Friday, June 15, 2012

Manuel Velez: Saved from death row because of misleading prison expert - ACLU claims abundant medical evidence he is innocent in child's death.

AUSTIN, Texas – The highest criminal court in Texas today threw out the death sentence of an American Civil Liberties Union client, ruling it was based on the false testimony of a state expert.

ACLU RELEASE: "Texas appeals court throws out sentence of ACLU client," released by the ACLU on June 13, 2012.

GIST: "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the death sentence of Manuel Velez after finding that the state’s expert on prison classification falsely told the jury in the case that, if sentenced to life in prison instead of death, Velez would be permitted lenient prison conditions allowing him to work outside the prison’s fence line. The court found that both the expert, A.P. Merillat, whose false testimony resulted in the reversal two years ago of the death sentence given to another ACLU client, and the office of Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos, who last month was indicted by federal prosecutors in connection with a bribery and extortion scheme, should have known the testimony was false, but presented it anyway, leading to an unjust death sentence.........What neither the appeals court nor the jury knew was that abundant medical evidence shows that the child victim had suffered substantial head trauma before the two-week period he lived with Velez, including a subdural hematoma that, according to the state’s own neuropathologist, was inflicted at least 18 days before the child's death, when Velez was in Tennessee. Additionally, the child's medical records, which were available to the prosecution and defense counsel but not presented to the jury, established that he had suffered serious head trauma much earlier, which caused a documented increase in head circumference that was not mentioned by the doctor, who inaccurately testified that the child was perfectly healthy before living with Velez. “In future appeals, we look forward to proving Velez’s innocence of the crime, and seeing his release from prison,” said Stull."

The entire release can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.