Friday, July 1, 2022

Barry Morphew: Colorado: Another one from our 'When you think you've heard everything' department: Once charged with murdering her (the charge was dropped shortly before his trial was too begin), Barry Morphew has appeared in court for allegedly casting a ballet in his missing wife's name, KRDO News (Reporter Sydnee Scofield) reports..."After a detective got the evidence, on April 22, 2021, (the alleged forged ballot. HL) FBI agents met with Barry Morphew in person near the Franz Lake area. This was before Morphew was taken into custody for a first-degree murder charge. During the interview, the agents asked Barry why he submitted Suzanne's election ballot. According to the affidavit, Barry replied, "Just because I wanted Trump to win ... I just thought, give him another vote, I figured all these other guys are cheating." Barry also told the FBI agents, "I know [Suzanne] was going to vote for Trump anyway." The FBI agents asked Morphew if he knew that it was illegal, and he replied saying, "I didn't know you couldn't do that for your spouse."

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "While the murder charges against Morphew were dismissed, he's still facing three charges in a separate case. He's facing two felony charges, for forgery and attempting to influence a public servant. He's facing a third misdemeanor election charge. The active charges stem from allegations that Morphew cast a ballot in his missing wife's name in October of 2020. According to an affidavit filed in Colorado Court, Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell reported on Oct. 22 that the office had received a ballot that was "predesignated for a missing person, identified as Suzanne Morphew." The County Clerk gave the ballot to a Chaffee County Sheriff's Office sergeant as evidence. The ballot had an address listed as 19057 Puma Path in Salida, which is where the Morphews resided. The ballot didn't have a signature, but it did have a "handwritten date of 10/15/20" and the handwritten name of "Barry Lee Morphew on the designated signature line of Witness' Legal Name," according to the affidavit."

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STORY: Barry Morphew appears in court for allegedly casting a ballet  in his missing wife's name," KRDO News (Reporter Sydnee Scofield) reports, on June 30, 2022.

GIST: "Barry Morphew appeared over video conference in a Chaffee County courtroom Thursday on his voting fraud charges. He's accused of casting a ballot for Donald Trump in his missing wife's name months after she vanished in 2020.


Suzanne Morphew was reported missing by neighbors on Mother's Day of 2020. Morphew, her husband, says he was in a Denver suburb for work at the time of her disappearance.


The 11th Judicial District Attorney's Office charged Morphew with the murder of his wife in May of 2021, a year after she was reported missing. 


Amid allegations that the DA's office was not following pre-trial procedure and was failing to disclose evidence favorable to Morphew to his attorneys and the court, District Attorney Linda Stanley announced she would drop the murder charges against Morphew in April of 2022, days before his trial was scheduled to begin.



Morphew told investigators he thought she may have been out for a bike ride when she vanished, as she had recently started taking daily bike rides. Searchers found her bike over the side of a county road roughly a half-mile from the Morphew home in Chaffee County. 


Her helmet was found roughly a mile down the same road days later. Investigators testified that there was no evidence of a crash or attack where the bike was found.


While the murder charges against Morphew were dismissed, he's still facing three charges in a separate case. He's facing two felony charges, for forgery and attempting to influence a public servant. He's facing a third misdemeanor election charge.


The active charges stem from allegations that Morphew cast a ballot in his missing wife's name in October of 2020.


According to an affidavit filed in Colorado Court, Chaffee County Clerk Lori Mitchell reported on Oct. 22 that the office had received a ballot that was "predesignated for a missing person, identified as Suzanne Morphew."


The County Clerk gave the ballot to a Chaffee County Sheriff's Office sergeant as evidence. The ballot had an address listed as 19057 Puma Path in Salida, which is where the Morphews resided. The ballot didn't have a signature, but it did have a "handwritten date of 10/15/20" and the handwritten name of "Barry Lee Morphew on the designated signature line of Witness' Legal Name," according to the affidavit.


After a detective got the evidence, on April 22, 2021, FBI agents met with Barry Morphew in person near the Franz Lake area. This was before Morphew was taken into custody for a first-degree murder charge.


During the interview, the agents asked Barry why he submitted Suzanne's election ballot.


According to the affidavit, Barry replied, "Just because I wanted Trump to win ... I just thought, give him another vote, I figured all these other guys are cheating."

Barry also told the FBI agents, "I know [Suzanne] was going to vote for Trump anyway."


The FBI agents asked Morphew if he knew that it was illegal, and he replied saying, "I didn't know you couldn't do that for your spouse.""


The entire story can be read at:

barry-morphew-appears-in-court-for-allegedly-casting-a-ballot-in-his-missing-wifes-name

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;



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:




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

Kamee Dixon: Washington: Bulletin: Verdict: Jury rejects 'accident' defence, finding her guilty of 'homicide by abuse ..."Dixon's defense attorneys argued that Hazel's death was a "tragic accident." Emily Beschen, one of Dixon's defense attorneys, said on the morning of Nov. 27, 2019, Hazel choked on a breakfast sandwich Dixon had bought her and that a lack of oxygen to the child's brain ultimately resulted in her death. Whatcom County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erik Sigmar argued that Dixon hit Hazel until the child suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in her death. Sigmar said over the last five months of her life, Hazel suffered repeated abuse at the hands of Dixon."

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Dixon's jury trial began in mid-April, with jury selection occurring in March. It is one of the longest jury trials in Whatcom County Superior Court's history. Dixon has been incarcerated in Whatcom County Jail since December 2019 in lieu of $1 million bail.

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STORY: "Jury finds Washington woman guilty of killing 3-year-old girl," by Reporter Denver Pratt, published by The Bellingham Herald, on June 30, 2022,

GIST: "A Whatcom County woman is guilty of torturing a 3-year-old Bellingham girl to death in 2019.


A jury found Kamee Nicole Dixon, 30, guilty of homicide by abuse Thursday, June 30, in Whatcom County Superior Court for the Nov. 30, 2019, death of Hazel Journey Homan.


A mistrial was declared as to the second-degree murder charge because the jury was deadlocked and could not reach a unanimous verdict.


The jury also found that Dixon used her position of trust or responsibility to commit homicide by abuse and that Dixon knew or should have known that Hazel was vulnerable or incapable of resistance.


Dixon's sentencing has tentatively been scheduled for July 14.


Hazel's death was ruled a homicide Jan. 23, 2020, by the King County Medical Examiner's Office.


Dixon was not Hazel's biological mother, but was Hazel's primary caregiver and was in a relationship with Hazel's biological father, Brandon Homan, at the time of the toddler's death.

Dixon's jury trial began in mid-April, with jury selection occurring in March. It is one of the longest jury trials in Whatcom County Superior Court's history.


Dixon has been incarcerated in Whatcom County Jail since December 2019 in lieu of $1 million bail.


Dixon's defense attorneys argued that Hazel's death was a "tragic accident."


Emily Beschen, one of Dixon's defense attorneys, said on the morning of Nov. 27, 2019, Hazel choked on a breakfast sandwich Dixon had bought her and that a lack of oxygen to the child's brain ultimately resulted in her death.


Whatcom County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erik Sigmar argued that Dixon hit Hazel until the child suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in her death. Sigmar said over the last five months of her life, Hazel suffered repeated abuse at the hands of Dixon."


The entire story can be read at:

https://www.chronline.com/stories/jury-finds-washington-woman-guilty-of-killing-3-year-old-girl,296127

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;



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:




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.

Andrew Brown Jr. North Carolina: Catch-up following seasonal break: A $3 million settlement has been reached in this lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed in his car by sheriff's deputies, more than a year ago. (The Associated Press)..."District Attorney Andrew Womble had said at a news conference last year that Brown used his car as a "deadly weapon," causing deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force. But lawyers for the Brown family said the shooting was unjustified because Brown was trying to drive away — not toward the deputies and that he posed no threat. After viewing body camera footage of the shooting, they said Brown was sitting in his stationary car with his hands on the wheel when the first of numerous shots was fired."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "An independent autopsy commissioned by the family said Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head.  Family members who were privately shown a portion of the body camera video afterward said Brown was trying to drive away when he was shot.  The shooting sparked days of protests in the city in rural northeastern North Carolina."

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STORY: "A $3 million settlement was reached in a lawsuit over Andrew Brown Jr.'s death,  (The Associated Press) reports on NPR, on June 6, 2022.

GIST: "A North Carolina sheriff's office announced a $3 million settlement on Monday in a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed in his car by sheriff's deputies more than a year ago.

The family of Andrew Brown Jr. had filed a $30 million civil rights lawsuit in 2021, saying the man died because officers showed "intentional and reckless disregard of his life."


Brown was killed on April 21 of last year by Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies while they were serving drug-related warrants at his Elizabeth City home. 


Several deputies surrounded Brown in his BMW before his car backed up and moved forward. They fired several shots at and into his vehicle. He was killed by a bullet to the back of his head.


District Attorney Andrew Womble had said at a news conference last year that Brown used his car as a "deadly weapon," causing deputies to believe it was necessary to use deadly force. 


But lawyers for the Brown family said the shooting was unjustified because Brown was trying to drive away — not toward the deputies and that he posed no threat. 


After viewing body camera footage of the shooting, they said Brown was sitting in his stationary car with his hands on the wheel when the first of numerous shots was fired.



The settlement was approved by the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners.

 It includes a special $1 million appropriation to go along with $2 million from the county's insurance policy, which was supplied by the North Carolina Counties Liabilities Pool, according to a statement from the sheriff's office provided to The Associated Press. 


That amount is at the limit of the policy.

The settlement was reached over several weeks last month in the case overseen by a federal magistrate in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, the news release said.


The county's payment resolves potential liability against the defendants and any individual officers who were either named or could be named as defendants in the lawsuit, the news release said. 


The family also entered into a stipulation in which it dismisses all claims against the defendants, namely Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten II and three sheriff's deputies, as well as other potential claims arising from Brown's death, the news release said.


Brown's children will share in the proceeds of the settlement as heirs of his estate, the sheriff's office said.


"Andrew Brown Jr. was a devoted father who wanted his children to have the things he didn't," said a statement from the five attorneys representing his family. "While no settlement could ever fill the hole his death left in their hearts, this agreement is about providing for those children's futures, securing their education and ensuring their dreams didn't die with their father."


At the time, the lawsuit filed by the Brown family was the latest in a string of federal civil rights lawsuits following high-profile police shootings of Black and brown people.


 Many ended in settlements that often included money but specified no admission of guilt


 Some of the lawsuits end up in court where a jury can award massive settlements that are reduced on appeal.


An independent autopsy commissioned by the family said Brown was shot five times, including once in the back of the head. 


Family members who were privately shown a portion of the body camera video afterward said Brown was trying to drive away when he was shot. 


The shooting sparked days of protests in the city in rural northeastern North Carolina.


The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: 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:




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, June 30, 2022

Raymond Bailey: Australia; False confession case: Author and investigative journalist Stephen Bishop decries South Australia's refusal to decline a posthumous pardon for this man hanged after an investigation by a now deceased detective who has been exposed as, "one of Queensland’s Rat Pack of corrupt police."..."In December 1957 police issued the description of a grey Ford Zephyr seen near the murder scene. Bailey had a black, 1938 DeSoto when arrested. Bailey signed a confession in Mt Isa police station after several days of questioning. He later claimed he signed the confession because he could hear his wife weeping in another room while police questioned her. Bailey told the court: “They (detectives) also said: ‘do you love you wife?’ I said, ‘yes I do’ and they said: ‘then sign it and we will leave her alone’.” The alleged confession said the victims died when shot while running from the murderer but that contradicted the facts. “The description of the murder of Thyra Bowman in the alleged confession is completely and utterly untrue,’’ Mr Bishop said. “The post mortems revealed she and her daughter had been bashed unconscious before they were shot. They were definitely not shot as they ran in an upright position.”


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This Blog is interested in false confessions because of the disturbing number of exonerations in the USA, Canada and multiple other jurisdictions throughout the world, where, in the absence of incriminating forensic evidence the conviction is based on self-incrimination – and because of the growing body of  scientific research showing how vulnerable suspects (especially young suspects)  are to widely used interrogation methods  such as  the notorious ‘Reid Technique.’ As  all too many of this Blog's post have shown, I also recognize that pressure for false confessions can take many forms, up to and including inducement. deception (read ‘outright lies’) physical violence,  and even physical and mental torture.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog:

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY; "In February 2013, Mr Bishop appealed to SA Governor Kevin Scarce to grant a posthumous pardon for Bailey but on advice from Attorney-General John Rau and the Solicitor-General the Governor decided he would “not take action”. “It is clear that Queensland detective Glen Hallahan engineered a massive miscarriage of justice at Bailey’s trial and that his conviction should be reversed and a posthumous pardon granted,’’ Mr Bishop said. “The alleged confession, which bears Bailey’s signature, does not tally with other evidence given by the prosecution at the trial.’’ A clear fault in prosecution evidence, Mr Bishop says, was that footprints found at the murder scene, and believed to belong to the killer, came from shoes estimated as size “7, 7½, 8 or even 10”. However, it was left to Bailey, in an unsworn statement, to reveal at the end of the trial: “I take size 5½ shoe or if I can’t get that size, I wear a size 6.”

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STORY: "Justice sought for hanged man Raymond John Bailey — 57 years later,"  by Reporter Doug Robertson, published by Adelaide Now on June 6, 2022.


SUB-HEADING: "The  State Government is refusing to re-examine a 57-year-old triple-murder case despite evidence suggesting the convicted man, who was later hanged in Adelaide Gaol, did not commit the crime."


GIST: "Author and investigative journalist Stephen Bishop claims that rogue Queensland detective Glen Patrick Hallahan, now deceased, lied on oath and in records of police interviews with Raymond John Bailey.


Hallahan was later described as one of Queensland’s Rat Pack of corrupt police who were exposed by the Fitzgerald inquiry in the late 1980s.


His evidence led to Bailey’s conviction and hanging in 1958 for shooting Sally (Thyra) Bowman, 43, her daughter Wendy Bowman, 14, and friend Thomas Whelan, 22, at the isolated Sundown Station, in Far North South Australia, in December 1957.


In his book — The Most Dangerous Detective: The Outrageous Glen Patrick Hallahan — Mr Bishop says a re-examination of evidence given in court would prove Bailey could not have committed the Sundown murders.


In February 2013, Mr Bishop appealed to SA Governor Kevin Scarce to grant a posthumous pardon for Bailey but on advice from Attorney-General John Rau and the Solicitor-General the Governor decided he would “not take action”.


“It is clear that Queensland detective Glen Hallahan engineered a massive miscarriage of justice at Bailey’s trial and that his conviction should be reversed and a posthumous pardon granted,’’ Mr Bishop said.


“The alleged confession, which bears Bailey’s signature, does not tally with other evidence given by the prosecution at the trial.’’


A clear fault in prosecution evidence, Mr Bishop says, was that footprints found at the murder scene, and believed to belong to the killer, came from shoes estimated as size “7, 7½, 8 or even 10”. However, it was left to Bailey, in an unsworn statement, to reveal at the end of the trial: “I take size 5½ shoe or if I can’t get that size, I wear a size 6.”


A spokeswoman for Attorney-General John Rau said that “for legal reasons” he would not comment on specific cases.


Mr Bishop also appealed to the SA Ombudsman Wayne Lines to re-examine the evidence.

Hallahan arrested Bailey, 26, on suspicion of false pretences and possession of an unlicensed firearm, on January 21, 1958, at Mt Isa, where the NSW carpenter was working and living in a caravan with his wife, 22, and son, 4. Bailey was later charged with murder and extradited to Adelaide.


SA Police had issued a nationwide alert for suspects after Aboriginal trackers found three bodies about 34km south of the NT border on Sundown Station. They were beaten about the head then shot.


The murder weapon was never found but casings from a Huntsman .22 calibre rifle — that Bailey had taken from David Iles, at Wirrulla, matched cartridges found at the murder scene.

In court, Bailey said he sold the rifle before the murders to a “dark-skinned fellow’’ near Coober Pedy.


In December 1957 police issued the description of a grey Ford Zephyr seen near the murder scene. Bailey had a black, 1938 DeSoto when arrested. Bailey signed a confession in Mt Isa police station after several days of questioning. He later claimed he signed the confession because he could hear his wife weeping in another room while police questioned her.


Bailey told the court: “They (detectives) also said: ‘do you love you wife?’ I said, ‘yes I do’ and they said: ‘then sign it and we will leave her alone’.”


The alleged confession said the victims died when shot while running from the murderer but that contradicted the facts.


“The description of the murder of Thyra Bowman in the alleged confession is completely and utterly untrue,’’ Mr Bishop said.


“The post mortems revealed she and her daughter had been bashed unconscious before they were shot. They were definitely not shot as they ran in an upright position.”


A Freedom of Information request for documents generated during the AG’s considerations failed to explain why Mr Bishop’s application for mercy was denied.

Mr Bishop is still waiting to know what he has wrong."


The entire story can bee read at:

https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/justice-sought-for-hanged-man-raymond-john-bailey--57-years-later/news-story/39511ec6a71c6afcd49bc3fa20079196

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;



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:




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

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Technology: (Mis)uses thereof in the criminal justice system: Tim Cushing, an awesome observer of the (mis)uses of technology in criminal justice systems, explains in 'Techdirt' why an artificial intelligence (AI) tool used in some U.S. states to initiate child welfare investigations have com under close scrutiny..."There’s plenty of human work to be done, but there never seems to be enough humans to do it. When things need to be processed in bulk, we turn it over to hardware and software. It isn’t better. It isn’t smarter. It’s just faster. We can’t ask humans to process massive amounts of data because they just can’t do it well enough or fast enough. But they can write software that can perform tasks like this, allowing humans to do the other things they do best… like make judgment calls and deal with others humans. Unfortunately, even AI can become mostly human, and not in the sentient, “turn everyone into paperclips” way it’s so often portrayed in science fiction. Instead, it becomes an inadvertent conduit of human bias that can produce the same results as biased humans, only at a much faster pace while being whitewashed with the assumption that ones and zeroes are incapable of being bigoted. But that’s the way AI works, even when deployed with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, taking innately human jobs and subjecting them to automation tends to make societal problems worse than they already are. Take, for example, a pilot program that debuted in Pennsylvania before spreading to other states. Child welfare officials decided software should do some of the hard thinking about the safety of children. But when the data went in, the usual garbage came out. According to new research from a Carnegie Mellon University team obtained exclusively by AP, Allegheny’s algorithm in its first years of operation showed a pattern of flagging a disproportionate number of Black children for a “mandatory” neglect investigation, when compared with white children. Fortunately, humans were still involved, which means not everything the AI spit out was treated as child welfare gospel. The independent researchers, who received data from the county, also found that social workers disagreed with the risk scores the algorithm produced about one-third of the time. But if the balance shifted towards more reliance on the algorithm, the results would be even worse."




PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "But Oregon officials have decided to ditch this following the AP investigation published in April (as well as a nudge from Senator Ron Wyden). Oregon’s Department of Human Services announced to staff via email last month that after “extensive analysis” the agency’s hotline workers would stop using the algorithm at the end of June to reduce disparities concerning which families are investigated for child abuse and neglect by child protective services. “We are committed to continuous quality improvement and equity,” Lacey Andresen, the agency’s deputy director, said in the May 19 email.


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COMMENTARY: "Oregon State officials dump AI tool used to initiate welfare investigations," by Tim Cushing, Techdirt's awesome commentator on the (mis)uses of technology, published on June 17, 2022.


GIST:  "There’s plenty of human work to be done, but there never seems to be enough humans to do it. When things need to be processed in bulk, we turn it over to hardware and software. It isn’t better. It isn’t smarter. It’s just faster.


We can’t ask humans to process massive amounts of data because they just can’t do it well enough or fast enough. But they can write software that can perform tasks like this, allowing humans to do the other things they do best… like make judgment calls and deal with others humans.


Unfortunately, even AI can become mostly human, and not in the sentient, “turn everyone into paperclips” way it’s so often portrayed in science fiction. 


Instead, it becomes an inadvertent conduit of human bias that can produce the same results as biased humans, only at a much faster pace while being whitewashed with the assumption that ones and zeroes are incapable of being bigoted.


But that’s the way AI works, even when deployed with the best of intentions.


 Unfortunately, taking innately human jobs and subjecting them to automation tends to make societal problems worse than they already are. 


Take, for example, a pilot program that debuted in Pennsylvania before spreading to other states. Child welfare officials decided software should do some of the hard thinking about the safety of children. But when the data went in, the usual garbage came out.


According to new research from a Carnegie Mellon University team obtained exclusively by AP, Allegheny’s algorithm in its first years of operation showed a pattern of flagging a disproportionate number of Black children for a “mandatory” neglect investigation, when compared with white children.


Fortunately, humans were still involved, which means not everything the AI spit out was treated as child welfare gospel.


The independent researchers, who received data from the county, also found that social workers disagreed with the risk scores the algorithm produced about one-third of the time.


But if the balance shifted towards more reliance on the algorithm, the results would be even worse.


If the tool had acted on its own to screen in a comparable rate of calls, it would have recommended that two-thirds of Black children be investigated, compared with about half of all other children reported, according to another study published last month and co-authored by a researcher who audited the county’s algorithm.


There are other backstops that minimize the potential damage caused by this tool, which the county relies on to handle thousands of neglect decisions a year. 


Workers are told not to use algorithmic output alone to instigate investigations. 


As noted above, workers are welcome to disagree with the automated determinations. 


And this only used to handle cases of potential neglect or substandard living conditions, rather than cases involving more direct harm like physical or sexual abuse.


Allegheny County isn’t an anomaly. More locales are utilizing algorithms to make child welfare decisions. 


The state of Oregon’s tool is based on the one used in Pennsylvania, but with a few helpful alterations.


Oregon’s Safety at Screening Tool was inspired by the influential Allegheny Family Screening Tool, which is named for the county surrounding Pittsburgh, and is aimed at predicting the risk that children face of winding up in foster care or being investigated in the future. It was first implemented in 2018. Social workers view the numerical risk scores the algorithm generates – the higher the number, the greater the risk – as they decide if a different social worker should go out to investigate the family.


But Oregon officials tweaked their original algorithm to only draw from internal child welfare data in calculating a family’s risk, and tried to deliberately address racial bias in its design with a “fairness correction.”


But Oregon officials have decided to ditch this following the AP investigation published in April (as well as a nudge from Senator Ron Wyden).


Oregon’s Department of Human Services announced to staff via email last month that after “extensive analysis” the agency’s hotline workers would stop using the algorithm at the end of June to reduce disparities concerning which families are investigated for child abuse and neglect by child protective services.


“We are committed to continuous quality improvement and equity,” Lacey Andresen, the agency’s deputy director, said in the May 19 email.


There’s no evidence Oregon’s tool resulted in disproportionate targeting of minorities, but the state obviously feels it’s better to get out ahead of the problem, rather than dig out of a hole later. It appears, at least from this report, the immensely important job of ensuring children’s safety will still be handled mostly by humans. 


And yes, humans are more prone to bias than software, but at least their bias isn’t hidden behind a wall of inscrutable code and is far less efficient than the slowest biased AI."


The entire commentary can be read at:

https://www.techdirt.com/user/capitalisliontamer/

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;



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:




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;
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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;