Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Death penalty 2019: Several of the cases with serious forensic issues I have been following over the years referred to in this post: James Dailey, Rodney Smith, Ray Cromartie, Dominique Ray, and Larry Swearingen...Conservative commentator Hannah Cox says "in 2019, America continued to repeal the death penalty," and predicts that more ground against the death penalty will be made in 'the 2020's.' (I truly hope she's right. HL); How's that for a New Year's wish?


PASSAGE ONE OF THE DAY: "Two more names were added to the disgustingly long list of death row exonerations this year. Both of those people served over 40 years for crimes they did not commit but thankfully were spared before it was too late. Others were not so lucky. Ray Cromartie in Georgia, Dominique Ray in Alabama, and Larry Swearingen in Texas were executed this year. Each had significant innocence claims that their respective states refused to examine. James Dailey in Florida and Rodney Reed in Texas have been temporarily spared execution but are still fighting to have evidence tested that could prove their innocence. It’s hard to remember a year with so many potentially innocent people either executed or slated for death by the state."

PASSAGE TWO OF THE DAY: "Of the 22 executions the country did carry out this year, not one of them was without significant problems. Far from executing the “worst of the worst” (whatever that means — are some murders worse than others?), the states instead executed people with severe mental illnesses and traumatic brain injuries, intellectually disabled people (that’s not supposed to happen anymore but it does), and individuals who themselves were victims of chronic abuse and trauma. Lastly, fewer than one percent of all U.S. counties imposed death sentences this year, and only two counties in the entire nation imposed more than one. Riverside, in California, and Cuyahoga, in Ohio, might want to do some digging into just how much their local district attorneys are wasting on death penalty cases. Research suggests that each case can run millions more than non-capital cases, without providing any deterrent effect or meaningful impact on the crime rate.  We’re running the death penalty down. Considering the ground we gained in 2019 and the rest of the decade, the 2020’s should officially be on notice. This won’t stand."

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COMMENTARY: "In 2019, America continued to repeal the death penalty," by Hannah Cox, published by Newsmax on December 30, 2019. (Hannah Cox is the National Manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.)



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GIST: "I love the end of the year. It’s a perfect time to sit back and contemplate all that’s taken place and to imagine what things will look like a year from now. Oftentimes we don’t realize just how much has changed in a year. That can be bittersweet, but it can also be empowering.

In my work, the gains come slowly, and persistence is key. But an excellent way of measuring our impact is through the Death Penalty Information Center’s Year-End Report, which examines trends in capital punishment in the U.S. The year flew by in a whirlwind of testimonies, clemency appeals, articles, and speeches, and — as the report shows — those winds continued to knock down the death penalty. Two more states took massive action against the death penalty this year. New Hampshire repealed its system outright through the legislature, the 21st to wipe capital punishment off its books. Meanwhile, California is now the fourth state — and the biggest — to have an executive moratorium. That means that 32 states now have either no death penalty or they haven’t executed anyone in over ten years. The few outlier states still actively operating this system are heavily concentrated in the Deep South, commonly referred to as the “Bible Belt.” Nine other states had Republican-sponsored bills to end the death penalty in 2019 — one of which very nearly passed in Wyoming. Not only that, but new death sentences and executions remain at historic lows for the fifth year in a row, backing up a recent Gallup poll that found 60% of Americans now support life in prison without parole over the death penalty. Two more names were added to the disgustingly long list of death row exonerations this year. Both of those people served over 40 years for crimes they did not commit but thankfully were spared before it was too late. Others were not so lucky. Ray Cromartie in Georgia, Dominique Ray in Alabama, and Larry Swearingen in Texas were executed this year. Each had significant innocence claims that their respective states refused to examine. James Dailey in Florida and Rodney Reed in Texas have been temporarily spared execution but are still fighting to have evidence tested that could prove their innocence. It’s hard to remember a year with so many potentially innocent people either executed or slated for death by the state. Of the 22 executions the country did carry out this year, not one of them was without significant problems. Far from executing the “worst of the worst” (whatever that means — are some murders worse than others?), the states instead executed people with severe mental illnesses and traumatic brain injuries, intellectually disabled people (that’s not supposed to happen anymore but it does), and individuals who themselves were victims of chronic abuse and trauma. Lastly, fewer than one percent of all U.S. counties imposed death sentences this year, and only two counties in the entire nation imposed more than one. Riverside, in California, and Cuyahoga, in Ohio, might want to do some digging into just how much their local district attorneys are wasting on death penalty cases. Research suggests that each case can run millions more than non-capital cases, without providing any deterrent effect or meaningful impact on the crime rate.  We’re running the death penalty down. Considering the ground we gained in 2019 and the rest of the decade, the 2020’s should officially be on notice. This won’t stand."

The entire commentary can be read at:
https://www.newsmax.com/hannahcox/death-penalty-repeal-justice/2019/12/30/id/947801/
 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices.""

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
20191230-gqdpvy3q4zgatdf6yvjrel6luy-story.html

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James Dailey: Death row; Florida: All eyes on Governor DeSantis as New York Times Editorial Board member Jesse Wegman asks, "Will Florida kill an innocent man?" - a man who has been put on death row by a notorious snitch..."For more than three decades, James Dailey, a Vietnam War veteran, has been sitting on Florida’s death row, condemned to die for the brutal 1985 murder of a teenager named Shelly Boggio. In October, a federal judge issued a temporary stay of Dailey’s execution. As soon as the stay expires, on Monday (December 30, 2019 HL) , Gov. Ron DeSantis can schedule a date to have him put to death. What Florida officials have so far refused to acknowledge — and what is documented in an infuriating in-depth investigation by Pamela Colloff for The New York Times Magazine and ProPublica — is that Dailey, 73, is almost certainly innocent."


PASSAGE  ONE OF THE DAY: "James Dailey and Paul Skalnik couldn’t have been more different. Before Boggio’s murder, Dailey had a single conviction on his record, relating to a bar fight. Skalnik’s rap sheet runs for miles. From fraud to grand larceny to child sexual assault, he has left a trail of deceit and destruction stretching back to the 1970s. He has been married at least eight times, has falsely claimed to be a Homeland Security agent and a terminally ill cancer patient and has defrauded people out of tens of thousands of dollars. Some of his crimes exposed him to decades behind bars. As early as 1985, two years before his testimony sent Dailey to death row, the Florida Department of Corrections called him a “con artist of the highest degree.” Yet while Dailey faces execution, Skalnik is a free man. Why? Because, according to Colloff’s investigation, Skalnik is “one of the most prolific, and most effective, jailhouse informants in American history.”

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PASSAGE TWO OF THE DAY: "Of the 367 DNA-based exonerations on record, one in five involved testimony from a jailhouse informant. A 2004 study found that snitch testimony was the leading cause of wrongful conviction in death-penalty cases.It’s hard to gather more precise data on the use of informants, because prosecutors don’t keep such records, which puts defendants, and jurors, at a disadvantage. How are you supposed to judge the credibility of an informant’s testimony if you aren’t told that he has been feeding similar stories to prosecutors for years? And how are you supposed to weigh the break he gets from prosecutors if they don’t give it to him until after the trial?"

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COMMENTARY:  "Will Florida kill an innocent man?," by Jesse Wegman, published by The Sun Sentinel on December 30, 2019. (Jesse Wegman is a member of The New York Times Editorial Board, where he has written about the Supreme Court and national legal affairs since 2013.)

PHOTO CAPTION:  "James Dailey is a decorated Air Force veteran who served three tours in Vietnam, arriving at the height of the Tet Offensive. He had only one civilian conviction, for a bar brawl, on his record. He is one of two men convicted of savagely murdering a 14-year-old girl at Indian Rocks Beach in 1985. In October, a federal judge issued a temporary stay of Dailey’s execution that expires on Monday. His co-defendant, who now says he alone did the crime, is serving life in prison. Dailey maintains he’s innocent."




GIST: "For more than three decades, James Dailey, a Vietnam War veteran, has been sitting on Florida’s death row, condemned to die for the brutal 1985 murder of a teenager named Shelly Boggio.
In October, a federal judge issued a temporary stay of Dailey’s execution. As soon as the stay expires, on Monday (December 30, 2019 HL) , Gov. Ron DeSantis can schedule a date to have him put to death. What Florida officials have so far refused to acknowledge — and what is documented in an infuriating in-depth investigation by Pamela Colloff for The New York Times Magazine and ProPublica — is that Dailey, 73, is almost certainly innocent. In fact, the local authorities in Pinellas County, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, first prosecuted someone else for Boggio’s murder — a housemate of Dailey’s named Jack Pearcy. Pearcy had a history of arrests for violence against women, was the last person to see Boggio alive and admitted to the police that he stabbed her — not fatally, he claimed Pearcy was found guilty, and the jury sentenced him to life in prison. That should have been the end of the matter, but Boggio’s murder had convulsed Pinellas County, and prosecutors there faced intense pressure to make sure someone paid the ultimate price for it. That’s where Dailey comes in. He acknowledged having met Boggio on the night of her murder, but he denied killing her, and no direct evidence linked him to the crime. So how did he end up on death row? Largely on the word of one man, Paul Skalnik, a jailhouse informant who told a jury in compelling detail how Dailey had confessed to him. Jailhouse informants are some of the more elusive creatures of the criminal justice system — cycling in and out of jail, always seeming to find themselves in the right place when another inmate decides to unburden himself and confess his crimes to a total stranger. They can help destroy an innocent man’s life, and yet there is virtually no mechanism within the system to hold them, or the prosecutors who quietly use them, accountable.


For more than three decades, James Dailey, a Vietnam War veteran, has been sitting on Florida’s death row, condemned to die for the brutal 1985 murder of a teenager named Shelly Boggio. He maintains his innocence.
James Dailey and Paul Skalnik couldn’t have been more different. Before Boggio’s murder, Dailey had a single conviction on his record, relating to a bar fight. Skalnik’s rap sheet runs for miles. From fraud to grand larceny to child sexual assault, he has left a trail of deceit and destruction stretching back to the 1970s. He has been married at least eight times, has falsely claimed to be a Homeland Security agent and a terminally ill cancer patient and has defrauded people out of tens of thousands of dollars. Some of his crimes exposed him to decades behind bars. As early as 1985, two years before his testimony sent Dailey to death row, the Florida Department of Corrections called him a “con artist of the highest degree.” Yet while Dailey faces execution, Skalnik is a free man. Why? Because, according to Colloff’s investigation, Skalnik is “one of the most prolific, and most effective, jailhouse informants in American history.” For decades, he worked hand in hand with Florida prosecutors and law enforcement officials, trading dramatic but suspiciously similar tales of jailhouse confessions for his own freedom. In 1982, he was charged with sexually assaulting a child, a crime that could have led to 15 years in prison. The case was strong, and the victim, a 12-year-old girl, was prepared to testify. But officials didn’t prosecute him for the crime. Instead, he pleaded no contest to a separate and far less serious charge of grand theft — and he served his sentence not in the state prison but in the Pinellas County jail, where he could continue working as an informant. In one six-year stretch in the 1980s, Skalnik testified or gave information in at least 37 cases in Pinellas County alone, many involving murder charges. Most of those cases ended in convictions or plea deals, and four of the defendants were sentenced to death. “Together, we never lost a case,” Skalnik once wrote to a judge. Being a jailhouse informant is a good gig, if you can get it. Just about everyone who’s been locked up is aware of the benefits that come from snitching — sentences reduced, charges dropped. For the same reason, inmates quickly learn to steer clear of known informants like Skalnik, who often wind up in cells next to people who are awaiting trial. Skalnik always denied that he was promised any sort of leniency for his testimony. But over and over again, he provided critical testimony in a murder case, and then, sometimes days later, his own sentence would be reduced or his prosecution would magically disappear. Just five days after Dailey was sentenced to death, Skalnik was released from jail for his assistance, even though he was facing a 20-year sentence of his own, and even though his parole officer had warned the year before that he “is and always will be a danger to society.” The problem isn’t simply that Skalnik is an inveterate criminal, or that he repeatedly got special treatment from the authorities. It’s that, as is the case with many serial jailhouse informants, his incentive to tell stories that prosecutors wanted to hear was far greater than his incentive to tell the truth. And that has led to great injustices, like the one Dailey is living out. Of the 367 DNA-based exonerations on record, one in five involved testimony from a jailhouse informant. A 2004 study found that snitch testimony was the leading cause of wrongful conviction in death-penalty cases. It’s hard to gather more precise data on the use of informants, because prosecutors don’t keep such records, which puts defendants, and jurors, at a disadvantage. How are you supposed to judge the credibility of an informant’s testimony if you aren’t told that he has been feeding similar stories to prosecutors for years? And how are you supposed to weigh the break he gets from prosecutors if they don’t give it to him until after the trial? Some states and cities have worked to rein in or regulate the use of informants. In Florida, where 29 death-row inmates have been exonerated — more than anywhere else in the country — the State Supreme Court instituted a rule in 2014 requiring prosecutors to reveal any deals made with informants. It was a good idea, but it was undercut by the fact that prosecutors rarely make explicit promises of leniency before trial. Across the country, there are virtually no consequences for prosecutors who rely on jailhouse informants, no matter how unreliable their testimony turns out to be. In response to Colloff’s investigation, Florida officials insisted that Skalnik was never offered any deal for his testimony. And yet Skalnik himself has disputed this. In 1988, after prosecutors for once decided not to grant him leniency, he alleged that he’d been coached on how to testify in a convincing way and how to persuade jurors that he wasn’t getting any deal in return. Pinellas County prosecutors denied these claims, calling Skalnik a liar even as they claimed that all of his testimony was on the level. Dailey, for his part, says he never talked to Skalnik. On Friday, Dailey’s lawyers filed with the court a declaration by Jack Pearcy, currently serving a life sentence, that he alone was responsible for Shelly Boggio’s murder — the second time that he has admitted to the crime under penalty of perjury. “James Dailey was back at the house when I drove Shelly Boggio to the place where I ultimately killed her,” Pearcy’s declaration said. The victims here are not just people like Dailey, whose life is on the line, but also the countless people who suffered because of Skalnik’s own crimes — the children he abused, the people he defrauded. And Skalnik shouldn’t be the only one considered a criminal in this case. So should the Florida law enforcement authorities who knowingly used him for their own ends for years, repeatedly putting him back on the street where he was able to do more damage. At the very least, they should be held to account for their reckless reliance on the word of a man who has spent his life telling lies. Not all prosecutors abuse the system in this way, of course, and most would tell you they are genuinely convinced of the guilt of all of their defendants. But when the pressure to find a killer is so great, when the win-at-all-costs mentality is so powerful, the line between acting on a good-faith belief and cutting corners to score a conviction can blur. The rank injustice of cases like James Dailey’s provides yet another reason, as if more were needed, that the death penalty must be abolished. As the last days of Dailey’s stay of execution run out, DeSantis has shown no interest in revisiting the case. “This has been litigated over and over and over, and so at some point, you need to do justice,” he said. He is right — if not in the way he thinks. The power to do that justice is in his hands."

The entire commentary can be read at:
https://www.sun-sentinel.com/opinion/editorials/fl-op-edit-nyt-james-dailey-execution-wrong-

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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices.""

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
20191230-gqdpvy3q4zgatdf6yvjrel6luy-story.html

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False confessions (Allegedly made to prison snitches): New Zealand: Veteran prize -winning journalist Mike White (North and South) calls jailhouse snitches a blight on NZ's (New Zealand's) justice system in a story replete with cases this Blog has followed, including Scott Watson, Teina Pora, and Mark Lundy...(Great read. HL): "For years, police and prosecutors have used the most repellent and unreliable informants to help convict people. Prison witnesses – criminals who claim a cellmate confessed to a crime – bolster weak police cases and gain rewards in return. Mike White investigates the shadowy world of jailhouse snitches and asks why New Zealand is doing virtually nothing to control this threat to our justice system."


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: In response to  the stunning number of exonerations  enabled by DNA evidence,  one of the most common explanations has been that all too often police and prosecutors  are tempted to use devious techniques in the absence of  scientific evidence which can neatly provide a conviction. One of these techniques - in addition to rigging the statement and identification processes - is by 'buying' the evidence of prison informants, commonly referred to as 'snitches." unfettered use of snitches. Prize-winning journalist Journalist Mike White gives many examples of  questionable use of this practice in New Zealand in an article which first appeared 'North and South," and which refers to several of the cases I have been  following on this Blog. (it's a long piece  which is well worth the read at the link below- I am providing a few excerpts to give the reader a taste.

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "While all details are suppressed, one of the defence lawyers in this case, Christopher Stevenson, says, generally, prison informants only come forward because they can get something more valuable than even money – their liberty. “And that’s why the process has been described as legalised bribery.” Stevenson, who has appeared in numerous cases where snitches have been used, says if he offered anything to witnesses who might help exonerate his clients, “I’d be promptly before the Law Society, with some saying that’s an attempt to pervert the course of justice – effectively paying witnesses to give evidence helpful to your case. I believe the whole jailhouse informant reward system taints the integrity of the criminal justice system.” Overseas evidence suggests jailhouse witness statements were the most unreliable evidence in courts and one of the leading causes of wrongful convictions, Stevenson says.  “So now we know all these things, I think the time has come to really draw a line in the sand and put a stop to this sort of evidence. “It beggars belief that nothing has happened in New Zealand, and I’m dismayed that, given what we know, New Zealand is so far behind the rest of the world in reforming the use of this inherently dangerous evidence.”

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STORY: "Jailhouse snitches a blight on NZ's justice system," by Mike White, published by 'Noted' on December 17, 2019. "Mike White has been a journalist for 20 years and has reported from many countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2003 he has been a staff writer and photographer for North & South. In that time he has won more than 20 Qantas and Canon media awards, has been New Zealand Feature Writer of the Year three times, and received New Zealand's premier journalism award, the Wolfson Fellowship to Cambridge University."

SUB-HEADING: "For years, police and prosecutors have used the most repellent and unreliable informants to help convict people. Prison witnesses – criminals who claim a cellmate confessed to a crime – bolster weak police cases and gain rewards in return. Mike White investigates the shadowy world of jailhouse snitches and asks why New Zealand is doing virtually nothing to control this threat to our justice system. "

 GIST: "They are murderers. They are child rapists. They have butchered their children and stabbed their partners. They are drug dealers, kidnappers and armed robbers. Nearly all of them have been convicted of fraud and dishonesty. Some have been found guilty of perjury. Yet these people have all been allowed to give crucial evidence in New Zealand courts, frequently in high-profile trials. They claim a fellow prisoner confessed to them, admitting serious crimes in a moment of intimacy or bravado. And now, the prisoner who’s heard this remarkable confession feels compelled to tell police about it. Because it’s the right thing to do, they say. Because they were sickened by what they heard. Because they want to help the victim’s family. Bullshit, say an increasing number of jurisdictions around the world. Bullshit, say academics who’ve studied these witnesses. Bullshit, say politicians, commissioners and fellow criminals: these prison informants are almost always liars, inventing damning stories to get rewards from the authorities. But still they appear in our courts, their claims cloaked in credibility by the police and prosecutors who procure and produce them, their names hidden, their confident testimony persuading juries who have little understanding of how prison works. Welcome to the world of snitches. Let’s meet some of them......................
 
The case of Scott Watson, convicted of double murder.
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Witness A claimed Watson whispered a confession through his cell door peephole. A year after Watson’s trial he recanted his evidence, then flipped again, saying it was true.
Witness B met Watson while on remand for beating his partner unconscious and stabbing her so hard in the back the knife’s handle broke off. When he offered evidence about Watson confessing, he was released on bail, given a car and phone, and ultimately sentenced to just nine months in prison for the attack and drug offences, but served only three months.

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The case of Stephen Hudson, convicted of murder.
As in Watson’s case there was no body, no witnesses and no weapon. So police went searching for snitches. Detectives approached 300 criminals and dangled a $50,000 reward in front of them as well as providing information about the case. Unsurprisingly, eight prisoners claimed Hudson confessed to them about the murder. One was proven to be lying because he was never in the same unit as Hudson. The others, who all have name suppression, gave varying stories of how and where Hudson committed the murder. Some of them rank among New Zealand’s most infamous and awful murderers.

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The case of Teina Pora, twice convicted of murder, but later exonerated.
A witness, who claimed Pora confessed, had serious convictions for violence and dishonesty, but was given a $150 loan by a senior policeman and a letter from police to the court when sentenced for violence charges. The judge who reviewed Pora’s case said there was “good reason to doubt both the integrity and reliability” of the witness.

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The case of Mark Lundy, convicted of double murder.
Witness X, who had more than 30 dishonesty convictions, claimed Lundy blurted out a confession minutes after the pair first met. Years later, he tried to use this supposed information to bargain with a judge to get bail.

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The case of David Tamihere, convicted of double murder.
Three jailhouse witnesses claimed Tamihere confessed to murdering Swedish tourists Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen. Witness A was a well-known snitch who had given evidence in other trials. Witness C, Roberto “Conchie” Harris, was a double murderer who shot a couple and left their bodies for the woman’s children to find when they returned from school, then forged a letter to the Parole Board claiming he had established a trust for the children, in an effort to be released early. Five years later, Harris retracted his claims, saying police offered $100,000 and early parole for implicating Tamihere. In 2017 and back in jail for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, Harris was found guilty of perjury for the evidence he gave against Tamihere and sentenced to more than eight years jail. By this stage it had been revealed Harris also offered to give snitch evidence in another high-profile case. Police tried hard – they even approached one of Tamihere’s brothers and offered a reward if he said Tamihere had confessed. But Tamihere knew he was finished when “Witness A” appeared in court. “It didn’t matter what you were going to say after that. It was that horrific and detailed, it was all over. We actually had to stop the trial for a while when he gave his story, because one of the jury members got physically sick.” Conchie Harris claimed the same things, adding that Tamihere admitted sexually molesting the couple before killing them. But Tamihere says Harris was known in prison as being so untrustworthy, nobody would have ever confided in him. “Not in a million years. If he said good morning to me, I’d look outside before I answered, just to make sure it was morning.”

 ..............................  In the Supreme Court in October, Robert Lithgow QC shouldered his robes, stared at their threadbare patches, and mused whether they would last till his retirement. But a few minutes later, thoughts of an easier life were set aside as he told the court’s five judges our justice system had been corrupted by encouraging and using prison informants. Lithgow was representing David Roigard, convicted of murdering his son, Aaron, despite the case being entirely circumstantial: no body, witnesses, weapon, or forensics – but two jailhouse snitches, whose names are suppressed. Witness W had over 100 convictions, more than 60 for dishonesty. Witness F had more than 150 convictions including 130 involving dishonesty, and others for extremely violent offences. Witness F told police he wanted “a deal” on serious charges he was facing, in return for testifying Roigard confessed to him in prison. Subsequently, his sentence was cut from a starting point of four years eight months in jail, to just two years. Witness W also got a reduced sentence for giving evidence. With late morning sun slipping through the skylight in the extravagant, ovoid dome that is our country’s highest court, Lithgow was in no mood for euphemism. These informants were “bought and paid for” – witnesses who made stuff up and were rewarded for it. The Crown gave them credibility by letting them testify, implicitly signalling they were trustworthy battlers, “looking like they’re going to their first communion”. In reality, Lithgow said, snitches were conmen, paid fraudsters who sought benefits for unverifiable evidence. And the greatest reward was spending “less time locked up in a cage”, whether that was by reduced sentences for their own crimes, or early parole. Lithgow said time was the “crypto-currency” traded among prisoners, police, prosecutors and the courts, and by giving prisoners smaller sentences as reward for snitching, judges were complicit in something “so obviously wrong” it risked their impartiality. “The courts are running the court and the gift shop as well.” Instead, Lithgow suggested giving prison informants no inducement or reward at all, “and then see if he performs”.
The entire story can be read at:
 https://www.noted.co.nz/currently/currently-crime/jailhouse-snitches-a-blight-on-nz-justice

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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog; 

Monday, December 30, 2019

DNA-based exonerations? Question of the day: Why have 13 U.S. states never exonerated a prisoner based on DNA evidence. Injustice Watch Reporter Adeshina Emmanuel tell us 'Here's why' - and the answers are very interesting. HL.


PASSAGE OF THE  DAY: "Several states have bad track records of preserving evidence: Three of the 13 states — Delaware, North Dakota, and Vermont — don’t have evidence preservation laws, and four of them don’t require evidence to be preserved for the length of incarceration. For many prisoners seeking to overturn their convictions, the right to DNA evidence testing exists in theory but not in practice. Iowa is among 13 U.S. states where no prisoner has ever successfully used DNA testing to win exoneration. One of those four states is Iowa, where, as my colleague Abigail Blachman reported, wrongful conviction attorneys often find that police have destroyed or misplaced DNA evidence that authorities could have tested. Most states passed evidence preservation in the past 10-15 years, but that doesn’t help many inmates who had been languishing in prison, said Brandon L. Garrett, director of the Center for Science and Justice at Duke University School of Law. “This has been an important change, but there are so many people who might have been freed by a DNA test if evidence had been preserved in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Garret said. “We will never know how many innocent people could have been freed.” The laws also don’t ensure evidence technicians interpret DNA samples properly, promise proper preservation for the length of a person’s prison term, or protect evidence vaults from extreme weather and natural disasters. Moreover, many police departments still routinely dispose of evidence after a conviction."

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STORY: 13 states have never exonerated a prisoner based on DNA evidence. Here’s why," by Reporter published by Injustice Watch on December 16, 2019.

GIST: "Hundreds of state prisoners have successfully used DNA evidence to win exonerations in the past three decades — except in 13 states. The states are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. Exonerations have occurred in the 13 states, but none in which DNA evidence was central to proving innocence, according to the Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations.
Why? There’s no definitive answer. However, wrongful conviction experts offered several explanations for the 13 outliers.


Several states have bad track records of preserving evidence:

Three of the 13 states — Delaware, North Dakota, and Vermont — don’t have evidence preservation laws, and four of them don’t require evidence to be preserved for the length of incarceration. For many prisoners seeking to overturn their convictions, the right to DNA evidence testing exists in theory but not in practice. Iowa is among 13 U.S. states where no prisoner has ever successfully used DNA testing to win exoneration. One of those four states is Iowa, where, as my colleague Abigail Blachman reported, wrongful conviction attorneys often find that police have destroyed or misplaced DNA evidence that authorities could have tested. Most states passed evidence preservation in the past 10-15 years, but that doesn’t help many inmates who had been languishing in prison, said Brandon L. Garrett, director of the Center for Science and Justice at Duke University School of Law. “This has been an important change, but there are so many people who might have been freed by a DNA test if evidence had been preserved in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s,” Garret said. “We will never know how many innocent people could have been freed.” The laws also don’t ensure evidence technicians interpret DNA samples properly, promise proper preservation for the length of a person’s prison term, or protect evidence vaults from extreme weather and natural disasters. Moreover, many police departments still routinely dispose of evidence after a conviction. Some of the 13 states were late to adopt laws providing prisoners the right to post-conviction DNA testing, like Alaska and South Dakota, among the last states to pass post-conviction DNA testing laws in 2010 and 2009, respectively. Defendants convicted before those laws passed may be out of luck.

The high bar for post-conviction DNA testing could be a factor:

Some of the states have really high standards for post-conviction DNA testing, said Michelle Feldman, state campaigns director at the Innocence Project, a national nonprofit focused on exonerating wrongfully convicted people. For example: Alaska requires a person to not have pled guilty, although about 1 in 10 exonerations have involved guilty pleas, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project maintained by several universities and law schools.
Arkansas, Delaware and New Hampshire require that a prisoner prove their innocence or show DNA testing will implicate someone else in the crime before DNA testing is allowed, requiring petitioners to essentially solve the crime they’re accused of. Oregon, one of two states where courts can convict a person without all 12 jurors agreeing on a verdict, had similar provisions in its post-conviction DNA testing law. But earlier this year, the state legislature amended the statute to allow testing if there’s a reasonable probability DNA testing would have prevented the petitioner’s conviction.
“The whole point of getting DNA tested is to see what the results are and then show why that proves you didn’t commit the crime,” Feldman said. Vanessa Potkin, director of post-conviction litigation at the Innocence Project, named several factors that might affect an inmate’s ability to access post-conviction DNA testing: limited access to post-conviction counsel and public defender systems for indigent defendants, and Innocence Project chapters that are relatively new or not as robust as in other states where the organization helps prisoners navigate the arduous process of petitioning courts for DNA tests.

Prosecutors and judges can get in the way of post-conviction DNA testing:

In Oregon, the Innocence Project led the campaign for updating the DNA testing law, with cooperation from the state’s attorney general, district attorney, public defenders and the state’s crime lab, which formed a working group to hash out the new law and consider concerns. That type of cooperation is essential for states to better identify wrongful convictions, but it doesn’t always happen, Potkin said. While laws can remove some barriers to post-conviction appeals and improve DNA preservation standards, among the biggest challenges are prosecutor’s offices prone to fighting against the right to DNA testing and judges who tend to deny requests, she said. “Even if you have a law on the books, if you have prosecutors who will fight every application for testing and judges not willing to order testing over their objections, then the law is pointless,” Potkin said. She suggested that the prevalence of strong public defender systems and robust Innocence Project chapters in states could help mitigate some of the institutional resistance to post-conviction DNA testing.

Scale is one potential piece of the puzzle:

The 13 states are some of the least populated in the country, and collectively hold only about 6 percent of state inmates. Most inmates aren’t serving time for violent crimes like murder or rape in which DNA evidence might shed new light on their convictions. Despite those numbers, Potkin rejects the premise “that there is nobody in these 13 states whose innocence can be proven through DNA testing.” She finds it hard to believe that the 13 states would be free of some of the leading causes of wrongful convictions, including unreliable eyewitness identification, false confessions, prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence, ineffective counsel and bogus testimony from informants. “It just doesn’t seem possible,” she said.

The proliferation of DNA technology might mean fewer wrongful convictions than in the past:

Veteran prosecutor Kristine Hamann, executive director of the Prosecutors Center for Excellence and co-chair of the National District Attorneys Association’s Best Practices Committee, said that the proliferation of DNA testing by law enforcement means that today many DNA evidence rules out would-be defendants before trial. Hamann, also a former New York inspector general with past stints as a federal prosecutor, argues that fewer wrongful convictions are occurring, and says that many of the DNA-based exonerations from the past were lower hanging fruit. However, what does that mean for the scores of people imprisoned before widespread DNA testing who are still fighting to prove their innocence in Iowa and other states? “There needs to be a reasonable standard for accessing testing, and making sure incarcerated people have the tools to do so,” Potkin said."

The entire story can be read at:

https://www.injusticewatch.org/news/2019/13-states-with-no-dna-exonerations/
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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog; 

Joseph Kopera: Maryland: Firearms expert allegedly faked signatures of co-worker who ostensibkly reviewed his work...State police have launched a review of over 4,000 of his case files for faked signatures and other possible shortcuts.


PASSAGE ONE OF THE DAY: "Defense attorneys are concerned. “In our view, every case of his becomes suspect because this just goes to the heart of his credibility,” said Becky Feldman, the second-ranking attorney at Maryland’s public defender’s office. The signature issues are not the first problems found in Kopera’s work. Twelve years ago, attorneys from Maryland’s Innocence Project discovered he lied about his credentials on witness stands — claiming degrees he did not have. On March 1, 2007, as these problems were surfacing, Kopera fatally shot himself, according to Maryland court records."

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PASSAGE TWO OF THE DAY: "In time, Innocence Project attorneys began looking into his background, specifically the claims that he had earned degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland. When they confronted Kopera, he gave them a forged transcript from U-Md., according to court records. The revelations from the Innocence Project resulted in multiple attempts to challenge convictions based on the theory that Kopera’s willingness to lie about his credentials constituted “new evidence” in a case. A standard test then developed in Maryland’s courts: If Kopera had not testified at a particular trial, is there a “substantial or significant possibility” the verdict would have been different? That test, among other factors, has made getting new trials in Kopera cases difficult, said Michele Nethercott, a longtime attorney with Maryland’s Innocence Project. And she is skeptical the new revelations will make it much easier. “I’m not saying that forgeries aren’t disturbing conduct,” Nethercott said. “I just don’t think the conduct — in and of itself — is going to result in very many defendants getting their convictions overturned.” Kopera’s actual lab work, prosecutors have long said, has always held up as accurate. Still, in Montgomery County, McCarthy said, challenges probably would again depend on how strong the rest of the evidence was compared with Kopera’s contribution."

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STORY: "Firearms expert forged signatures on lab reports, Maryland police say, " by reporter Dan Morse,  published by The Washington Post on  December 28, 2019. "Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of "The Yoga Store Murder." Thanks to Dr. Michael Bowers of CSIDDS - Forensics and law in focus - for bringing this important story to our attention.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Evidence recovered from a shooting is displayed. The work of a former Maryland State Police firearms expert is under review after authorities learned that he forged initials on documents. 

GIST: "For years, firearms expert Joseph Kopera helped convict defendants across Maryland. He would show up to trials with his oversized wooden model of a bullet to explain how projectiles pick up specific markings as they’re fired through specific guns. “Like fingerprints,” he would say. Kopera could explain all things ballistics — shell casings, firing pins, shotgun blasts — and during his tenure with the Maryland State Police forensics division from 1991 to 2007 testified in hundreds of cases. “He was fabulous in front of a jury,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy. This fall, though, state police officials discovered something else: In at least some of his lab documents, Kopera forged the initials of a co-worker who ostensibly reviewed his work. The revelation has prompted the state police to launch a review of 4,041 Kopera case files for faked signatures and other possible shortcuts. Exactly how often Kopera did this is not known. Nor is there any way to gauge whether the errant signatures will lead to overturned convictions, new trials or people set free.The agency has been notifying prosecutors and defense attorneys about their initial findings. Police emphasized that so far, all they’ve seen is false signatures, not false firearms examinations. Defense attorneys are concerned. “In our view, every case of his becomes suspect because this just goes to the heart of his credibility,” said Becky Feldman, the second-ranking attorney at Maryland’s public defender’s office. The signature issues are not the first problems found in Kopera’s work. Twelve years ago, attorneys from Maryland’s Innocence Project discovered he lied about his credentials on witness stands — claiming degrees he did not have. On March 1, 2007, as these problems were surfacing, Kopera fatally shot himself, according to Maryland court records. This fall, in a sampling of 32 verification cases in which Kopera had matched a piece of ammunition to a weapon, or a piece of ammunition to another piece of ammunition, he forged initials at least six times, according to state police. State police are conducting their review in two phases. In the first, underway now, forensics officials are breaking out the 4,041 cases by jurisdictions so they can inform local prosecutors of all their “Kopera cases.” In the second phase, forensics officials hope to tell local prosecutors of any specific cases that have forgeries or procedural errors. “Nobody wants to hide the ball here,” said McCarthy, the Montgomery state’s attorney. Prosecutors say they will contact those who were convicted and defense attorneys. “We’re trying to make sure everybody knows what happened,” added Brian DeLeonardo, president of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association. Kopera began his career at the Baltimore City Crime Lab, where he spent 21 years, according to court records. In 1991, he joined the Maryland State Police forensics division, which analyzes cases throughout the state, according to court and state police documents. By 1994, according to court records, Kopera was testifying in court two or three times a week. McCarthy remembered bringing him into court and ushering him to the witness chair. “He’d politely ask the judge: ‘May I step down?’ The judge would say yes, and Joe would walk down to the well of the courtroom, explaining lands and grooves and striations,” McCarthy said of how gun barrels leave specific marks on bullets. In a case in Howard County, Kopera walked about the courtroom pumping a menacing-looking shotgun to explain the path of exiting projectiles, according to an article about him in the Baltimore Sun. In time, Innocence Project attorneys began looking into his background, specifically the claims that he had earned degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland. When they confronted Kopera, he gave them a forged transcript from U-Md., according to court records. The revelations from the Innocence Project resulted in multiple attempts to challenge convictions based on the theory that Kopera’s willingness to lie about his credentials constituted “new evidence” in a case. A standard test then developed in Maryland’s courts: If Kopera had not testified at a particular trial, is there a “substantial or significant possibility” the verdict would have been different? That test, among other factors, has made getting new trials in Kopera cases difficult, said Michele Nethercott, a longtime attorney with Maryland’s Innocence Project. And she is skeptical the new revelations will make it much easier. “I’m not saying that forgeries aren’t disturbing conduct,” Nethercott said. “I just don’t think the conduct — in and of itself — is going to result in very many defendants getting their convictions overturned.” Kopera’s actual lab work, prosecutors have long said, has always held up as accurate. Still, in Montgomery County, McCarthy said, challenges probably would again depend on how strong the rest of the evidence was compared with Kopera’s contribution. If Kopera’s testimony was essential, McCarthy said, prosecutors may have to see whether the actual weapons and ammunition from cases are still stored in evidence rooms. If so, he said, perhaps they could be analyzed again. “If you could retest and verify what Joe did, you might try to do that,” McCarthy said. Alternately, Kopera’s case files may have photographs of his lab work, which could be reviewed by an outside examiner, according to McCarthy. But neither analysis might be possible. “If that’s the case, and if Joe’s testimony was crucial, you could have some problems maintaining a conviction,” McCarthy said. Defense attorney Daniel Wright has tried for years to overturn the conviction of Mark French, who is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 1994 of attempted murder in the shooting of a police officer. Kopera testified in French’s case, linking bullets recovered from the officer’s body with a gun found in the same residence where French was arrested. Wright’s efforts have fallen short, according to court records. A judge ruled in 2018 that other evidence — including a witness who said French told her “it was either me or him — was strong enough to convict French regardless of Kopera’s testimony. The newly discovered forgeries, Wright said, give him a broader line of attack. He said that judges should consider how jurors would have reacted to learning that a witness — called by prosecutors — had doctored lab signatures. “That’s a lot more than résumé padding,” Wright said. “It could have colored how jurors felt about the entire case.""


The entire story can be read at:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/firearms-expert-forged-signatures-on-lab-reports-maryland-state-police-say/2019/12/28/67b49116-1c34-11ea-87f7-f2e91143c60d_story.html

 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices.""

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bulletin: Susan Neill-Fraser; Australia: Trial postponed from March 2, 2010 to May 20, 2020 at request of defence, The Wrongful Convictions Report reports. (Counsel not available for original proposed date.)


BACKGROUND: "Sue Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering her partner Bob Chappell on Australia Day 2009, on board their yacht, Four Winds. She has maintained her innocence. She has been granted leave to appeal (in March 2019) after a three year process in which then homeless 15 year old Meaghan Vass admitted she was a witness to the murder and Neill-Fraser was not involved. Vass’ DNA was found on the deck."

 GIST: "Paul Galbally, acting for Sue Neill-Fraser at a directions hearing at Hobart’s Supreme Court today, requested that the court agree to a change of date for the new Appeal as Tom Percy, who has been leading Sue’s defence, is not available for the original proposed Appeal date of 2 -13 March 2020. Mr Galbally requested the date be changed to 25 May 2020, with two weeks being set aside, reports Rosie Crumpton-Crook of the Neill-Fraser Support Group. "

The entire post can be read at:
https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2019/12/13/sue-neill-fraser-appeal-delayed-to-may-2020/

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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog; 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Karen Daniel: Illinois: Terrible News. The prominent attorney, who led Northwestern University's wrongful convictions unit, has been struck and killed by a vehicle," the Hartford Courant reports. (Reporters Paige Fry and Patrick M. O'Connell)..."Daniel touched the lives of many in Chicago and beyond through her work at Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she started as an attorney on a half-time appointment and eventually became a co-director. She retired earlier this year but kept an office as an emerita — still coming in often and continuing to work on cases. She couldn’t stay away from work for long, friends said. Daniel’s death was noted by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who posted her thoughts in a Friday post on Twitter. “Karen was as brilliant as she was caring,” Foxx wrote. “She was a teacher, a mentor, an advocate, and an exceptional attorney. Karen was a true believer in justice and brought a unique spirit to this work that will be deeply missed.”



PUBLISHER'S: My condolences to the family, friends and associates of this extraordinary human being who dedicated her sadly curtailed life to exposing wrongful convictions. In the words of her  client and friend  Christine Bunch - subject of many posts on this Blog as were many more of Karen Daniel's clients  -  “She was a little woman with a huge spirit. There’s no way to calculate how many lives are affected by her loss,” Bunch said. “I would tell her that I’m forever grateful because she made my life better, and she made me see the world could be better.”

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

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PASSAGE ONE OF THE DAY: "During her work at the center, Daniel represented more than 20 people in legal proceedings that led to their exoneration or release from prison, according to her biography at the center. She also taught hundreds of students, many who now help the wrongly convicted because of her, friends said.As word spread of her passing, many remarked of having just spoken to her. She sent people “Merry Christmas” texts to catch up. She was known for keeping in touch with former colleagues and clients, even after they got off her case list. They thought about how it was a strange coincidence that Daniel’s death came the day after the five-year anniversary of the passing of Jane Raley, who was one of Daniel’s closest friends and colleagues. She wrote a tribute to Raley on her Facebook page Wednesday morning with a photo of the two in 2002 with Raley’s first exoneree. “How I miss that brilliant smile!” Daniel wrote. The two were a force to be reckoned with, and their losses are notable in Chicago’s criminal justice community and the innocence community beyond. “It’s a wound. It’s a gaping hole in the efforts to continue to exposing wrongful convictions," said Jeff Urdangen, a defense attorney who knew Daniel for about 20 years and was director of the Northwestern’s Center for Criminal Defense. "It’s hard to describe the magnitude of that loss.”

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PASSAGE TWO  OF THE DAY: "Kristine Bunch met Daniel and Raley in November 2006 when they came to visit her in a women’s prison in Indiana. At the time, Bunch was serving time after she was convicted of arson and murder charges in 1996 in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son, convictions that were later overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals. Bunch spent 16 years behind bars. A volunteer who came into the prison reached out to the Center on Wrongful Convictions about Bunch’s case. When the two attorneys arrived, Bunch wasn’t expecting more than a 15-minute conversation, but they stayed and talked for two hours. The time flew by because they both were so personable and easy to talk to, showing genuine interest in Bunch. Raley and Daniel worked together like fire and ice, Bunch said. Raley’s passion oozed out of her in her voice and expressions. Daniel was “crystal clear and concise” when it came to the law. She could make a point in the same tone she made her introduction, Bunch said. Bunch immediately felt like she was able to trust them with her case. Through their work, they found an altered report that showed the fire was accidental, and they argued Bunch’s case. Bunch was exonerated in 2012, which was incredible in the moment, Bunch said — until the fear of readjusting to life outside set in. She called Daniel when she didn’t know what to do with her resume: How do you explain on one piece of paper that you have a long employment gap because you were in prison for a murder case? But Daniel put her in touch with someone at human resources at Northwestern, which eventually led to a job at the university. Daniel even helped Bunch, now 46, with her move from Indiana to Evanston. Daniel was always working, but one day in 2016, Bunch said she just wanted to kick back and relax and Daniel said she felt the same. The two went to see the movie “Sisters” together. Daniel showed up just as put together as she is at work, and then they got their nails done. Bunch got a sparkly black polish, which Daniel said was probably too much for her, opting for a darker solid color, which Bunch joked was plain. The two finished the day by getting a latte. “She was a little woman with a huge spirit. There’s no way to calculate how many lives are affected by her loss,” Bunch said. “I would tell her that I’m forever grateful because she made my life better, and she made me see the world could be better.”

----------------------------------------------------------------

STORY: "Prominent attorney Karen Daniel, who led Northwestern’s wrongful convictions unit, is struck and killed by vehicle in Oak Park," by reporters Paige Fry and Patrick M. O'Connell, published by The Courant on December 27, 2019.

GIST: "Karen Daniel was a petite woman with a soft voice. But when she spoke, her passion, knowledge and confidence demanded the attention of everyone in a courtroom. She knew how to dissect the prosecution’s case using the most polite daggers. Daniel died Thursday morning in Oak Park after she was struck by a vehicle while walking with her dog near the intersection of Pleasant Street and Scoville Avenue, according to Oak Park police. She died at the scene, police said. She was 62. The driver, a 63-year-old man, was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident and failure to yield to a pedestrian, police said. He passed a field sobriety test. The driver, who was turning left across a crosswalk at the intersection, may not have seen Daniel because of the sun, according to an account relayed to Daniel’s family. Friends say Daniel was walking her dog, which she adored and adopted this summer. The family recovered the dog later in the evening. Daniel was happy she was about to begin work in January at the Exoneration Project at the University of Chicago, partly because she could bring the dog, said Lauren Myerscough-Mueller, an attorney at Exoneration Project. She was also planning to work soon with the Northwestern Prison Education Program to teach legal research and writing to inmates at Stateville Correctional Center. “It just makes you feel so fragile. Doesn’t it?" said Lawrence Marshall, who hired Daniel 20 years ago and is now a Stanford Law School professor. “In one half a second, it all changes.” Daniel touched the lives of many in Chicago and beyond through her work at Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, where she started as an attorney on a half-time appointment and eventually became a co-director. She retired earlier this year but kept an office as an emerita — still coming in often and continuing to work on cases. She couldn’t stay away from work for long, friends said. Daniel’s death was noted by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, who posted her thoughts in a Friday post on Twitter. “Karen was as brilliant as she was caring,” Foxx wrote. “She was a teacher, a mentor, an advocate, and an exceptional attorney. Karen was a true believer in justice and brought a unique spirit to this work that will be deeply missed.” Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Dean Kim Yuracko said in a statement: “Karen was a fierce, tenacious and brilliant lawyer-advocate whose life’s work was fighting for justice. She was universally beloved by her students, clients and colleagues, and her passing is felt near and far.” During her work at the center, Daniel represented more than 20 people in legal proceedings that led to their exoneration or release from prison, according to her biography at the center. She also taught hundreds of students, many who now help the wrongly convicted because of her, friends said.As word spread of her passing, many remarked of having just spoken to her. She sent people “Merry Christmas” texts to catch up. She was known for keeping in touch with former colleagues and clients, even after they got off her case list. They thought about how it was a strange coincidence that Daniel’s death came the day after the five-year anniversary of the passing of Jane Raley, who was one of Daniel’s closest friends and colleagues. She wrote a tribute to Raley on her Facebook page Wednesday morning with a photo of the two in 2002 with Raley’s first exoneree. “How I miss that brilliant smile!” Daniel wrote. The two were a force to be reckoned with, and their losses are notable in Chicago’s criminal justice community and the innocence community beyond. “It’s a wound. It’s a gaping hole in the efforts to continue to exposing wrongful convictions," said Jeff Urdangen, a defense attorney who knew Daniel for about 20 years and was director of the Northwestern’s Center for Criminal Defense. "It’s hard to describe the magnitude of that loss.” Kristine Bunch met Daniel and Raley in November 2006 when they came to visit her in a women’s prison in Indiana. At the time, Bunch was serving time after she was convicted of arson and murder charges in 1996 in connection with the death of her 3-year-old son, convictions that were later overturned by the Indiana Court of Appeals. Bunch spent 16 years behind bars. A volunteer who came into the prison reached out to the Center on Wrongful Convictions about Bunch’s case. When the two attorneys arrived, Bunch wasn’t expecting more than a 15-minute conversation, but they stayed and talked for two hours. The time flew by because they both were so personable and easy to talk to, showing genuine interest in Bunch. Raley and Daniel worked together like fire and ice, Bunch said. Raley’s passion oozed out of her in her voice and expressions. Daniel was “crystal clear and concise” when it came to the law. She could make a point in the same tone she made her introduction, Bunch said. Bunch immediately felt like she was able to trust them with her case. Through their work, they found an altered report that showed the fire was accidental, and they argued Bunch’s case. Bunch was exonerated in 2012, which was incredible in the moment, Bunch said — until the fear of readjusting to life outside set in. She called Daniel when she didn’t know what to do with her resume: How do you explain on one piece of paper that you have a long employment gap because you were in prison for a murder case? But Daniel put her in touch with someone at human resources at Northwestern, which eventually led to a job at the university. Daniel even helped Bunch, now 46, with her move from Indiana to Evanston. Daniel was always working, but one day in 2016, Bunch said she just wanted to kick back and relax and Daniel said she felt the same. The two went to see the movie “Sisters” together. Daniel showed up just as put together as she is at work, and then they got their nails done. Bunch got a sparkly black polish, which Daniel said was probably too much for her, opting for a darker solid color, which Bunch joked was plain. The two finished the day by getting a latte. “She was a little woman with a huge spirit. There’s no way to calculate how many lives are affected by her loss,” Bunch said. “I would tell her that I’m forever grateful because she made my life better, and she made me see the world could be better.” Daniel grew up in Los Angeles, her family said, and graduated from the University of California, Davis, later earning her law degree at Harvard Law School. She moved to the Chicago area in 1981. Marshall, who co-founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions, recruited Daniel to work for the center in 2000 after hearing about her reputation as an extraordinarily brilliant attorney and as “someone with a heart as wide as a grand canyon,” through her work at the state appellate defender’s office, the agency that represents indigent inmates in appeals. One of the first cases given to Daniel at the center involved Michael Evans and Paul Terry, two men who had been in prison for years after they were convicted of the 1976 kidnapping, rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl. The lawyers needed to find information and court records on DNA testing. When Daniel was assigned to the case, she went down to the evidence warehouse and wouldn’t leave until they found the evidence. That effort led to DNA testing that excluded them as the perpetrators of the assault, eventually exonerating the two men of the crimes. Marshall said he was a little embarrassed because he wasn’t able to do what Daniel did for their clients, adding that her perseverance and care for clients were unmatched. She always tried to put herself in their shoes and felt urgency to help them. Outside of work, Daniel truly cared for her friends and listened to them with great interest, said Urdangen, who considered Daniel one of his best friends. They bonded over law and having sons around the same age who are both musicians. They played together at Daniel’s retirement party in May. “We were on the same wavelength,” he said. "We had a very strong sense of what’s wrong with the legal system and wished to correct injustice.”  Urdangen and Daniel worked together on Alan Beaman’s case. He had been wrongfully convicted for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Daniel seemed sweet and caring, Beaman said, but when she was in the courtroom, she was the one to look out for. When she objected, she didn’t scream, “I object!” "She would be like, 'Well your honor, I’m going to object to that,’” said Beaman, now 47. “Her arguments spoke for themselves. She didn’t have to act. She didn’t have to do anything extra.” Beaman walked out of prison in 2008. Years later, Daniel pushed for a certificate of innocence and a governor’s clemency for him. He received both. He still has some struggles left with his legal proceedings, but when he saw Daniel recently at an event at Northwestern — where she was given an award — she reminded him that he’s the only person in the state to have those two forms of innocence. She was always a silver-lining person. “Long after we lay her to rest, her impact is going to be felt," he said. "I don’t know if there’s a tribute I can give that does her justice. The world is losing somebody great.” Daniel is survived by husband Alan Goldberg, son Scott Goldberg Daniel, stepdaughters Julia Alamillo, Laura Goldberg and Diana Goldberg, mother Mary K. Daniel, sister Kelly Selva and one granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion, 1235 N. Harlem Ave. in Oak Park.""

The entire story can be read at:
https://www.courant.com/ct-karen-daniel-obit-20191227-h3jbt3ch3ff7naqdin6kletytu-story.html

 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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices.""

Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
 https://www.providencejournal.com/news/20191210/da-drops-murder-charge-against-taunton-man-who-served-35-years-for-1979-slaying

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Henry Keogh: Australia: Commentator Andrew L. Urban illustrates how the deaths of three babies (all wrongly assessed by the "insufficiently qualified" Manock as natural) led to terrible consequences - including the conviction of Henry Keogh, an innocent man..."They have come to be known as The Baby Deaths. Three unrelated babies who died between October 1992 and August 1993 in Adelaide, were each victims of physical abuse but the State’s Chief Pathologist (1968 – 1995), the insufficiently qualified Dr Colin Manock, reported the cause of death in each case as natural: bronchopneumonia. It was the start of a 20 year chain reaction that began with a wrongful conviction which should have never happened."


BACKGROUND: (ABC News): "Mr Keogh spent 20 years in jail after being convicted of the 1994 murder of his fiancee Anna-Jane Cheney, and became one of South Australia's highest-profile inmates because of a long-running campaign to exonerate him. His conviction was overturned by the Court of ZCriminal Appeal in December 2014, after it found there had been a miscarriage of hjustice due to flawed evidence provided by discredited forensic pathologist Dr. Colin Manock."

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PASSAGE OF THE DAY:(Relating to an inquest into the deaths of the three babies): "The Coroner, Mr Wayne Chivell, had commissioned histology specialist Dr Tony Thomas to report on all three as part of the inquest held 1994-95. (Dr Thomas was Associate Professor in anatomical pathology at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide and had had forensic pathology experience in the UK and New Zealand as well as Australia.) One of the babies had multiple fractures which were put down as birth injuries. Dr Thomas knew that they could not have been birth injuries, “you could get some handle on that from X rays and the formation of new bone so that the radiologists at the women’s and children’s hospitals who looked at him and said this can’t be birth injuries. And I remember one of the babies was described as having nappy rash and that was a discrete ulcer on the buttock or just above the buttocks, which looked like a burn really. So that was not nappy rash. So it was these sorts of injuries that didn’t really fit in with what Dr Manock had said and how he interpreted them. And then came the histology …”The histology gave Dr Thomas a completely different result to that which Dr Manock had put down. During the inquest into the death of Billy Barnard, Dr Manock said he could not recall why he did not weigh the lungs. He agreed that bronchopneumonia was unlikely to have been the cause of death. He was unable to recall what he saw in the slides which had led him to this conclusion. The Coroner said that it was astonishing that a pathologist in his position had not seen fit to write it down. Dr Manock said he did not send the brain for examination, because he was waiting for something from the detectives, so that he could tell the specialist what to look for. The Coroner said that he was perplexed at this statement, as the specialist was perfectly capable of examining the brain without being told what to look for. The Coroner said that he was perplexed at this statement, as the specialist was perfectly capable of examining the brain without being told what to look for. The Coroner concluded that, of the three deaths, that of Joshua Nottle was the most serious, with non-accidental injuries most evident. He said that Dr Manock’s diagnosis prevented the establishment of a causative link between the non-accidental injuries and the death. In the Coroner’s view, what should have been a homicide investigation became one only of serious assault. In his conclusions, the Coroner stated that Dr Manock’s autopsies in these three cases had achieved “the opposite of their intended purpose”. They had closed off inquiries rather than opening them up. Once the deaths were diagnosed as resulting from natural causes, the police were unable to follow up on their investigations. (Ironically, the Coroner’s own action of withholding his findings also had the opposite effect of its intended purpose.) The Coroner noted that Dr Manock had said that he had seen things which could not have been seen. The Coroner said that some of Dr Manock’s answers to his questions had been “spurious” (not genuine).'

PUBLISHERS NOTE: Over the years I have drawn parallels between two disgraced pathologists: Charles Smith (Canada) and "Colin Manock" (South Africa). Both men have triggered  'earthquakes' beneath their respective countries justice systems. In this fascinating post, Andrew L. Urban illustrates  how the deaths of three babies (all wrongly diagnosed by the "insufficiently qualified"  Manock   as natural) led to terrible consequences  - including the conviction of Henry Keogh, an innocent man. The truth of Manock's flawed diagnosis in each of the three cases  was revealed in an inquest conducted by a coroner named Mr. Wayne Chivell. The connection with Henry Keogh's wrongful conviction? As Urban puts it: "The Coroner, Mr Chivell, had finished writing his Findings a few days before the trial of Henry Keogh began, but he decided not to release his Findings, which discredited Dr Manock as an expert witness. According to the November 7, 1996 affidavit of Michael Sykes, solicitor for Keogh, “The Coroner said he was sensitive to the fact that Mr Keogh’s trial was proceeding at the time he was ready to publish his Findings. He knew that Dr Manock was a principal Crown witness. So as to avoid a mistrial he decided, of his own volition, to delay publishing the Findings until after the trial had concluded." The consequences?" According to Urban, who says  the coroners' "inexplicable  decision then set off  a devastating chain reaction; "It is astonishing that the Coroner recognised that his Findings would impact on the trial, but failed to see that such an impact was highly desirable in the interests of justice. Had the Coroner released his Findings, it is inconceivable that Dr Manock would have been called to give evidence at Keogh’s trial, the credibility of any testimony he was to have given now shredded. If Dr Manock had not given evidence, Keogh would not have been convicted. There was no other evidence the prosecution could put to the jury." In short, Urban concludes: "Not only were the criminals responsible for the infanticide of three babies never pursued by the police, but an innocent man was convicted of murder; the Coroner withheld exculpatory evidence and the legal system failed in its duty to adhere to the rule of law." Urban also provides his readers with several other examples of "legal carnage" which placed Keogh in prison and kept him there for so long as part of :the chain reaction. Read on.

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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POST: "The Baby Deaths chain reaction," by Andrew L. Urban, posted on his Blog, The Wrongful Conviction Report, on December 13, 2019.

PREFACE: "They have come to be known as The Baby Deaths. Three unrelated babies who died between October 1992 and August 1993 in Adelaide, were each victims of physical abuse but the State’s Chief Pathologist (1968 – 1995), the insufficiently qualified Dr Colin Manock, reported the cause of death in each case as natural: bronchopneumonia. It was the start of a 20 year chain reaction that began with a wrongful conviction which should have never happened."

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Storm Don Ernie Dean was three months old when he died, on Friday, October 16, 1992, at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. The cause of death was given by Dr Colin Manock as bronchopneumonia, a basic lung infection. The police and the doctors involved thought the suggested causes of death given by Dr Manock were incorrect, and may have concealed serious child abuse, or even homicide. They made their views known to the Coroner.

In his book, A State of Injustice, Dr Bob Moles compiled the following reports (republished here with permission), based on the Coroner’s findings, the transcript of evidence before the Coroner, the report of Dr Tony Thomas that was accepted by the Coroner, Dr Manock’s autopsy reports in each of the three deaths, and the ABC TV 4 Corners program, ‘Expert Witness’.
squeezed the baby around the chest
 Storm was born on 18 July 1992 to Craig and Heather. He lived with his parents and three siblings who were aged ten, six and four. Craig stayed at home to look after the children, and Heather worked as a telemarketer. Craig said that on Thursday 15 October 1992, while he and Heather were at home, he took Storm from the baby bouncer by grabbing hold of the front of his jumpsuit without supporting his head. Craig described taking him to the master bedroom: ‘I picked him up by the scruff of his clothes and carried him like a little carrying bag … I flipped him, and he went about two feet forward and then landed on the bed.’  Craig told the doctors at the time that he had flipped all his children in this manner, throwing them through the air onto the bed. He had the belief that this taught the babies how to fall properly and would be helpful during their later life. In an effort to show them how to breathe from the diaphragm rather than from the chest, he had squeezed the baby around the chest on various occasions. After putting Storm on the bed, he and Heather went outside to fix his Harley Davidson motor bike. Heather later went to check on Storm and found him looking pale and not moving. Craig tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but without success. Heather called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, Craig was said to have run out of the house with the baby and to have fallen over. However Storm didn’t hit the ground. The ambulance officers connected Storm to an electrocardiograph to measure his heart activity. They said that he was cold and grey, he had no heartbeat and he wasn’t breathing. He was rushed to the Lyell McEwin hospital and then from there to the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. The following morning it was agreed that Storm’s life support would be terminated and Storm was pronounced dead.

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William (Billy) Barnard, aged 9 months, died on 31 July 1993, at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Dr Manock conducted the autopsy. His diagnosis was that Billy, too, had died of bronchopneumonia. He also had some fractures of the arm. A detective from the CIB said that because he was told that the cause of death was bronchopneumonia, it meant that he couldn’t undertake further inquiries.
bruises and fractures
Billy was born on 29 October 1992 to Cherry and David. He lived with his parents and an older sister aged three years. Another sister had died when she had been only three weeks old. On the evening of Thursday 30 July 1993, Cherry was in a sleeping-bag with Billy. The following morning, she said, she found him not breathing. She called for an ambulance and the baby was taken to the Adelaide Children’s Hospital. Billy was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. One ambulance officer said he had remembered attending at that address before when the other child had died. The ambulance officers noted that Cherry seemed ‘detached’, ‘nonchalant’, ‘unconcerned’ – much the same as on the first occasion. The ambulance officer conveyed his misgivings to the medical authorities on arrival at the hospital.   The physical examination of Billy by Dr Donald (the director of Child Protection Services) revealed injuries such as bruises and fractures, that were possibly non-accidental, as well as scars which were unusual in a child that young. The body was sent to the Forensic Science Centre for an autopsy. Cherry, when talking about Billy, admitted to having ‘cracked and snapped his arm’. Billy’s sister had also died while sleeping with her mother in a sleeping-bag. The Coroner said that David was more articulate and careful in his answers to questions than Cherry was. The Department of Family and Community Services had had extensive involvement with the family, and there was evidence of neglect and poor parenting skills. Cherry had had a disturbed childhood, as had David, who had served a sentence for assaulting a child in an earlier relationship. The Coroner said that the Family and Community Services plan was clearly insufficient.  Joshua Clive Nottle, aged 9 months, died on 17 August 1993, at the Modbury Hospital, Adelaide. Dr Manock conducted the autopsy. Yet again, the cause of death was described as bronchopneumonia, this time associated with multiple rib fractures.
Bruising and rib fractures
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Joshua was born on 27 November 1992 to Julieanne and Sean. He had a brother who was about two years old. On Tuesday morning, 17 August 1993, Joshua was found dead in his cot. He was taken to Modbury Hospital where he was declared dead. Bruising and rib fractures were noted. Two detectives from the CIB attended. After an interview, Sean was arrested and charged with Joshua’s murder. When the results of the autopsy were known, this was then reduced to intentionally causing grievous bodily harm.  Joshua’s body was transferred to the Forensic Science Centre where Dr Manock conducted an autopsy the same day. Again, there was no other doctor present during the examination, however the CIB officers were present. Bruising was found in addition to a spine fracture and rib fractures. Yet again, the death was described as bronchopneumonia, this time associated with multiple rib fractures.   Knowing that there was evidence of spinal injury and multiple rib injuries, the detective investigating the case spoke to Dr Manock about his concerns. He said that Dr Manock explained to him that throwing the child into the air and catching him could have caused the rib injuries. Dr Manock also said that the spinal injury might have resulted from ‘vigorous attempts at resuscitation’ by the father. Dr Thomas took the view that this was not correct.
As the Coroner said:  “Dr Manock’s evidence here reflects his apparent attitude that this is an issue of credibility, that it is his word against that of Dr Thomas rather than an issue of scientific and professional method. Had Dr Manock done as Dr Thomas suggested he should have, this would not, and should not, have been an issue at all.” 

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multiple fractures … birth injuries?
The Coroner, Mr Wayne Chivell, had commissioned histology specialist Dr Tony Thomas to report on all three as part of the inquest held 1994-95. (Dr Thomas was Associate Professor in anatomical pathology at the Flinders Medical Centre in Adelaide and had had forensic pathology experience in the UK and New Zealand as well as Australia.) One of the babies had multiple fractures which were put down as birth injuries. Dr Thomas knew that they could not have been birth injuries, “you could get some handle on that from X rays and the formation of new bone so that the radiologists at the women’s and children’s hospitals who looked at him and said this can’t be birth injuries. And I remember one of the babies was described as having nappy rash and that was a discrete ulcer on the buttock or just above the buttocks, which looked like a burn really. So that was not nappy rash. So it was these sorts of injuries that didn’t really fit in with what Dr Manock had said and how he interpreted them. And then came the histology …”The histology gave Dr Thomas a completely different result to that which Dr Manock had put down. During the inquest into the death of Billy Barnard, Dr Manock said he could not recall why he did not weigh the lungs. He agreed that bronchopneumonia was unlikely to have been the cause of death. He was unable to recall what he saw in the slides which had led him to this conclusion. The Coroner said that it was astonishing that a pathologist in his position had not seen fit to write it down. Dr Manock said he did not send the brain for examination, because he was waiting for something from the detectives, so that he could tell the specialist what to look for. The Coroner said that he was perplexed at this statement, as the specialist was perfectly capable of examining the brain without being told what to look for. The Coroner said that he was perplexed at this statement, as the specialist was perfectly capable of examining the brain without being told what to look for. The Coroner concluded that, of the three deaths, that of Joshua Nottle was the most serious, with non-accidental injuries most evident. He said that Dr Manock’s diagnosis prevented the establishment of a causative link between the non-accidental injuries and the death. In the Coroner’s view, what should have been a homicide investigation became one only of serious assault. In his conclusions, the Coroner stated that Dr Manock’s autopsies in these three cases had achieved “the opposite of their intended purpose”. They had closed off inquiries rather than opening them up. Once the deaths were diagnosed as resulting from natural causes, the police were unable to follow up on their investigations. (Ironically, the Coroner’s own action of withholding his findings also had the opposite effect of its intended purpose.) The Coroner noted that Dr Manock had said that he had seen things which could not have been seen. The Coroner said that some of Dr Manock’s answers to his questions had been “spurious” (not genuine). But then a devastating chain reaction was set off by the Coroner’s inexplicable decision. The Coroner, Mr Chivell, had finished writing his Findings a few days before the trial of Henry Keogh began, but he decided not to release his Findings, which discredited Dr Manock as an expert witness. According to the November 7, 1996 affidavit of Michael Sykes, solicitor for Keogh, “The Coroner said he was sensitive to the fact that Mr Keogh’s trial was proceeding at the time he was ready to publish his Findings. He knew that Dr Manock was a principal Crown witness. So as to avoid a mistrial he decided, of his own volition, to delay publishing the Findings until after the trial had concluded.” It is astonishing that the Coroner recognised that his Findings would impact on the trial, but failed to see that such an impact was highly desirable in the interests of justice. Had the Coroner released his Findings, it is inconceivable that Dr Manock would have been called to give evidence at Keogh’s trial, the credibility of any testimony he was to have given now shredded. If Dr Manock had not given evidence, Keogh would not have been convicted. There was no other evidence the prosecution could put to the jury. Following Keogh’s conviction (eventually overturned in 2014), the Coroner within days released his findings. By all the rules of legal process, his Findings concerning Dr Manock should have then resulted in an instant acquittal of Keogh, on the basis of inadmissible forensic evidence. The law in Australia states that if information relevant to the credibility of a Crown witness is not made available at trial, then that is sufficient for the verdict to be overturned.
legal system failed
Not only were the criminals responsible for the infanticide of three babies never pursued by the police, but an innocent man was convicted of murder; the Coroner withheld exculpatory evidence and the legal system failed in its duty to adhere to the rule of law. Another officer of the Crown made an equally poor decision – one that prompted the affidavit by Sykes. In 1996, after the failure of his first appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal, Keogh instructed Michael Sykes, to take over his case. Mr Sykes contacted Mr David QC, who was by then a Judge of the District Court of South Australia, in the following terms: “I asked Judge David if he would make an affidavit deposing to reasons as to why he did not raise in the appeal any issue relating to the Baby Deaths Coronial Findings by the Coroner in relation to Dr Manock. Judge David declined. He informed me that once they were published he had considered them, but could not see how they could assist Keogh. As the Findings only came out after the trial he did not have time to consider them in more than an embryonic level and was without the opportunity for an in-depth analysis prior to the appeal being heard. [There were some three months between the date the Findings were issued and the hearing of the appeal.]” Whatever ’embryonic level’ means, it was at best neglectful. David “…could not see how they could assist Keogh”. Here is how: Dr Manock was not fit to have given evidence at Keogh’s trial, or any trial for that matter. The appeal would have been successful, saving Keogh almost 20 years in prison.
The error was repeated and compounded the hurt caused to Keogh – and to the justice system. The Coroner’s failure to make a timely disclosure so as to disqualify the unqualified Dr Manock testifying in the Keogh trial was the first of three major non-disclosure transgressions by officers of the Crown against Keogh. Some 10 years later, officers of the Crown failed to disclose another exculpatory report to Keogh: the report by forensic expert Dr Barrie Vernon-Roberts which also discredits Dr Manock’s crucial evidence, this time in the Keogh trial.
legal carnage in three acts
In the first instance, Coroner Chivell’s non-disclosure in 1995 helped put Keogh in jail; in the second, David QC’s  failure to use the Findings in Keogh’s 1996 appeal kept him there and in the third, the Crown’s non-disclosure of the Vernon-Roberts report in 2004 kept him there for another 10 years."

The entire Post can be read at:
https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2019/12/13/the-baby-deaths-chain-reaction/

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: http://www.thestar.com/topic/charlessmith. Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: http://smithforensic.blogspot.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com.  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;