Mary Han case: Albuquerque; New Mexico; Police say civil rights attorney committed suicide; Family says she was murdered and criticizes police investigation; Recently launched civil law suit heats up as former Albuquerque Police Department worker in charge of releasing public records says top city officials hid or got rid of evidence in high profile cases - and Mary Han's family goes to court for an order barring destruction of secret databases with high profile case information. KOB;
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The allegation that the Albuquerque Police department maintains an "independent database" - if proven true - is a matter which should be of great concern to the public and the courts. Such an allegation can deeply impact on public confidence in the administration of justice if the police are suspected of using their independent database (read 'secret') to avoid disclosure obligations - and to protect the department and the city from law suits such as that brought by Mary Hans' family. Such a practice, if proven, would be hinder police accountability to the public - and perhaps also to those who are responsible for running the force. One thing is clear. The city cannot investigate itself. Nor can the police be allowed off the hook. It is up to the courts to use their inherent powers to get to fearlessly the heart of the matter - no matter where the trail may lead. The allegation, though unproven, also suggests that out of caution, the actions of the Albuquerque Police in the Han investigation should be submitted to the utmost scrutiny. Trust in the police and the justice system is at stake.
STORY: "Mary Han attorneys file motion for city, APD not to destroy databases with high-profile case info," by reporter Blair Miller, published by KOB on August 28 2015.
GIST: "Attorneys for the family and estate of Mary Han filed an emergency motion
Wednesday in Bernalillo County District Court asking the court to
require the city of Albuquerque and APD to "immediately preserve
electronic information" related to her case and many other high-profile
APD cases that have been stored on APD public records hard drives. The motion from Han's lawyers says they were informed Tuesday that APD
has an independent database that stores the information that is backed
up on hard drives and CDs. Reynaldo Chavez, APD's records custodian, signed a sworn affidavit
Tuesday saying he believes the "database will most likely be destroyed
now that it is out of his possession." Chavez and two other public records employees were placed on administrative leave in April. Chavez said the next day the department has not laid out specific reasons for the investigation against him or the other two employees. He hired a lawyer to file a whistleblower lawsuit against APD, though that has yet to be filed. His sworn affidavit says Deputy City Attorney Kathy Levy "has taken
deliberate action to prevent [Han's estate] from obtaining relevant
information concerning Ms. Han's death and the involvement of [APD]
personnel." He says he was told by Levy in 2012 not to provide all the information from the investigation to Han's family......... Han's attorneys emailed lawyers for the city Tuesday requesting they
agree to prevent the destruction of the database, but did not receive a
response by Wednesday, which is why they filed the court motion. Han was found dead in her garage in 2010. The family sued the city, but a judge dismissed the case. The family sued the Office of the Medical Investigator on Aug. 3."
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case. I
have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses
several thousand posts. The search box is located near the bottom of
the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this
powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and
myself get more out of the site.
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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html I look forward to hearing from readers at:
My interest in forensic pathology began with my Toronto Star investigative reporting into once famed since disgraced former doctor Charles Smith. I began this Blog after retiring from the Star in 2006 in order to follow the aftermath into the independent Goudge inquiry into many of Smith's cases. I have now begun to focus on cases involving flawed forensic science no matter where they occur (the recent Amanda Knox prosecution in Italy, for example) and am fascinated by the interest in the Blog from people in countries throughout the world. In another development, my interest in "junk science" "pseudo-experts" and the miscarriages of justice they all too often cause has drawn me deeply into the on-going U.S. death penalty debate where so many troubling cases involve issues relating to DNA and other developments in the world of forensic science. For all of this I rely on my experience as a reporter at the Toronto Star, my work as a lawyer in Ontario's criminal courts, and my abhorrence of injustice. Please send cases and developments which may be of interest to this Blog to email@example.com. Read on! Harold Levy.