Monday, November 21, 2016

G. Michelle Yezzo: Ohio; White elephant case? Columbus Dispatch reporting trio ask whether 'thank you' notes sent by prosecutors to the now retired state lab forensic science 'hinto of impropriety.'..."Some defense attorneys who handled cases in which Yezzo's work and testimony were used as evidence say that these letters suggest that Yezzo had a relationship with prosecutors that went beyond the ethical bounds of her profession to remain objective. Forensic scientists' codes of ethics call for neutrality."

Image result for "white elephant"

In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, 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; Think Gene Morrison.  Think Louis Scarcella;  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.  (I have chosen to draw attention to  'white elephant  cases' - which demonstrate a wide array of  deliberate police misconduct that has led to miscarriages of justice - to  increase awareness of the reality that police  (and prosecutors as well) can take advantage of the control they exercise over the investigation process to willfully cause  harm to innocent individuals by concealing from the defence information of a forensic nature, such as the existence of exculpatory evidence and forensic reports.)
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;


REMINDER: "Rodricus Crawford: Louisiana;  Bulletin: Domonique Benn's exclusive News 12 investigation 'Fighting for a Father's Freedom'  will be streamed  this evening,  Monday (November 21)  at 10.00 pm local time, on;


STORY: "State crime lab: Do thank you notes hint at impropriety? by  reporters Jill Riepenhoff,  Lucas Sullivan and  Michael Wagner of the Columbus Dispatch,  for publication on December 19, 2016,  as published by The Times Reporter.

GIST: "Throughout her nearly 33-year career at the state crime lab, now-retired forensic scientist G.Michele Yezzo won high praise from prosecutors for helping them to convict an uncounted number of Ohioans. But the letters from prosecutors in her personnel file raise questions about whether she went beyond the role of neutral, objective scientist to become a part of the prosecution team seeking convictions: 'Your fieldwork was above and beyond the call of duty and was very persuasive in this case. It was a real collaborative venture.' 'Ms. Yezzo's commitment to law enforcement, sometimes meaning short notice and long hours,certainly must be recognized as an important member of our law enforcement team.' 'In addition to her scientific information, Michele provided us substantial information that helped us successfully cross-examine the defense expert.' 'If you were here right now, I would give you a heartfelt hug and kiss for Valentine's Day. ...You helped me more than you will ever know.' Some defense attorneys who handled cases in which Yezzo's work and testimony were used as evidence say that these letters suggest that Yezzo had a relationship with prosecutors that went beyond the ethical bounds of her profession to remain objective. Forensic scientists' codes of ethics call for neutrality. Yezzo told The Dispatch that her work was unbiased and that she did not feel compelled to please prosecutors. She knew of the letters praising her work but said that she views them as nothing more than compliments. The credibility of Yezzo's work has come under fire because of her aggressive behavior at work,which is documented in personnel files, and allegations by her fellow forensic scientists, also documented in public records, that she tilted her analysis to help prosecutors and law-enforcement agencies win criminal convictions. The lengths to which Yezzo would go to help win convictions for prosecutors and police was questioned numerous times by her co-workers, according to public records. Three of her former co-workers interviewed by The Dispatch said that Yezzo would not stand for  her work to be questioned and would become combative if questioned about how she analyzed evidence.".........A single pubic hair found at the crime scene was key evidence in the conviction of David Lee Myers in Amanda Maher's death. During Myers' trial eight years after the murder, Yezzo testified that she had analyzed the hair and determined that Myers could not be excluded as the source. But in 1988, before Myers was charged, his then-defense attorney, Jeffrey Moore, called Yezzo to learn what she had found. Yezzo told Moore, he later testified, that she had wanted to do a second analysis of the hair but did not run the test because Schenck objected. 'She said that she was told by Mr. Schenck ... not to do another report for him because he was afraid she would exclude Mr. Myers as a suspect,' Moore testified. And so the single report stood, and Yezzo testified at his trial that her analysis determined that Myers 'could not be excluded' as the source of the hair. In the weeks leading up to the trial, Myers' attorneys tried to talk to Yezzo about her findings and the decision not to do additional testing. She refused to talk to them without the prosecutor present, court records show. She also ignored a subpoena to testify issued by Myers' lawyers. Myers eventually was sentenced to death and remains on Death Row. One of the attorneys who represented Myers at his 1996 trial still remembers Yezzo. 'I have a big problem when forensic scientists can't communicate with the defense,' Wilford said. 'It certainly provides an environment of doubt.' Wilford believes that Myers is innocent. 'This case was very thin on proof of guilt,' he said. Schenck died this year, but current Greene County Prosecutor Steve Haller, a longtime assistant to Schenck, stands by the conviction and said the letter of thanks meant nothing more than that. 'I know that letter. I know Bill Schenck. That doesn't surprise me,' Haller said. 'She and Bill were butting heads. She wouldn't go the extra step. That was a makeup letter.' Haller said his office reviewed the entire case and the evidence this year after a judge in Huron County freed a man from prison. The judge had determined Yezzo lacked credibility as a witness. 'It was a pretty strong case,' Haller said of the Myers' case. 'Her testimony was not the linchpin.' Myers' current attorney, federal public defender Carol Wright, said she plans to apply for new DNA testing this year and raise questions about Yezzo's credibility and whether she was biased. 'I believe David Myers is innocent,' Wright said. 'There's so much doubt in this case.'"

The entire story can be found at:

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: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:  Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.