Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hannah Overton; Texas; Pamela Colloff reports on a dramatic moment which occurred at Overton's bail hearing - in a case described as resting on "bad lawyering" and "bad science." Texas Monthly.

STORY:  "Hannah Overton will be home for Christmas," by Pamela Colloff, published by Texas Monthly on December 16, 2014.

GIST: "The many problems in Hannah’s case were also investigated by her appellate attorney, Cynthia Orr, who asked that the Court of Criminal Appeals re-examine Hannah’s claims of innocence. Orr’s tenacity prevailed; in February 2012, the CCA ordered that an evidentiary hearing be held in Corpus Christi. The dramatic, six-day hearing that followed that April laid bare the many flaws in the state’s case and suggested that Hannah’s conviction rested on both bad lawyering and bad science. Orr went on to present her case to the CCA’s nine justices this spring, and in September, the court overturned Hannah’s conviction, finding that her attorneys did not do an adequate job of defending her at trial. Today, Hannah’s new legal team made the most of what was supposed to be a straightforward bond hearing, putting on numerous witnesses—including three pastors and a man whose severely disabled son Hannah had once ably cared for—who testified that Hannah was a person of good character who could be trusted around children. ........Arguably the most dramatic moment of the hearing came when Hannah’s attorneys revealed that one of the state’s star witnesses at trial, Dr. Alexandre Rotta—who had treated Andrew on the night he was brought to the hospital in 2006 in a coma—had recently contacted Hannah’s defense team. Dr. Rotta told Hannah’s attorneys in an email that seven years after Hannah’s trial, her conviction still kept him up at night. This complicates matters for Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka, who has vowed to retry Hannah on capital murder charges. The fact that key prosecution witnesses such as Dr. Rotta— along with Dr. Edgar Cortes , another physician who examined Andrew on the night he was admitted to the hospital—now question Hannah’s conviction casts doubt on whether Skurka can win his case again."

The entire story can be found at:


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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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