Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Walter Ogrod: Philadephia: Death row false confession case this Blog has been following: Publisher's Note: Fingers crossed. He could be exonerated at a hearing set for Friday (June 5th).

BACKGROUND: "Four years after the naked and battered body of Barbara Jean Horn was found in a trash bag in Philadelphia, the police had made no arrests despite having a series of suspects. Ogrod was not considered a suspect in the 1988 murder of 4-year-old Barbara Jean Horn until three years after her body was found. He had no criminal record and didn’t match the physical description of the man seen carrying the box Horn was found in. There were no signs of sexual assault on her body. Ogrod was described by acquaintances as unable to make decisions for himself and easily manipulated due to a mental disability. He confessed to the murder and attempted assault after an unrecorded interrogation by detectives Martin Devlin and Paul Worrell, who obtained false confessions that led to exonerations in at least two other cases. His retrial (the first ended in a mistrial) included a notorious jailhouse informant known as “the Monsignor” due to his apparent knack for hearing confessions. Ogrod was convicted and sentenced to death in 1996.  (Patricia) Cummings (Supervisor Conviction Integrity Unit)  wrote Saturday that Devlin and Worrell “utilized inherently coercive tactics and inaccurate information to obtain a false and unreliable confession from Ogrod; and jailhouse informants colluded to provide false and unreliable testimony against Ogrod in an effort to procure favorable treatment in their own criminal prosecutions.” No credible evidence remains that can prove Ogrod killed Horn, which means Horn’s real murderer remains unknown and may have committed other crimes, Cummings wrote.
Injustice Watch.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Fingers crossed:  I have learned from The Death Penalty Information Centre that: "A trial court is scheduled on June 5 to consider a joint motion by Ogrod and the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit to vacate his conviction. Prosecutors have conceded that Ogrod is “likely innocent.”
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;