Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Julius Jones: Oklahoma: Part Six: What role did a discredited forensic 'science' and a discredited FBI crime lab 'expert' play in wrongfully sending him to death Row? Read on...

Access Justice for Julius at:
BACKGROUND: From letter  NBA superstar Trae Young to governor and parole board: I and so many other people have been called to raise concerns regarding Julius Jones’ case because of the many obvious ways in which the legal system failed him. Julius’ co-defendant, who testified against him, changed his story no fewer than six times when interviewed by the police. However, Julius’s attorneys, who lacked death penalty experience and were woefully unprepared, failed to cross-examine the co-defendant regarding his inconsistencies. They did not mention that Julius’ co-defendant had bragged to fellow inmates that he had committed the homicide, not Julius. Nor did they inform jurors that Julius did not meet the description of the shooter provided by the sole eye witness. Julius’ attorneys also failed to present evidence that Julius was home with his family the night of the murder. Finally, the prosecution used a scientifically discredited bullet analysis, presented by an analyst who pled guilty for giving false testimony only months after Julius’s trial."

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I was  fascinated to learn from Julius Jones application for  commutation of his death penalty sentence that, a scientifically discredited bullet analysis, presented by an analyst who pled guilty for giving false testimony only months after Julius’s trial." 
My curiosity aroused, this inspired me to discover who the discredited FBI crime analyst was - and what role she had played in sending Julius Jones to death row.
Using my fabled 100 research assistants  - if only they existed - I discovered the role played against his oh so troubling conviction by a double whammy: A much discredited forensic ’science’  and  a discredited FBI crime analyst
.The long discredited  forensic ‘science’ - subject of multiple posts on this Blog   -  is ‘bullet lead analysis.' 

Wikipedia informs us: "Comparative bullet-lead analysis (CBLA), also known as compositional bullet-lead analysis, is a now discredited and abandoned forensic technique which used chemistry to link crime scene bullets to ones possessed by suspects on the theory that each batch of lead had a unique elemental makeup."

Indeed, as Law and Criminology Professor William Thompson (UC Irvine)  is quoted in a National Association of Criminal Defence  Lawyers publication: "If this technique had not been used for years to send people to prison, no  responsible scholar of forensics  would consider it ready for court."

The discredited FBI expert is Kathleen Lundy, whose testimony at Julius Jones’s trial helped secure his conviction and send him to death row.  
 Ms. Lundy pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of false swearing in connection with her expert testimony on bullet lead composition in a case out of Kentucky nearly one month before Julius’s capital trial roughly fourteen months after Julius was sentenced to death on April 19, 2002, 
Her misconduct had come to light came to light in a very interesting way. 
 As CBS News reported on March 17, 2003, (Reporter John Solomon: AP) under the heading “FBI lab work under serious scrutiny... "Weeks after testifying at a court hearing in a Kentucky murder, FBI scientist Kathleen Lundy told her superiors a secret. She knowingly gave false testimony about her specialty of lead bullet analysis.
"I had to admit that it was worse than being evasive or not correcting the record. It was simply not telling the truth," Lundy wrote her superior in an e-mail likely to be used against her now that she has been charged by Kentucky authorities on a charge of misdemeanor false swearing.”
The article,  at the link below, ends with a quote  from Lawrence Goldman, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  "We all have assumed the scientists are telling the truth because they do it with authority and tests. And as a result FBI scientists have gotten away with voodoo science.
More details of Lundy’s concocted testimony emerged in an article by Reporter Bob Doucette published on April 26 by The Oklohomian under the heading, “Indicted FBI expert worked 2 state cases."
"An FBI ballistics expert who reportedly admitted lying in a Kentucky murder case also worked on at least two Oklahoma murder cases, including one involving a death row inmate, the Oklahoma County district attorney's office confirmed Friday, the article begins. 
"Kathleen Lundy, an expert witness who performs chemical comparisons of lead bullets, was indicted on a misdemeanor charge of lying on the witness stand during a pretrial hearing in a Kentucky murder case,” the story continues.
"Lundy testified in the murder trial of Pete Moomey, 48, convicted of killing his business partner in 1998 and sentenced to life without parole. Lundy also did work on the case against Julius Jones, 22, who was convicted and sentenced to die for the 1999 slaying of Edmond insurance executive Paul Scott Howell.
Moomey's conviction was upheld by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in November. Jones' case is under appeal.
In Moomey's trial, Lundy testified that the bullet used to kill Billy M. Walker had the same chemical composition as those found at Moomey's home. About 100,000 of those bullets were made, she said at trial.
Moomey's former attorney, Bill Zuhdi, said Lundy's testimony could have been important to the jury.
During the trial, prosecutors claimed that Moomey killed Walker because he owed him $160,000. Witnesses placed him with Walker the night of the shooting and near the scene of Walker's death.
That testimony, coupled with Lundy's analysis of the bullets, could have affected the trial's outcome.
"If they put that with everything else, it could have been what tipped the jury," he said.
Moomey still claims innocence.
Lundy also had a role in Jones' case, officials at the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office said. Attorneys who prosecuted the case were not available to comment on Lundy's role in Jones' trial. But prosecutors plan to review what part Lundy had in the trial, said Assistant District Attorney Lynne McGuire.
"It's definitely something we want to review and have a look at," McGuire said. "We need to pull the files. It's definitely something we want to look into. We're as concerned as anyone when these circumstances come to light.”
Lundy’s ultimately decision to plead guilty to ‘false swearing’ -  became the subject of a story by Associated Press writer Murray Evans’  - putting  some additional details on the public record - published by ‘My Plainview’ on April 28, 2003, under the heading, “FBI scientist to plead guilty."
"An FBI scientist will plead guilty to lying during testimony she gave at a hearing about a 1994 Kentucky slaying, her attorney said Tuesday,” the story begins.
"There is going to be a guilty plea," attorney Larry Roberts said. The case was continued until June because the scientist, Kathleen Lundy, was out of state, it continues..
Lundy served as an expert witness who used chemical comparisons to link lead bullets to suspects. In this case, she testified against Shane Ragland, who was convicted last year of gunning down University of Kentucky football player Trent DiGiuro in 1994.

At a pretrial hearing, Lundy said a company melted its own bullet lead until 1996, when the company actually had stopped in 1986.
She corrected her testimony during the trial and told her supervisors in Washington that she had lied. Tom Smith, who is prosecuting the case, said it was his understanding that Lundy is on leave from the FBI.
In January, Circuit Judge Thomas Clark said Lundy's false testimony would not have altered the course of the case against Ragland.
Federal authorities decided not to prosecute her, but Kentucky prosecutors brought a misdemeanor charge of false swearing, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Roberts declined to say why Lundy chose to plead guilty.
"I cannot explain why I made the original error in my testimony … nor why, knowing that the testimony was false, I failed to correct it at the time," Lundy wrote in a sworn affidavit to Justice Department officials. "I was stressed out by this case and work in general."
Internal FBI documents obtained recently by The Associated Press show the FBI lab, which reformed itself after a mid-1990s scandal over bad science, is facing new criticism over its work on lead bullets and DNA analysis. Among the problems:
_A FBI lab technician resigned while under investigation for alleged improper testing of more than 100 DNA samples. The lab is now reviewing samples she placed into the FBI national database of DNA evidence.
_A retired lab metallurgist is challenging the bureau's science on bullet analysis, prompting the FBI to ask National Academy of Sciences to review its methodology.”
In the final chapter of this debacle - other than the fact that Lundy’s tainted testimony will play a role in Julius Jone’s death penalty commutation application -  AP writer Murray reports in the Midland Daily News, in a very brief story published  on June 16, 2003, that Lundy had pleaded guilty, had been fined $250.00, and that "FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said Lundy no longer works for the agency."
The entire Midland Daily News story can be read at:
Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

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:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;