Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Back in action: On-going; Jeff Wood. Texas: (A psychiatrist Dr. James Grigson (AKA Dr. Death) case.)

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "The court argued that Woods posed a future threat because of a previous robbery with Reneau. This assessment was based in part on a 1998 testimony from psychiatrist Dr. James P. Grigson, who carries the nickname "Dr. Death." Grigson's influence in the case has been controversial. His method for determining an inmate's likelihood to reoffend was questioned by Woods' lawyers as they argued that Grigson almost always concluded that defendants would be future dangers. A 2004 article, which looked closely at Grigson's career, states that he often did not even meet with the defendants he recommended for death. Grigson was eventually expelled from both the American Psychiatric Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians for his predictability methods, which the boards deemed unscientific. Now that the appeals court has made its decision, it will now set an execution date for Woods."

POST: "Texas is Trying to Execute a Man for a Murder He Didn't Commit," by reporter Zuri Davis, published by on November 27, 2018. (Zuri Davis is assistant editor at Reason.)

SUB-HEADING:  "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied a recommendation to relieve him of execution.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Can a state sentence someone to death for a murder that they didn't commit? According to Texas, the answer is "yes."

Read the Wikipedia entry at the link below: "James Grigson (January 30, 1932 – June 3, 2004), nicknamed "Doctor Death" by some press accounts, was a Texas forensic psychiatrist who testified in 167 capital trials, nearly all of which resulted in death sentences.[5] He was exposed as a charlatan and expelled by the American Psychiatric Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians in 1995 for unethical conduct. ]In capital crime cases, Grigson, throughout his career, was typically a testifying expert for the prosecution. Under Texas law, for death to be imposed the jury must believe the defendant not only to be guilty of the crime charged, but likely to commit additional violent crimes if not put to death. In almost every case, Grigson testified (often after meeting the defendant for just a few minutes, or not at all) that the defendant was an "incurable" sociopath who was "one hundred per cent certain" to kill again. The Randall Dale Adams case" One of the most notable, at least after the fact, appearances of Grigson in court occurred in the 1977 case of Randall Dale Adams, who was accused of murdering police officer Robert W. Wood. Adams was found guilty, and, on the basis of Grigson's testimony, was given the death penalty. Grigson told the jury that Adams would be an ongoing menace if kept alive. Adams' conviction was unanimously upheld by the Texas Appellate Court. His death sentence, as a result of a 1980 United States Supreme Court decision, was commuted to life in prison by Texas Governor Bill Clements.  The case was profiled in the 1988 documentary film The Thin Blue Line. In 1989 the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Ex parte Adams  overturned Adams' conviction on the grounds of malfeasance by the prosecutor and inconsistencies in the testimony of a key witness.The prosecution in Texas declined to go to a new trial, and Adams was eventually freed, after having spent approximately 12 years in prison. The Cameron Todd Willingham case: In 1991, Cameron Todd Willingham was accused of the capital murder of his three children due to arson. Grigson testified that Willingham was an incurable sociopath despite having never met him.  His testimony helped prosecutors secure the death penalty, but Willingham's guilt has since been called into question due to modern fire science and a witness recantation. Willingham was executed in 2004. Expulsion: In 1995, Grigson was expelled by the American Psychiatric Association and the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians for unethical conduct.  The APA stated that Grigson had violated the organization's ethics code by "arriving at a psychiatric diagnosis without first having examined the individuals in question, and for indicating, while testifying in court as an expert witness, that he could predict with 100 per cent certainty that the individuals would engage in future violent acts". Grigson unsuccessfully sued the APA to block his expulsion.  After Grigson's expulsion, the medical director of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law said that Grigson "oversteps the bounds of his professional competence" and that he was testifying in court about hypothetical situations containing insufficient detail for a sound professional opinion to be formed. Grigson officially retired from the psychiatric profession in 2003. ]Death: Grigson died in June 2004 from lung cancer, most likely in Texas."

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;