Thursday, June 12, 2014

David Harold Eastman: (Aftermath 18; Inquiry report); Michael A. Daniels: California case - like the David Harold Eastman prosecution in Australia - is yet another disturbing example of police and prosecutors keeping the defence in the dark on forensic matters; (One key difference: Michael Daniels had the good fortune to be acquitted; David Eastman had already served almost 20 years behind bars before the Inquiry recommended that the murder conviction be quashed and that he be pardonned. HL);

STORY: "Jury acquits in case that revealed Coroner's Office controversy," by reporter Jess Sullivan, published by the Daily Republic on April 18, 2014.

GIST: "A jury gave the Solano County District Attorney’s Office a sharp and quick rebuke Thursday with a not guilty verdict in a murder trial that has been the center of a controversy about how top prosecutors have handled and hid alleged problems with homicide autopsies. The verdict may portend to problems in possibly dozens of past and pending homicide cases.........“This trial has shown that officers and the District Attorney’s Office blind themselves and hide from you the truth,” Daniels’ defense attorney, Meenha Lee, told jurors before the verdict, labeling prosecutors’ actions biased and unethical. “This is a prosecuting agency that is supposed to uphold the law.”......... Among the things Lee believes prosecutors were hiding was a then-secret 2013 investigation spurred by the District Attorney’s Office, in part by Hogan refusing to label Brastow’s death a homicide, that led to Hogan being fired just a few days after prosecutors renewed their effort to prosecute Daniels. Questions about the quality and credibility of Hogan’s work was also hidden until the judge in the Daniels case ordered hundreds of pages of documents about Hogan and the investigation be shared with defense attorneys. For months after Brastow’s death Hogan, who has done more than 5,000 autopsies, resisted persistent and sometimes hostile efforts by police and prosecutors to change her mind. She held firm at Daniels’ trial, earlier this week responding to the prosecutor’s question about the likeliest cause of death by saying, “I don’t know.”"

The entire story can be found at:

See related story:  "Judge issues sweeping order related to Solano autopsy documents," by reporter Jess Sullivan; "The growing controversy about the Solano County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office was ratcheted up Thursday with a judge making an exceptional order about more than 1,000 pages of documents concerning dozens of homicide autopsies and the doctor who performed them – Dr. Susan Hogan. Judge Daniel Healy ordered that most of the Hogan documents, almost all kept under tight wraps in the past two weeks by other judges, be made available to prosecutors and every defense attorney in the Solano County Public Defender’s Office and their counterparts in the Alternate Defender’s Office.........Healy raised concerns that some of the documents involved meetings about specific autopsies. The meetings attended by Hogan, top Sheriff’s Office officials, prosecutors and police came after autopsies in which Hogan deemed cause of death was not homicide, but before she had submitted an official final autopsy report. In some cases, Hogan flip-flopped after the meetings and deemed cause of death to be homicide. Healy questioned how the integrity of science and medicine of a coroner can be affected and changed by police and investigators trying to alter perceptions. Healy said that it appeared from the documents that the sort of meeting between police and doctors doing autopsy may be routine. Healy also raised concerns that the meetings involve a witness for a homicide case, Hogan, were not to be detailed or revealed to defense attorneys.........The probable cause hearing last year for the suffocation homicide featured Hogan being questioned about the woman’s cause of death. The hearing also included Lee asking Hogan about an ongoing investigation by top Sheriff’s Office staff about her work. Hogan testified she knew nothing about any investigation. A month later, she was abruptly terminated with top Sheriff’s Office staff insisting she had retired. In an email sent later to a prosecutor, Hogan complained about being “publicly humiliated” at the probable cause hearing and pinned part of the blame for her being fired on the prosecutor in Lee’s case."


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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:

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