Monday, December 10, 2012

Manuel Velez: New medical evidence could exonerate him from Texas Death Row in death of child. Crucial evidentiary hearing this week. ACLU Blog of Rights.

STORY: "Could Manuel Velez be the 13th prisoner exonerated from Texas's Death Row?" by Brian Stull,  ACLU Capital Punishment Project,  published  by the American Civil Liberties Union on "The Blog of Rights."

GIST:  The ACLU took Manuel Velez’s appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which found the state had relied on false testimony of a so-called “prison expert” to convince the jury to return a death sentence.  The court appeared skeptical about the state’s ambiguous evidence of Manuel’s guilt, but left intact his capital murder conviction.  The case would be sent back to the trial court for a new jury to determine if Manuel could again be sentenced to death. In the meantime, a second appeal has now shown the medical evidence on which the state relied was faulty, and went unchallenged at the first trial due to the incompetence of his defense counsel, a lawyer with a known drinking problem.  The appeal is supported by the affidavits of numerous experienced experts who examined Angel Moreno’s records and determined that his pediatrician, in 2005, had documented a ballooning of the head circumference – a telltale sign of head trauma – more than three months before his death.  Consistent with those records, microscopic examination of the child’s skull fractures done as part of the autopsy process showed the fractures to be significantly older than the two weeks the state had claimed at trial.  If that is true, then these were injuries that could not have been inflicted by Manuel Velez, who was not in the state of Texas at that time. Today, I am en route to Brownsville, via the Houston area, where I will visit other clients on Texas’s death row, and where just a few years ago I first met Manuel Velez, an innocent man. Starting tomorrow, a Brownsville District Court Judge will hold an evidentiary hearing on the new evidence of Manuel’s innocence, as well as the reasons his incompetent trial attorney failed to produce this evidence at trial.  If the judge agrees with the defense case, Manuel could become the 13th prisoner exonerated from Texas’s death row. I will be on hand for the hearing this week, in support of Manuel and the attorneys handling his innocence hearing.  I will provide updates on this blog throughout the week."

The entire story can be found at:

See related story: Deposition heard today in advance of hearing: (Brownsville Herald).

I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.