In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, over-the line, willful misconduct in the criminal justice system - much of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians, pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others. Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included. Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
"Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009;
POST: "Exoneration Project Helps Innocent Chicago Heights Man Win $15 Million Wrongful Conviction Settlement," by Arionne Nettles, published by Chicago Defender, on October 5, 2016.
GIST: "The Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago Law School helped a wrongfully convicted man receive $15 million for his 20 years of imprisonment — one of the largest settlements of its kind in Illinois history. Rodell Sanders, 51, spent more than 20 years of his 80-year sentence. He was convicted of murder, attempted murder, and robbery charges after being accused of ordering the shooting of 19-year-old Stacy Armstrong and 23-year-old Phillip Atkins in a 1993 incident. There was no physical or forensic evidence linking Sanders to the crimes, but two witnesses falsely identified Sanders. Sanders and his attorneys said in their lawsuit that the misidentifications were the result of “manipulations and bribes by members of the city of Chicago Heights’ infamously corrupt police department.” Testimony from Armstrong, the surviving victim, and Germaine Haslett, an FBI and Chicago Heights police informant, were both instrumental in Sanders’ 1995 conviction, according to the National Registry of Exoneration. The registry says that Armstrong initially gave a description of the shooter that did not match Sanders, but that police trimmed his photo to conceal his height and weight. Germaine Haslett, whose girlfriend later signed a sworn statement that he was behind the shooting, received thousands of dollars from the FBI for his cooperation and testimony against Sanders. Using law books and the Freedom of Information Act, Sanders got his convictions overturned before later receiving settlement assistance from the Exoneration Project — a free legal clinic at the University of Chicago Law School dedicated to representation of the wrongfully convicted. His attorneys through the project were Russell Ainsworth and Elliot Slosar of Loevy & Loevy — the firm that fought for the release of the dashcam video in the Laquan McDonald case. It has won more multimillion-dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the country. Ainsworth says that wrongful convictions occur more than the public may realize, and that may be true here at home. Illinois had 54, the most exonerations of any other state between 1989 and 2012. In 2014 when Sanders’ conviction was overturned, Illinois was third and has been in the top three for the past three years. “We can learn from wrongful convictions,” Ainsworth said. “That same pattern will continue until we hold rogue police officers accountable for their actions.”"
The entire post can be found at:
The entire post can be found at:
See Exoneration Project account of the case at the link below: "Rodell Sanders spent over two decades in prison for a murder and attempt murder that he did not commit. In the early hours of a December 1993, a young man and his girlfriend were forced out of their car at gunpoint and ordered to walk down a deserted alley where they were subsequently shot. The young man died as a result of the shooting. The young woman, though she was shot twice in the head, survived and summoned help. Rodell Sanders was identified by the surviving victim in a photo line-up after his picture was trimmed to conceal both his height and weight in order to match the gunman’s description. At the same time, the police arrested another man who met the description given by the victim. Detectives claim that this suspect stated that he was a lookout for the crime and that Sanders ordered the double shooting. A year after his interrogation, the suspect wrote a letter to Sanders’ then girlfriend admitting that Sanders was not involved in the crime and that he had lied to the police. The suspect made the same admission to an investigator sent by Sanders to visit the suspect in jail. At trial, this suspect alleged that Sanders forced him to write the letter recanting his police statement. While Sanders’ defense attorney cross-examined both the eyewitness and the alleged co-conspirator, the attorney failed to adequately question either. In the case of the alleged co-conspirator, no mention was made about this "co-conspirator's second statement to an investigator corroborating his written recantation nor was the investigator called to testify. In 2014, Sanders was acquitted after a third trial where a jury finally heard all the evidence about the circumstances of the eyewitness identification, and the benefits witnesses received in exchange for inculpating Sanders."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.