Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jamie Lee Peterson: Michigan; (Yet another troubling false confession case; Yet another example of why there should be a presumption in favour of post-conviction DNA testing; Yet another pathetic example of the "unindicted co-ejaculator theory" in action. HL); Centre on Wrongful Convictions;

COUNTDOWN: 19  days to Wrongful Conviction Day: (Thursday October 2, 2014);

POST: "Jamie Lee Peterson" published by the  Center on Wrongful Convictions: Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern Law School.

GIST: "Despite the problems with the confession and the DNA, the State’s prosecution went forward. Mr. Peterson was prosecuted him under the infamous "unindicted co-ejaculator theory." It argued to the jury that Peterson likely was responsible for the untestable male DNA on the victim’s shirt, and his unknown accomplice was responsible for the male DNA in the vaginal swab.........As the DNA technology improved, through Attorney Millstein, Mr. Peterson moved for DNA testing of the shirt stain. He also requested that the DNA profile of the unidentified male placed into a national DNA database of known criminal offenders.  The prosecution and then the courts, however, blocked these requests and refused to test the DNA. This was perhaps the oddest fact about the case – the State publicly theorized that there was an unknown accomplice who was responsible for the semen on the vaginal swab, but they refused to use the new technology to try and identify this person.........In May 2013, the MIC and CWC attorneys persuaded a new regime at the Kalkaska County prosecutor’s office and the Michigan State police to conduct further DNA testing. This DNA testing resulted in identifying the source of the male DNA in the vaginal swab as Jason Ryan. Further, testing on the shirt stain now showed that the male profile also matched Jason Ryan.  Mr. Ryan was arrested in late 2013. An extensive re-investigation by the Michigan State police established no credible evidence to indicate that Ryan and Peterson had any association. At the time of this writing, Ryan has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Despite this new evidence and the Ryan arrest, the prosecutors continued to object to any relief for Mr. Peterson. On August 14, 2014 -- after extensive briefing and oral argument – the Honorable Janet Allen vacated Mr. Peterson’s convictions and ordered a new trial. ........Attorneys for Peterson later discovered that in the weeks following Judge Allen’s ruling, the Michigan State police officers re-investigating the matter learned for the first time that the candle in the tree across the street actually was not stolen from Ms. Montgomery’s home. In actuality, a 13-year-old neighbor broke her mother’s candlestick a week before the murder and threw the candle in the tree to hide the incident from her mother. The candle, in fact, had nothing to do with the assault on Ms. Montgomery. Mr. Peterson’s inclusion of the candle within his confession demonstrated that his confession merely adopted the theories the interrogating officers presented to him. This fact apparently was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and on on September 5, 2014, the State dropped all charges against Mr. Peterson.

The entire story can be  found at:

For background on Wrongful Conviction Day see the following link:
Interested participants may sign up by contacting Win Wahrer of The Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted at: (Update: Griffith University Innocence Project is now on board);


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

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