Saturday, September 1, 2018

False confessions (Suppressed memories and intimidation): Nebraska; From our 'Enough to make one weep' department.' ...Thanks to Dr. Michael Bowers of CSIDDS (Forensics and Law in Focus): A wonderful story of retribution. (The story of a county grumbling that it has to raise taxes to help pay off a $28.1 million jury verdict for the wrongful convictions of six people for a 1985 murder (of 68-yeqr-old Helen Wilson). And the outrageous story of how these six innocent persons came to spend more than 75 years combined in prison until DNA evidence cleared them in 2008.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This Blog is interested in false confessions because of the disturbing  number of exonerations in the USA, Canada and multiple other jurisdictions throughout the world, where, in the absence of incriminating forensic evidence the conviction is based on self-incrimination – and because of the growing body of  scientific research showing how vulnerable suspects   are to widely used interrogation methods  such as  the notorious ‘Reid Technique.’

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.


PASSAGE OF THE DAY (1):  (The tax angle): "Gage County officials have announced plans to raise taxes to help pay off a $28.1 million jury verdict for the wrongful convictions of six people for a 1985 murder. The Beatrice Daily Sun reports that the move was announced Wednesday during a county board meeting. The plan is to raise the tax levy to the maximum allowable 50 cents next year should the county be required to pay the award...If the levy is raised to the maximum rate, it would generate an additional $3.8 million annually. The county currently collects about $8 million a year in taxes." Tacoma News Tribune);


PASSAGE OF THE DAY:  (2): The outrageous underlying story: "In all, six people were convicted of Helen Wilson's murder. Five of them pleaded guilty or no contest. Four gave detailed statements to the police implicating themselves and the others in the murder. The Nebraska Attorney General's Office now says DNA evidence shows they were all innocent. Another man, Bruce Allen Smith, acting alone, raped and killed Wilson, the Attorney General says... In interviews, several of the Beatrice defendants now say they were so frightened by the prospect of the death penalty and what appeared to be overwhelming evidence against them that they confessed to avoid execution. "We were threatened with our lives," said James Dean. "When you're life's on the line, you do things that normal people wouldn't do." Several defendants were told they probably repressed their memories of the murder. They were encouraged to remember, sometimes through their dreams. Debra Shelden, one of the defendants, has said she initially "blocked out" her memories but remembered much of the night of the murder -- including the fact that Gonzalez was there -- from her dreams. According to her pardon application, Shelden, who could not be reached for comment, continues to claim she witnessed the attack. Another defendant, Ada JoAnn Taylor, changed her version of events several times in interviews with police. Taylor, who has a history of drug abuse and mental illness, said in a recent interview that there were times when she "doubted" whether or not she was involved in the murder and ultimately confessed out of fear and because the police "kept badgering me so hard." Price, the police psychologist, had treated Taylor in the past as a private therapist and diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. Price did not return a call for comment. "I've never seen anything like this in 25 years," said Jerry Soucie, a lawyer with the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy who is representing Tom Winslow, another co-defendant. "I can't believe this."

ABC News;


STORY: (The tax angle):   "Gage County looking to raise taxes to pay $28.1M jury award," reported by The Associated Press, published by The  Tacoma  News-Tribune on August 29, 2018.


The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. 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;