Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Matt Livers: Nebraska: Net Nebraska (Nebraska's NPR and PBS stations) puts CSI on trial - asking "When does solving a crime become a crime? - How did Nebraska's foremost CSI fall under suspicion of faking evidence? - What went wrong in Nebraska? - and "what can we learn from this tragedy?" (Link to informative website on which the entire documentary can be viewed. HL);

RELEASE: "CSI on trial," published on September 2, 2014 (and being screened this week)  by KQED on September 2, 2104. The  entire 58 minute  documentary which premiered on November 22,  2010 can be viewed  by clicking "watch now" on the right hand side of the screen at:


GIST: "When does solving a crime become a crime? An innocent man confessed to murder and forensic evidence supported his confession. The real killers confessed, but they were ignored by the police. Across the nation, criminal convictions are being overturned due to either incompetence or deliberate misconduct in crime labs. How did Nebraska's foremost CSI fall under suspicion of faking evidence? "CSI on Trial" follows what went wrong in Nebraska and,  What we can learn from this tragedy."

The entire KQED release  can be found at:


See also the "CSI on trial" web page (on which the entire one hour documentary can be viewed);

False confession. Fake evidence. "It became one of the most controversial crime stories in recent Nebraska history. NET News investigated the case and shares the story in the fascinating documentary CSI On Trial. In 2006 a shotgun-toting killer murdered a respected farm couple in their Murdock, Nebraska home. Before it was over two innocent men spent nearly a year in jail, the real killers were caught on a lucky break, a crime scene investigator was put on trial for planting evidence, and a family was left confused and divided over how it all could have happened. Investigative journalist Bill Kelly of NET News spent a year attending trials, interviewing key participants, and reviewing thousands of pages of documents. His research unveils a case that put police procedure out in public and on trial. It’s also the story of how creative work by a crime scene investigator followed one key piece of evidence…a single gold ring… that revealed the identities of two killers on the verge of getting away with murder. The investigation: Why were two men jailed for a murder they didn’t commit? Learn more about why police arrested the wrong men and how the real killers were caught. The false confession:  Why did Matt Livers, an innocent man, confess to murder? Watch his police interview and find out more about false confessions. The fake evidence:  What led respected CSI David Kofoed to plant evidence? Watch key court testimony and see the evidence. Resources: More information about integrity in crime scene investigation and the people featured in the show. The real confession:  Jessica Reid was convicted of two counts of first degree murder along with Gregory Fester. Reid spoke to NET News while in the Women’s Correctional Center."


See Northwestern Law release October 28, 2013.  "Matthew Livers: Nebrask officials to pay $1.65 million settlement for fabricating evidence and coercing false confession. Authorities still owe apology to Matthew Livers;   Matthew Livers has settled his civil suit against the Nebraska State Patrol investigators and Cass County, Nebraska, Sheriff’s Deputies for coercing him to confess falsely to the brutal murder of his aunt and uncle and fabricating evidence to make the false charges stick.  Under the settlement, Livers will receive a total of $1.65 million ($1 million will be paid by Cass County; $600,000 by the State of Nebraska; and $50,000 by Douglas County, Nebraska).  The settlement is compensation for Livers’ seven months of pretrial incarceration while the false charges were pending. Livers also sued David Kofoed, the disgraced former head of the Douglas County Crime Scene Investigation Unit.  A judgment of liability has been entered against Kofoed, and the court will determine the amount of damages Kofoed must pay in addition to the settlement amount. “By any measure, the conduct of all of the defendants was morally and legally reprehensible,” said Locke Bowman, Executive Director of the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center.   Cass County and State Patrol investigators extracted the confession from Livers, who is intellectually limited, by threatening to “piss” on him and to “hang [him] from the highest tree.”  Kofoed planted the victim’s blood in a car in order to further frame Livers, and Kofoed was convicted and served 18 months for felony evidence tampering.  When the identities of the true perpetrators were uncovered, the Cass County and State Patrol deputies manipulated and coerced them into concocting a false story that Livers and they had committed the murders together.  Cass County Attorney Nathan Cox dismissed all criminal charges against Livers in December 2006.  The MacArthur Justice Center filed suit for Livers in early 2008."



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