Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jeffrey MacDonald: North Carolina; Reliability of former FBI investigator Michael Malone (hair identification testimony) at core of most recent move for a new trial; Fayetteville Observer;

  "Lawyers for Jeffrey MacDonald are again seeking a new trial, citing new evidence that discredits a government witness. In a motion filed last Thursday, MacDonald's lawyers argue that a judgment filed last month by a U.S. District Court judge should be amended based on a Department of Justice report released that same month. They also argue that MacDonald should be able to appeal that judgment to a higher court. MacDonald, 70, is serving three life sentences for the February 1970 stabbing deaths of his pregnant wife, Colette, and daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, in their home on Fort Bragg.........Last month, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled that MacDonald's lawyers failed to establish that he shouldn't have been found guilty of the murder of his wife and two daughters. Fox also said MacDonald's lawyers failed to establish the merits of new evidence presented at a seven-day hearing in September 2012.
As part of his 169-page order, Fox also denied a certificate of appealability, leaving the future of the case in question. In the recent motion, MacDonald's lawyers said the DOJ report calls into question a former FBI investigator who worked on the MacDonald case. That former investigator, Michael Malone, testified that synthetic hairs found in the MacDonald home most likely belonged to a doll. MacDonald's lawyers had argued the hairs bolstered MacDonald's account of the attack that killed his family - that the hairs belonged to a wig worn by one of the attackers. MacDonald's lawyers said they were unaware the federal government was investigating Malone. "The Department of Justice and FBI spent the last several years reviewing Michael Malone's work-product and trial testimony to determine whether Malone provided invalid, unreliable, or false hair identification testimony," according to the motion. "The DOJ criticized Malone's testimony because he failed to perform his tests in a scientifically acceptable manner. The DOJ also claimed that Malone's hair statistics overstated the hair evidence's significance." The Office of Inspector General of the DOJ released its report on the FBI Laboratory in July. It devotes an entire chapter to Malone, who "repeatedly created scientifically unsupportable lab reports and provided false, misleading, or inaccurate testimony at criminal trials." MacDonald's lawyers said the DOJ report was not considered by the court in making its decision. "It is startling in its depth as to the knowledge within the FBI and the government regarding Malone's unprofessional conduct, along with the false evidence and testimony he produced," the lawyers argue in the motion. "This information should have been disclosed to the defense. Setting aside the constitutional implications and due process concerns from this non-disclosure, this analysis of  Malone by the Office of the Inspector General is highly disturbing. It calls into
question any conviction obtained, in part, by the analysis and or testimony by Malone. Indeed, the report itself noted Malone gained fame through his work in helping to secure Dr. MacDonald's conviction."........ Since his conviction, MacDonald has made repeated attempts at a new trial or to have his convictions overturned. The case has long captured the nation's attention. It was the subject of the best-selling 1983 true crime book "Fatal Vision," which was turned into a television miniseries of the same name."
The entire story can be found at:


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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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