Friday, March 24, 2017

Norfolk Four: Virginia; Eric Wilson; Danial Williams; Joseph Dick; Derek Tice: 'The Confessions': Read the PBS introduction and see the entire video of producer Ofra Bikel's Frontline documentary 'The Confessions' broadcast on November 9, 2010. (It's especially relevant in light of the Virginia Governor's decision earlier this week to pardon all four men. HL)


INTRODUCTION TO THE FRONTLINE  DOCUMENTARY 'THE CONFESSIONS" BROADCAST ON NOVEMBER 9, 2010:  Eight men charged. Five confessions. But only one DNA match. Why would four innocent men confess to a brutal crime they didn't commit? In The Confessions, FRONTLINE producer Ofra Bikel (Innocence Lost, An Ordinary Crime) investigates the conviction of four men -- current and former sailors in the U.S. Navy -- for the rape and murder of a Norfolk, Va., woman in 1997. In the first television interviews with the "Norfolk Four" since their release, Bikel learns of some of the high-pressure police interrogation techniques -- the threat of the death penalty, sleep deprivation, intimidation -- that led each of the men to confess, despite the lack of any evidence linking them to the crime. Twenty-five-year-old Danial Williams, married for 11 days, was the first to be arrested for the rape and murder of Michelle Bosko. He tells FRONTLINE how he came to confess after 11 hours of interrogation: "Being in a small room, and you have a person sitting over across the table from you that's getting in your face, yelling at you, calling you a liar, poking you in the chest with their finger, and then turns around and says, 'Well, I can help you if you tell me the truth,'" Williams explains. "It went on and on and on throughout the night, with them calling me a liar, telling me I needed to tell the truth. And I kept telling them: 'I am telling you the truth. I didn't do it.' I kept telling them over and over. ... I should have stood my ground." Instead, Williams gave the Norfolk police detectives a confession. And when that confession proved inconsistent with the forensic evidence, detectives went back to him for an additional confession that better fit the facts. And Williams, once again, gave it to them. He got a court-appointed lawyer. "No one in Virginia believes that you confess to a murder you didn't commit; no one believes it," says Danny Shipley, Williams' attorney. "And to be quite frank with you, when you approach a case, ... [the death penalty] changes everything. All your decisions that you make are guided by the fact that, if you make the wrong decision, you make the wrong call, your client is dead." Williams' DNA failed to match the DNA at the crime scene, but that didn't save him. Police picked up Williams' roommate, Joe Dick, and began another interrogation. "They started asking me where I was when this happened, and I told them that I was on the ship," Dick said. But Dick's interrogation was conducted by one of Norfolk's most formidable detectives, Robert Glenn Ford, who had a reputation for getting confessions. "Ford's saying I'm lying," Dick tells FRONTLINE. "He's starting to get ticked off. He's raising his voice. He keeps coming back with: 'We know you were there. We can prove you were there. You can get the death penalty.' I kept denying it. We went and did a polygraph. He comes back with the results, and he says I'm still lying, that I failed the polygraph. ... Eventually I'd had enough of him, and I just wanted to tell him anything to get him off my back and to shut him up. I was tired; emotionally, mentally worn down." He gave a confession. Then, confused by police theories and interrogations, Dick started to believe in his own guilt. He implicated another sailor, Eric Wilson, who also confessed. In the end, four men would confess to the rape and murder of Michelle Bosko and another three would be arrested before an eighth man, a convicted rapist named Omar Ballard, was found to be the only DNA match for the Bosko murder. Ballard confessed to the rape and murder of Michelle Bosko, and said that he did it alone -- a statement that fit the forensic facts. But with seven other people already in jail, the police and prosecution refused to change course. Instead, they presented a new theory of the crime in which Ballard met the group outside, and all eight men committed gang rape and murder. From an initial theory of one assailant, namely Danial Williams, the prosecution theory now involved eight, including Ballard. In a recent interview from prison, Ballard tells FRONTLINE that police pressured him to say the other men participated in the crime with him, a statement that he says was not true. "It was made clear from the jump that unless I said somebody else was with me, that it wasn't going to be the truth," Ballard says. "The only truth they wanted to hear [was] that I did it with someone else." "Even when there's other evidence of innocence, the confession overrides that evidence. People ignore, jurors ignore that evidence," says law professor Richard Leo, who has studied false confessions. "If they were rational, objective, fair-minded police and prosecutors, they would have let everybody else go. But they couldn't admit what was so obvious: [that] they made a mistake, a big mistake. Four people had been interrogated coercively, confessed to a crime they didn't commit, and instead of acknowledging that mistake and these individuals' innocence, they tried to link Omar Ballard to these individuals. They tried to make it a group crime." All four sailors are now out of prison -- one served his sentence, and the other three were granted conditional pardons last summer, after some 11 years in prison. But the men were not exonerated as felons or sex offenders. "I basically built myself a new cell, my bedroom, ... because that's where I'm safe," Derek Tice, another of the Norfolk Four, tells FRONTLINE. "All I did was trade one cell for another." Earlier this summer, Detective Glenn Ford was indicted for extorting money from defendants in exchange for getting them a favorable treatment. He was tried in U.S. District Court in Norfolk and took the stand in his own defense. On Oct. 27, 2010 Ford was found guilty on two of four extortion charges and one charge of lying to the FBI. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2011."
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/the-confessions/

THE VIDEO:

http://www.pbs.org/video/1637166286/

See the Frontline story on the recent pardon: "The pardon brings to a close a 20-year legal battle that brought national attention to the issue of false confessions. The four men were all arrested within a year of 18-year-old Moore-Bosko’s murder, sentenced and kept in prison, despite DNA evidence linking another man to the crime. Danial Williams, Joe Dick Jr., Eric Wilson and Derek Tice have maintained for years that they falsely confessed to the crime following hours of intimidating police interrogations. Williams was the first of the four to be arrested, after a friend of the victim indicated to police that they should take a closer look at him. He was charged with rape and murder less than 24 hours after Moore-Bosko’s body was found. He confessed to the crimes after more than 11 hours of questioning. “It was just unimaginable to myself at that point, but I had confessed,” Williams told FRONTLINE in the 2010 investigation of the case, The Confessions. A detective named Robert Glenn Ford interrogated Williams, and eventually, the other three men. Ford was later found guilty of two counts of extortion and one count of lying to the FBI in separate cases, and sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison. “Ford is a very intimidating person,” Williams said in The Confessions. “He’s not a big person, but he’s like a bulldog. Once he gets his teeth into you, he doesn’t stop until he gets what he wants from you.” Despite lacking any evidence connecting Williams to the crime, the Norfolk police developed a theory that he was one of several men involved. Soon Dick, Wilson and Tice would also be arrested and interrogated, resulting in more confessions they said were coerced under intense pressure. Tice said Ford kept “leaning towards me, yelling at me, calling me a liar, telling me I was going to die.” He asked for a lawyer, but never got to talk to one in the 11 hours before he confessed. When asked why he would confess to a crime he had no part in, Tice recalled how Ford kept telling him he was going to die for lying. “After the nine hours, my thinking was my only options are to tell him a lie, tell him what he wants to hear and live, or keep telling the truth and die.” (Watch the men discuss their interrogations in the below clip from The Confessions, which was written, produced and directed by Ofra Bikel). In 1999, a prison inmate named Omar Ballard admitted in a letter to a friend that he committed the crime. His DNA matched evidence found at the crime scene, and the next year, he pleaded guilty to the rape and murder and admitted to acting alone."
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/norfolk-four-pardoned-20-years-after-false-confessions/

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Chris Tapp; Idaho; Post-Register Reporter Bryan Clark provides an excellent perspective on Tapp's dealhat would let him out of prison but leave a murder conviction on his record through an interview with Prof. Steve Drizin (currently representing Brendan Dassey) - and an analogy with The Memphis Three..."In an interview, Tapp said he made his decision because there were just too many “what ifs.” What if the expert testimony didn’t produce enough evidence to prove his innocence? What if they won but prosecutors appealed the case? Would he get out during the appeal or remain in prison? “Is there going to be enough?” Tapp said. “If there’s not then I’m stuck in a box.” And to Drizin, that underlines a major problem with the criminal justice system. “People plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because they lack faith in the ability of our justice system to accept the truth,” Drizin wrote. “It’s a sad commentary on the state of our system; in fact, it is an indictment of our system.” “It’s the worst choice to face as an innocent person,” Baldwin said.


STORY: "Member of West Memphis Three speaks about Tapp deal," by reporter  Bryan Clark, published by The Post-Register on March 23,2017.

GIST: "When professor Steve Drizin learned that Chris Tapp had taken a deal that would let him out of prison but leave a murder conviction on his record, he took to Facebook to share his thoughts. “Make no mistake. It’s a bittersweet day,” he wrote. Drizin is one of the nation’s foremost wrongful conviction attorneys, the former head of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and assistant dean of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law. Several of his clients have been exonerated. He currently represents Brendan Dassey, whose conviction was featured in the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer.” Drizin also investigated the Tapp case, producing a report focusing on evidence of a false confession. “I feel the same way I felt when Damien Echols and the West Memphis Three were released,” Drizin wrote on hearing of the deal. “It’s not a day to celebrate the justice system.” The West Memphis Three were a group of teenagers from West Memphis, Ark., who were convicted of a triple murder in 1994, about three years before Tapp’s conviction. The story of the three teens — Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Echols — was detailed in the three-part HBO documentary series “Paradise Lost.” Prosecutors told the jury that the three teens, misfits in their Bible Belt town with long hair and a taste for heavy metal music, had killed and mutilated three young children in a satanic ritual. Echols was sentenced to death. Baldwin and Misskelley got life in prison.........And for 18 years, the West Memphis Three stayed in prison, even as public pressure for their release mounted and some members of the victims’ families became convinced that the wrong men had been convicted. Then in 2011, new DNA testing was performed that excluded Baldwin, Misskelley and Echols. It instead matched two unidentified men, according to Reuters. Prosecutors came to the West Memphis Three with a deal. All three would take Alford pleas in which they maintain they are factually innocent but do not contest their convictions, and all three could get out of prison. All would give up the right to sue for compensation. All three had to take the deal, or none of them could get it. Baldwin was the most reluctant of the group. He wanted to fight the case until the end. He wanted to fight until his name was clear. “When the Alford plea was offered, I turned it down,” he said. “I thought, ‘It’s not justice for me. It’s not justice for my family. It’s not justice for those little boys that were murdered or their families. They deserve to know the truth.’” Then he began to understand what life was like for Echols on death row. While prison had initially been horrific for him, Baldwin said he had eventually been able to build a meaningful life. He worked in the prison school, helping to educate other prisoners. Most inside had come to believe his protestations of innocence, so he got respect and sympathy instead of beatings. But Echols didn’t have that. He was living in a coffin, Baldwin said, facing execution and watching the men near him make their final walk. Baldwin decided he had to take the deal. The West Memphis Three were never formally exonerated. “It was the worst decision in the world to make,” Baldwin said. “Time was slipping past. Our lives were being taken away from us. Take all of your memories from age 16 to 34 and replace them with prison and brutality.” The West Memphis Three were freed in 2011.........In an interview, Tapp said he made his decision because there were just too many “what ifs.” What if the expert testimony didn’t produce enough evidence to prove his innocence? What if they won but prosecutors appealed the case? Would he get out during the appeal or remain in prison? “Is there going to be enough?” Tapp said. “If there’s not then I’m stuck in a box.” And to Drizin, that underlines a major problem with the criminal justice system. “People plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because they lack faith in the ability of our justice system to accept the truth,” Drizin wrote. “It’s a sad commentary on the state of our system; in fact, it is an indictment of our system.” “It’s the worst choice to face as an innocent person,” Baldwin said."



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Norfolk Four: Virginia; Eric Wilson; Danial Williams; Joseph Dick; Derek Tice: The Virginian-Pilot asks why it took 20 years for justice to be done..."The four were judged guilty partially based on confessions they say were coerced by a Norfolk detective later found guilty of corruption in another case. It was one of the nation’s most infamous cases of wrongful convictions, and a textbook example of political and professional cowardice and misconduct. That the proper conclusion was reached only 20 years after the crime was committed raises unshakable questions about America’s justice system. It should also remind every American about the power of tenacious journalists and advocates — at this newspaper and all over the country — to correct egregious misdeeds, even if it takes time."



EDITORIAL: "After 20 years, justice for the Norfolk four,"  published by the Virginian-Pilot on March 22, 2017.


GIST: Four Norfolk men, all Navy veterans, served years in prison for a 1997 murder they didn’t commit. It’s a wrong Virginia can never fully right, but a pardon issued this week by Gov. Terry McAuliffe takes another step in the proper direction — one overdue from the commonwealth. The four were judged guilty partially based on confessions they say were coerced by a Norfolk detective later found guilty of corruption in another case. It was one of the nation’s most infamous cases of wrongful convictions, and a textbook example of political and professional cowardice and misconduct. That the proper conclusion was reached only 20 years after the crime was committed raises unshakable questions about America’s justice system. It should also remind every American about the power of tenacious journalists and advocates — at this newspaper and all over the country — to correct egregious misdeeds, even if it takes time. Here’s the story, drawn from a 2015 narrative by Pilot reporter Gary Harki on Hampton Roads’ 10 most infamous crimes, on the occasion of The Pilot’s 150th anniversary: “In 1997, 19-year-old Billy Bosko found his 18-year-old bride, Michelle Moore-Bosko, murdered in their Norfolk apartment. She had been raped, stabbed and strangled. “Police arrested eight men in the months that followed Moore-Bosko’s death. Charges against three were withdrawn. The other five were convicted — but four of them later maintained their innocence, insisting police had coerced their confessions. “The fifth man, Omar Ballard, later said he committed the crime alone; his DNA provided the only match to biological evidence. “Eric C. Wilson, a former Navy sailor, served nearly nine years in prison on a rape conviction. Danial Williams, Joseph Dick and Derek Tice were convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to life in prison.” The four “appealed their convictions, arguing that Norfolk police detective Robert Glenn Ford forced false confessions from them. In 2009, Gov. Tim Kaine granted partial pardons to Tice, Williams and Dick and released them from their life sentences. Wilson already was free.” As awful as it was that four men had spent their young adulthood suffering the horrors of prison for a crime they didn’t do, it’s worse to know it was the result of an unthinkable transgression. “In an unrelated case,” Harki wrote, “Ford was [sentenced] in February 2011 [for] taking money from drug dealers and other criminals in exchange for getting them favorable treatment in the court system. Ford told prosecutors and judges that those individuals had helped to solve murders, but several of them testified that they didn’t help Ford.” Ford was sentenced to 12½ years in prison, and his conduct while employed by the city has colored numerous convictions aside from those of the “Norfolk Four.” It is a stain, ugly and indelible, on the city’s criminal justice system. After “Kaine had stopped short of clearing their names,” The Washington Post reported Wednesday, “... the sailors continued to seek full pardons and freedom from being permanently classified as sex offenders. McAuliffe took that step Tuesday after a federal judge last year ruled that they were actually innocent.” That federal judge was involved because the Virginia Supreme Court had rejected appeals from three of the men. A fourth had his conviction erased in federal court. Mark that: It took the intervention of federal judges to ensure that justice was served in Virginia. That casts doubt about the quality of the commonwealth’s legal system and its willingness to correct itself. McAuliffe’s pardon was welcomed by the Norfolk Four in a statement released Tuesday. “I speak for all four of us in expressing our deepest thanks to Gov. McAuliffe, who has given us our lives back with these full pardons,” Wilson wrote, according to The Post."
The entire  editorial can be found at:

http://pilotonline.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-after-years-justice-for-the-norfolk-four/article_890f658f-2cc7-5939-9643-076bc5a7bc16.html

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Danial Williams, Joseph Dick; Derek Tice; Eric Wilson (The Norfolk 4): False confession case; Significant Development: (White Elephant Case); Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe pardons 'Norfolk 4' sailors in 1997 rape and killing, saying police intimidated them into falsely confessing to the crimes. FOX News. March 21, 2017..."Attorneys for the men argued absolute pardons from the governor carried greater weight than court rulings and were essential to helping the men rebuild their lives and reputations. They had long said they confessed only after being intimidated by police. Williams, who lived in the same apartment building as Moore-Bosko, has said he was told he would face a capital murder charge — punishable by death — if he didn't confess. He said he caved because he wanted the 11-hour interrogation to be over. "I just couldn't take it anymore," Williams said during an April 2015 hearing. "I couldn't take being called a liar, the pressure." Dick also has said he was threatened with the death penalty. The detective who questioned the men, Robert Glenn Ford, was convicted in 2011 of extortion and lying to the FBI in unrelated cases. He is serving 12 ½ years in prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars from drug dealers in exchange for getting them favorable treatment at sentencing."

 

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.  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; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/

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"Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has approved pardons for the four former sailors who became known as the "Norfolk Four" in a 1997 rape and killing, saying police intimidated them into falsely confessing to the crimes. "These pardons close the final chapter on a grave injustice that has plagued these 4 men for nearly 20 years," spokesman Brian Coy told Fox News Tuesday. DNA evidence matched a fifth man, Omar Ballard, to the crimes against Michelle Moore-Bosko. He confessed to being the only one responsible. Three of the men — Danial Williams, Joseph Dick and Derek Tice — were granted conditional pardons in 2009 by then-Gov. Tim Kaine and released from prison because of doubts about their guilt, but their convictions remained on the books. The fourth man, Eric Wilson, who was convicted only of rape, had already been released. Wilson failed to get his conviction overturned in court because he had already completed his sentence when he brought the challenge. Because Wilson is a convicted rapist, he was forced to register as a sex offender and barred from adopting his stepson. A federal judge vacated Williams and Dick's convictions in October, declaring that "no sane human being" could find them guilty. Tice had his convictions erased in 2009. Attorneys for the men argued absolute pardons from the governor carried greater weight than court rulings and were essential to helping the men rebuild their lives and reputations. They had long said they confessed only after being intimidated by police. Williams, who lived in the same apartment building as Moore-Bosko, has said he was told he would face a capital murder charge — punishable by death — if he didn't confess. He said he caved because he wanted the 11-hour interrogation to be over. "I just couldn't take it anymore," Williams said during an April 2015 hearing. "I couldn't take being called a liar, the pressure." Dick also has said he was threatened with the death penalty. The detective who questioned the men, Robert Glenn Ford, was convicted in 2011 of extortion and lying to the FBI in unrelated cases. He is serving 12 ½ years in prison for taking tens of thousands of dollars from drug dealers in exchange for getting them favorable treatment at sentencing.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/21/virginia-governor-pardons-norfolk-4-sailors-in-1997-rape-and-killing-michelle-moore-bosko.html

Chris Tapp: Idaho; Free at last; Reaction; (Part 1): Bulletin: False confession case; Local News 8 reports that: "Many people had the chance to hold Tapp for the first time in 20 years. Some even had to reintroduce themselves to him because it had been so long." Reporter Pheben Kassahun; Local News 8; March 22, 2017.


"It was an emotional day for those who know Christopher Tapp personally. A father and son said Tapp was at their house around the night he was accused of the murder of Angie Dodge. "We love him. We've missed him. Glad to see him," Mike Hope said. People with tears of joy gathered on the front lawn of the Bonneville County Court House, on Wednesday. He was greeted with open arms and kisses from everyone. Many people had the chance to hold Tapp for the first time in 20 years. Some even had to reintroduce themselves to him because it had been so long. That is exactly what happened when Tapp saw Mike and Jason Hope. Mike Hope said the night Tapp was accused of Angie Dodge's murder, Tapp was actually at Mike's house. He tried to convince police but he had no luck. "He used to come over to our house and play computer games all the time. We was pretty sure that, that night that he was accused of this, we thought he was at our house playing games, so I donated the hard drive on my computer to see if his name was on there for high scores," Mike Hope said. He said he does not know if officials ever found Tapp's name on the high score list."
http://www.localnews8.com/news/father-and-son-say-christopher-tapp-was-at-their-house-the-night-angie-dodge-was-murdered/409405069

Derek Bromley: South Australia; (Part 3); Momentous development: He has won leave to appeal 30-year-old murder conviction in death of John Karpany, following three days of medical evidence which has highlighted numerous discrepancies in the original autopsy report prepared by controversial former SA chief forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock..."Bromley and an accomplice, John Karpany, were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Stephen Docoza after the man’s body was found floating in the River Torrens. From the outset police reported Docoza had been beaten and drowned following an altercation after Karpany asked the man for sex. Dr Matthew Lynch from the Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine said the bruises on Docoza’s scalp and forehead could have been caused after he was dead and in the river. “There is nothing to distinguish whether he was alive or not when he went in the water,” Dr Lynch told the court. Previous specialist testimony had shown that Dr Manock could not have ruled out natural causes when examining the body.", the Advertiser reports.

STORY: "Derek Bromley wins right  to appeal 30-year-old murder conviction in death of John Karpany," by reporter  Mitch Mott,  published by The Advertiser on March 22,  2017.


GIST: After more than 30 years proclaiming his innocence, convicted murderer Derek Bromley will have a new day in court — with his appeal bound for a full sitting of the Supreme Court. Bromley’s legal counsel and the prosecution will meet in May to confirm the full court hearing, which will involve reams of specialist evidence to show there is new and compelling evidence in the three-decade old death.  Three days of medical evidence has highlighted numerous discrepancies in the original autopsy report prepared by controversial former SA chief forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock. Bromley and an accomplice, John Karpany, were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Stephen Docoza after the man’s body was found floating in the River Torrens. From the outset police reported Docoza had been beaten and drowned following an altercation after Karpany asked the man for sex. Dr Matthew Lynch from the Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine said the bruises on Docoza’s scalp and forehead could have been caused after he was dead and in the river.
“There is nothing to distinguish whether he was alive or not when he went in the water,” Dr Lynch told the court. Previous specialist testimony had shown that Dr Manock could not have ruled out natural causes when examining the body."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/derek-bromley-wins-right-to-appeal-30yearold-murder-conviction-in-death-of-john-karpany/news-story/790c5a5e5608b87166cd467dab3f3672

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Aaron Hernandez: Massachusetts; (Ballistics); Bulletin: On-going trial;..."In particular, Bradley is the only eyewitness to identify Hernandez as the person who fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012 in Boston’s South End. But one glaring inconsistency has to do with the murder weapon. Prosecutors say Hernandez fired five shots from a 104-year-old revolver that was recovered in June 2013 from the vehicle of a woman with ties to Hernandez. But Bradley testified Monday that Hernandez wiped the murder weapon down and tossed it from the window of a Toyota 4Runner as they fled the crime scene. “I was the one who purchased the gun,” Bradley said Tuesday, referring to a shiny .357 revolver he bought for Hernandez about a month before the killings, with $350 the athlete gave him. “You still say that’s not the gun,” defense lawyer Jose Baez said Monday, referring to the .38 caliber revolver authorities have identified as the murder weapon. “Correct, I didn’t believe that was the gun,” Bradley replied. Boston police say the .38 caliber revolver, manufactured in 1913, appears to be the murder weapon based on a match with ballistics evidence at the crime scene."...Reporter John R. Ellement; Boston Globe; 22 March, 2017;

"The star prosecution witness in the double murder trial of Aaron Hernandez returns to the stand Wednesday for a third day of testimony in Suffolk Superior Court. The witness, Alexander Bradley, has provided critical testimony in the case against Hernandez, a former New England Patriots star. Hernandez, 27, has pleaded not guilty. In particular, Bradley is the only eyewitness to identify Hernandez as the person who fatally shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the early morning hours of July 16, 2012 in Boston’s South End. But one glaring inconsistency has to do with the murder weapon. Prosecutors say Hernandez fired five shots from a 104-year-old revolver that was recovered in June 2013 from the vehicle of a woman with ties to Hernandez. But Bradley testified Monday that Hernandez wiped the murder weapon down and tossed it from the window of a Toyota 4Runner as they fled the crime scene. “I was the one who purchased the gun,” Bradley said Tuesday, referring to a shiny .357 revolver he bought for Hernandez about a month before the killings, with $350 the athlete gave him. “You still say that’s not the gun,” defense lawyer Jose Baez said Monday, referring to the .38 caliber revolver authorities have identified as the murder weapon. “Correct, I didn’t believe that was the gun,” Bradley replied. Boston police say the .38 caliber revolver, manufactured in 1913, appears to be the murder weapon based on a match with ballistics evidence at the crime scene. "
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/22/aaron-hernandez-trial-resumes-with-star-witness-stand-for-third-day/GnxSwhRLkB44XtxJvujwaL/story.html

Chris Tapp: Idaho: (False confession case): Bulletin: Momentous Development: After 20 years in prison for the murder of Angie Dodge, he is to be freed today under a negotiated deal (subject to approval of a judge) - in spite of a conviction widely attributed to a coerced, false confession - and Angie Dodge's mother's belief that he is innocent..."Tapp was convicted because he confessed. But in recent years a slew of reports from false confession experts, geneticists, polygraph experts and former FBI supervisory special agents have concluded that Tapp’s confession was false, that the details were fed to him by police and that he was coerced with threats of the gas chamber if he didn’t cooperate. Judges for Justice, the Center for Wrongful Convictions, the Idaho Innocence Project and the New York Innocence Project all worked with Thomas and others to overturn Tapp’s conviction. The deal doesn’t mean that Tapp’s conviction will be vacated, however. There are many samples of DNA that were left at the crime scene, all of which so far point to one man. That man’s identity remains unknown, but it isn’t Tapp."...".For the two women at the heart of the case — Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother, and Vera Tapp, Chris’ mother — the news of the deal was bittersweet. Vera said she looks forward to Chris coming home a free man. But she wishes prosecutors would exonerate him fully of the murder charge. “I think the prosecutor could drop the murder charge, because Christopher had nothing to do with murdering Angie Dodge,” Vera Tapp said. “He will still be convicted as a murderer, and he won’t be able to find a job with that on his record.” And Carol Dodge said she is “heartbroken” over the deal. “Chris spent 20 years of his life convicted on a lie, and now he’s being released to live the rest of his life as a lie because people who have power can justify this,” Dodge said. “They could care less what happens to Chris. All they cared about was having no liability.”Dodge said she’s also worried that her daughter’s murder will be forgotten, that the pressure to solve the case could dissipate. The man who killed Angie on a hot summer night more than 20 years ago is out there somewhere. And she wants him brought to justice." Reporter Bryan Clark; Idaho Statesman; March 21, 2017.


QUOTES OF THE DAY:

 “I think the prosecutor could drop the murder charge, because Christopher had nothing to do with murdering Angie Dodge. He will still be convicted as a murderer, and he won’t be able to find a job with that on his record.”

VERA TAPP; (Chris Tapp's mother);

“Chris spent 20 years of his life convicted on a lie, and now he’s being released to live the rest of his life as a lie because people who have power can justify this. They could care less what happens to Chris. All they cared about was having no liability.” (Dodge said she’s also worried that her daughter’s murder will be forgotten, that the pressure to solve the case could dissipate. The man who killed Angie on a hot summer night more than 20 years ago is out there somewhere. And she wants him brought to justice.)

CAROL DODGE; (Angie Dodd's mother);

---------------------------------------------------------------


Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/crime/article139800448.html#storylink=cpy
http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/crime/article139800448.html

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Keith Allen Harward: Virginia: Wrongfully imprisoned by bite-mark 'junk science,' Governor approves $1.6 million payout...Innocence Project backgrounder: "Throughout his prosecution, six bite marks analysts agreed that marks found on the victim matched to Harward. In addition to the two who testified at trial, the two defense lawyers who represented Harward in his trials asked forensic dentists to review the evidence, and both dentists agreed that the marks matched to Harward. Harward is at least the 25th person to have been wrongfully convicted or indicted based at least in part on bite mark evidence. Despite the fact that for decades courts have permitted forensic dentists to testify in criminal trials, there is a complete lack of scientific support for claims that a suspect can be identified from an injury on a victim’s skin. This was noted in the National Academy of Science’s groundbreaking 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, which found, “no evidence of an existing scientific basis for identifying an individual [through bite mark comparison] to the exclusion of all others.” After hearing from leading experts on the reliability of bite mark evidence, in February the Texas Forensic Science Commission recommend that the state issue a moratorium on the use of bite mark analysis in prosecutions throughout the state. The American Board of Forensic Odontologist has even recently changed its guidelines to acknowledge that the technique cannot be used to identify a person as the biter. “There is not a shred of scientific evidence supporting this erroneous forensic practice, yet it is still permissible in courtrooms across the nation,” said Dana Delger, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project’s Strategic Litigation Unit. “Hopefully Mr. Harward’s case will once and for all persuade judges and law enforcement that this unreliable evidence has no use in criminal prosecutions.”


STORY: "McAuliffe OKs $1.6 million for wrongfully imprisoned man," by reporter Maura Mazurowski,  published by Capital News Service on March 20, 2017.

GIST: "With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has cleared Keith Allen Harward to receive nearly $1.6 million from the commonwealth of Virginia for the 33 years he spent in prison for crimes he didn’t commit. McAuliffe last week signed House Bill 1650 approving the compensation package for Harward. “On April 7, 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia granted Mr. Harward’s Writ of Actual Innocence, formally exonerating him of all the crimes for which he had been convicted,” the legislation stated. Harward, now 60, was convicted of a 1982 rape and murder in Newport News. According to trial summaries, the rape victim was awakened around 2 a.m. by a loud thumping sound as her husband was being beaten by a man. The woman was thrown out of bed and repeatedly sexually assaulted as her husband lay dying. Her assailant held a diaper over her head and threatened to harm her children if she did not cooperate. In 1986, Harward was tried and convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life when two forensic odontologists testified that Harward’s teeth matched those of the bites on the woman. He was released from prison on April 8, 2016 after DNA testing proved he was not the killer. Harward had always maintained his innocence.........During his ordeal in prison, Harward received legal support from the Innocence Project. He is at least the 25th person to have been wrongfully convicted or indicted based at least in part on bite mark evidence, according to the project."
http://wric.com/2017/03/20/mcauliffe-oks-1-6-million-for-wrongfully-imprisoned-man/

See Innocence Project backgrounder  (with details of the 'junk science' fed to the court by the so-called 'experts' called by prosecutors)  at the link below: (Under the heading 'Discredited bite mark evidence contributed to wrongful conviction). April 8, 2016; "After the Virginia Supreme Court granted a writ of actual innocence to Keith Allen Harward on Thursday, Harward is expected to walk out of a Virginia prison a free man today after wrongly serving more than 33 years of a life sentence for a rape and murder he did not commit. Harward, who narrowly escaped the death penalty, was convicted primarily on the testimony of two forensic dentists who said that Harward’s teeth matched marks left on the rape victim. During the course of his prosecution 6 forensic dentists falsely claimed that Harward’s teeth matched a bite mark on one of the victims.  New DNA evidence definitively proved Harward’s innocence and pointed to Jerry Crotty as the real assailant. “Mr. Harward is at least the 25thperson to have been wrongly convicted or indicted based on discredited bite mark evidence,” said Chris Fabricant, Director of Strategic Litigation for the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “We have no idea how many other people may have been wrongly convicted based on this evidence, but any conviction resting on this grossly unreliable technique is inherently flawed.  Every state in the nation should be conducting reviews to see if there are others like Mr. Harward sitting in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.  Moreover, that this technique is still used in our justice system, including current capital prosecutions, presents a public safety threat.” Peter Neufeld, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, added, “Unless and until our leaders in Washington take action to discourage the use of unreliable and unvalidated techniques such as bite marks, and instead create rigorous science-based standards for all forensics, we are doomed as a nation to endure hundreds more Harwards.” Harward was convicted of a 1982 rape and murder in Newport News, Virginia.  The assailant broke into a home of a couple, killing a man and raping his wife.  During the course of the attack, the assailant bit the wife’s legs repeatedly. The wife, who was never able to identify Mr. Harward as the man who attacked her, told police that he was wearing a sailor’s uniform.  A dentist reviewed the dental records of Marines stationed to the USS Carl Vinson at the time and initially excluded Harward. He became a suspect six months later after his then-girlfriend reported to police that he had bitten her in a dispute. At trial, the prosecution rested mainly on the testimony of two forensic dentists, Lowell Levine and Alvin Kagey, who claimed that Harward’s teeth matched photos of the bite mark left on the female victim. Levine is known as one of the foremost experts in forensic bite mark analysis and has served as President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the Forensic Sciences Foundation and the American Board of Forensic Odontology. The other evidence against Harward at trial consisted mainly of the testimony of a security guard who claimed to have seen Harward enter the shipyard with a bloody uniform in the early morning after the attack. The Innocence Project later learned that the security guard’s identification occurred only after the witness was placed under hypnosis, a practice that is now known to be highly unreliable. Despite testifying in his own defense and presenting evidence he didn’t match the victim’s description, Harward was convicted of capital murder but was spared the death penalty by the jury.  His conviction was reversed in 1985 because of an issue regarding how the capital murder statute should be interpreted. He was retried and convicted again in 1986 but was no longer eligible for the death penalty under Virginia law.  At the second trial, the prosecution argued that Harward could not be excluded as a source of blood evidence recovered on crime scene evidence, but the Innocence Project subsequently learned that the blood evidence did in fact prove that Harward’s blood type did not match blood recovered on the evidence. The Innocence Project performed DNA testing on the rape kit and numerous other pieces of crime scene evidence. The testing excluded Harward and identified Jerry Crotty as the person responsible for committing the crime.  Crotty, who is now deceased, had a violent criminal record and was a sailor on the USS Carl Vinson at the time of the crime. “We are grateful to Attorney General Mark Herring and Newport News District Attorney Howard Gwynn for cooperating throughout this case and supporting Mr. Harward’s writ of actual innocence,” said Olga Akselrod, Senior Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project. “Without their support, Mr. Harward’s struggle for justice would have been much harder.” Throughout his prosecution, six bite marks analysts agreed that marks found on the victim matched to Harward.  In addition to the two who testified at trial, the two defense lawyers who represented Harward in his trials asked forensic dentists to review the evidence, and both dentists agreed that the marks matched to Harward. Harward is at least the 25th person to have been wrongfully convicted or indicted based at least in part on bite mark evidence. Despite the fact that for decades courts have permitted forensic dentists to testify in criminal trials, there is a complete lack of scientific support for claims that a suspect can be identified from an injury on a victim’s skin.  This was noted in the National Academy of Science’s groundbreaking 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward, which found, “no evidence of an existing scientific basis for identifying an individual [through bite mark comparison] to the exclusion of all others.” After hearing from leading experts on the reliability of bite mark evidence, in February the Texas Forensic Science Commission recommend that the state issue a moratorium on the use of bite mark analysis in prosecutions throughout the state.  The American Board of Forensic Odontologist has even recently changed its guidelines to acknowledge that the technique cannot be used to identify a person as the biter. “There is not a shred of scientific evidence supporting this erroneous forensic practice, yet it is still permissible in courtrooms across the nation,” said Dana Delger, a staff attorney with the Innocence Project’s Strategic Litigation Unit. “Hopefully Mr. Harward’s case will once and for all persuade judges and law enforcement that this unreliable evidence has no use in criminal prosecutions.”
https://www.innocenceproject.org/virginia-man-narrowly-escaped-death-penalty-exonerated-dna-evidence-released-serving-33-years/

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Derek Bromley: South Australia: (Part 2); 'today tonight Adelaide' takes on his on-going application for leave to appeal (based mainly on the testimony of disgraced former South Australia Chief Forensic Pathologist Dr. Colin Mannock) - after spending 33 years in an Adelaide jail for a murder he says he did not commit.


VIDEO: "Thirty-three years in an Adelaide jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit. Now, the evidence that could clear his name.  (Another superb  criminal  justice documentary by investigative  journalist Graham Archer);

The video can be found at the link below; 

https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/derek-bromley

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

The Reid Technique. (Part 9): Brendan Dassey: Illinois; 'Making a murderer' defence attorney Jerry Buting - author of the new book, 'Illusion of Justice: Inside ‘Making a Murderer’ and America’s Broken System' - answer's 'ChicagoTonights' questions, including: "In contrast with Avery and the evidence the prosecution presented, with Dassey’s case it was all his confession – no DNA evidence. You didn’t represent Dassey in his trial, but what do you see wrong when you watch his confession?"..."Oh, there’s just an abundance of things. And that’s largely because, his confession is not at all unusual, I’ve seen many, many, many like that. It’s a technique that’s used almost universally by American law enforcement called the Reid technique. And the problem with it is that it’s based on 1950s behavioral science myths really that have been disproven by later studies. One of which is that somehow police officers are able to tell who’s telling the truth better than the ordinary person, like they’re human lie detectors, and they’re really not, study after study have shown that not to be the case. Because what this technique does is that it says well once the police officers decide that the person is not telling the truth, the interview then becomes an interrogation and different rules kick in."


POST: "‘Making a Murderer’ Defense Attorney on Broken Justice System," by Crystin Immel, published by 'Chicago Tonight' on March 20, 2017.

GIST: "On Feb. 14, a federal appeals court in Chicago heard arguments in the appeal of Brendan Dassey. Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery have been serving life sentences since 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Their trials were seen by millions in the 10-part Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer.” Avery has a new lawyer from Chicago who is looking into fresh scientific testing to overturn his conviction. Meanwhile, a new book by Jerry Buting, Avery’s former defense attorney, goes inside their cases and others like them to examine the criminal justice system, which he says is badly in need of reforms. “What happened to Avery is not unique,” said Buting. His book is called “Illusion of Justice: Inside ‘Making a Murderer’ and America’s Broken System.” Buting joins host Phil Ponce to discuss the cases and book....In contrast with Avery and the evidence the prosecution presented, with Dassey’s case it was all his confession – no DNA evidence. You didn’t represent Dassey in his trial, but what do you see wrong when you watch his confession?
JB..."Oh, there’s just an abundance of things. And that’s largely because, his confession is not at all unusual, I’ve seen many, many, many like that. It’s a technique that’s used almost universally by American law enforcement called the Reid technique. And the problem with it is that it’s based on 1950s behavioral science myths really that have been disproven by later studies. One of which is that somehow police officers are able to tell who’s telling the truth better than the ordinary person, like they’re human lie detectors, and they’re really not, study after study have shown that not to be the case. Because what this technique does is that it says well once the police officers decide that the person is not telling the truth, the interview then becomes an interrogation and different rules kick in.
So at that point, they will accept no more denials--doesn’t matter how many times a person denies--they will lie to suspects, they will lie to them about the evidence they have, they’ll use all kinds of other techniques, like in Brendan’s case, saying almost good cop/bad cop things where they’re pretending to be a false friend of his saying“I know we’re police officers, but not right now, I’m really a father with a 16 year old son the same as you. And I care about you and I want to help you. We’ll go to bat for you. And everything’s going to be all right for you.” And all these other reassurances over and over and over coupled with statements that “We know what happened, we just have to hear it from you.” And whenever he doesn’t say what they “know” what happened then they correct him and so they’re teaching him “no that’s not right, tell us the truth we know what happened, tell us.” And every time that he guesses at something that’s wrong, they’ll say no so then he has to come up with another guess. And these techniques are risky against people that are vulnerable or very young or mentally limited and easily suggested. They’re also telling him “we’ll go to bat for you and we know he’s the bad guy: Steven Avery, and you can make it look however you want.” So they’re basically giving him carte blanche to just make something up. Then later, they start feeding him facts about something happened to her head, over and over he’s just guessing about what that is. And he can’t say what they want him to say, which is the information that was not yet public which is to say that she was shot in the head. And they can’t get him to say that, he keeps guessing and saying something that seems to be involved with the head, but isn’t what they want so they finally come out with it “who shot her in the head.” Thereby disclosing the information. So, the problem then with Brendan’s confession is not just whether or not he was coerced but also whether or not the technique of feeding facts to him created a statement that just simply wasn’t true and was based on their own theories."





The entire story can be found at:

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2017/03/20/making-murderer-defense-attorney-broken-justice-system

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Aaron Hernandez (Former National League football player): Massachusetts: (Ballistics): "Bradley spent two days testifying under a grant of immunity against Hernandez, whom he met in 2009 in their native Connecticut. Bradley testified Monday Hernandez reached across him from the front passenger seat of a Toyota 4Runner and fired five shots into a BMW, killing de Abreu and Furtado after a brief encounter at a Boston nightclub.........Suffolk First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan finished his direct examination of Bradley Tuesday morning by asking him if he killed de Abreu and Furtado. “Did you shoot those people?” Haggan asked. “No,” Bradley said."


STORY: "‘I just wasn’t going to go down for something he did,’ Hernandez witness says," by reporters Travis Andersen and John R. Ellement, published by The Boston Globe on March 21, 2017.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Alexander Bradley pointed to a scar on his face that he says was caused by a gunshot wound inflicted by Aaron Hernandez."

GIST" "Alexander Bradley finished his direct testimony against one-time “best friend” Aaron Hernandez Tuesday, saying he would have kept silent about a double murder in Boston if only the former New England Patriot had not shot him once between the eyes. “When it came down to it, at the end, I just wasn’t going to go down for something he did,’’ Bradley testified in Suffolk Superior Court. “I probably would have prior [to the shooting,] but I had no more loyalty to him. After what he did to me there was no more loyalty. Prior that, I wouldn’t have cooperated at all.’’ Bradley is the star prosecution witness against Hernandez in his ongoing double murder trial for the July 16, 2012 shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston’s South End. Hernandez is also charged with witness intimidation for shooting Bradley in Florida in 2013. Hernandez, 27, has pleaded not guilty. Bradley spent two days testifying under a grant of immunity against Hernandez, whom he met in 2009 in their native Connecticut. Bradley testified Monday Hernandez reached across him from the front passenger seat of a Toyota 4Runner and fired five shots into a BMW, killing de Abreu and Furtado after a brief encounter at a Boston nightclub.........Suffolk First Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan finished his direct examination of Bradley Tuesday morning by asking him if he killed de Abreu and Furtado. “Did you shoot those people?” Haggan asked. “No,” Bradley said.

Defense attorney Jose Baez began cross examining Bradley by laying out his immunity agreement and establishing that he has sold drugs since around the year 2000...Earlier Tuesday, the defense suffered a setback when Locke ruled jurors will not hear how Bradley opened fire on a Hartford nightclub, information the defense wanted to use as part of their effort to depict Bradley as the shooter in the 2012 double murder in Boston. Locke ruled on Tuesday that a surveillance video showing Bradley shooting into the Vevo nightclub - after Bradley had been shot in the “crotch” - won’t be seen by the jury. Locke also ruled that jurors will not learn that police in Connecticut matched ballistic evidence found at a March 2013 shooting in Bridgeport to the .40 caliber gun Bradley used in Hartford in 2014. Locke ruled the forensic evidence alone was not enough to link Bradley to both shootings. Speaking from the bench as he explained his thinking, Locke said that “viewed in a vaccum,” the Vevo shooting had strong similarities to the shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, whom authorities allege Hernandez murdered after a chance encounter in a Boston nightclub. The Vevo information could lead one “to believe that Bradley was the shooter in our case...Viewed solely in a vacuum,one might suggest that it does. It involves a night time shooting with some connection to a nightclub and it showed somewhat of a brazen use of a firearm to shoot at others,’’ Locke said. But the judge said there was one key difference in that Bradley was retaliating against being shot by another patron from the nightclub while Hernandez is accused of murdering two men because one of them spilled his drink onto the former National Football League player. Also, he said, if he allowed jurors to learn that Bradley is convicted of a shooting, he must also tell them that Hernandez is serving a life sentence for shooting Odin L. Lloyd to death in 2013 in North Attleborough..........After Locke’s ruling, Bradley admitted he was convicted on a drug possession charge in Connecticut in 2006. He also pleaded guilty on Jan. 9, 2017 in Hartford Superior Court to criminal possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, but without any details of the incident being disclosed to the jury."

The entire story can be found at:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/03/21/aaron-hernandez-trial-star-witness-undergo-cross-examination/UQaac0qYntRM5EPjhh5D9K/story.html

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

The Reid Technique: (Part 8): WTLV (Jacksonville, Florida) reporter Anne Schindler takes on "A real whodunnit: The evolving science of false confessions."..."The interrogation technique is designed to get a confession, whether you’re guilty or not," she says. "The problem you’re running into is, you’re not only going to get confessions from those people, you’re going to get confessions from people who didn't do anything wrong. For instance: Brenton Butler." The Butler case is among the most troubling in city history. Wrongfully accused, a 15-year-old confessed to the brutal murder of an elderly Georgia tourist. The teen was eventually acquitted, after spending 6-and-a-half months in jail. The sheriff and state attorney even publicly apologized. But the case showed the power of a coerced confession. It also changed policing in Jacksonville."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The following article, published by 'Law Officer,'  indicates that the decision by Wicklander-Zulawski  to stop training detectives  in The Reid Technique  because of the risk of false confessions "has shaken the profession." This is not  about a passing controversy that can be contained by a damage control press release issued by Reid and Associates - but is rather  about a powerful police tool far too open to abuse and wrongful convictions, which has been in use since 1984. All the more reason  for media to exercise their watchdog function by reporting on local police forces  (As  investigative reporter Anne Schindler does here) and police commissions (and prosecution agencies)   to see if they intend to continue using the much-maligned approach - and whether they are exploring less-confrontational (and thereby less risky) interrogations methods. (And judges in trial and appeal courts - and jurors -  should be extra vigilant when statements taken through application of the Reid method are introduced into their courtrooms.)

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

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STORY: "A real whodunnit: The evolving science of false confessions," by investigative reporter Anne Schindler, published by First Coast News on March 20, 2017. (Anne Schindler joined First Coast News in August 2012 as Executive Producer of Special Projects. She landed in Florida after earning her cold-weather chops attending school in Madison, Wisconsin and balancing bartending/reporting duties in Minneapolis, where she had the privilege of working under the late, great David Carr. Before moving into television, she spent 17 years as a print reporter and editor in Jacksonville.   Schindler has earned two Emmy nominations, and won an Emmy in the Serious Feature category for her story on Floridians chasing the oil boom in North Dakota."

GIST:  "The "good cop/bad cop” drill is familiar to any fan of police procedurals. But they aren’t just fictional TV characters. They’re part of an interrogation technique created in the 1940s by a former Chicago police detective John Reid. The nine-step Reid Technique relies on other easily recognizable law enforcement tropes: tiny interrogation rooms, combative questioning, and a refusal to accept – or even listen to -- pleas of innocence. The technique was once the gold standard of police interrogations, but that’s changing. One of the largest police consulting firms in the world announced last week that it will no longer teach the Reid method, saying it elicits unreliable testimony and false confessions. In a video statement on its website, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates says it’s tossing the technique due to the “inherent risks and pitfalls of using a confrontational, emotional approach” to interviews. The company’s Director of Investigations Dave Thompson observes the technique “can lead to horrendous miscarriages of justice.” Shane Sturman, company president and CEO, told First Coast News response to the change "has been very positive." "You get better information" with less confrontational tactics, he said. Jacksonville criminal defense attorney Ann Finnell agrees. “Anything that’s designed to get a confession is the wrong approach,” she says. “What they should be designed to do is get to the truth.” According to national data by the Innocence Project, about a third of all DNA-based exonerations since 1989 involved false confessions. Research has found everything from interrogation fatigue to sleep deprivation can contribute. But confessions are incredibly persuasive, and juries are inclined to give them great weight. “Think about how a jury perceives a confession,” Finnell says. “It may be better than DNA. It’s perhaps the most damning evidence against an individual there can be.” John Reid & Associates defends the technique, saying unreliable confessions aren’t the fault of the technique, but unskilled practitioners.........Former JSO homicide detective RV Nelson says Reid “was very popular in the ‘80s and ‘90s.” He saw use of the technique diminish over in his 30 years with JSO. “Some people think it's the best thing around, some cringe when you mention it,” he says. Though he was regarded as one of the department's most skilled interrogators, he chose not to use the Reid method. “If it is one that causes you to be in someone’s face and be confrontational … it does more than harm than good,” he says. Finnell routinely asks in deposition whether detectives have trained in Reid, and says they almost always say yes. “It’s the most pervasive technique that’s used.” She believes the focus on confessions skews the outcome. "The interrogation technique is designed to get a confession, whether you’re guilty or not," she says. "The problem you’re running into is, you’re not only going to get confessions from those people, you’re going to get confessions from people who didn't do anything wrong. For instance: Brenton Butler." The Butler case is among the most troubling in city history. Wrongfully accused, a 15-year-old confessed to the brutal murder of an elderly Georgia tourist. The teen was eventually acquitted, after spending 6-and-a-half months in jail. The sheriff and state attorney even publicly apologized. But the case showed the power of a coerced confession. It also changed policing in Jacksonville. JSO began videotaping confessions as a direct result of the Butler case. Still, a confession – regardless of how it was obtained – remains the strongest tool against any defendant. “Unless I can prove that confession was false or that those techniques were over the top, I’m sunk in terms of defending that person. If a jury believes it, that person is going to jail," says Finnell."

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/consumer/on-your-side/the-evolving-science-of-false-confessions/424049950

See Wikipedia account of the Brenton Butler case at the link below; "In May 2000, two tourists from Florida were accosted outside the Ramada Inn on University Boulevard.[1] Mary Ann Stephens was shot in the head in front of her husband and the killer fled.[1] During the subsequent investigation, police picked up Butler, a 15-year-old student at Englewood High School who was on his way to submit a job application to a local Blockbuster Video.[1] Butler was brought to the victim's husband, who identified him as the killer.[1] Police brought Butler in for questioning without a parent or attorney present or informing his parents of his whereabouts, and coerced him into confessing to the murder by signing a timeline of events written by Detective Williams.[1] State Attorney Harry Shorstein decided to prosecute the case. During the trial, Butler went on to testify that two detectives involved in the investigation, including Michael Glover, son of the then current Sheriff Nat Glover, had physically abused him and intimidated him into confessing. Butler was represented by Patrick McGuinness and Ann Finnell, two attorneys from the Public defenders office. They supplied a photograph of Butler with bruises on his face, which they claimed was the result of the interrogation.[1] The jury deliberated for less than an hour before finding Butler not guilty; one juror later cited the testimony about the interrogation as one of the key factors in their decision.[1] State Attorney Shorstein and Jacksonville Sheriff Glover took the unusual steps of apologizing to Butler and re-opening the case of two unrelated suspects.[1] However, Michael Glover denied the allegations against him, and Shorstein said there was no evidence that Butler had been physically abused during the interrogation...After the case, the State Attorney's Office launched a grand jury investigation into the conduct of the officers and prosecutors, while the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office began an internal affairs investigation.[3] The grand jury investigation criticized the prosecutor and police for their handling of the case but found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.[2] The police disciplinary board sought the suspension of three officers and other penalties for two more, but these measures were later largely overturned.[3] Michael Glover retired from JSO and became a private investigator, while Dwayne Darnell was transferred from the homicide division.[1][4] The Butler case opened up discussion about the video taping of police interrogations.[1] At the time of the investigation, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office was in discussions over implementing video recording during interrogations.[1] The office had purchased the equipment and was prepared to start taping interrogations, but held off at the request of the State Attorney's Office.[1] After the grand jury investigation, the Sheriff's office began taping interrogations of juvenile suspects, and implemented other procedural changes recommended by the jury. The Butler case was the subject of the French documentary film Murder on a Sunday Morning, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 74th Academy Awards in 2001.[5] The documentary follows Butler's defense team as they build their case for his innocence. In 2004, Butler wrote a book about his experience, entitled They Said It Was Murder."]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenton_Butler_case

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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Monday, March 20, 2017

William Richards: California; Civil law suit: Junk bite-mark science: Courthouse News Service: "Freed After 23 Years, Californian Wants Answers."..."It took four trials before William J. Richards, of rural San Bernardino County, was convicted for the Aug. 10, 1993 murder of his wife. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second was a mistrial and the third was another hung jury. Richards on Thursday also sued District Attorney Michael Ramos, Deputy District Attorney Michael Risley, and eight other officials involved in his arrest and prosecution. He claims the county fabricated evidence to convict him on its fourth attempt. “Desperate for a conviction, in the fourth trial, defendants introduced — for the first time — false and fabricated bite mark evidence, which directly resulted in the wrongful conviction,” the complaint states."..."Richards’ conviction hinged on evidence that was disputed and even recanted, according to the complaint. Dr. Norman Sperber, chief forensic dentist for San Diego and Imperial Counties, testified at the fourth trial that the bite marks found on the victim showed an abnormality distinctive to Richards that only one or two in 100 people would have. Blue fibers found under Pamela Richards’ fingernails were matched to Richards’ shirt by criminalist Daniel Gregonis, who testified that blood found on Richards’ shoes and the stains on his pants were consistent with blood spatter evidence at the scene. On Dec. 5, 2007, the California Innocence Project filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Richards’ behalf and the court granted him an evidentiary hearing. Richards presented new evidence at the hearing. The cinder block was tested for DNA and a mixture of the victim’s DNA and the DNA of a man other than Richards was found on it. Mitochondrial testing of a hair found in the victim’s fingernails determined that it did not belong to Richards, but to an unknown third party. Photos taken of the victim’s hands were digitally enhanced and it was shown that no blue fibers were in her fingernails before Gregonis discovered them. Dean Gialamas, senior criminalist with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, testified on the blood spatter evidence and disagreed with the conclusion reached by Gregonis. Sperber then essentially reversed his position, testifying that the bite mark was not consistent with Williams’ dental impressions."



STORY: ""Freed After 23 Years, Californian Wants Answers," by reporter Jon Chown, published by The Courthouse News Service on March 20, 2017.

GIST: "Cleared of murder by DNA evidence after spending 23 years in prison for the murder of his wife, a California man brought a federal complaint against San Bernardino County, its district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices and a host of officials. It took four trials before William J. Richards, of rural San Bernardino County, was convicted for the Aug. 10, 1993 murder of his wife. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second was a mistrial and the third was another hung jury. Richards on Thursday also sued District Attorney Michael Ramos, Deputy District Attorney Michael Risley, and eight other officials involved in his arrest and prosecution. He claims the county fabricated evidence to convict him on its fourth attempt. “Desperate for a conviction, in the fourth trial, defendants introduced — for the first time — false and fabricated bite mark evidence, which directly resulted in the wrongful conviction,” the complaint states. It was a brutal murder. Pamela Richards was severely beaten outside her home with fist-sized rocks, strangled, and then a cinder block was dropped on her head, crushing her skull. Blood was found splattered 15 feet away from her body. William Richards, a mechanical engineer, left work at 11:03 p.m. and drove home to a remote area where he and his wife lived in an RV. There was no power and no lights and he did not notice her immediately, but within 10 minutes he found his wife dead on the porch. He cradled her body in horror and then got a call from Eugene Price, her former lover. After a brief discussion, Price told him to call 911, which he did at 11:58 p.m. The timeline, according to the complaint, is critical. It was undisputed that Richards clocked out at 11:03 p.m. and drove home. An investigator’s re-creation of the drive showed he could not have got home before 11:47 p.m. Price called at 11:55 p.m., giving Richards eight minutes or less to commit the murder. A deputy arrived at 12:32 a.m., but did not investigate other than checking the body, which was naked from the waist down and covered by a sleeping bag. Homicide detectives arrived at 3:15 a.m., then left quickly, allowing Richards’ to dog enter the crime scene and partially bury the victim. At 6 a.m., detectives returned and began their job. According to the complaint, this was because detectives had decided from the start that Richards was guilty. They failed to follow up and collect key evidence, such as whether the RV’s battery was dead or had been removed. No fingerprints were sought inside or outside the home, the shed or even on the fist-sized rocks. They did not swab a bite mark found on the victim for the biter’s saliva and a possible DNA link to the killer. A coroner’s medical team never conducted a complete autopsy to determine key questions such as time of death. The entire crime scene was soon destroyed when the RV and all other structures and items were removed from the property. Richards’ conviction hinged on evidence that was disputed and even recanted, according to the complaint. Dr. Norman Sperber, chief forensic dentist for San Diego and Imperial Counties, testified at the fourth trial that the bite marks found on the victim showed an abnormality distinctive to Richards that only one or two in 100 people would have. Blue fibers found under Pamela Richards’ fingernails were matched to Richards’ shirt by criminalist Daniel Gregonis, who testified that blood found on Richards’ shoes and the stains on his pants were consistent with blood spatter evidence at the scene. On Dec. 5, 2007, the California Innocence Project filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on Richards’ behalf and the court granted him an evidentiary hearing. Richards presented new evidence at the hearing. The cinder block was tested for DNA and a mixture of the victim’s DNA and the DNA of a man other than Richards was found on it. Mitochondrial testing of a hair found in the victim’s fingernails determined that it did not belong to Richards, but to an unknown third party. Photos taken of the victim’s hands were digitally enhanced and it was shown that no blue fibers were in her fingernails before Gregonis discovered them. Dean Gialamas, senior criminalist with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, testified on the blood spatter evidence and disagreed with the conclusion reached by Gregonis. Sperber then essentially reversed his position, testifying that the bite mark was not consistent with Williams’ dental impression. At the conclusion of the hearing, according to the complaint, Superior Court Judge Brian McCarville concluded that the evidence created a fundamental doubt as to the accuracy and reliability of the evidence presented at trial.........In the complaint, he (Richards)  accuses Gregonis of planting the blue fibers. Others are accused of lying on the stand. Williams’ attorney Jan Stiglitz commented: “I expect the county to continue to take the position that Bill killed his wife. This is despite DNA evidence found on the murder weapon and under the victim’s fingernail that could not have come from Bill. In fact, the county was all set to retry Bill after the supreme court reversal, and only backed off after we filed a malicious prosecution motion.”

The entire story can be found at:
 
 https://www.courthousenews.com/freed-23-years-innocent-man-wants-answers/
 
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/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;