Saturday, November 30, 2013

Bulletin: David Camm; Indiana. He is to be interviewed by Richard Schlesinger on Saturday night (November 30, 2013) on 48 Hours on the CBS network; (Show airs at 10.00 PM); Interviews also with Charles Boney and the lawyers involved in the third and final Camm murder trial - a trial in which forensic science evidence given by experts played a crucial role.


STORY: "David Camm to appear on 48 Hours," published by WIBC on November 28, 2013.

SUB-HEADING:  "A popular TV news program will bring David Camm to your living room Saturday night."

GIST: CBS's "48 Hours" interviewed Camm for Saturday night's hour long episode.  Interviewer Richard Schlesinger called Camm "well spoken" and says they discussed a range of topics pertaining to the last 13 years of Camm's life. Schlesinger says the program will also feature interviews with Charles Boney and the attorneys involved in the third and final Camm murder trial."

The show will air at 10:00 p.m. Saturday night on CBS.

The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.wibc.com/news/story.aspx?ID=2087206

 See "David Camm and his new found freedom': 48 Hours; "After three trials and 13 year in prison, former Indiana State trooper David Camm is finding his new found freedom following his not guilty verdict "overwhelming" and "surreal." He spoke with "48 Hours"' Richard Schlesinger in his first network TV interview since the trial."

 http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/david-camm-on-his-newfound-freedom-let-it-rain/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Fran Keller: Aftermath 2: The 2009 Austin Chronicle story by reporter Jordan Smith that led to the Keller's chance for "redemption." (The story addresses head-on the question of whether there really was any physical evidence of abuse); Must Read. HL.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Austin Chronicle, which did an outstanding job of reporting the prosection of Fran and Danny Keller and stayed with the story after they were convicted of satanic abuse - says that the following story, by reporter Jordan Smith, was instrumental in the chance for redemption of the Kellers. In addition to exploring the false witness against the Kellers, the story zeroes in on the erroneous "science" that stood for physical evidence of physical abuse - and the testimony  of a psychologist and self-described satanic ritual abuse  expert who was permitted to tell the jury that he had not found any evidence that the children were influenced by an outside source.  It's a great piece of journalism - and a "Must Read."

STORY:  "Believing the children: It's likely Fran and Danny Keller were innocent of charges of child sexual abuse, but they're still in prison after 17 tears," by reporter Jordan Smith, published by the Austin Chronicle on March 27, 2009.

GIST: "But was there really any physical evidence of abuse? Contacted for this story, Dr. Michael Mouw, who examined Christina at Brackenridge Hospital on Aug. 15, 1991, now says he's not so sure that what he saw during his genital examination was, in fact, abuse. "I'll be straight-up honest with you, I could've been wrong about [this]," he said. "At the time, in good faith, I saw something [I thought] was abnormal" about Christina's hymen. "However, in retrospect, knowing what I know now, [having] seen more detailed photos" of normal hymens and "knowing how to do exams" with newer, more precise medical equipment, Mouw said he isn't at all sure he would come to the same conclusion. He said he remembers sitting in a presentation several years after the Keller case where he was learning about advancements in the understanding of what "normal" genitalia look like "and thinking back to this case," he said. Mouw said he remembered being shown pictures of "normal variants" on the appearance of hymens, "and I remember seeing a picture that kind of reminded me of that case, and I said, 'Huh.' I hadn't seen it before, but it was described in that talk as being normal," he said. "I think that if I had that case now, I'd probably decline to [do the exam and would] send it to an expert. And I would decline to testify." Mouw said he had been unaware, but is concerned, that his was the only piece of physical evidence prosecutors had to back up the allegation that Christina had been abused. In part, he said, his conclusion might have been influenced by the guilt bias that tends to prevail in the emergency room: "In the ER it is always guilty until proven innocent. I'm serious. My attitude has evolved away from that," he said. "And I'm always interested in protecting children, but I think there is a lot of rush to judgment." Although Mouw said that he saw something that night that was not "normal to me," he might have been wrong. "This is my long way of saying that I wouldn't touch that [case] with a 10-foot pole now." Without the physical evidence provided by Mouw, the state's case against the Kellers would have been seriously weakened. Defense attorney Whitworth thought the fantastic allegations of the children – graveyard rituals, airplane flights to Mexico that could not have occurred, physically impossible actions – would undercut their believability. It didn't work that way in court.  Instead, prosecutors called to the stand a clinical psychologist and controversial "expert" in satanic ritual abuse. On the stand, psychologist and self-described satanic ritual abuse expert James Noblitt said that he had reviewed David-Campbell's files on Christina as well as the video interviews of the children and found no evidence that anyone was influencing them to make the allegations. Because of the level of detail in her allegations, Noblitt testified, "I don't think it is likely that [Christina] got these ideas from any external source." He testified about the "death and rebirth themes" in cult rituals and, without objection from the defense, laid out his version of the infamous Salem witch trials and described how this case was definitely different than those. In that situation, "little girls" were describing "fantasy events" that didn't happen. Here, the children have described real events. "This is no witch hunt," he said. Professor Wood was stunned that Noblitt's testimony was allowed into evidence: "Austin, you know, has a reputation for being progressive and an intellectually enlightened city. So it is really shocking to learn that a D.A. there put an expert on the stand to testify to the reality of 'witchcraft' – satanic ritual abuse – and that a judge allowed it into evidence. ... I've never seen that on any other case I've been on.""

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2009-03-27/759086/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Annie Dookhan: Forensic questions remain; "There is no way that Annie Dookhan could have committed this misconduct by herself." "Bad Chemistry." (Must Read HL); Bonus! Publisher's view: (Editorial); In view of the enormity of Annie Dookhan's assault on Massachusett's justice system - and several other very compelling reasons - an independent public inquiry is imperative. Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: (Editorial): I am surprised for several reasons that there has not been an outcry for an independent  public inquiry into the Annie Dookhan debacle.  First, as the following article by Deborah Becker  in ""Bad Chemistry" notes, "lingering questions persist about state oversight of forensic testing."  The public still does not have a clear picture as to how Annie Dookhan was able to get away with her shoddy workplace practices, causing so much harm, over such a long period of time.  That means a thorough questioning under oath of Annie Dookhan's supervisors and co-workers in the lab,  and of the prosecutors who called her evidence in court. - backed up by full subpoena powers.  Secondly, there is still a murky picture of what motivated Annie Dookhan to falsify her results even though innocent people might be convicted because of her crimes.  Her testimony would hopefully be compellable at a public inquiry now that she has been sentenced and the criminal process is out of the way.  Thirdly, the enormity of the blow struck to the  heart  of the Massachusett's justice system  - like an earthquake  - calls urgently for a public inquiry.  Lastly, as the article points out, an examination into the system's breakdown in the Dookhan case - with testimony from administrators and academics - could put pressure on the politicians to remove all testing from the supervision of law enforcement, as the National Academy of Science has recommended. The Commissioner could also convene panels of experts on the various issues involved in the public inquiry - alongside the fact-finding process, as was done beautifully by Justice Stephen Gouge in his inquiry into many of the miscarriages of justice  in which former pathologist  Charles Smith played a significant role. The views of defence lawyers, prosecutors and judges could also be sought on the general issues, as was also done by the Smith Inquiry. As the article points out, some people are dismissing Annie Dookhan as a "rogue chemist - one woman who simply wanted to be the most productive worker in the lab. But I think that Matt Segal of the American Civil Liberties Union got it right when he said "There is no way that Annie Dookhan could have committed this misconduct by herself...There were failures up and down." The Ontario government realized that a public inquiry had to be held to restore public confidence in Ontario's pediatric forensic system, which had been lost as a result of Charles Smith and those in high positions of power who covered up for him.  The State of Massachusetts is in a similar position.  This proposal will not likely be popular among state officials who have reputations and careers to protect. That is why  the establishment of a fearless  independent inquiry that is  beyond political reach  and does its work in public for all to see is imperative.

Harold Levy: Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

STORY: "Forensic testing questions remain after Dookhan sentence," by Deborah Becker, published by "Bad Chemistry, on November 23, 2013;

GIST: "The former state chemist blamed for compromising thousands of criminal prosecutions by falsifying tests on drug case evidence is now a criminal in the eyes of the law. After pleading guilty to every charge, Annie Dookhan began a three- to five-year prison sentence at MCI-Framingham Friday.
But lingering questions persist about state oversight of forensic testing. Dookhan admitted that she didn’t always test the drug evidence she claimed to have tested, and that she sometimes forged coworkers’ signatures — though she didn’t know how frequent that practice was. Records show that in her nine years at the state lab, she routinely tested thousands more samples than her colleagues. A state review determined that more than 40,000 criminal cases relied on Dookhan’s testing. But some say that’s just the beginning. “We expect it could be many thousands more, tens of thousands more,” said Anne Goldbach, of the Massachusetts public defenders agency. According to Goldbach, initial reports from an ongoing state inspector general investigation show that oversight at the lab was so lax that every case that used its testing is now in doubt. “The potential could be 190,000 [affected cases],” said Goldbach. “Part of that depends on what we learn about the entire lab. Right now the entire lab is still suspect.” So far, almost 350 people have been released from prison. State officials estimate it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several years to handle all the criminal and civil suits stemming from the scandal. They say all of this was caused by one woman: a “rogue chemist” who simply wanted to be the most productive worker in the lab. But Matt Segal, with the Massachusetts branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, doesn’t buy it. “There is no way that Annie Dookhan could have committed this misconduct by herself,” said Segal. “There were failures up and down. And the documents that we’ve seen show that that’s what happened. The lab was in disarray, there was no accountability.”......... “It’s become urban myth, in my opinion, that all these individuals are languishing in jail, and it’s just drugs only. It’s not,” said Blodgett. “Most of these cases have accompanying charges of violence.” Whether the scandal leads to improved drug testing remains to be seen. The National Academy of Sciences issued a report in 2009 arguing that the increasing reliance on scientific tests in court demands stronger national oversight. It also recommended removing all testing from under the supervision of law enforcement to prevent any conflicts. Despite that, the testing in Massachusetts is now under the control of state police."

The entire story can be found at:

http://badchemistry.wbur.org/2013/11/23/forensic-testing-questions-remain-after-dookhan-sentence

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fran Keller: Aftermath one: Texas Monthly story descibes "another similarity" between the Keller case and the San Antonio Four case: "Both are driven by changing science - the medical science of the hymen." Michael Hall.


STORY: "Wrongfully convicted grandma freed," by Michael Hall, published by Texas Monthly on November 27, 2013. (Thanks to Grits for Breakfast for bringing this informative article to our attention. HL.)

SUB-HEADING:  "After Fran Keller spent 21 years in prison based on allegations by children who said they were sexually abused in a satanic ritual at her and her husband's day care, she was finally released."

GIST: "Another similarity between the San Antonio and Austin cases is that both are being driven by changing science—the medical science of the hymen. The only physical evidence in the San Antonio Four case was testimony from a pediatrician named Nancy Kellogg, who said that a 2-3mm white “scar” (about the width of a quarter) on the hymen of one of the young girls making sex-abuse allegations against the four defendants could have been evidence of sexual assault. Now we know better. What about the dozens of other inmates in Texas convicted of child-sex abuse and sent away because of testimony that scars or lacerations on hymens were evidence of abuse? It’s safe to say we should expect to see more writs soon based on changing science."

The entire story can be  found at:

http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/wrongfully-convicted-grandma-freed

See Grits for Breakfast post: "Fran Keller released: Based on refuted junk science.".... "No way Rosemary Lehmberg will take the case back to court based solely on that sort of garbage testimony. Noted Smith, "The Kellers were among hundreds of child-care workers across the nation who, in the Eighties and Nineties, were accused of being part of a network of satan worshippers who abused children taken to daycare."

http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.ca/2013/11/writ-granted-fran-keller-released-based.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Bulletin: Fran Keller: Texas; Released from prison nearly 21 years to the day that she was jailed for a crime that few still believe ever happened; Accused of being part of a network of satan worshippers who abused children taken to daycare. Austin Chronicle;


STORY: "Fran Keller released from prison; After more than 20 years, Keller is home for the holidays," by reporter Jordan Smith, published by the  Austin Chronicle on November 26, 2013.

GIST: "Nearly 21 years to the day that she was sent to prison for a crime that few still believe ever actually happened, Frances Keller on Tuesday evening walked out of the Travis County Jail, freed on a personal bond, and was greeted by a grown daughter eager to hug her mother after more than two decades of separation. Keller and her husband Dan were each convicted and sentenced on Nov. 30, 1992, to 48 years in prison for the alleged sexual abuse of 3-year-old Christy Chaviers, who in the summer of 1991 was an infrequent drop-in at the couple's home-based daycare near Oak Hill. After a day in care at the home that summer Christy told her mother, Suzanne Stratton, that Dan had spanked her. With a bit of pressing, first by her mother and then by therapist Donna David Campbell, that initial allegation soon morphed, first into an allegation of sexual abuse and then, by the fall, into far more fantastic allegations – including that the Kellers took Christy and other children on plane rides to Mexico where they were abused by various individuals, that Fran cut off the arm of a gorilla at Zilker Park, that the Kellers performed a satanic bone-replacing ritual on one child, and that the Kellers forced the children to watch them sacrifice babies and small animals. Ultimately, Campbell concluded that Christy was a victim of "ritual abuse." The Kellers were among hundreds of child-care workers across the nation who, in the Eighties and Nineties, were accused of being part of a network of satan worshippers who abused children taken to daycare.........In fact, the only physical evidence to suggest Christy might have been abused at all came in the form of testimony from a then-novice emergency room doctor, Michael Mouw, who examined Christy back in August of 1991. At the couple's trial just more than a year later, Mouw told jurors that he found deformities to Christy's hymen and posterior fourchette (a fold of skin at the rear of the vagina) that could have been caused by sexual abuse. When he was contacted by the Chronicle for what eventually became our cover story on the case ("Believing the Children," March 27, 2009), Mouw said that not long after he testified against the Kellers he realized that what he thought were injuries were in fact "normal variants" of female genitalia. He said he had been trained in medical school and in the ER to have a pro-police/prosecution bias and that with the training and experience he's gained in the intervening years he knows now not only that he was wrong about what he thought he saw, but also that he was not qualified in 1991 to conduct a pediatric sexual assault exam or to draw any conclusions about whether abuse had taken place.........In short, the state has agreed that the medical testimony presented at the Kellers' trial was false, was material, and likely affected the outcome of the Kellers' trial. As such, its inclusion violated their right to due process. In a press release late Tuesday afternoon, Lehmberg said that she agreed to the relief because of the "crucial nature" of Mouw's testimony, and the "reasonable likelihood that his false testimony affected the judgment of the jury and violated Frances Keller's right to a fair trial." The fact that Lehmberg and Hampton have agreed to that finding, and to the fact that the Kellers conviction should be overturned, triggers a provision of state law that allows a district judge to grant a personal bond to release them from prison while the appeal continues to move through the process. The agreed findings will be forwarded to the Court of Criminal Appeals for final approval; once that happens, the case will be kicked back to Lehmberg to decide whether to retry the case. Fran Keller, now 63, was brought back to Travis County from the Gatesville Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Tuesday morning (she was told of the impending move at 1 am and instructed to start packing) and this afternoon Judge Cliff Brown signed off on her release. Roughly six hours later, as reporters waited in the lobby area of the county's Downtown jail, Keller was released through a side door and picked up by her daughter, Donna Bankston. Dan, who will turn 72 in prison on Friday, is slated to be returned to Travis County and finally released in early December. While the state has agreed that the Kellers' 1992 trial included the false and damaging medical testimony, Lehmberg has nonetheless decided to argue against the other points raised by Hampton on appeal – including that Austin Police failed to turn over exculpatory information from their investigation of the alleged abuse, that when interviewing Christy about the alleged abuse the state used techniques known to produce unreliable narratives, and that the Kellers are actually innocent."


http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2013-11-26/fran-keller-released-from-prison/

 Wikipedia entry: "The Kellers faced a six-day trial, during which the original child claimed no abuse had taken place but she had been told to say it had. Despite this retraction, the Kellers were given sentences of 48 years each. Later investigation of the case revealed serious problems: There was no physical evidence of abuse, a retracted confession that the investigating officer did not believe, flawed medical exams of the children, testimony by a dubious "expert" on satanic ritual abuse, and the prosecution withholding information from the defence.[2]"
  
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Hill_satanic_ritual_abuse_trial

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Annie Dookhan: Aftermath; Tip of the iceberg: "When crime labs go criminal." Pacific Standard;


STORY: "When crime labs go criminal," by Vince Beiser, published by Pacific Standard on November 25, 2013.

SUB-HEADING: "Annie Dookhan, the forensic scientist sent to prison last week for falsifying evidence, is just the tip of the iceberg."

GIST: As the New York Times sums up: “Prosecutors say Ms. Dookhan declared drug samples positive that she had not bothered to test, tampered with evidence, forged signatures and lied about her credentials to enhance her standing in court as an expert witness. In all, her actions may have tainted more than 40,000 drug samples involving thousands of defendants.” As a result, said the judge who sentenced Dookhan to three to five years in prison, “Innocent persons were incarcerated…. Guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public, millions and millions of public dollars are being expended to deal with the chaos Ms. Dookhan created, and the integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core.” More than 300 people convicted partly thanks to Dookhan’s work have since been released. Thing is, this kind of thing happens all the time. At least 11 prisoners have been released in Texas in recent months because a state crime lab worker was caught falsifying test results. Faked evidence and shoddy tests have been discovered again and again at the Houston Police Department’s crime lab. Just last week, police in Orange County, California, admitted they may have gotten blood-alcohol test results wrong in some 2,200 DUI cases. PrisonLegalNews.org has a long, long list of other examples. Something to keep in mind next time you're watching CSI.

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.psmag.com/science/crime-labs-go-criminal-70638/

  PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bulletin: Italy; Amanda Knox: Bloomberg News reports that the prosecutor is seeking a 30-year jail term for her - and a 16-year term for Raffaele Sollecito;


STORY: "Knox prosecutor seeks 30-year jail term in murder case," by Chiara Vasarri and Lorenzo Totaro, published by Bloomberg News on November 26, 2013.

GIST: "Amanda Knox should be sentenced to 30 years in jail for the 2007 killing of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, prosecutor Alessandro Crini told an appeals court in Florence today. Crini made the request after making a seven-hour plea yesterday for the conviction of Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito for the 2007 murder of Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The request was confirmed by phone by Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga. Crini asked for a 26-year jail term for Sollecito, Ghirga said. “We obviously aren’t in agreement,” he said."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-26/knox-prosecutor-seeks-30-year-jail-term-in-murder-case.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Bulletin: Kate Corbett; Boston Globe reveals that the chemist related to Dookhan case has been fired for allegedly misstating her credentials; Convictions under scrutiny; Spotlight once again is put on the now-closed Hinton laboratory in Jamaica Plain. Reporters Milton Valencia and John Ellement;


STORY: "State fires chemist after probe casts doubt on credentials," by reporters Milton J. Valencia and John R. Ellement, published by the Boston Globe on November 26, 2013.

GIST:  "The drug analyst who was fired for misstating her credentials allegedly falsely testified in federal court as recently as August that she has a degree in chemistry and possibly did so in dozens of state court cases as well, opening the door for a flood of new legal challenges related to the Hinton drug lab scandal. The analyst, Kate Corbett, was fired by the State Police Friday for allegedly asserting that she holds a degree in chemistry from Merrimack College, though investigators determined that her degree is in sociology. Corbett has not been accused of tampering with evidence, a charge that led to the conviction of Annie Dookhan, the woman at the center of the lab scandal. But Corbett’s declarations in court that she is an expert with a chemistry degree could potentially derail convictions in those cases, say legal analysts, who say her testimony would be tainted. Dookhan, 36, was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison Friday after being convicted of, among other charges, lying about her resume in court. “It gives her [Corbett] a lot of credibility she is not entitled to,” said Stephen Weymouth, a veteran Boston defense attorney, who was speaking generally and does not have any cases related to the analyst. He said any false statements are compounded by Corbett’s connection to the now-closed Hinton laboratory in Jamaica Plain, which was run by the state Department of Public Health and has come under scrutiny for failing to follow basic standards. “That would give me concerns,” Weymouth said, adding, “I think that defendants who were convicted have nothing to lose by filing a motion for a new trial, by saying this is newly discovered evidence that taints the trial and prejudices the jury against the defendant.” Weymouth and other defense attorneys have already argued that state officials should investigate all of the work by chemists at the Hinton lab, totaling about 190,000 cases, beyond the investigation into Dookhan’s work. They are anticipating the state inspector general’s audit of the laboratory, which is slated to be released in January.

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/26/chemist-related-dookhan-case-fired-for-allegedly-misstating-credentials/HhWnT898pjWVJgdAKSnUWJ/story.html
 
PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  


Sent from my iPad

Jeffo Gamso: "Convicting them anyway," a review of "Failed Evidence" by Professor David A. Harris; (Gamso describes "Failed Evidence" as "Another in a series of books about the too-common failures of cops and lab techs and prosecutors, on how they screw up and go after the wrong people." For the Defence: Commentary by an Ohio criminal defence lawyer; (Must Read HL);


POST: "Convicting them anyway," by Jeff Gamso," published in his outstanding hard-hitting  blog "For the Defence: Commentary by an Ohio criminal defence lawyer," on November 25, 2013. A review of "Failed evidence" by Professor David  A. Harris. (University of Pittsburgh);

GIST: "Failed Evidence is another in a series of books about the too-common failures of cops and lab techs and prosecutors, on how they screw up and go after the wrong people Others include Daniel Medwed's Prosecution Complex: America's Race to Convict and Its Impact on the Innocent (reviewed here), Jim and Nancy Petro's False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent (reviewed here), and Brandon Garrett's Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong (which for some reason I never got around to reviewing). I said that these books are about how those folks "screw up." Although there's a nod to it here and there, none of the books is concerned with actual misconduct.  They don't talk about framing innocent people, about the rush to judgment, about hiding (or fabricating) evidence, about the forensic pathologists who don't even bother to do autopsies but claim they did and testify that they revealed whatever the prosecutors want them to say.  They aren't concerned with testilying or violations of Miranda rights or the Fourth Amendment protections against searches and seizures- or with the evisceration of those rights by the courts. They are, instead, about how with the best intentions in the world, things just go wrong.  Cops believe they can tell who's lying because they have this special spidey sense that lets them know; everyone believes that fingerprints are infallible because gosh they are; and DNA is great for convicting the guilty but close to worthless for exonerating anyone already convicted 'cause that would mean we fucked up - which we don't do."

The entire post  can be found at:

http://gamso-forthedefense.blogspot.ca/2013/11/convicting-them-anyway.html

See a tribute to Jeff Gamso, who often writes of forensic matters,  on an excellent Blog published by a jury consultant firm Keene Trial Consulting. It's called "The Jury Room." I have added  this feisty, informative Blog to my links. "Top criminal defense attorneys are an intense group. They care passionately about what they do. When they blog about the work they do, the result is often emotional, passionate, and downright amazing. Jeff Gamso (a criminal defense lawyer in Toledo, Ohio) writes Gamso For the Defense blog. His writing is often beautiful as befits a former English professor. But as befits a blog about criminal defense, the content is gritty, often depressing, usually sad, and always intensely felt. I tend to imagine him writing in a darkened room after a long day of work with a strong drink next to him and fingers pounding at the keyboard in search of relief from the strain of seeking justice for his clients. For all I know, he writes laboriously and with precision (editing as he writes) in a sun-drenched room with a large mug of steaming black coffee. I’ve never met Jeff Gamso. But I read his thoughts regularly."

http://keenetrial.com/blog/2012/11/28/defense-attorneys-more-sisyphus-or-more-don-quixote/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com  

Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nupur and Rajesh Talwar; New Delhi; Relatives react in shock and anger as both are convicted of murdering their only child and cook - as they attack the alleged motive as backed by no credible evidence and accuse the police of shunning facts to build a case around a theory. Shree Paradkar; The Toronto Star. (A previous story reports that police investigators chose to ignore forensic findings that pointed to an alternative suspect);


STORY:  "Aarushi Talwar murder: A family reels from the impact of the guilty verdict," by Shree Paradkar, published by the Toronto Star on November 25, 2013.

SUB-HEADING: "When two married dentists were convicted Monday of killing their 13-year-old daughter and the family's housekeeper, it caused shock and anger among those related to them."

GIST: "Shock. Rage. Disillusionment. My cousin Nupur Talwar and her husband, Rajesh, were convicted Monday in India of murdering their only child Aarushi and trusted cook, Hemraj. Just this weekend, they were so hopeful. Nupur had a bit of a cough, but she and Rajesh thought they had a fighting chance. “Whether we’re acquitted or convicted, we have to keep on fighting to find the real killers,” Rajesh told me.........Our entire extended family believes in the innocence of Nupur and Rajesh. We believe this, not because we’re related to them – why would we excuse anybody who killed our Aarushi? We believe this because they had no motive to kill their child. We have never seen any credible evidence to support this outlandish accusation. We are a cosmopolitan family from India's western state of Maharashtra. Many of us have married outside our communities. It was a trend Nupur began when she married Rajesh Talwar, a Punjabi, in 1989. The prosecutors claim the child and cook had a sexual relationship, which led to the murders. They have insinuated in “leaks” to media about “honour killings,” a heinous concept, but an easy sell via mass media. Most people assume the worst in these situations. But the idea that the possibility of sex would lead to murder is incomprehensible to us. Had there been an inappropriate relationship between the child and the cook, it would have led to Hemraj being fired and a parent-to-child talk about responsibilities and actions.
More to point, prosecutors did not have credible evidence to back the stated motive. It has been horrifying to watch gossip in a cynical society morph into the unquestioning truth. But it has been absolutely terrifying to watch the country’s premier investigative agency shun facts to build a case around a theory."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/11/25/aarushi_talwar_couple_found_guilty_of_murdering_teen_daughter.html

See previous story: "Indian prosecutors say defence shouldn't  use forensics or witnesses. "A high-ranking police official, Arun Kumar, who, during his stint at the CBI, headed a team that conducted extensive investigations and exonerated Rajesh in July 2008. His team found no evidence that Hemraj had been killed in the house. Hemraj’s blood was not in Aarushi’s room or on the Talwars’ clothes. Kumar’s team emerged with an alternative narrative of a sexual assault gone wrong and pointed the finger at the Talwars’ dental clinic assistant Krishna Thadarai, and two other domestic workers from the neighbourhood. Kumar was taken off the case. A second CBI team did not investigate the three alternative suspects further; instead, it accused the Talwars of the murders. The Talwars are seeking reports of the tests on the dental clinic assistant and the other two men. They are also asking that evidence collected by police, including a blood-stained palm print on a stucco wall, blood on an alcohol bottle and a blood-stained pillow cover and blood-stained knife seized from Krishna’s house be examined by a DNA expert in England."

 http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/06/14/aarushi_talwar_murder_indian_prosecutors_say_defence_shouldnt_use_forensics_or_witnesses.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Bulletin: Amanda Knox: Prosecutor argues to reinstate guilty verdicts; Consideration of new DNA evidence expected on Wednesday (November 27, 2013); Associated Press. (Published by the Toronto Star);


STORY: (Florence, Italy);  "Amanda Knox case: Prosecutor argues to reinstate guilty verdict in roommate's murder," by reporter Colleen Barry, published by Associated Press on November 25, 2013, as published by  the Toronto Star.

SUB-HEADING: "Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of killing Meredith Kercher, Knox's roommate, but the decision was thrown out."

GIST: "The prosecutor seeking to reinstate the conviction of Amanda Knox for the murder of her roommate urged an appeals court on Monday not to repeat mistakes he says were made by the court that freed her. Prosecutor Alessandro Crini said Italy’s highest court had “razed to the ground” the Perugia appellate court’s 2011 decision to throw out the guilty verdicts, freeing Knox and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito.........After more than six hours of arguments, the hearing was continued until Wednesday when it turns to possibly significant new DNA evidence, the main new element of the second appeals trial. The prosecutor will also make his sentencing demands. The Florence court ordered experts to test the tiny trace of DNA not examined in the previous trials, one of the appellate trial flaws emphasized by the Cassation Court in vacating the acquittals. An expert testified that the trace on the purported murder weapon was consistent with Knox’s DNA and not Kercher’s. Knox’s lawyer, Luciano Ghirga, said there was nothing new so far in the prosecutor’s summations. “No new arguments were made, but it was a good presentation,” Ghirga said."

The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/11/25/amanda_knox_case_prosecutor_argues_to_reinstate_guilty_verdict_in_roommates_murder.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

kendrick Johnson: Georgia; Expert retained by CNN expresses concern over more than an hour of video missing from four cameras - and asks why police requested the videos from the school - instead of seizing them. Reporter Victor Blackwell. CNN.


STORY: "Kendrick Johnson footage released; expert finds it 'highly suspicious,' by reporter Victor Blackwell, published by CNN on November 21, 2013.

SUB-HEADING: "Missing video in teen gym-mat death?

STORY HIGHLIGHTS: "Surveillance from high school where Kendrick Johnson died raises questions. However, it answers three of the Johnson family's suspicions about the case. Forensic expert finds more than an hour of video missing from four cameras. Police should have seized videos rather than request them from school, expert says."

GIST: "The police have said they didn't receive a copy of the videos until several days after Johnson's body was found, according to an unredacted report obtained by CNN after a legal process. Fredericks told CNN he found it "highly suspicious" that an hour of video could be missing, especially considering how the material was acquired by police. "The investigator's responsibility is to acquire the entire digital video recording system and have their staff define what they want to obtain," he said. According to an incident report from the Sheriff's Office, however, a detective watched a portion of the video then asked an information technology officer employed by the school board to produce a "copy of the surveillance video for the entire wing of the school with the old gym for the last 48 hours." Five days later, the sheriff's report says, the IT officer delivered a hard drive to the detective, who verified it contained what he requested. "Right now, what they've done, is they've left it up to the school district as to what it is they want to provide to the police, and I think that probably is a mistake," Fredericks said. "You don't want somebody who might be party to the responsibility to make the decision as to what they provide the police.""

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/21/justice/kendrick-johnson-surveillance-videos/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+Most+Recent%29

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nuper and Rajesh Talwar: New Delhi; Verdict in murder trial expected Monday (November 25, 2013); A troubling case reeking of forensic flaws and crying for an acquittal: No DNA, no hair samples, no blood, no fingerprints point to the accused - there is a question whether one person's blood can be selectively wiped from a crime scene - and there is cogent evidence that points elsewhere. (Must Read. HL);




STORY:  "Aarushi Talwar murder trial: Verdict expected on Nov. 25: Nupur and Rajesh Talwar are on trial in India, accused of murdering their own child and cook. Judgment is expected Nov. 25," by Shree Paradkar, published by the Toronto Star on November 22, 2013.

GIST: "A New Delhi couple accused of slashing the throats of their 13-year-old daughter and live-in cook find out their fate Monday, when one of India’s most controversial and high-profile murder trials comes to an end.  Rajesh Talwar and his wife Nupur, both dentists, are accused of killing their only child Aarushi and their 45-year-old male cook, Hemraj Banjade, five years ago. In a case marked by contradictory evidence and bungled investigations, India’s central investigative agency, the CBI, has variously labelled the murders as honour killings (premeditated) or as being carried out in a fit of rage (impromptu). ......... “Our strongest point,” says Nupur, “is that there is no evidence that Hemraj was killed in that room.” There is no DNA, no hair samples, no blood or fingerprints or any evidence that places the child and cook together in her bedroom on the night of the murders. Can one person’s blood be selectively wiped from a crime scene? There is evidence, however, that others were in the house that night. In Hemraj’s room, investigators found a bottle of wine, two bottles of beer and a bottle of Sprite. Hemraj did not drink alcohol. The bottles had traces of Hemraj’s blood, but they did not have prints matching the Talwars......... There is evidence that points elsewhere. For two years, the CBI’s records showed the cook’s blood was found on a pillow cover in the home of the Talwars’ dental clinic assistant Krishna Thadarai. The CBI later claimed this was a “typographical error” by forensic scientists. While many of us around the couple believe the judgment is a foregone conclusion, Nupur and Rajesh are clinging to hope. “Lawyers outside the court are telling us not to bother fighting. That the judgment is already written up,” Rajesh says. “People say all sorts of stupid things.” This will be the final judgment judge Shyam Lal delivers in his 35-year career. He retires Nov. 30. “It’s going to be an important judgment,” Nupur says. “It’s not going to be that easy for him to push us aside. He has to look at the facts” Come Nov. 25, I hope she is proven right. Then, again, she always was na├»ve."
The entire story can be found at:

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2013/11/22/aarushi_talwar_murder_trial_verdict_expected_on_nov_25.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Duane Buck: Texas; Andrew Cohen in "The Atlantic': The injustice continues to this day as states attorneys and justices attempt to diminish the importance of what happened to him by blocking a review of his case "on its merits." The Atlantic. (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "In Texas, prosecutors add Twitter insult to capital punishment," by Andrew Cohen, published in The Atlantic on November 21, 2013.

GIST: Twice, as we’ve recounted here at The Atlantic, Texas has deprived convicted murderer Duane Buck of his constitutional right to equal protection. The first time came in 1997 when a now-notorious expert unlawfully told jurors under prosecution questioning that Buck would be more dangerous in the future because he was black. "Future danger" was an "aggravating" factor Buck's jury had to consider in imposing the death penalty on him, which those jurors quickly did after that explosive testimony. The second time the law failed Buck came in 2000, when each of the five other men whose capital trials were similarly tainted by that "expert" testimony were given new sentencing hearings. Even though Texas appropriately conceded that mistakes had been made in all of those original trials, Buck alone was blocked from getting that new sentencing trial because, Texas officials said, it was his witness who had introduced the improper testimony (even though prosecutors had elicited it). Inexplicably, Texas did not make this same assertion in the case of two other men who used this expert as a defense witness; they were each given new sentencing trials.......... The six judges on the Texas court who voted against Buck, including the infamous Justice Sharon Keller, were unwilling to address his claims on the merits—and were unwilling even to put their names behind what they had done. Instead, in a brief, unsigned opinion void of any substantive analysis, they wrote: "We dismiss the application as an abuse of the writ without considering the merits of the claims." Duane Buck ought to be executed regardless of whether there are inequalities in his case, these justices concluded, because Texas procedures bar his claims. The three justices who dissented, however, had a great deal to say about why Duane Buck deserves more from the Texas courts. In a lengthy and detailed analysis, they offered this to start: The record in this case reveals a chronicle of inadequate representation at every stage of the proceedings, the integrity of which is further called into question by the admission of racist and inflammatory testimony from an expert witness at the punishment phase..........In the view of the dissenters, Duane Buck deserves a review of the substance of his claims regardless of any procedural deficiencies that may exist in his case. Such a review, they suggest, would likely result in his sentence being reduced to life in prison without parole because of the many mitigating factors present in his case. Once again, the justices in Washington will be asked to intercede on his behalf. Once again, the Supreme Court will have an opportunity, at least, to rectify a manifest injustice. But none of that is the necessarily galling stuff. By now, America is used to this brand of justice in Texas, where black capital defendants still are routinely treated in fashions that beggar belief. After all, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the court of last resort for all criminal matters in Texas, is populated by judges who campaign like politicians promising their constituents that they will aggressively endorse capital punishment.".........There has indeed been a great deal of unprofessional conduct in the Duane Buck case. It started with that now-disgraced expert and, as the dissent says, terrible defense work at trial and on the initial appeal of Buck's conviction. It continued years later with a broken promise by Texas officials to Buck that, like the others similarly situated, he would get a new sentencing hearing void of unlawful racial undertones. And it continues to this day in the effort by state attorneys, and these six judges, to diminish the import of what happened to Buck by precluding even a review of his case on its merits. This man—this indigent black man in Texas with a low IQ who received inadequate assistance of counsel and whose trial was rocked by racial prejudice— deserves a new sentencing hearing. If Texas had given him one in 2000, this case would be long over (the five other men tainted by that "expert" were re-sentenced to death).  It's not only unprofessional, it's unjust that Texas is fighting so hard to prevent that new sentencing trial from taking place. And I'd be willing to bet that at least a few justices in Washington agree."

The entire post can be found at:
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/11/in-texas-prosecutors-add-twitter-insult-to-capital-punishment/281689/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Douglas Boyington: Texas; Arson "science." NBC contributor Tim Stelloh looks at the Douglas Boyington "old arson case" and asks if he is an innocent man? Boyington is currently serving a 75-year prison sentence in connection with a 1988 fire at a Pasadena, Texas, apartment building.



http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/20/21370404-old-arson-cases-reviewed-in-texas-is-douglas-boyington-an-innocent-man?lite

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bulletin: Major development; Annie Dookhan: Sentenced as expected on her guilty plea to three to five years. But Chief counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association questions whether the drug lab scandal is over: "How deep was the problem," he asks. "Is it really just isolated to Dookhan or does it go beyond that?" Boston Globe.


STORY: "Annie Dookhan pleads guilty in drug lab scandal," by reporters Milton Valencia and John R. Ellement, published by the Boston Globe on November 21, 2013.

GIST: "Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist whose mishandling of evidence in drug cases threw the state’s criminal justice system into turmoil, pleaded guilty today in Suffolk Superior Court and was sentenced to three to five years in prison. “You plead guilty here because you are guilty?” Judge Carol S. Ball said as she explained the rights Dookhan was giving up because of her guilty plea. “Yes, Your Honor,” Dookhan said meekly. Dookhan’s falsification of drug tests, in an attempt to look like a highly productive employee, prompted the release of hundreds of convicts, raised questions about thousands of cases, and forced the state to spend millions to address the problems.  Ball, who found that Dookhan had entered her plea “freely, willingly, and voluntarily,” also sentenced Dookhan to two years of probation. Dookhan, in handcuffs, spoke briefly with her lawyer before she was escorted out of the courtroom.........The judge said in the ruling that “the consequences of her behavior, which she ought to have foreseen, have been nothing short of catastrophic: Innocent persons were incarcerated, guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public, millions and millions of public dollars are being expended to deal with the chaos Ms. Dookhan created, and the integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core.”.........(Martin W) Healy (general counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association)  stressed, however, the fact that the criminal case against Dookhan has come to an end does not mean the drug lab scandal is also reached its conclusion. State Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha is still conducting an independent inquiry into the overall operation of the drug lab, Healy noted. “This is one chapter in a continuing saga,’’ Healy said. “The legal community and the general public still has a number of unanswered questions about what’s gone on here. How deep was the problem? Is it really just isolated to Dookhan or does it go beyond that?’’"

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/7UU3hfZUof4DFJGoNUfXGO/story.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

Manuel Velez: Texas; Publisher's view: Any unjustified continued incarceration caused by unwarranted cash bail is, in the circumstances, obscene. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: (EDITORIAL):  After over six years on death row and eight years in prison -and his release because the authorities had failed to disclose to him that the complainant had caused the injuries which took her one-year-old child's life,  Manuel Velez remains in prison because he is unable to put up the required $15,000  cash bail. How absurd it is to expect a man who has been locked up for so many years -  including the lengthy stint on death row - to be able to come up with the $15,000 the  Court has required to secure his freedom.   It is hard to imagine that he would  blow his opportunity to be exonerated  for the terrible crime by fleeting the jurisdiction. Surely the ends of justice would be served if  he was released on the signature of sureties without deposit until he is finally cleared in court.   Having been wrongly deprived of his freedom for so many years,  Mr. Velez should not have to spend another hour, let alone days, behind bars.  Any unjustified continued incarceration caused by unwarranted cash bail is, in the circumstances,  obscene.

Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

See previous post of this Blog: "A Brownsville man who spent six years on death row and eight years in prison was given bail this morning. State District Judge Elia Cornejo Lopez granted Manuel Velez $500,000 bail under a pre-trial release program, which means his family will have to pay $15,000 for his release. He still faces one count of capital murder......... Manuel Velez was arrested on Halloween in 2005 for the death of his then girlfriend’s 1-year-child. In 2008, he was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. In 2012, the 13th Court of Criminal Appeals threw out his death sentence based off of false testimony during the sentencing phase of his trial. Last month, that same court overturned his conviction for capital murder and remanded the case back to Cameron County of re-trial."

http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/11/manuel-velez-texas-released-on-bail.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

Bulletin: Annie Dookhan: Massachusetts; Associated Press reports that she is expected to change her not guilty plea at a hearing today. (Judge has agreed to impose a sentence of no more than three to five years if she does). ABC News.


STORY: "Guilty plea expected in Mass. drug lab scandal," published by Asociated Press on November 22, 2013.

GIST: "A chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab who allegedly admitted faking test results in criminal cases is expected to plead guilty to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence charges in a scandal that has jeopardized thousands of convictions. Annie Dookhan of Franklin has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for Friday in Suffolk Superior Court. She initially pleaded not guilty to a total of 27 charges. State police shut down the state Department of Public Health lab she worked at after discovering the extent of Dookhan's alleged misconduct. Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted "dry labbing," or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs, to "improve her productivity and burnish her reputation." Since the lab closed in August 2012, at least 1,100 criminal cases have been dismissed or not prosecuted because of tainted evidence or other fallout from the lab's closing. Prosecutors from state Attorney General Martha Coakley's office recommended a sentence of up to seven years in prison, while Dookhan's lawyer recommended a sentence of no more than a year. Judge Carol Ball said in a written memo that she would impose a sentence of no more than three to five years if Dookhan decided to change her plea to guilty."

The entire story can be found at:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/guilty-plea-expected-mass-drug-lab-scandal-20975656

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

David Eastman: (Australia): His prosecutors are attempting once again an independent inquiry into the conviction. (The terms of reference encompassed included consideration of doubts raised over the gunshot residue evidence in the case). ABC News.


STORY: "Eastman prosecutors bid to block new inquiry,"  by reporter Elizabeth Byrne, published by ABC News on November 20, 2013.

SUBTITLE:  "The ACT Supreme Court is due to consider an attempt to block a new inquiry into the murder of Assistant AFP Commissioner for which David Eastman has served 18 years in custody."

GIST:  "There's another twist in the 18-year battle by Canberra man David Harold Eastman to clear his name over the murder of one of Australia's top police officers, Assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester. Eastman was hoping a new inquiry would prove his innocence and secure his freedom, but there's a spanner in the works with the ACT Supreme Court set to consider a bid by prosecutors to have the inquiry thrown out. It's the fourth attempt by the prosecution to end the inquiry......Elizabeth Byrne: Prosecutors want the Full Bench of the Supreme Court to reconsider the validity of the inquiry and to review a decision not to restrict the terms of reference. The bid is the latest in a series of tactics which included a challenge to Eastman's legal team over perceived conflicts of interest. At one stage, Terry O'Donnell was disqualified from Eastman's team because he's due to be called as a witness. O'Donnell has always seen the inquiry as a path to righting a deep injustice. Terry O'Donnell, lawyer: This is a more broadly based miscarriage of justice than occurred in Chamberlain. There was much more wrong with the investigation, much more wrong with the trial and the appeal process was deeply flawed."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-19/eastman-prosecutors-bid-to-block-new-inquiry/5103824?section=act

See also ACA NEWS: "The ACT Director of Public Prosecutions has begun a Supreme Court action designed to stop the inquiry into the 1995 conviction of David Eastman of murdering Australian Federal Police assistant commissioner Colin Winchester in 1989. Documents filed in the Supreme Court on Friday seek, in effect, to appeal out of time the decision last year of Justice Shayne Marshall to order an inquiry on 19 specified grounds of doubt about the safety of the conviction, and to appeal a decision last week by the inquiry head, acting Justice Brian Martin, about how those terms will be interpreted. The terms of reference include questions about Eastman's fitness to plead, alleged doubts about scientific evidence, and criticism of both the prosecution and investigating police for an alleged failure to disclose to Eastman some of the evidence that had been gathered."

 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/dpp-moves-to-stop-eastman-inquiry-20131115-2xmqi.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Manuel Velez: Texas: Released on bail after spending six years on death row and eight years on prison for murder of one-year-old boy. (His conviction was based on the false testimony of his live-in girlfriend and mother of the child. She failed to admit she had pleaded guilty to inflicting her son with head injuries the day she died. (ACLU); The Brownsville Herald.


The entire story can be found at:

http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/local/article_29e502e0-5204-11e3-a3e7-0019bb30f31a.html

From an American Civil Liberties release prviously published on this Blog: "Manuel Velez was sentenced to death in 2005 for the murder of a one-year-old boy based on the false testimony of his live-in girlfriend and mother of the child," the release continues. "The woman, Acela Moreno, failed to admit she had pleaded guilty to inflicting her son with head injuries the day he died. Medical experts made clear these injuries were consistent with those that led to the child’s death. At Velez’s trial, Moreno testified she pleaded guilty not to committing violence against the child but rather to having failed to alert authorities that Velez had allegedly been hurting the child. The special prosecutor in the case negotiated the plea deal with Moreno and so knew she was covering up her own abuse of the child; indeed, he told the judge presiding at Moreno’s plea that she had injured the child. But at Velez’s trial, he did nothing to set the record straight. He then presented Moreno’s false testimony as fact during closing arguments, repeating that she was guilty only of having failed to alert authorities. “The Constitution requires that our judicial system be fundamentally fair, and this case was riddled with unfairness,” said Brian Stull, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, who presented arguments in the case. “We should never be comfortable with sending a man to his death when we know that the state has relied on falsehood to convict him. In cases where the irreversible sanction of the death penalty is involved, it is imperative that due process be fully upheld to ensure that innocent people aren’t executed.” Velez has maintained his innocence, there are no eyewitnesses accusing him of the crime and no forensic evidence links him to the murder."

http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2011/10/manuel-velez-american-civil-liberties.html

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE:

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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

I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com