reference to a videotaped statement by Rebecca Britt. After repeated requests, they finally obtained the tape and believed her initial statement to authorities differed in tone and substance from the testimony she gave at trial. In her initial statement, she told authorities Havard "loved Chloe," that Havard changed her diapers and gave her bottles, and didn't seem surprised Havard gave her daughter a bath. But during the trial, she testified Havard never changed Chloe's diapers and never bathed the child. Havard's attorneys allege his trial counsel was ineffective because they failed to use the statement to challenge Rebecca's credibility.........At trial, pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne, who performed the autopsy, testified the death was a homicide, consistent with shaken baby syndrome, and that an anal contusion was "consistent with penetration of the rectum with an object. But Hayne has since acknowledged to Havard's attorneys the contusion was found in an area easily injured and a rectal thermometer like the one used in the emergency room to check Chloe's temperature could cause such a contusion but that he did not think it was likely. Hayne also said he could not exclude that possibility. Hayne found no anal tearing and said dilated anal sphincters also may be seen on people without significant brain function and that the contusion was not sufficient to determine a sexual assault occurred. A rape kit conducted at the time found no evidence of semen. At The Clarion-Ledger's request, world-renowned pathologist Dr. Michael Baden examined Hayne's autopsy report and photographs and concluded there was no evidence of sexual abuse - or even of a homicide. The injuries described at autopsy were consistent with "the baby being accidentally dropped and striking her head on the toilet tank as the father described," Baden said. The anal abrasion described in the autopsy can be the result of common causes, such as constipation, diarrhea, toilet paper or even rubbing against a diaper, he said."

PUBLISHER'S VIEW: I am following developments in this case as closely as I can because, as reporter Jerry Mitchell notes, "The state Supreme Court has unanimously denied an appeal from death row inmate Jeffrey Havard, moving him one step closer to execution." It is troubling that the Supreme Court seems more concerned about limitation periods than justice; It is troubling that the deceased baby's mother has drastically changed the evidence she gave in a pre-trial statement to make him appear guilty - and that this was only discovered by Mr. Havard's lawyers on appeal, in this shaken-baby syndrome case. It is troubling that Dr. Steven Hayne, the prosecution's pathologist, has repudiated his original opinion. Moreover, Dr. Michael Baden, who examined the case at the request of the Clarion Ledger has found neither sexual assault or homicide. This is a highly troubling case that has originated in a state which has experienced notorious miscarriages of justice in its criminal justice system. Fortunately there are other appeal possibilities before the irreparable sanction is carried out. Fortunately indeed.

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20120314/NEWS/203140329

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Bulletin: Brenda Waudby. Charles Smith case. Peterborough Examiner says no advances today in court battle to clear her name. No new date set;


NEWMARKET - The slow, winding legal road to clear Brenda Waudby's record made no advances in Newmarket court Friday morning.

STORY: "Slow process continues for Waudby," by reporter Galen Eagle, published on March 16, 2012, in the Peterborough Examiner.

GIST: "The slow, winding legal road to clear Brenda Waudby's record made no advances in Newmarket court Friday morning........ The parties are still pouring through case material and have not made as much progress as hoped, (Crown Attorney) Wheeler said in an email read in court.........Waudby is seeking to have a June 1999 child abuse conviction overturned. Waudby pleaded guilty to the charge days before the Crown dropped a charge of second-degree murder laid against her relating to the death of her daughter, 21-month-old Jenna Mellor. Jenna was killed in January 1997. Based on the erroneous work of pathologist Dr. Charles Smith, police initially charged Waudby with second-degree murder. Waudby's former babysitter was eventually charged with killing Jenna, pleading guilty to manslaughter."

PUBLISHER'S VIEW: Charles Smith's opinion that there were injuries which preceded the attack on Baby Jenna - which led to her being wrongfully charged with murder - was also the basis for a provincial provincial charge of child abuse. (Ms. Waudby contends that the only reason she pleaded guilty to the provincial offence was that the Crown refused to withdraw the murder charge - which expert evidence provided by both the defence and the prosecution showed she could not possibly have committed - unless she pleaded guilty to the provincial child abuse charge, of which she was also innocent.) Instead of receiving the sympathy and compassion she deserved as a grieving mother whose baby daughter had been murdered, Ms. Waudby, a grieving mother, was herself charged with the horrific crime of murdering her daughter (for which Baby Jenna's babysitter was ultimately convicted), and not surprisingly became a pariah in her community. Brenda Waudby has been given a raw deal by Ontario's criminal justice system. We can only hope that the Court will hurry up and finally and unequivocally clear her name;


THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3503770

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.
The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

A "Must View". "48 Hours Mystery." "Grave Injustice." Anthony Grave's battle for compensation; (Texas); CBS; Saturday March 17. 10.00 PM:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Innocence Blog has noted that, "DNA testing didn’t free Texas exoneree Anthony Graves, but the case against him was frighteningly similar to many of those who were cleared by DNA. A prosecutor hid exculpatory evidence from the Graves’ defense team, and the state’s leading witness was Graves’ alleged co-defendant. After a district court reversed his original conviction, the state pushed for retrial. After realizing her case was built on nothing more than a thoroughly debunked dog scent lineup and the testimony of a medical examiner who mishandled evidence while on the stand, former Harris County assistant district attorney and special prosecutor Kelly Siegler announced on October 27, 2010 that Anthony Graves was "an innocent man." After producing a powerful, influential documentary on the Graves's battle for his life and exoneration, CBS "48 Hours Mystery" is following through with a documentary on his successful battle for compensation against State officials who attempted to block his recovery on the basis of a drafting technicality. It's a "must view." CBS is to be applauded for the role it played in this epic battle against injustice.

Harold Levy: Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bulletin: Canada; Jury Vetting cases: Supreme Court told secret practice jeopardizes justice system; National Post;

STORY:"Jury vetting jeopardized justice system," court hears," by reporter Robert Hiltz, published in the National Post on March 15, 2012.

GIST: "The Supreme Court of Canada is hearing a case, with potential major ramifications nationwide, that could lead to four first-degree murder convictions being overturned. Lawyers representing appeals in five cases - the four murders and a fraud conviction - told the court the practice excludes a class of people from serving on a jury in a way akin to selecting jury members based on race or gender. Their arguments centred around the premise that by using police investigators to weed out jurors who might not be favourable to their case and neglecting to tell the defence, Crown attorneys jeopardized the actual and the public's perception of balance in the criminal justice system..........Michal Fairburn, representing the Ontario Crown, argued that while the language used in the memo was "uncomfortable" and "improper," the practice was limited to Barrie and since it became public, the province has changed the Juries Act to prevent jury vetting."

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.nationalpost.com/Jury+vetting+jeopardized+justice+system+court+hears/6304073/story.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring the jury vetting cases. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

David Williams; Missouri; Two years after charged with arson in fatal fire as result of "trained dog," blaze no longer ruled arson. News-Leader.


STORY: "Officials revise cause of 2010 fire that killed three children: Blaze no longer ruled arson; accident a possibility," by reporter Jess Rollins, published in Springfield News-Leader on March 15, 2012.

GIST: "Shortly after the fatal fire March 15, 2010, fire officials concluded that an accelerant was intentionally used to start the blaze. By the next day, David Williams, the fiancé of the children’s mother, was arrested and later charged with arson. Prosecutors pointed to a trained dog's indication that accelerant was found in the home and on Williams' jeans. But lab tests couldn't find accelerant on any of the samples from the home or from the jeans. Charges against Williams were dropped 37 days after they were filed, but arson remained as the official cause until the April decision to leave open the possibility of an electrical accident. After receiving new information, Fire Chief David Hall said investigators re-evaluated the cause of the fire on Olive Street and have concluded that the cause cannot be determined. Hall said the status was changed in April 2011 after the fire department received a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives which could not rule out a television as a potential cause of an accidental electrical fire."

THE ENTIRE ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20120315/NEWS01/303150044/Olive-Street-fire-Devin-Watson-Kelsey-Watson-Alexis-Watson-arson?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shaken-baby syndrome: Emily Bazelon asks if innocent parents are being prosecuted for killing their babies? MD who came up with syndrome thinks so.

STORY: "Are innocent parents being prosecuted for killing their babies? The doctor who came up with "shaken-baby syndrome" thinks so," by Emily Bazelon, published in "Slate"  on March 14, 2012.

GIST: "Now Guthkelch is worried that medical examiners and prosecutors have been too quick to turn to the shaken-baby diagnosis—and that innocent people may be in prison as a result. He called me to express that concern after I wrote about some questionable shaken-baby prosecutions for the New York Times Magazine last year. Guthkelch told Joseph Shapiro of NPR about an Arizona case he found particularly troubling after reviewing it for the defense. “I think I used the expression in my report, ‘I wouldn’t hang a cat on the evidence of shaking, as presented,’ ” he said. Guthkelch, who is 96, was talking about the conviction of Drayton Witt, who was an 18-year-old when he was charged with shaking his 4-month-old son, Steven, to death in 2000. Based on the standard medical theory of the time, the case looked like a classic case of abusive shaking to doctors who treated Steven in the hospital as well as to the medical examiner who conducted the autopsy. Later at trial, these doctors testified against Witt, who was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 20 years. But now the case doesn’t look so clear-cut. It may, instead, be an example of doctors applying an outdated method of diagnosis—one that ignored Steven’s troubled medical history and thus missed an alternate explanation for his death. It’s not just Guthkelch who is raising the alarm: The medical examiner who testified against Witt, pathologist A.L. Mosley, has recanted his position at trial. Mosley now believes that Steven died of natural causes. Which raises a couple of questions: Is Drayton Witt serving time for a crime he did not commit? Will prosecutors in Arizona continue to argue that his conviction should stand?"

THE ENTIRE STORY CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/03/when_babies_die_are_doctors_too_quick_to_blame_it_on_shaken_baby_syndrome_.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

I am monitoring shaken-baby cases. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.