Sunday, January 29, 2023

Richard Glossip: Oklahoma; (Destruction of crucial evidence/government misconduct): (Welcome) Development: The state Attorney General has appointed a special counsel to conduct a ‘thorough review’ of this death row prisoner who has faced nine execution dates despite strong evidence that he is innocent of the 1997 alleged murder-for-hire of an Oklahoma City motel owner, The Death Penalty Information Centre reports..."While (AG) Drummond expressed confidence in Oklahoma’s judicial system, he said that confidence “does not allow me to ignore evidence.” Part of that evidence is a 343-page independent report commissioned in February 2022 by a bipartisan group of 35 Oklahoma legislators that revealed extensive evidence supporting Glossip’s innocence claim. Stan Perry, who led the investigation by the law firm Reed Smith, concluded, “No reasonable jury, hearing the complete record and the uncovered facts detailed in this report, would have convicted Richard Glossip of capital murder.”


QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Glossip’s lawyer, Don Knight, issued a statement praising Drummond’s decision to reinvestigate the case. “The new evidence we have uncovered since 2015 shows conclusively, as the first independent investigation by Reed Smith found, that no reasonable juror who viewed all the evidence would find Mr. Glossip guilty of murder for hire,” Knight said. “We are confident that this new investigation will reach the same conclusion.”


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STORY: "Oklahoma Attorney General Appoints Special Counsel to Conduct 'Thorough Review' of Richard Glossip's Case,"  published on January 26, 2023.

GIST: "Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has In a news release issued January 26, 2023, two days after the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals rescheduled Glossip’s execution from February 16 to May 18, 2023, Drummond said that Rex Duncan (pictured), a former Republican state representative and two-term Osage County District Attorney, would conduct an independent investigation into Glossip’s innocence claim.


Although the Oklahoma courts had refused to grant Glossip a hearing on his allegations of innocence, he is still permitted to present those allegations to the Oklahoma Board of Pardons as part of clemency proceedings. 


“As my office will represent the State at the clemency hearing,” Drummond said, “it is my responsibility to ensure that we are appropriately responding to all evidence that has been presented through Mr. Glossip’s conviction and incarceration. Circumstances surrounding this case necessitate a thorough review.”


While Drummond expressed confidence in Oklahoma’s judicial system, he said that confidence “does not allow me to ignore evidence.” Part of that evidence is a 343-page independent report commissioned in February 2022 by a bipartisan group of 35 Oklahoma legislators that revealed extensive evidence supporting Glossip’s innocence claim. Stan Perry, who led the investigation by the law firm Reed Smith, concluded, “No reasonable jury, hearing the complete record and the uncovered facts detailed in this report, would have convicted Richard Glossip of capital murder.”


Glossip’s lawyer, Don Knight, issued a statement praising Drummond’s decision to reinvestigate the case. “The new evidence we have uncovered since 2015 shows conclusively, as the first independent investigation by Reed Smith found, that no reasonable juror who viewed all the evidence would find Mr. Glossip guilty of murder for hire,” Knight said. “We are confident that this new investigation will reach the same conclusion.”


Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1997 murder of his boss, motel owner Barry Van Treese. After his initial conviction was overturned, he tried a second time and again ssentenced to death. Glossip has consistently professed his innocence.


No physical evidence links Glossip to the murder, and the prosecution’s case rested on the self-serving testimony of his co-defendant, Justin Sneed, who confessed to killing Van Treese but, after numerous inconsistent statements, eventually claimed that Glossip had hired him to do so. In exchange for his testimony, Sneed avoided the death penalty.


Glossip came within hours of being executed in September 2015 before his execution was halted by then-Governor Mary Fallin when she was advised that the compounding pharmacy that supplied execution drugs to the state had substituted an unauthorized drug for one of the drugs required in Oklahoma’s execution protocol.


In February 2022, a bipartisan group of 35 Oklahoma legislators, led by Republican State Representative Kevin McDugle, engaged pro bono attorneys at Reed Smith to review Glossip’s case. 


The investigation team reviewed 12,000 documents, interviewed witnesses and jurors, and uncovered evidence that had never been presented to a jury. 


The firm’s report revealed that the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office had told police during the time that Glossip’s retrial was pending to destroy a box of evidence.


 Records indicate the box included financial  records, duct tape, and a shower curtain from the crime scene.


Surveillance video from a nearby gas station that showed an unknown individual leaving the crime scene the night of Van Treese’s murder was entered into evidence, but then disappeared. 


McDugle called the destruction of evidence “gross misconduct,” saying, “We don’t seek convictions, we seek justice. If a defense attorney had done what the DA’s office did … charges would’ve been brought for obstructing justice.”


The report called the police investigation “sloppy and truncated” and sharply criticized law enforcement for an interrogation of Sneed in which they asked numerous leading questions that implied Glossip had been involved in the murder.


A supplemental report issued by the law firm subsequently revealed communications between Sneed and his lawyer suggesting that Sneed had wished to recant his testimony. 


The investigators also learned of communications between prosecutors and Sneed during the second trial, in violation of a witness sequestration order, that informed Sneed of other witness’s testimony so he could change the story he told the jury to avoid inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case.


Glossip filed two new challenges to his conviction based upon the new evidence, both of which were dismissed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals without a hearing. In response, McDugle, who previously described himself as a strong proponent of capital punishment, wrote a blistering op-ed in The Oklahoman saying: “if the [Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals] cannot grant a hearing on this flimsy death penalty conviction, my confidence as a legislator in our state’s judicial system, and its ability to make just decisions and take responsibility for its failures, has been destroyed.”


McDugle has vowed to work to repeal the state’s death penalty statute if Glossip is executed."


The entire story can be read at:


https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/news/oklahoma-attorney-general-appoints-special-counsel-to-conduct-thorough-review-of-richard-glossips-case

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG, AT THE LINK BELOW: HL:

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985

FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;

—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Dr. Kirsty Wright: Australia: Beleaguered Queensland DNA Laboratory: A most unusual, well-deserved distinction: It's not every day that a decorated forensic biologist is nominated for a prestigious newspaper's 'Australian of the Year' award, "for risking her career and reputation when she set out to expose one of the greatest failures in Australia’s criminal justice system."..."A decorated forensic biologist, Dr Wright was relentless in her pursuit for the truth after discovering horrifying problems in the Queensland government’s DNA laboratory. Dr Wright teamed with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas in 2021 on his investigative podcast series Shandee’s Story, which was investigating the 2013 stabbing murder of Shandee Blackburn, 23. After reviewing material sent by Thomas, Dr Wright quickly became convinced the lab had concealed systemic issues with its methods, putting the public at risk from serious and violent offenders who were not being identified. In the beginning, she stood alone in raising grave concerns on the podcast and in the pages of The Australian. Senior bureaucrats and lab staff tried to silence her and paint her as a disgruntled employee. But Dr Wright refused to take a backward step, and relentlessly called for a powerful public ­inquiry to investigate the lab. After six months, Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk heeded her warnings and ordered a royal commission-style inquiry into the lab, giving thousands of murder and rape victims another chance at justice."


QUOTE OF THE  DAY: "In the final DNA inquiry ­report handed down last month, commissioner Walter Sofronoff praised Dr Wright. “It is uncommon for technical professionals to be willing to risk the dangers of publicity,” he wrote. “For this reason, Dr Kirsty Wright must be singled out as a scientist who bravely took a public position upon a point of important principle only because the public good required her to do so. “Had she given private advice to Mr Thomas, nobody would have judged her. In my opinion her willingness to take a public stand was an act of real bravery.”

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Dr Wright teamed with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas in 2021 on his investigative podcast series Shandee’s Story, which was investigating the 2013 stabbing murder of Shandee Blackburn, 23. After reviewing material sent by Thomas, Dr Wright quickly became convinced the lab had concealed systemic issues with its methods, putting the public at risk from serious and violent offenders who were not being identified. In the beginning, she stood alone in raising grave concerns on the podcast and in the pages of The Australian. Senior bureaucrats and lab staff tried to silence her and paint her as a disgruntled employee. After six months, Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk heeded her warnings and ordered a royal commission-style inquiry into the lab, giving thousands of murder and rape victims another chance at justice. Dr Wright is humble about the impact of her discoveries and has always said she wanted to be proven wrong."

STORY: "The Australian's Australian of the Year: Risking all to give crime victims a chance at justice,"  by Reporter Lydia Linch, published by The Australian, on January 13, 2023. 

GIST: "STORY: Lydia Lynch covers state and federal politics for The Australian in Queensland. She previously covered politics at Brisbane Times and has worked as a reporter at the North West Star in Mount Isa.


GIST: Kirsty Wright risked her career and reputation when she set out to expose one of the greatest failures in Australia’s criminal justice system.


A decorated forensic biologist, Dr Wright was relentless in her pursuit for the truth after discovering horrifying problems in the Queensland government’s DNA laboratory.


Dr Wright teamed with The Australian’s Hedley Thomas in 2021 on his investigative podcast series Shandee’s Story, which was investigating the 2013 stabbing murder of Shandee Blackburn, 23.


After reviewing material sent by Thomas, Dr Wright quickly became convinced the lab had concealed systemic issues with its methods, putting the public at risk from serious and violent offenders who were not being identified.


In the beginning, she stood alone in raising grave concerns on the podcast and in the pages of The Australian.


Senior bureaucrats and lab staff tried to silence her and paint her as a disgruntled employee.


After six months, Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk heeded her warnings and ordered a royal commission-style inquiry into the lab, giving thousands of murder and rape victims another chance at justice.


Dr Wright is humble about the impact of her discoveries and has always said she wanted to be proven wrong.


In the final DNA inquiry ­report handed down last month, commissioner Walter Sofronoff praised Dr Wright.


“It is uncommon for technical professionals to be willing to risk the dangers of publicity,” he wrote.


“For this reason, Dr Kirsty Wright must be singled out as a scientist who bravely took a public position upon a point of important principle only because the public good required her to do so.


“Had she given private advice to Mr Thomas, nobody would have judged her. In my opinion her willingness to take a public stand was an act of real bravery.”


In doing so, she has been nominated for The Australian’s Australian of the Year award.


Before her work on Shandee’s Story, Dr Wright ran the national DNA database and led efforts to identify victims of the Bali bombings and the Boxing Day tsunami. 


Her assistance in recovering and identifying the remains of murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe earned her a Queensland Police Commissioner’s Award."


The entire story can be read at:



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG, AT THE LINK BELOW: HL:

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985

FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;

—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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Friday, January 27, 2023

Annie Dookhan; Sonja Farak: Massachusetts: Victims of the tainted drug evidence scandals (massive drug lab disasters) are still waiting for settlement payments, DigBoston (Writer Zack Huffman) reports..."Since the 2010s, two separate scandals were uncovered in the state’s drug labs, which is where substances assumed to be drugs by arresting officers are tested to confirm that arrestees were actually holding. Both scandals, involving chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak, respectively involved tampered or fabricating drug evidence, casting tens of thousands of convictions into doubt. Most of those convictions have since been vacated, but despite having clean(er) records, those folks have yet to be reimbursed for the court fees and processing costs associated with their wrongful convictions. The fees included victim-witness fees, probation fees, parole fees, DNA collection fees, drug analysis criminal assessment fees, and driver’s license reinstatement fees. There is a standing court order calling for those refunds, but those same people who fell victim to tainted prosecutions are still waiting for their reimbursement checks."


QUOTE OF THE DAY:  "“The feedback I’ve gotten is that people haven’t gotten their check yet and they’re understandably anxious to receive compensation,” said Luke Ryan, an attorney with Sasson, Turnbull, Ryan & Hoose who has been actively involved in the effort to find justice for families caught up in the state drug lab scandal from a decade ago."

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Since the 2010s, two separate scandals were uncovered in the state’s drug labs, which is where substances assumed to be drugs by arresting officers are tested to confirm that arrestees were actually holding. Both scandals, involving chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak, respectively involved tampered or fabricating drug evidence, casting tens of thousands of convictions into doubt. Most of those convictions have since been vacated, but despite having clean(er) records, those folks have yet to be reimbursed for the court fees and processing costs associated with their wrongful convictions.  The fees included victim-witness fees, probation fees, parole fees, DNA collection fees, drug analysis criminal assessment fees, and driver’s license reinstatement fees. There is a standing court order calling for those refunds, but those same people who fell victim to tainted prosecutions are still waiting for their reimbursement checks. Dookhan, a chemist at the Hinton State Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, was arrested in September 2012 after it was discovered that she had been fudging her analyses in order to pad her test sample outputs.  She reportedly produced results at five times the average of other technicians in the lab, but it still took almost a decade before she was caught. Meanwhile, Farak, who worked as a chemist at both the state’s Hinton and Amherst labs, was dipping into drug samples from 2005 to 2013 for her own personal use. She was caught in 2016. Dookhan doctored drug evidence in almost 34,000 cases from 2003 to 2012—accounting for one in six cases tried in the state during that period. Over 24,000 of those cases ended in convictions or other negative outcomes, according to the ACLU of Massachusetts, which handled appeals for these defendants. That announcement came in 2016, and was followed by a court order to overturn those convictions in early 2017. In December 2017, district attorneys across the state announced they would be overturning about 6,000 more convictions that relied on tainted evidence from Farak. Those who were impacted by the disaster had their records cleaned, but still had to endure seemingly endless court-related costs and fees. 


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STORY: "Tainted Drug Evidence Victims Still Waiting For Settlement Payments," by Writer Zack Huffman, published by DigBoston, on January 10, 2023. (DigBoston describes itself as  a one-stop nexus for everything worth doing or knowing in the Boston area. It's an alt-weekly).

Graphic Caption: “We’ve got a system in place where it’s just, grab this money from mostly poor people, but don’t have mechanisms in place to really account for what’s taken.”


GIST: "It may be a new year, but tens of thousands of individuals wrongfully convicted on drug charges in Massachusetts with tampered evidence are still waiting for payments from the state as part of a court settlement approved two months ago.



Anatomy of a disaster

Since the 2010s, two separate scandals were uncovered in the state’s drug labs, which is where substances assumed to be drugs by arresting officers are tested to confirm that arrestees were actually holding.


Both scandals, involving chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak, respectively involved tampered or fabricating drug evidence, casting tens of thousands of convictions into doubt.


Most of those convictions have since been vacated, but despite having clean(er) records, those folks have yet to be reimbursed for the court fees and processing costs associated with their wrongful convictions. 


The fees included victim-witness fees, probation fees, parole fees, DNA collection fees, drug analysis criminal assessment fees, and driver’s license reinstatement fees.


There is a standing court order calling for those refunds, but those same people who fell victim to tainted prosecutions are still waiting for their reimbursement checks.


Dookhan, a chemist at the Hinton State Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, was arrested in September 2012 after it was discovered that she had been fudging her analyses in order to pad her test sample outputs. 


She reportedly produced results at five times the average of other technicians in the lab, but it still took almost a decade before she was caught.


Meanwhile, Farak, who worked as a chemist at both the state’s Hinton and Amherst labs, was dipping into drug samples from 2005 to 2013 for her own personal use. She was caught in 2016.


Dookhan doctored drug evidence in almost 34,000 cases from 2003 to 2012—accounting for one in six cases tried in the state during that period.


 Over 24,000 of those cases ended in convictions or other negative outcomes, according to the ACLU of Massachusetts, which handled appeals for these defendants.


That announcement came in 2016, and was followed by a court order to overturn those convictions in early 2017.


In December 2017, district attorneys across the state announced they would be overturning about 6,000 more convictions that relied on tainted evidence from Farak. Those who were impacted by the disaster had their records cleaned, but still had to endure seemingly endless court-related costs and fees. 


The settlement

On Oct. 29, 2019, a collection of Dookhan and Farak defendants sued the state in Suffolk County Superior Court seeking reimbursement for all of the financial costs they endured as a result of their respectively rigged cases.


“As both the U.S. Supreme Court and the SJC [Supreme Judicial Court] have held, and as the Commonwealth has publicly acknowledged, due process requires that money paid by individuals based on their now-vacated, wrongful convictions must be returned,” according to the 16-page lawsuit.


The end result was a $14 million settlement that was approved by a Suffolk Superior Court judge last October.


“I think one of the many lessons in this saga is the fact that we’ve had this system in place, where people decided many years ago user fees should be a big part of the court experience for those prosecuted,” said Ryan, the attorney working for affected families. “We’ve got a system in place where it’s just, grab this money from mostly poor people, but don’t have mechanisms in place to really account for what’s taken.”


The settlement class includes more than 31,000 people, each of which the state is required to notify with instructions for how to get their respective payment. 


Those individuals had to be identified and then compiled into a list that the state’s payment administrator could refer to when issuing checks. There are a lot of moving parts working with an unusually large set of recipients.


“I think the delay in payment is largely a function of the large number of class members and some of the complications that have plagued this litigation with respect to record-keeping issues,” Ryan said. “I have no reason to believe that payments are not imminent.”


He added that individuals who were not notified by the state, but still believe they may have been impacted by the actions of Farak and Dookhan, can file.


“Individuals who believe that they were erroneously excluded from the class have the right to contest that. If people are dissatisfied with the amount that they receive, they can challenge that as well by filing a refund amount claim,” Ryan said. “These are unlikely to be life-changing sums of money, but this is money that people are owed. If the money doesn’t get distributed to class members, it’s gonna go to some very worthy nonprofits, but even the nonprofits really want to see class members get everything they’re entitled to.”


The Attorney General’s Office did not respond to a request for comment."


This article is syndicated by the MassWire news service of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. If you want to see more reporting like this, make a contribution at givetobinj.org.


 The entire story can be read at:


https://digboston.com/tainted-drug-evidence-victims-still-waiting-for-settlement-payments/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG, AT THE LINK BELOW: HL:

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985

FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;

—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Ian Albert Schweitzer: Hawaii; Jailhouse informants, flawed forensics and much more. (Major (Welcome) Development: Free at last (sentenced to 130 years in prison) The Black Wall Street Times (Associated Press) reports..."New DNA evidence, according to the petition, shows a “Jimmy Z” brand T-shirt found near Ireland and soaked with her blood belonged to the same unknown man, and not to one of the three men, as prosecutors claimed. Additionally, a new tire tread analysis concluded Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle car didn’t leave the tire marks at either location where Ireland and her bicycle were found. A forensic odontologist also concluded an injury on her left breast wasn’t a bite mark, as previously believed, the petition said. “At a new trial today, a jury would not convict Mr. Schweitzer of Ms. Ireland’s sexual assault and murder,” the petition said. “In fact, a prosecutor would likely not even arrest Mr. Schweitzer for this crime.”



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: What do police informants have to do with forensic science? (I'm glad you asked). Investigative  Reporter Pamela Colloff give us  a clue when she writes - at the link below -  "I’ve wanted to write about jailhouse informants for a long time because they often appear in troubled cases in which the other evidence is weak." That's my experience as  will as a criminal lawyer and an observer of criminal justice. Given the reality that jurors - thanks to the CSI effect - are becoming more and more insistent on the need for there to be forensic evidence, it is becoming more and more common for police to rely on shady tactics such as use of police snitches, staging lineups, coercing, inducing, or creating false confessions out of thin air, procuring false eyewitness testimony or concealing exculpatory evidence. "
Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The slaying of the blond-haired, blue-eyed visitor from Virginia gained national attention and remained unsolved for years, putting intense pressure on police to find the killer. “Whenever you have a white, female victim … it gets a lot more attention than people of color and Native Hawaiians,” said Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. “The parents, understandably, were becoming more and more infuriated. … There was insurmountable pressure to solve this case. And when that happens, mistakes are made. Some intentional and some unintentional.”

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "In 1994, police made what they believed to be a major breakthrough. A man facing charges for his role in a cocaine conspiracy contacted police and claimed his half-brother, Frank Pauline Jr., witnessed Ireland’s attack, according to the stipulated facts document. Police interviewed Pauline, who was in his third month of a 10-year sentence for an unrelated sex assault and theft. He claimed brothers Ian and Shawn Schweitzer attacked and killed Ireland. But he was interviewed at least seven times and gave inconsistent accounts each time, eventually incriminating himself, the stipulation document said. Despite the lack of evidence linking them to the killing, the two Schweitzers and Pauline were indicted in 1997. Informant lied to get less time:" At one point the charges were dismissed because all three men were excluded as the source of semen found in Ireland and on a hospital gurney sheet. They were indicted again after another informant claimed Ian Schweitzer confessed to him in jail that Pauline raped and killed Ireland. Pauline later said he offered details to police about the Ireland murder in order to get drug charges dropped against his half-brother."


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STORY: "Hawaii man freed from prison after  DNA proves innocence," by The Associated Press, published by The Black Wall Street Times, on January 25, 2023.

GIST: "A judge on Tuesday ordered a man released from prison immediately after his attorneys presented new evidence and argued that he didn’t commit the crimes he was convicted of and spent more than 20 years locked up for: the 1991 murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of a woman visiting Hawaii.

Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, who was convicted in 2000 and sentenced to 130 years in prison, should be “released from his shackles immediately,” Judge Peter Kubota ruled.


That prompted applause in the Hilo courtroom and hugs for Schweitzer, who was flown to the Big Island for the hearing from the Arizona prison where he was serving his sentence.


“My feelings were all over the place,” Schweitzer told the AP during a phone interview in recalling the moment of his release. “Nerves, anxiety, scared.”


The justice system is “flawed,” he said, calling himself one of many imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. He earlier told reporters that he was “grateful” for the judge doing the “honorable thing.”


A petition filed late Monday outlined additional evidence in one of Hawaii’s biggest murders, which unfolded on Christmas Eve in 1991 on the Big Island.

Dana Ireland, 23, was found barely alive in the bushes along a fishing trail in Puna, a remote section of the island. She had been sexually assaulted and beaten, and later died at Hilo Medical Center. The mangled bicycle she had been riding was found several miles away and appeared to have been run into by a vehicle.


The slaying of the blond-haired, blue-eyed visitor from Virginia gained national attention and remained unsolved for years, putting intense pressure on police to find the killer.


“Whenever you have a white, female victim … it gets a lot more attention than people of color and Native Hawaiians,” said Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. 


“The parents, understandably, were becoming more and more infuriated. … There was insurmountable pressure to solve this case. And when that happens, mistakes are made. Some intentional and some unintentional.”


Ireland’s relatives couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on the petition and Schweitzer’s release. Prosecutors didn’t immediately comment on Schweitzer’s release.


Innocence project scores another win

With help from the Innocence Project in New York, the co-counsel in the case, Lawson’s group represented Schweitzer, the last of three Native Hawaiian men convicted in Ireland’s death who had remained imprisoned.


Hawaii Innocence Project co-director Kenneth Lawson, background center, and law students go over files and photos related to the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland in Honolulu on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. 


DNA evidence previously submitted in the case belonged to an unknown man and all three of the convicted men were excluded as sources.


New DNA evidence, according to the petition, shows a “Jimmy Z” brand T-shirt found near Ireland and soaked with her blood belonged to the same unknown man, and not to one of the three men, as prosecutors claimed.


Additionally, a new tire tread analysis concluded Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle car didn’t leave the tire marks at either location where Ireland and her bicycle were found. A forensic odontologist also concluded an injury on her left breast wasn’t a bite mark, as previously believed, the petition said.


“At a new trial today, a jury would not convict Mr. Schweitzer of Ms. Ireland’s sexual assault and murder,” the petition said. “In fact, a prosecutor would likely not even arrest Mr. Schweitzer for this crime.”

Conviction integrity agreement

The likelihood that all three men participated in a sexual attack and left no trace of biological evidence — including a lack of evidence uncovered with advanced forensic testing — is “extraordinarily improbable,” the petition said.


In 2019, Schweitzer’s attorneys and Hawaii County prosecutors entered into a “conviction integrity agreement” to reinvestigate the case. It was the first time in Hawaii there has been this type of agreement, Lawson said, which is increasingly being used to reexamine questionable convictions and guard against future errors.


“Over the last three years, we have shared information and re-examined forensic evidence. No matter the outcome in these post-conviction proceedings, we remain committed to identifying unknown male #1 and seeking justice for Dana Ireland and her `ohana,” Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen said in a statement before the ruling, using the Hawaiian word for “family.”


Prosecutor disagrees with ruling

However, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Shannon Kagawa asked the judge to deny the petition, saying the new evidence wouldn’t change the outcome of a new trial.


Kubota disagreed, saying that based on the new evidence, a jury would acquit Schweitzer.


Much of the background on the Ireland case is detailed in a document filed with the petition listing facts that defense attorneys and prosecutors have stipulated.


In 1994, police made what they believed to be a major breakthrough. A man facing charges for his role in a cocaine conspiracy contacted police and claimed his half-brother, Frank Pauline Jr., witnessed Ireland’s attack, according to the stipulated facts document.


Police interviewed Pauline, who was in his third month of a 10-year sentence for an unrelated sex assault and theft. He claimed brothers Ian and Shawn Schweitzer attacked and killed Ireland. But he was interviewed at least seven times and gave inconsistent accounts each time, eventually incriminating himself, the stipulation document said.


Despite the lack of evidence linking them to the killing, the two Schweitzers and Pauline were indicted in 1997.


Informant lied to get less time

At one point the charges were dismissed because all three men were excluded as the source of semen found in Ireland and on a hospital gurney sheet. They were indicted again after another informant claimed Ian Schweitzer confessed to him in jail that Pauline raped and killed Ireland.


Pauline later said he offered details to police about the Ireland murder in order to get drug charges dropped against his half-brother.


In a prison interview with the A&E show “American Justice,” Pauline compared his story to the tale of the boy who cried wolf. “Wasn’t me,” he said in a strong Hawaii Pidgin accent. But when he started telling the truth, he said no one believed him.


Shawn Schweitzer took a deal to plead guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping — and receive credit for about a year served and five years of probation — after seeing juries convict Pauline and his brother in 2000.


Back home

In October, Shawn Schweitzer met with prosecutors and recanted. According to the stipulation document, he pleaded guilty because his “parents did not want to risk losing another son and encouraged Shawn Schweitzer to do what he needed to do to come home and not suffer the same fate as his brother.”


Shawn Schweitzer “continues to feel immense guilt about agreeing to the confession and entering a guilty plea for a crime he did not commit and falsely implicating his brother,” the document said.


A polygraph test in November showed he was telling the truth when he denied any involvement in the murder, the document said.


Pauline was killed in a New Mexico prison by a fellow inmate in 2015.


Being back in Hawaii “tastes great,” Schweitzer told the AP.


“The air is good,” he said. “The water is good.”"


The entire story can be read at:

https://theblackwallsttimes.com/2023/01/25/hawaii-man-freed-from-prison-after-dna-proves-innocence/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG, AT THE LINK BELOW: HL:

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985

FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;

—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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YET ANOTHER FINAL WORD: "The slaying of the blond-haired, blue-eyed visitor from Virginia gained national attention and remained unsolved for years, putting intense pressure on police to find the killer. “Whenever you have a white, female victim … it gets a lot more attention than people of color and Native Hawaiians,” said Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. “The parents, understandably, were becoming more and more infuriated. … There was insurmountable pressure to solve this case. And when that happens, mistakes are made. Some intentional and some unintentional.”

On exoneration of Albert Ian Schweitzer;

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Andrew Malkinson: U.K. (Major (Welcome) Developments: A new suspect has been arrested one suspicion of the Manchester rape for which he served 17 years - and, as a result of a DNA breakthrough, his case has been sent to the British Court of Appeal. Reporter Emily Dugan; The Guardian..."There was never any DNA evidence linking Malkinson to the crime and he always insisted he was innocent, spending a decade longer in prison as a result. A DNA profile on the victim’s clothing was found by experts commissioned by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which decides if cases can be referred back to the court of appeal. The CCRC had been considering Malkinson’s case since his lawyer at the charity Appeal sent it new DNA evidence in May 2021 said to show traces of another unknown male on fragments of the victim’s clothes. Malkinson, who went for a long walk by the sea on learning the news, said: “I am innocent. Finally I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at Appeal. I only have one life, and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?” The prosecution’s case relied entirely on eyewitness identification, and the lack of DNA evidence was explained away by saying Malkinson was “forensically aware” and had deliberately not left any trace."



QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Helen Pitcher, the chair of the CCRC, said: “This referral highlights the importance of the CCRC to our criminal justice system. New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in this case years after our first review of Mr Malkinson’s application. “In the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial that there is an independent body who can undertake these inquiries and send cases of concern back to court. “Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state of the art DNA testing. The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions. It is now for the court of appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.”

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SECOND QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Emily Bolton, the director of Appeal and Malkinson’s lawyer, said they welcomed the chance to clear his name but that “the battle for justice is not yet over. “The court of appeal will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe. ”Bolton said she hoped police and the prosecution would focus their resources on bringing “the real perpetrator of this crime to justice”, rather than opposing the appeal. The CCRC had twice previously turned down Malkinson’s attempts to overturn his conviction, in 2012 and 2020. It said the science used in its latest review was not available when it first looked at the case."


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PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  "Malkinson did not match key parts of the victim’s original description of the attacker. She said she remembered causing a “deep scratch” to her attacker’s right cheek but Malkinson was seen at work with no scratches the next day. He was also 3in taller, had chest hair, when her attacker’s chest was described as hairless and shiny, and had prominent tattoos on his forearms when no tattoos were mentioned."

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STORY: "New suspect arrested on suspicion of Manchester rape for which man served 17 years, by Reporter Emily Dugan, published by The Guardian, on January 24, 2023.

SUB-HEADING: "Andrew Malkinson's  case sent to Court of Appeal, after DNA breakthrough."

GIST: "A man has been arrested on suspicion of committing a rape for which another man served 17 years in prison.


Andrew Malkinson was convicted of raping a 33-year-old woman by a motorway in Greater Manchester in 2003. The case is being sent back to the court of appeal after a DNA breakthrough.


A 48-year-old man from Exeter was arrested on 13 December last year on suspicion of the rape, Greater Manchester police confirmed on Tuesday. He has been released under investigation.


There was never any DNA evidence linking Malkinson to the crime and he always insisted he was innocent, spending a decade longer in prison as a result.


A DNA profile on the victim’s clothing was found by experts commissioned by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which decides if cases can be referred back to the court of appeal.


The CCRC had been considering Malkinson’s case since his lawyer at the charity Appeal sent it new DNA evidence in May 2021 said to show traces of another unknown male on fragments of the victim’s clothes.


Malkinson, who went for a long walk by the sea on learning the news, said: “I am innocent. Finally I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at Appeal. I only have one life, and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?”


The prosecution’s case relied entirely on eyewitness identification, and the lack of DNA evidence was explained away by saying Malkinson was “forensically aware” and had deliberately not left any trace.


Malkinson did not match key parts of the victim’s original description of the attacker. She said she remembered causing a “deep scratch” to her attacker’s right cheek but Malkinson was seen at work with no scratches the next day. He was also 3in taller, had chest hair, when her attacker’s chest was described as hairless and shiny, and had prominent tattoos on his forearms when no tattoos were mentioned.


Testing using new forensic techniques in 2020 showed traces of male DNA on fingernail scrapings, as well as on fragments of her clothing, that did not match Malkinson.


Emily Bolton, the director of Appeal and Malkinson’s lawyer, said they welcomed the chance to clear his name but that “the battle for justice is not yet over.


“The court of appeal will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe.”


Bolton said she hoped police and the prosecution would focus their resources on bringing “the real perpetrator of this crime to justice”, rather than opposing the appeal.


The CCRC had twice previously turned down Malkinson’s attempts to overturn his conviction, in 2012 and 2020. It said the science used in its latest review was not available when it first looked at the case.


Helen Pitcher, the chair of the CCRC, said: “This referral highlights the importance of the CCRC to our criminal justice system. New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in this case years after our first review of Mr Malkinson’s application.


“In the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial that there is an independent body who can undertake these inquiries and send cases of concern back to court.


“Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state of the art DNA testing. The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions. It is now for the court of appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.”


A GMP spokesperson said: “Greater Manchester police will continue to assist and co-operate with the CCRC’s review of this case.


 Following the discovery of new DNA evidence a full forensic review is now taking place and on 13 December 2022 a 48-year-old man from Exeter was arrested on suspicion of a rape which took place in July 2003. 


He has been released under investigation.”


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jan/24/manchester-rape-suspect-dna-appeal

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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;


SEE BREAKDOWN OF SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG, AT THE LINK BELOW: HL:

https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985

FINAL WORD: (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases): "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;

—————————————————————————————————

FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions. They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!

Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

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