Sunday, May 31, 2015

Bulletin: Jermiah Duggan; Mother of a Jewish student who died after attending a Right-wing youth camp in Germany said today she would not rest until “her son’s killers are brought to justice" - after London coroner ruled that the 22-year-old had not committed suicide.

The mother of a Jewish student who died after attending a Right-wing youth camp in Germany said today she would not rest until “her son’s killers are brought to justice.” Jeremiah Duggan, 22, was found dead on an autobahn in Wiesbaden on March 27, 2003 after attending a conference organised by US-based far-Right organisation LaRouche to protest against the impending Iraq war. German authorities concluded that his death was “a suicide by means of a traffic accident”, but last week north London coroner Andrew Walker ruled that the 22-year-old had not committed suicide and recorded a narrative conclusion. He said that attending the conference might have had some bearing on his death, adding that there were “unexplained injuries on his body”. Today, his mother Erica, 65, she believed German authorities “covered up” mistakes in the initial investigation. She said: “My father came from Germany and escaped from Hitler in Berlin and his only grandson died out there. Jerry did not know what he was going to and found himself among people with anti-Semitic views in a country with Germany’s history. “He was critical and suddenly they said he was a spy. It’s so shocking this is allowed to go on in Germany.”
Mr Duggan phoned his mother hours before he was found dead to tell her that he was worried the group was after him.
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/jeremiah-duggans-mother-i-will-not-stop-the-fight-until-my-sons-killers-are-brought-to-trial-10281102.html
Learn about the shadowy world of LaRouche: "Cults expert Prof Matthew Feldman, of Teesside University, said the conference would have taken place in an “apocalyptic atmosphere with a fear of Armageddon” six days after the start of the Iraq war, as the LaRouche organisation believed the start of World War Three “had been around the corner for decades”. Experts said because Jeremiah was a British Jew, and had briefly had family counselling as a child at the Tavistock, his “integrity, commitment and allegiance” would have been under suspicion. Jeremiah was found dead on an autobahn in Wiesbaden on March 27, 2003 having been hit by a car."
http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/crime-court/shadowy_world_of_larouche_the_far_right_cult_that_hides_behind_veil_of_left_wing_political_movement_1_4091305

Friday, May 29, 2015

FBI DNA match calculation errors: A tarnished "gold standard?" Washington Post reveals that the FBI has notified crime labs of errors used in DNA match calculations since 1999. FBI assurances of minimal impact met with skepticism. Reporter Spencer S. Hsu reports that, "The disclosure comes as some private researchers and lawyers in recent years questioned whether errors in the FBI’s national database of 13 million DNA profiles may have led judges and juries to give undue weight to DNA matches, long considered the “gold standard” in forensic science. They have called on the government to open the database for private research." Must Read. HL);

  
STORY: "FBI notifies crime labs of errors used in DNA match calculations since 1999," by reporter Spencer S. Hsu, published by The Washington Post on May 29, 2015; (Spencer S. Hsu is an investigative reporter, two-time Pulitzer finalist and national Emmy award nominee.)

GIST: "The FBI has notified crime labs across the country that it has discovered errors in data used by forensic scientists in thousands of cases to calculate the chances that DNA found at a crime scene matches a particular person, several people familiar with the issue said. The bureau has said it believes the errors, which extend to 1999, are unlikely to result in dramatic changes that would affect cases. It has submitted the research findings to support that conclusion for publication in the July issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the officials said. But crime labs and attorneys said they want to know more about the problem before conceding it would not make much difference in any given case. “The public puts so much faith in DNA testing that it makes it especially important to make those the best estimates possible,” said Wright State University professor of statistics Daniel R. Krane, an expert whose work has been cited by defense attorneys. “There is no excuse for a systematic error to many thousands of calculations in such a context.” Krane, who identified errors 10 years ago in the DNA profiles the FBI analyzed to generate the population statistics data, called the consequences of the disclosure appalling, saying the data have been used in tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of cases worldwide in the past 15 years. He said when he flagged the problems a decade ago, the FBI downplayed his findings.........The disclosure comes as some private researchers and lawyers in recent years questioned whether errors in the FBI’s national database of 13 million DNA profiles may have led judges and juries to give undue weight to DNA matches, long considered the “gold standard” in forensic science. They have called on the government to open the database for private research."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/fbi-notifies-crime-labs-of-errors-used-in-dna-match-calculations-since-1999/2015/05/29/f04234fc-0591-11e5-8bda-c7b4e9a8f7ac_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Dan and Fran Keller: Texas; Radley Balko's take on "the on-going legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic."..."Ultimately, the panic and power of suggestion was pervasive enough to dupe our entire criminal justice system, as dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated." (Must Read. HL); (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "The ongoing legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic," posted by Radley Balko, published by the Washington Post on May 26, 2105. (Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces.)

GIST: "The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday threw out the 1992 sexual assault convictions against Dan and Fran Keller but declined to find the former Austin day care owners innocent of crimes linked to a now-discredited belief that secret satanic cults were abusing day care children nationwide. The Kellers spent more than 22 years in prison after three young children accused them of dismembering babies, torturing pets, desecrating corpses, videotaping orgies and serving blood-laced Kool-Aid in satanic rituals at their home-based day care. No evidence of such activities was ever found.........The nine judges did not provide an explanation for why they rejected the Kellers’ innocence claim except to say their decision was based on the findings of the trial judge “and this court’s independent review of the record.”.........The panic actually began in the 1980s. It was instigated and perpetuated mostly by groups of fundamentalist Christians who saw Satan in every heavy metal album, “Smurfs” episode, and Dungeons & Dragons game, along with a quack cadre of psychotherapists who were convinced they could dig up buried memories through hypnosis. What they did instead was shed some light on just how potent the power of suggestion can be. Remarkably, children were convinced to testify about horrifying — and entirely fictional — violations perpetrated on them by care workers and, in some cases, by their own parents. But it wasn’t just children. As the Kellers’ conviction shows, the panic was so overwhelming, it could convince trained medical professionals to see abuse where there was none. Some defendants were convicted of gruesome crimes such as the aforementioned dismembering of babies despite the fact that there were no corpses and no babies missing from the immediate area. Ultimately, the panic and power of suggestion was pervasive enough to dupe our entire criminal justice system, as dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated.........And here’s the “expert” who sealed the Kellers’ conviction: The state presented a witness, Randy Noblitt, who claimed to be an expert on satanic cults and rituals and who testified that the complainant had described such rituals. Applicant’s brief on appeal noted that Noblitt had parlayed his testimony into a business opportunity, giving lectures and writing a book on the evils of ritual abuse, and that pointed to “a Noblitt-sponsored 1995 conference as providing an eye-opening look into his world view.” That conference included speakers who “revealed” the FBI’s cover-up of a satanic cult in Nebraska that had White House ties, the existence of more than 500 satanic cults conducting eight sacrificial murders a year in New York City, and that then-President Bill Clinton was the anti-Christ..........That the highest court in Texas still can’t bring itself to declare the couple innocent, in spite of all that we know now, shows just how difficult it can be to undo the damage caused by a moral panic and junk science in the courtroom. This didn’t just go on in Texas. It was all over the country, from conservative, law-and-order spots such as Kern County, Calif., to liberal strongholds such as Middlesex County, Mass. One of the best treatments of the panic is the movie “Witch Hunt,” which focuses on Kern County, arguable the epicenter of the panic. Here’s a trailer: The entire movie is now available online.  See the end of this post."


The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/26/the-ongoing-legacy-of-the-great-satanic-sex-abuse-panic/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;







Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bulletin: Adam Bowers; West Virginia; He has been found guilty on all charges from a 2001 sexual assault case involving an 83-year-old woman. Jury out for only an hour and a half. "The prosecution focused mainly on the DNA evidence that linked Bowers to this case, instead of Joseph Buffey, who plead guilty back in 2001. A DNA expert said that only 1 out of 40 billion people would have the same DNA as what was found at the crime scene and identified as Bowers."

After nearly an hour and a half of deliberations, Adam Bowers was found guilty on all charges from a 2001 sexual assault case involving an 83-year-old woman.........Following Bowers testimony, the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments. The prosecution focused mainly on the DNA evidence that linked Bowers to this case, instead of Joseph Buffey, who plead guilty back in 2001. A DNA expert said that only 1 out of 40 billion people would have the same DNA as what was found at the crime scene and identified as Bowers. But the defense argued that that they jury couldn't rely on just the DNA and that no physical evidence linked Bowers to being at the victim's home on Nov. 30 of 2001.........Bower's could face up to 55 years behind bars. His sentencing is scheduled for August 19th at 11:45 a.m.

Sabastian Prosa: Ontario; CBC reports that drunk driving charges won't be stayed, as judge rules that, even though loss of a blood sample violated his Charter rights, "Results from the testing of his blood sample are not necessary for Mr. Prosa to put forward his defence. They may or may not have supported it." Prosa has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. At trial, he has admitted to driving the vehicle that night, as well as to having almost double the legal limit of alcohol in his system at the time. But Prosa says he believes his drink was spiked on the night of the crash, and his lawyer, Alan Gold, argues the loss of the blood sample affects Prosa's ability to mount a full defence."


STORY: "Sabastian Prosa drunk driving charges won't be stayed,  judge rules,: published by the CBC on May 27 2015.

SUB-HEADING: "Judge Glenn Hainey says accused's  charter rights were violated, but trial should continue."

SUB-HEADING: "Judge calls attempt to drop charges a "Hail Mary attempt."

GIST: "A judge ruled Wednesday that charges will not be stayed against a man charged with drunk driving in connection with a crash that left two people dead.
The lawyers for Sabastian Prosa, who was 19 at the time of the 2012 collision, had asked for 12 charges he faces to be dropped because a sample of his blood leaked during the investigation and couldn't be properly tested.  Justice Glenn Hainey said the loss of the blood sample did violate Prosa's charter rights, but said he wouldn't stay the proceedings. The judge is expected to make a ruling in the case at an upcoming June court date. "Results from the testing of his blood sample are not necessary for Mr. Prosa to put forward his defence. They may or may not have supported it," Hainey said.........Prosa was behind the wheel of a GMC Envoy that struck a van carrying Jayanatha Wijeratne, along with his wife, Antonette, and their 16-year-old daughter, Eleesha, in August 2012. Jayantha Wijeratne, 49, and his daughter died in the crash, while Antonette Wijeratne suffered severe injuries. Prosa has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. At trial, he has admitted to driving the vehicle that night, as well as to having almost double the legal limit of alcohol in his system at the time. But Prosa says he believes his drink was spiked on the night of the crash, and his lawyer, Alan Gold, argues the loss of the blood sample affects Prosa's ability to mount a full defence. "

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/sabastian-prosa-drunk-driving-charges-won-t-be-stayed-judge-rules-1.3089493

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Adam Bowers: Joseph Buffey; West Virginia; At the end of Day Two of his sexual assault trial, the big question was still "whether or not there is one suspect or two." WDTV.


STORY: "Adam Bower's sexual assault trial: Day Two," by reporter Andrew Havranek, published by WDTV on May 27 2015.

GIST: "Wednesday marked the second day of trial for a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case, and the big question in the courtroom is still whether or not there is one suspect or two. Prosecutors called upon multiple forensics experts and police detectives, and explained in-depth how DNA was pulled from the then 83-year-old victim. Experts went through the DNA pulled from swabbing the victim, from a pillowcase and bed sheet, as well as an article of clothing from the victim. One forensics expert from California based company Forensic Analytical Systems explained how they separated the DNA that did not belong to the victim. Based on their examinations, they found the male's DNA belonged to one person, who they identified as "unknown male number one." Bowers was linked to this case after a test showed it was his DNA, not Joseph Buffey's, who pleaded guilty in this case when it happened back in 2001."

The entire story  can be found at:
 
http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Adam-Bowerss-Sexual-Assault-Trial-Day-Two-23428

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Aisling Brady McCarthy: Massachusetts: Irish Times reports that even before the trial has begun, defence lawyer Melinda Thompson - a former prosecutor now working for one of the top law firms in Boston - "has questioned even the validity of shaken baby syndrome, the credentials of Dr. Newton (Dr Alice Newton, who first diagnosed Rehma as the victim of abuse), and the overall health of the child," - but says "prosecutors remain bullish that there is ample evidence to back up their claims."


STORY: "Trial outcome hangs on medical balance," by reporter John Breslin published by the Irish Times on May 9, 2015.

SUB-HEADING: "After two years in jail, the Irish nanny charged with first degree murder of a child has been released on bail. John Breslin analyses what this means.

GIST: "Aisling  Brady McCarthy is charged with first degree murder, intentionally and brutally shaking a one year old baby so hard that it led directly to her death. Ms Brady McCarthy has spent the last more than two years in jail near Boston, Massachusetts, on a bail bond she and her family could not afford. This week she was released, on lower bail and with conditions What is going on?.........Some violent incident took place in that bedroom that January day, it is alleged. Rehma was fatally injured. And the nanny was the only possible suspect, police, and then prosecutors, concluded. Within days, Ms Brady McCarthy, now 36, from Lavey, Co Cavan, was charged with battery to a child. Weeks later, after a grand jury deliberated, it concluded she should be tried for murder. Grand juries in the United States almost universally side with prosecutors. There is no defence called before such a jury, only the prosecution, no presumption of innocence, only that the defendant has a case to face. They heard evidence from Dr Alice Newton, who first diagnosed Rehma as the victim of abuse, that she died from brain trauma as a result of being shaken violently. This was at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). The Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and ruled “the cause of death is blunt force head injuries, and the manner of death is homicide and not accidental”. This according to the state’s district attorney. Ms Brady McCarthy, undocumented or an illegal immigrant as it quickly emerged, was charged with first-degree murder in April 2013, that with intent she deliberately murdered Rehma.......... But she has defence lawyers, a couple of the best in Boston. By chance, someone knew someone who knew Melinda Thompson, a former prosecutor now working for one of the top law firms in Boston. The Irishwoman was not going to be represented by an overworked public defender with a pile of files and little time to study them. Immediately, Thompson went on the offensive, declaring her client was innocent and, over the following months, now years, went to work on the medical evidence. She has questioned even the validity of shaken baby syndrome, the credentials of Dr Newton, and the overall health of the child. Rehma Sabir was a sick child. She suffered from malnutrition. She had injuries to her back and other parts of her body not connected to the day she was fatally injured. These injuries were caused weeks before that tragic day. It is known Ms Brady McCarthy had no part in causing these injuries as the child was in the sole custody of her parents. In filings to Middlesex Superior Court, the defence has laid out the arguments it will make before a jury. “Despite the child’s extensive history of medical problems, and despite the lack of any outward evidence that she had been abused, within a few hours of [Sabir’s] arrival at BCH, ‘child protection team’ personnel suspected abuse,” lawyers Thompson and David Meier wrote. “McCarthy was interrogated by police within an hour of Dr Newton’s diagnosis. McCarthy was interrogated again the next night, and the second interrogation was video and audio recorded. There are no other recorded statements of any witnesses in the case.” In a separate filing, they added: “It would be wrong ... to allow experts to come to trial and guess, or speculate, or argue about [shaken baby syndrome] when it is not yet a scientifically validated entity.”.........Ms Brady McCarthy’s trial was due to start this week. Some three days were set aside for jury selection, with the trial expected to last three to four weeks. Instead, the trial was delayed as the medical examiner’s office carries out a review of nine reports submitted by the defence. Ms Brady McCarthy was released on $15,000 bail, paying 10% of that amount in cash. She is confined to home and has an electronic bracelet attached to her ankle..........So she is now due to go on trial in July, if she goes on trial at all. The defence has asked a number of times that the case be dismissed, that there is no case to answer and certainly this is not a first degree murder. Now it is up to the medical examiner’s office. It is reviewing the reports and will come back in about four weeks with its conclusions. The prosecutors remain bullish that there is ample evidence to back up their claims. But already, and repeatedly, the defence has asked: is there reasonable doubt?"

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.


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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Adam Bowers: West Virginia; (Case is related to Joseph Buffey): Officer asked when the investigation moved to a single perpetrator theory, which according to a police report, occurred in January of 2002, two months after the incident. This investigation stems from a 2013 finding from Joseph Buffey's attorneys that evidence matched the DNA of Bowers, not Buffey. Buffey was the man originally convicted of the crime.)


STORY: "Second suspect in 2001 sexual assault and robbery case appears in court," by Your 5News Team, published on May 26, 20125.

GIST: ( Tuesday marked the beginning of Adam Bowers trial. Bowers is the second man connected to a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case. Jury selection took place at the Harrison County Courthouse and testimonies began in the afternoon. The victim's son, and former Clarksburg detectives, Robert Matheny and David Wygal, took the stand to give their testimonies.......... Detective Matheny was asked when the investigation moved to a single perpetrator theory, which according to a police report, occurred in January of 2002, two months after the incident. This investigation stems from a 2013 finding from Joseph Buffey's attorneys that evidence matched the DNA of Bowers, not Buffey.  Buffey was the man originally convicted of the crime."

http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Second-Suspect-in-2001-Sexual-Assault-and-Robbery-Case-Appears-in-Court-23392

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

FBI overstated hair match crisis. (23): (The Emperor's clothes); The Washington Post exposed the FBI use of junk hair analysis science in hundreds of criminal cases over many years. (Bravo! HL); Now, in an editorial, it calls not only for reassessment of forensic technologies - but also for scrutiny of other parts of the system "if the chances of wrongful convictions are to be reduced."


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: The Washington Post  puts the onus of  healing a badly broken U.S. criminal justice system on the  Justice Department, saying: "We hope the Justice Department undertakes an analysis not only of the breakdown in hair forensics but also of other vulnerabilities in the system." That alone is not enough. Judges should do a much better job of keeping junk science out of the courtrooms;  Prosecutors should avoid calling controversial scientific evidence that has not received strong concensus in the scientific community. (Which should be enough to eliminate the scientifically unfounded,  destructive  shaken baby syndrome - a major cause of wrongful convictions).  Defence lawyers   should aggressively challenge the credentials of so-called prosecution "experts." And the FBI should waste no time notifying people that they may have been wrongful convicted by the FBI's own flawed science  - and giving them the opportunity to straighten things out.

Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

EDITORIAL: "The FBI's flawed justice," published by the Washington Post on May 8, 2015.

GIST: "The stunning  admission by federal law enforcement officials of flawed testimony by forensic experts in hundreds of criminal cases has focused attention on the dubious use of hair analysis. Add this to a list of factors that has played a role in securing the conviction of people who later proved their innocence, including mistaken eyewitness identifications, bad informants and police or prosecutorial misconduct. Forensic technologies must be reassessed, but other parts of the system also need scrutiny if the chances of wrongful convictions are to be reduced.........The FBI errors do not necessarily mean defendants were innocent. But the confirmation of long-held suspicions about hair analysis, the inability of courts to keep junk science out of courtrooms (and hair analysis is not the only suspect technique) and the questionable reliability of other evidence provide reason to worry about how many innocent people are being convicted.........With the exception of the rare bad apple, police and prosecutors don’t set out to convict the wrong person, but even the most well-meaning people can be affected by contextual or cognitive bias, particularly in a system with crushing caseloads and intense pressure. Better protections are needed. Steps in the right direction are improvements by D.C. police in procedures for eyewitness identification and the creation of a conviction integrity unit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District. But more needs to be done, including, as we’ve argued before, requiring the prosecution to share information with the defense more thoroughly and consistently. We hope the Justice Department undertakes an analysis not only of the breakdown in hair forensics but also of other vulnerabilities in the system."

The entire editorial can be found at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-fbis-flawed-justice/2015/05/08/824a4ed0-e91c-11e4-9767-6276fc9b0ada_story.html?wprss=rss_homepag

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bulletin: Douglas Prade; Ohio; Former police officer to fight for a new trial in the 1997 death of his ex-wife. Hearing to be held on June 12. Margo Prade, a 41-year-old physician, was found dead in her minivan outside her medical office on Nov. 26, 1997. She was shot six times at close range, and the killer bit through her lab coat into her arm. Douglas Prade, whom Margo divorced seven months before her death, was subsequently tried and convicted of aggravated murder, in part because of expert testimony by a forensic dentist matching him with the bite mark.

"A Summit County judge will hear oral arguments at a hearing June 12 on whether former Akron Police Capt. Douglas Prade should receive a new trial in the 1997 death of his ex-wife.........Prade, 69, was found guilty by a jury in 1998 of killing his wife, Margot Prade. Prosecutors oppose holding a new trial. The case has been appealed several times since, though a judge exonerated Douglas Prade in 2013 because of DNA evidence from another person was found on Margot Prade.  ........Margo Prade, a 41-year-old physician, was found dead in her minivan outside her medical office on Nov. 26, 1997. She was shot six times at close range, and the killer bit through her lab coat into her arm. Douglas Prade, whom Margo divorced seven months before her death, was subsequently tried and convicted of aggravated murder, in part because of expert testimony by a forensic dentist matching him with the bite mark. David Alden, Prade's attorney, said Thursday that the DNA evidence makes a compelling case for a new trial."
http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2015/05/judge_to_hold_hearing_on_wheth_1.html

Monday, May 25, 2015

Bulletin: Adam Bowers: Trial for Adam Bowers set to begin: He is a second man connected to a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case. In 2001, Joseph Buffey was convicted for raping and robbing an 83-year-old Clarksburg woman. In 2013, Buffey's defense attorneys argued a DNA test proved the DNA from the incident did not match Buffey, but instead linked Adam Bowers to the apparent assault.

Tuesday starts the trial for Adam Bowers, a second man connected to a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case. In 2001, Joseph Buffey was convicted for raping and robbing an 83-year-old Clarksburg woman.
In 2013, Buffey's defense attorneys argued a DNA test proved the DNA from the incident did not match Buffey, but instead linked Adam Bowers to the apparent assault. Bowers is currently serving time for a separate breaking and entering and assault case. If convicted, Bowers could face one-to-10 years in prison for burglary, 15-to-35-years for first-degree sexual assault, and a minimum of 10 years for first-degree robbery.
http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Trial-Begins-Tuesday-for-Second-Suspect-in-2001-Sexual-Assault-and-Robbery-Case-23372
Joseph Buffey pleaded guilty to the 2001 rape and robbery of an 83-year-old woman based on the advice of his lawyer who told him he risked a sentence of 200 to 300 years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted. He quickly regretted his plea, but it was too late. Buffey has spent the last 13 years behind bars. Defendants in nearly 10% of the 301 DNA exonerations have pled guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. - See more at: http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/joseph-buffey#sthash.D0Cj8NyQ.dpuf
Joseph Buffey pleaded guilty to the 2001 rape and robbery of an 83-year-old woman based on the advice of his lawyer who told him he risked a sentence of 200 to 300 years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted. He quickly regretted his plea, but it was too late. Buffey has spent the last 13 years behind bars. Defendants in nearly 10% of the 301 DNA exonerations have pled guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. - See more at: http://www.innocenceproject.org/cases-false-imprisonment/joseph-buffey#sthash.D0Cj8NyQ.dpuf

Martin Tankleff: New York; New York Law Journal reports on a ruling in a civil suit Tankleff has brought against Suffolk County and various detectives for their liability in his now-vacated convictions in the murder of his parents: He can include a claim that the defendants failed to disclose a medical examiner's doubts about the purported murder weapon. The Innocence Project's Barry Scheck says the new claim was a "very significant development in the case" and something that did not emerge even in the attorney general's "very thorough" reinvestigation." (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "Testimony on knife adds another claim to Tankleff suit," by reporter Andrew Keshner, published by The New York Law Journal on May 8 2015.

GIST: "As Martin Tankleff presses his case against Suffolk County and various detectives for their liability in his now-vacated convictions in the murder of his parents, a federal magistrate judge has decided he can include a claim that defendants failed to disclose a medical examiner's doubts about the purported murder weapon.  Eastern District Magistrate Judge Anne Shields permitted Tankleff to amend his complaint so that he could allege a Brady violation now that fact discovery has concluded in the case. The new claim arises from the deposition testimony of then-Suffolk County Medical Examiner Dr. Vernard Adams, who said it was "not a reasonable possibility" that Arlene Tankleff's stab wounds were made with a watermelon knife found at the scene.........Arlene and Seymour Tankleff were murdered in their Belle Terre home in 1988.  At the scene, detectives found a watermelon knife with a 9 1/2-inch blade. At trial, prosecutors relied heavily on a disputed confession, which Tankleff recanted hours after he gave it. Tankleff's attorneys say he was induced to make the recanted confession through trickery and facts fed to him.........In 1990, Tankleff was convicted of the intentional murder of his father and the depraved indifference murder of his mother..........In 2007, the Appellate Division, Second Department, vacated the conviction and ordered a retrial. Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota asked then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to become the case's special prosecutor. But Cuomo's office decided in 2008 there was insufficient evidence to bring a new case and moved to dismiss the case in the interest of justice. Tankleff was incarcerated for more than 17 years before his conviction was vacated. Tankleff filed the Eastern District action, Tankleff v. County of Suffolk, 09-cv-01207, which named the county, the detectives on his case and various police officials as defendants. Tankleff also filed an unjust conviction and imprisonment lawsuit against New York state. On the eve of trial last year, the parties settled that case for almost $3.4 million. In the federal lawsuit, one of the original arguments was a Brady claim, based on a bloody knife imprint in bed sheets found at the scene. Tankleff said the detectives chose not to tell prosecutors about the imprint, which did not match the watermelon knife......... In the deposition, one of Tankleff's attorneys, Barry Scheck of Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, questioned Adams on whether Arlene Tankleff's wounds could have been made by the knife and whether Adams communicated his opinions to the detectives at the autopsy. Adams said "the only way the watermelon knife could have been the weapon is if it was used gingerly and carefully." Asked about the possibility that Arlene's wounds were made with the knife, Adams said he "would agree that it's not a reasonable possibility" and that an "assailant with [the watermelon] knife should have been penetrating body cavities." When asked if it was fair to say he would have told the detectives at the autopsy that there was no reasonable possibility the watermelon knife was the weapon, Adams said it was a "reasonable supposition. I don't have any recollection of what we actually communicated, but that seems reasonable.".........In an interview, Scheck said the new claim was a "very significant development in the case" and something that did not emerge even in the attorney general's "very thorough" reinvestigation.""
The entire story  -  by Maurice Possley -  can be found at:

 http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/home/id=1202725823453/Testimony-on-Knife-Adds-Another-Claim-to-Tankleff-Suit?mcode=1202617075062&curindex=2&slreturn=20150407214146

See National Exonerations Registry account for overall context: (It is presented as a New York 'false confession' case);  (Great Read. HL);  "About 6 a.m., on September 7, 1988, 17-year-old high school senior Martin Tankleff awoke to discover his parents had been attacked in their bed in their home on Long Island, New York. His mother, Arlene, was stabbed to death, but his father, Seymour, though severely beaten, was still alive. Tankleff called police and after the ambulance had departed, police took him in for questioning because, with blood on his hands, they suspected he was involved. The interrogation went on for hours, although Tankleff told the police that his father’s partner in a bagel store owed his father $500,000, had threatened his parents with violence and was the last person to leave the home the night before. At one point, detective K. James McCready told Tankleff that his father had awakened at the hospital and identified him as his mother’s attacker. At that point, Tankleff said his father never lied and that perhaps he had blacked out and killed his mother. He provided a possible, though inaccurate narrative of how it happened and was asked to sign the statement. Tankleff, however, refused to sign it and disavowed any involvement in the crime. He was charged with killing his mother and attempting to kill his father—a charge that was changed to murder after his father died on October 6, 1988 without ever regaining consciousness. By then, Seymour Tankleff’s business partner, Jerry Steuerman, had vanished. In late spring 1990, Tankleff went on trial in Suffolk County District Court. Among the witnesses was Steuerman, who had been in the Tankleff home for a poker game and was the last to leave. After the crime, Steuerman withdrew money from a joint bank account with Tankleff, fled to California, adopted an alias and shaved his beard. Eventually, Steuerman resurfaced and was called as a witness at the trial. He said that he had fled out of fear that he would be blamed. He testified, “I did not do this.” The cornerstone of the prosecution case was Tankleff’s unsigned confession. On June 28, 1990, after a 13-week trial, Tankleff was convicted of both murders.  On October 23, 1990, he was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.  The conviction was upheld by the Appellate Division New York State Supreme Court in December 1993 by a vote of 3 to 2. The dissenting judges said there was insufficient evidence to convict him. Over the next 10 years, Tankleff obtained pro bono legal assistance and numerous appeals were filed in state and federal courts. Although he continued to lose, attorneys and investigators began assembling what they hoped would be a critical mass of evidence of his innocence. In 2003, a private investigator tracked down Glenn Harris, who gave a sworn statement that he had driven two hit men, Joe Creedon and Peter Kent, to and from the Tankleff residence on the night of the crime. Harris said he did so at the behest of Steuerman. At a hearing in July 2004, Suffolk County Judge Stephen Braslow declined to grant Harris immunity from prosecution and so Harris invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and his testimony was not heard. Over the next two years, more evidence was unearthed that began to corroborate Harris’s account.Another witness, Karlene Kovacs, said Creedon told her that he was involved. She said Creedon told her that he and another man hid in the bushes behind the Tankleff house, ran to avoid being caught and had to get rid of their bloody clothes. Meanwhile, evidence surfaced that McCready, the detective who obtained the alleged confession from Tankleff, had come under investigation for perjury.  Further, the lead prosecutor in the case against Tankleff had a business relationship with Steuerman prior to the murders. Eventually, the defense assembled more than 20 witnesses to paint a picture of that Steuerman orchestrated the murders.  One piece of new evidence was a bloody imprint on a sheet in Arlene Tankleff’s bedroom that appeared to be from a knife. No matching knife was found, suggesting that someone other than Martin Tankleff had taken it. In addition, two witnesses  came forward to say that McCready had been seen together with Steuerman prior to the murders. Other evidence showed that McCready, had violated police department rules by showing crime-scene photographs to unauthorized persons.But on March 17, 2006, another petition for a new trial was denied following a hearing. On December 18, 2007, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in Brooklyn unanimously overturned the convictions, ruling that if a jury heard the new evidence, it would probably acquit Tankleff. Tankleff was released on December 27, 2007. The charges were dismissed on July 22, 2008. In March 2009, Tankleff filed a federal civil wrongful conviction lawsuit against the State of New York and the Suffolk County police department and several officers, including McCready. In January 2014, the State of New York settled for $3.375 million."
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=3675

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bulletin: New Zealand panel of lawyers and academics takes on fight against miscarriages of Justice - as government defends its justice system; It's "The New Zealand Public Interest Project."

 "Justice is slow-moving in New Zealand but must it be as slow as this? Teina Pora spent 22 years in custody on rape and murder charges until his convictions were finally quashed by the Privy Council in March. He has since learned there will be no retrial.  It was a magnificent result for those who campaigned so long on Pora's behalf, but how much time was lost? Labour's justice spokeswoman Jacinda Ardern says that she heard from someone in Pora's camp that if New Zealand had an equivalent body to England and Scotland's Criminal Cases Review Commissions, Pora might have spent five fewer years in prison. Would a criminal cases review panel help speed up long-running and expensive miscarriages of justice?  The Pora case reignited calls for a government-funded body to investigate miscarriages of justice. These calls are not new but each subsequent case makes them louder. There was David Bain. There was David Dougherty and Peter Ellis. There was Mark Lundy and Teina Pora. There is Scott Watson and Michael October. A decade ago, a retired High Court judge, Sir Thomas Thorp, argued that New Zealand needs a body similar to the UK's Criminal Cases Review Commission, created in the wake of such high-profile injustices as the case of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four. Working off British examples, Thorp estimated that there are likely to be 20 innocent people in New Zealand jails at any one time.........Ardern says that the imminent launch of the New Zealand Public Interest Project (NZPIP) is therefore welcome news. It is a group of lawyers and academics with connections to the University of Canterbury and its trustees are almost a roll call of names of those who have campaigned on behalf of others.   Nigel Hampton QC is active in the campaign to clear Michael October; Hampton believes October falsely confessed to taking part in a rape and murder in Christchurch in 1994. Lawyer Kerry Cook is acting for convicted double murderer Scott Watson. Tim McKinnel worked on the Pora case. Jarrod Gilbert and Chris Gallavin are a sociologist and law lecturer and Canterbury's dean of law respectively. Glynn Rigby is a private investigator. Anna Sandiford is a forensic science consultant who gave evidence in the Bain retrial. Duncan Webb is a Christchurch insurance lawyer whose involvement shows that the NZPIP will consider civic cases as well as criminal ones. The group says on its website that a Criminal Cases Review Commission-like body is "an important absence in our country's legal system". So they set about creating their own. The Michael October and Scott Watson cases will be among the first considered by the NZPIP after it officially launches next month. The team will be helped by Canterbury University law students, both as volunteers and working for course credit. They will take cases that are in the public good, whether that means appealing miscarriages of justice against individuals, or civil matters where "access to justice is inhibited" or where a public interest is not otherwise served. They could be test cases or class actions, human rights cases or commercial and consumer matters."

'Innocence Fraud': (It's a new term to me too! HL);(Thank you Mark Godsey of the Wrongful Convictions Blog for bringing this ignorant, offensive, self-serving diatribe to our attention): "Magazine editor says “Innocence fraud”– when innocence organizations free guilty people– Is a threat. (Uggggh. HL);


POST: "Magazine editor says "Innocence Fraud" - when innocence organizations free guilty people - is a threat," by Mark Godsey, published by the Wrongful Convictions Blog on May 7, 2015.

CAPTION: 'Innocence fraud is real ' warns Crime Lab Report's chief Managing Editor."
“Exonerations are extremely serious,” Collins told the audience of approximately 150 guests on the final day of the symposium. “For our criminal justice system to go back and say that the decision of a judge or jury who decided to put a particular individual in prison [was wrong] . . . and suddenly say that the individual shouldn’t be there – and is therefore free to return to life in the public – is very, very serious.”"

The entire  post can be found at:

http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2015/05/07/lab-director-says-innocence-fraud-when-innocence-organizations-free-guilty-people-is-a-threat/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
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.

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:

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:

hlevy15@gmail.com.
 
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bulletin: Cleveland Wright: (District of Columbia); Granted a certificate of actual innocence after being sent to prison for 28 years on hair analysis prosecutors now admit was false.

A D.C. man whose murder conviction was thrown out more than a year ago finally received his certificate of actual innocence on Friday. Cleveland Wright was sent to prison for 28 years on hair analysis prosecutors now admit was false. In 1979, prosecutors charged Wright and Santae Tribble with the murders of two men carried out 13 days apart. The theory was they were stick-up men working together. But at his trial, Wright was convicted of one murder and acquitted in the other. The same thing happened to Tribble.  Years later in 2012, DNA testing on hair evidence used at trial exonerated both men. Tibble received his certificate, while Wright kept waiting. In both pleadings to the court, prosecutors used slightly different language on whether to grant Tribble and Wright certificates of actual innocence. In Tribble's, prosecutors wrote it "does not oppose it,” while in Wright's, they said the government "takes no position.” With the issuance of his certificate of actual innocence, Wright, 57, becomes eligible to be compensated fro the decades he spent behind bars-- at a rate of $50,000 per year for every year he was locked up. He had been waiting for the judge in the case to issue her findings in order to receive the money from the government. D.C. Superior Court Judge Laura Cordero issued Wright's certificate of actual innocence, which reads in part: "Based on the entire record in this mater, including the new evidence before this court, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Wright did not commit the crimes of first-degree murder while armed, first-degree felony murder and armed robbery of Mr. Horn, of which he was convicted in this case."
http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/29141117/cleveland-wright-innocenc