Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bulletin: Robert Lee Stinson; Milwaukee; Alleged bogus chew mark case: "A federal appeals courtroom has thrown out a civil rights lawsuit by a person wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years who claimed a detective and two dentists conspired to border him with bogus chew mark proof."..."Mike Kanovitz, one among Stinson’s attorneys, stated they assume there are critical errors within the ruling and they’re contemplating asking the complete seventh Circuit to evaluate the three-judge panel’s determination." Suffield Times;

"A federal appeals courtroom has thrown out a civil rights lawsuit by a person wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years who claimed a detective and two dentists conspired to border him with bogus chew mark proof. Robert Lee Stinson was after the Innocence Venture discovered specialists who rejected the dentists’ conclusions that a chew mark on the murder sufferer was left by Stinson. He sued the identical yr. In 2010, DNA from the sufferer’s physique led to a special suspect, who was and finally confessed to the homicide of 63-year-old Ione Cychosz of Milwaukee. In 2013, a federal decide , and stated a jury ought to determine key information within the matter. However the dentists appealed and this week the seventh U.S. Circuit Courtroom of Appeals dominated of their favor. Writing for a three-judge panel, Decide Diane Sykes stated the dentists have been protected by certified immunity.........Mike Kanovitz, one among Stinson’s attorneys, stated they assume there are critical errors within the ruling and they’re contemplating asking the complete seventh Circuit to evaluate the three-judge panel’s determination."
http://www.suffieldtimes.com/breaking/lawsuit-brought-by-wrongly-imprisoned-man-is-dismissed/55487/
Innocence Project report on the Stinson case: "Robert Lee Stinson served over 23 years in a Wisconsin prison for a brutal rape and murder DNA proves he did not commit. He was convicted based on the improper and unvalidated expert testimony of a bite-mark analyst whose conclusions were uncontested at trial. The Crime: Early in the morning of November 3, 1984, a neighbor passing through an alley on his way to work discovered the body of 63-year-old Ione Cychosz in a vacant lot behind her home. She had been raped, stabbed and beaten to death. Her clothing was scattered around the lot. Spermatozoa cells were found in a vaginal wash, but the number of cells retrieved was too few for identification purposes. Eight bite marks, inflicted prior to death, were also identified on the victim’s body. The victim was last seen shortly after midnight, only a few hours before the murder, when a friend had dropped her off and watched her enter her building. The coroner later estimated that the time of death was between midnight and 2 a.m. The Investigation; After examining the body, dental scientist Dr. Lowell Thomas Johnson worked with a police sketch artist and determined that the bite-marks on the body must have come from someone missing an upper front tooth.  The police questioned multiple suspects, including two men arrested for violent sexual assaults shortly after Cychosz was murdered. Both of these men had missing teeth consistent with Dr. Johnson’s sketch. Police investigators also visited 21-year-old Robert Lee Stinson, whose backyard was connected to the vacant lot where Cychosz’s body was discovered. While interviewing Stinson, the investigators told him a joke, and noticed both a missing front tooth and a crooked tooth when he laughed. Based on these observations, and his proximity to the crime scene, Stinson was arrested and charged with murder. Trial: The only physical evidence against Stinson at his 1985 trial was the bite-mark testimony of two forensic odontologists. Dr. Johnson concluded that the bite marks “had to have been made by teeth identical” to Stinson’s, and claimed that there was “no margin for error” in his conclusion. The State also called Dr. Raymond Rawson, the chairman of the Bite Mark Standards Committee of the American Board of Forensic Odontologists, who testified that the evidence in the case was “high quality” and “overwhelming.” However, the prosecution’s experts failed to note that Stinson was missing a tooth in the place where the bite marks indicated a dentition. While Stinson’s attorney moved to exclude the bite-mark testimony, he did not object to the qualifications of the State’s expert witnesses, nor did he call his own expert to testify, although one had been retained. According to Stinson’s attorney, he was unable to find qualified experts because Dr. Johnson had presented the results of his analysis at an odontological conference before the trial, and therefore many experts felt their analysis had already been tainted by Dr. Johnson’s conclusions.  Stinson also gave inconsistent accounts of his whereabouts at the time of the murder, but as the prosecution admitted at trial, the crux of their case was based on the bite mark analysis. After a three-day trial, Stinson was convicted of first-degree murder on the strength of the forensic testimony, and sentenced to life in prison. There was no other direct evidence linking him to the murder. On appeal, Stinson argued that the bite-mark testimony was not credible and claimed that he had been denied effective assistance of counsel. At trial, Stinson had attempted to replace his appointed counsel, since his attorney had only been on the case for two weeks and had not had time to prepare an adequate defense. Stinson also claimed to have a personality conflict with his attorney. His appeal was denied, and his conviction was upheld. Post-Conviction:  The improper bite-mark testimony would eventually provide the spark that cleared Stinson, but it took 20 years. The Wisconsin Innocence Project accepted Stinson’s case in 2005, and sought DNA testing of saliva and blood-stains on the victim’s sweater, which ultimately excluded Stinson. Yet this would not be enough. Working with Christopher Plourd, a California forensic science expert and attorney, the Wisconsin Innocence Project re-examined the bite-mark evidence and determined that Stinson did not match the indentations. Moreover, a panel of four nationally recognized experts independently reviewed the findings and unanimously reached the same conclusion.. Dr. Johnson now works at Marquette University with the prosecutor who tried Stinson’s case. He stood by his conclusions, as did the prosecutor, who noted that, “nobody in the state of Wisconsin had done a bite-mark rape-murder case like this one before…. So we were really reinventing the wheel.” The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office did not oppose Stinson’s motion to overturn his conviction. On January 30, 2009, Circuit Judge Patricia McMahon granted the motion, and Robert Lee Stinson, then 44, was freed and his conviction was vacated. He had served more than two decades in prison for a crime DNA evidence proves he didn’t commit. After his release, the District Attorney’s office had six months to decide whether or not to retry him. Finally, at a hearing on July 27, 2009, prosecutors, after undertaking their own investigation, dropped all charges against Stinson. Since his release, Stinson has moved into his sister’s Milwaukee home with her children. He also plans on writing a book about his wrongful conviction."
 http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/robert-lee-stinson