Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bulletin: Lonnie Strawhacker: Counsel seeks retrial on basis of "junk science" - testimony by discredited FBI hair matching expert Michael Malone. (Lonnie Strawhacker has already served 25 years of his lfe sentence for rape);

STORY: "Lawyer: Remand '89 rape case, as expert provided 'junk science,' by reporter Spencer Willems, published on January 5, 2015, by ArkansasOnline.

GIST: "An attorney representing a convicted rapist serving a life sentence due in part to testimony from a discredited FBI expert asked the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday to return the case to a trial court for a potential retrial. Jeff Rosenzweig, who was appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in June to represent Lonnie Strawhacker, argued in a brief filed Monday that the high court should allow Strawhacker another chance to prove his innocence a quarter-century after his arrest in Northwest Arkansas. On Monday, Rosenzweig said there are some procedural hurdles facing Strawhacker, who lost his appeal before the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2002, but that there should be a way for his client to seek relief. "This shouldn't be left to clemency," Rosenzweig said. "The system should have a device to clean up errors like this." The error in Strawhacker's case, as well as several hundred other cases nationwide, came from a previously used method of forensic hair analysis. In 1989, Strawhacker, who is now 60, was accused of beating a woman in Fayetteville until her face was so swollen that she couldn't see. He also was accused of sexually assaulting her. The attack happened on a dark night, and between that and her swollen face, the victim was unable to visually identify her attacker. Instead, she identified Strawhacker by voice as her attacker. In addition to her testimony, Michael Malone, then a microscopic hair analyst with the FBI, testified that a pubic hair found at the crime scene matched other hair belonging to Strawhacker. But testimony from Malone and others has been discredited, and the discipline of comparing microscopic characteristics of hair without analyzing DNA has been relegated to "junk science," Rosenzweig argued in his brief........."It is incumbent on the judicial system to provide a remedy when testimony -- particularly from a person in authority -- is exposed as fallacious or false," Rosenzweig wrote. "If current procedures do not provide a remedy, the procedures should be expanded." If the high court returns the case to the lower court, Strawhacker would be able to appear before a trial judge to determine if the testimony from Malone was exculpatory. If the judge thought so, Rosenzweig said, Strawhacker could get a retrial."

The entire story can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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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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Harold Levy: Publisher;  The Charles Smith Blog.