Thursday, January 29, 2015

Joseph Sledge (North Carolina) and James Hugney Sr. (Pennsylvania); Radley Balko looks at their cases (between them they wrongly served about 75 years in prison) in a Washington Post column called "This week in innocence" - and wonders whether some cases require a "bifurcated" trial, in which the jury is asked to decide not only who committed the crime, but also whether a crime was committed at all."

(Sludge): "After serving nearly four decades behind bars, Joseph Sledge was found innocent by a three-judge panel who heard testimony from a DNA expert. The expert said none of the evidence collected in the case – hair, DNA and fingerprints – belonged to Sledge. A key jailhouse informant had also recanted his story, saying authorities promised him leniency in his own case for his trial testimony against Sledge."

GIST: Hugney Sr.): " “The pivotal scientific evidence of negative corpus had been debunked,” McShane said in a news release. “All of the scientific evidence used in the case was based on popularly held beliefs and myths of the time that modern science has totally refuted.” Through the retention of three internationally known fire scientists, their analysis of the methods used in the Hugney conviction were shown to not stand with modern science. In their reports filed with the court, the three investigators could [not] conclude that the fire was an arson using modern practices for fire science."

The entire post can be found at:


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:

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