Saturday, September 14, 2019

George Powell 111: Texas: (Subject of Netflix documentary 'Exhibit A'). Major Development: A court has ordered his release after 11 years behind bars pending a retrial on a decade old robbery case loaded with issues of interest to this Blog..."Powell was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 28 years for aggravated robbery. The Bell County District Attorney's Office centered its case against Powell, who is 6-3, on testimony from an expert witness who said the robber was at least 6-1, and a jailhouse informant who told them Powell had confessed to the crime while they were in the local lockup. But forensic scientists have questioned the expert's use of PhotoModeler, often used to reconstruct auto accident crime scenes, to determine the robber's height. This "non-science," as one analyst called it, was included in the Netflix documentary Exhibit A, which focused on dubious forensic tools. Moreover, the prosecutors failed to tell Powell's defense team that their informant was offered a reduced sentence in return for his testimony, which the informant then denied on the stand. The court granted Powell a retrial on this second factor, saying his due process rights were violated; it did not address the forensic methods in its orders granting retrial and release." Excellent reporting from the Dallas News. Reporter Lauren McGaughy);


QUOTE  ONE OF THE DAY: "This week, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Powell's request to argue his innocence. But it did grant his request to be released from prison to prepare for his trial on the outside. Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware called the release order a win and said his client will have the chance to again argue that he is innocent of the crime. "It is disappointing that they didn't address [his innocence]," Ware told The Dallas Morning News. "But I'm very pleased that they found that the prosecutors committed misconduct, because they clearly did, and it was so egregious that he deserves a new trial."

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QUOTE TWO OF THE DAY: " George has spent 11 years confined because of their prosecutorial misconduct," Ware said. "There's no remedy for that."Ware said Powell's attorneys have asked that all lawyers in the Bell County District Attorney's Office be barred from prosecuting the case a second time: "Hopefully we will get an honorable, experienced, and fair-minded special prosecutor."

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STORY:  "Texas man, subject of Netflix doc, ordered released after 11 years behind bars," by reporter Lauren McGaughy, published by The Dallas News on Sept. 12,  2019.  ( Lauren McGaughy  has covered Texas politics for four years, focusing on everything from K-12 education to state gun laws. She currently writes about criminal justice, state courts and issues pertinent to the LGBTQ community.)

SUB-HEADING: "George Powell 111: Texas: The court granted Powell a new trial after it determined his rights were violated when prosecutors withheld key evidence about a jailhouse informant."

GIST: "A court has ordered that a Texas man who was the subject of a recent Netflix documentary on questionable forensic evidence should be released from prison before his retrial on a decade-old robbery case. George Powell, 46, maintains his innocence in the 2008 7-Eleven robbery and has spent years fighting for his release. In June, he was granted a retrial after it was determined his prosecutors withheld key evidence about a jailhouse informant who testified against him. This week, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Powell's request to argue his innocence. But it did grant his request to be released from prison to prepare for his trial on the outside. Innocence Project of Texas Executive Director Mike Ware called the release order a win and said his client will have the chance to again argue that he is innocent of the crime. "It is disappointing that they didn't address [his innocence]," Ware told The Dallas Morning News. "But I'm very pleased that they found that the prosecutors committed misconduct, because they clearly did, and it was so egregious that he deserves a new trial."  The robbery in question occurred at a Killeen 7-Eleven on June 9, 2008. A man in a white shirt, captured on the store's security camera, threatened the cashier with a gun and made off with cash and cigarettes. Powell was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 28 years for aggravated robbery. The Bell County District Attorney's Office centered its case against Powell, who is 6-3, on testimony from an expert witness who said the robber was at least 6-1, and a jailhouse informant who told them Powell had confessed to the crime while they were in the local lockup. But forensic scientists have questioned the expert's use of PhotoModeler, often used to reconstruct auto accident crime scenes, to determine the robber's height. This "non-science," as one analyst called it, was included in the Netflix documentary Exhibit A, which focused on dubious forensic tools. Moreover, the prosecutors failed to tell Powell's defense team that their informant was offered a reduced sentence in return for his testimony, which the informant then denied on the stand. The court granted Powell a retrial on this second factor, saying his due process rights were violated; it did not address the forensic methods in its orders granting retrial and release. Ware said Powell will soon be transferred from the Albert Hughes Unit in Gatesville back to the local lockup in Bell County, where the trial took place. Bell County is in central Texas, about two hours south of Dallas. There, they expect the terms of the bail to be such that will allow Powell to released. "George has spent 11 years confined because of their prosecutorial misconduct," Ware said. "There's no remedy for that." Ware said Powell's attorneys have asked that all lawyers in the Bell County District Attorney's Office be barred from prosecuting the case a second time: "Hopefully we will get an honorable, experienced, and fair-minded special prosecutor." Powell's fianc√©, Tamara Parsons, said he could be home within 10 days depending on the conditions of his bond. She's started a GoFundMe to help Powell with transition costs as they prepare for his retrial, for which a date has not been set. "George Powell will be coming home in the next ten days, pending bond. Tamara and Ciara are anxiously awaiting his return, as they have been by his side through the last 6 years. This fund is intended to assist George and his family with the transition," the GoFundMe page states. "George has nothing. No clothes. No car. No job. Nothing. Let's all come together to help fund his transition home, and get George back on his feet.""


The entire story can be read at:
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/courts/2019/09/12/texas-man-subject-of-netflix-doc-ordered-released-after-11-years-behind-bars/

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;