Sunday, November 28, 2021

Kathleen Folbigg: "Alana House, Editor of 'Justice for Kathleen Folbigg': "Associate Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University David Butt has told 60 Minutes he believes it is not reasonable to claim that Kathleen Folbigg's diaries support only one ‘damning’ interpretation." ...Butt was among four leading experts who analysed Folbigg’s diaries have formally submitted their opinions to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC QC, and to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, as part of a petition originally lodged in March – and which has now been backed by 150 eminent scientists, science advocates and medical experts from around the world – calling for her to be pardoned and released. “There is a likelihood that the courts and Inquiry have misinterpreted the feelings of responsibility for not being a better mother as admissions of agency in the deaths of the children,” he noted in the formal submission."


BACKGROUND: "Kathleen folbigg; Australia: Science Versus Politics: An extraordinary case in which she remains in prison while more than 150 scientists who affirm her innocence are locked in battle with state officials who remain impervious to their pleas to free her. Reporter Quentin McDermott writes in the government Australian that, "Now four leading experts who analysed Folbigg’s diaries have formally submitted their opinions to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC QC, and to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, as part of a petition originally lodged in March – and which has now been backed by 150 eminent scientists, science advocates and medical experts from around the world – calling for Folbigg to be pardoned and released."

Charles Smith Blog: October 11, 2021.

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

POST: "Linguistics expert gives verdict on Kathleen Folbigg's diaries," by Amanda House, Editor of 'Justice for Kathleen', published on  Nov. 25, 2021; 

GIST: "Associate Professor of Linguistics at Macquarie University David Butt has told 60 Minutes he believes it is not reasonable to claim that Kathleen Folbigg's diaries support only one ‘damning’ interpretation.

Butt said he did not subscribe to the belief that the diaries are a "virtual confession". He added that his conclusion after reading the diaries was that there was reasonable doubt. He suggested the police and prosecutors should have approached her case with the mandate of "innocent until proven guilty".

"If you start out with the presumption of guilt, you can find it," he cautioned. 

Butt was among four leading experts who analysed Folbigg’s diaries have formally submitted their opinions to NSW Governor Margaret Beazley AC QC, and to NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, as part of a petition originally lodged in March – and which has now been backed by 150 eminent scientists, science advocates and medical experts from around the world – calling for her to be pardoned and released.

“There is a likelihood that the courts and Inquiry have misinterpreted the feelings of responsibility for not being a better mother as admissions of agency in the deaths of the children,” he noted in the formal submission.

“I am comfortable in describing Ms Folbigg as having been a very loving and attentive mother …,” psychotherapist Dr Kamal Touma said.

“After reading and analysing the minute particulars of Ms Folbigg’s diaries and having met her for five analytical psychotherapy sessions, I cannot see anything in the diaries or from my sessions with Ms Folbigg to indicate that she harmed her children.”

Dr Touma had five audiovisual consultations with Folbigg and concluded that “the painful aloneness of being dissociated with and from her feelings is illustrated by this simple heartbreaking entry in her diary the day her daughter Sarah died: MONDAY 30: SARAH LEFT US.”

But Dr Touma rejects the notion that she may have killed her children in severe dissociative, fugue like states.

“Nowhere in the diaries nor in my conversation with Ms Folbigg was this observable," he said. "I can comfortably exclude this hypothesis.”

When Dr Touma spoke to Folbigg, he was struck by how she spoke about her children.

“A written transcript cannot reflect what we may call the ‘musicality’ of the moment where immersed in associative thinking she talked about her children. This is the true memories she keeps of her children and wasn’t since losing them able to access to express. This is not how a murderous mother would ever talk about her children,” he said.

A second expert, US-based psychologist and textual analyst Professor James W. Pennebaker, who has helped the FBI and CIA understand the language of kidnappers, terrorists and violent criminals, said: “I see absolutely no evidence to suggest that these were premeditated murders.

“I see no evidence that Kathleen Folbigg’s language … exhibited any signs of deception or attempts to cover anything up. I also see no sign that Folbigg is mentally unstable or is someone harbouring buried hostility or rage,” Prof Pennebaker said.

A third expert, consultant psychiatrist Associate Professor Janine Stevenson, said: “Nowhere in her journals does she use agency verbs, such as ‘I hurt her’ … Throughout the journal Ms Folbigg is detailing all the steps she took to ensure the safety of her children. There is no anger, no aggression, only self-doubt.”

Kathleen Folbigg has spent 18 years behind bars on the basis of discredited evidence and presumptions about her diaries that are not supported by experts. It’s time for the NSW justice system to admit it made a mistake."

The entire post can be read at:

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/FMfcgzGllCfgpVwdDvPcxLpSVRQKcMxL

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;
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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;
—————————————————————————————————
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Sue Neill-Fraser: Australia: Bulletin: The long awaited decision of the judges in her final appeal against her 2010 murder conviction is to be released on Tuesday, November 30, Andrew L. Urban reports on his Wrongful Conviction Report..."The appeal was heard March 1- 3, 2021, six years after the then new further right to appeal legislation was introduced in 2015 by then Attorney-General the late Vanessa Goodwin. Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering her partner Bob Chappell on their recently purchased yacht, Four Winds, on Australia Day 2009, in a circumstantial case. Chappell’s body has never been found, neither a murder weapon. The controversial case has since been examined by investigative writers, authors, TV documentaries and a movie; none could find any evidence probative of her guilt. Revelations in the Etter/Selby papers (tabled in Parliament in August 2021) of evidence withheld and other problems with the police investigation, have fuelled preparations to call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the case, in the event that the appeal is dismissed."


GIST: "The long awaited decision of the judges in Sue Neill-Fraser’s final appeal against her 2010 murder conviction will be handed down in the Supreme Court of Tasmania at 9.45am on Tuesday, November 30, 2021. 

The appeal was heard March 1- 3, 2021, six years after the then new further right to appeal legislation was introduced in 2015 by then Attorney-General the late Vanessa Goodwin.

Neill-Fraser was convicted of murdering her partner Bob Chappell on their recently purchased yacht, Four Winds, on Australia Day 2009, in a circumstantial case. Chappell’s body has never been found, neither a murder weapon. The controversial case has since been examined by investigative writers, authors, TV documentaries and a movie; none could find any evidence probative of her guilt.

Revelations in the Etter/Selby papers (tabled in Parliament in August 2021) of evidence withheld and other problems with the police investigation, have fuelled preparations to call for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the case, in the event that the appeal is dismissed."

The entire post can be read at:

https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2021/11/26/sue-neill-fraser-appeal-decision-on-tuesday-november-30-2021/
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;
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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;
—————————————————————————————————
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.

Barbara Knox: (Former head of University of Wisconsin’s Child Protection Programs): Seven families who faced child abuse investigations triggered by her have recounted to 'Wisconsin Watch' (Reporter Brenda Wintrode), the terror of the wrongful child abuse diagnoses they experienced: "Knox's suspicions were later rejected by other doctors, police and child welfare officials."... "All seven were cleared after investigations by police or child protective services."...Families faced wrongful charges: 'Knox’s pursuit of allegations against them caused emotional trauma, unnecessary legal and medical bills and at least one initially missed diagnosis, parents told Wisconsin Watch. In the case of Henry’s clotting disorder, the focus on a child abuse diagnosis over the actual cause of his brain bleeding could have threatened his life, the Shebestas say. These parents came under suspicion under a policy advising that most bruising or fractures should trigger a child abuse assessment for babies who cannot yet walk or pull themselves up to stand. Knox helped write that policy, which a spokesperson said is based on national standards. There are around 350 child abuse pediatricians at hospitals across the country responsible for determining whether a child’s symptoms indicate intentional harm. Knox is a prominent member of the increasingly controversial subspecialty. She is often a speaker at national conferences and an expert witness in criminal cases across the country."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Knox left the University of Wisconsin in 2019, after being suspended for allegedly bullying her hospital colleagues and now faces similar scrutiny at her new job at Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she heads the statewide child abuse forensic clinic, Alaska CARES. Over the past two years, the Anchorage clinic has lost its entire medical staff to resignations or eliminated positions, according to a joint investigation by Wisconsin Watch and the Anchorage Daily News. Seven current and former Providence employees say they made dozens of complaints about Knox’s management and medical judgment to supervisors, with no response for months.  Knox reportedly has been placed on leave."


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


STORY: "Parents recount  terror of wrongful child abuse diagnoses from former University of Wisconsin doctor," by Reporter Brenda  Wintrode, published by Wisconsin Watch, on November 27, 2021.


SUB-HEADING: "7 Wisconsin families facd child abuse investigations triggered by Dr. Barbara Knox - suspicions later rejected by other doctors, police and child welfare officials."


PHOTO CAPTION: "Seven sets of parents in Wisconsin say they were wrongfully accused after University of Wisconsin Dr. Barbara Knox determined their children had been abused. All seven were cleared after investigations by police or child protective services. 


GIST: "As a child protective services worker questioned them in their baby’s hospital room, Greg and Katie Shebesta of Janesville, Wisconsin, held their nearly 6-month-old upright, allowing the excess fluid to drip through tubes a brain surgeon had inserted beneath his skull.


"He was trying to understand if I was a person who would hurt my child," Katie Shebesta said.


Greg Shebesta remembered a torrent of fear washing over him that winter day seven years ago.


"I was afraid my kid was gonna die. I was afraid I was gonna go to jail. I was afraid they were gonna take them away from us," he said, referring to Henry and his older brother Jack, who was 3 years old.


Dr. Barbara Knox, then-head of the University of Wisconsin’s Child Protection Program, had flagged the Shebestas’ case, alleging the baby’s brain bleeding was intentionally inflicted.


That triggered an investigation that began even before Henry’s surgery.


Greg Shebesta researched possible medical reasons for his son’s condition on the internet. He shared his findings with Knox. She rebuffed them.


"Dr. Knox kept saying, ‘No, there’s no medical reason, this was intentional trauma, nonaccidental trauma,’" he recalled.


But Knox was wrong. And not just in that case.


In seven cases spanning seven years, the child abuse pediatrician labeled accidents and medical conditions as abuse — allegations later rejected by police, child protection officials and other doctors, Wisconsin Watch has found. 


They are among the families and caregivers who spoke to Wisconsin Watch after a 2020 investigation revealed Knox had wrongly suspected a Mount Horeb family of child abuse.


Blood clotting disorder blamed

Months after Henry recovered from brain surgery, a UW pediatric hematologist and oncologist told them Henry had a blood clotting disorder.


The brain bleeds that Henry suffered "very likely are entirely due to this bleeding tendency," Dr. Carol Diamond wrote in a letter she sent in February 2015 to Knox and Rock County child protective services. She added: "I feel very confident in the care of this family for this boy."


With the allegations behind them, the parents of now three healthy children detailed what Katie Shebesta called "some of the scariest and most traumatic" moments of their lives. The family would like to see accountability by the hospital — and by Knox — for the unnecessary trauma they endured.


"She was trying to prove (abuse) all at the expense of potentially our freedom, but more importantly, our kid’s life," Greg Shebesta said.


Knox left the University of Wisconsin in 2019, after being suspended for allegedly bullying her hospital colleagues and now faces similar scrutiny at her new job at Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she heads the statewide child abuse forensic clinic, Alaska CARES.


Over the past two years, the Anchorage clinic has lost its entire medical staff to resignations or eliminated positions, according to a joint investigation by Wisconsin Watch and the Anchorage Daily News.


 Seven current and former Providence employees say they made dozens of complaints about Knox’s management and medical judgment to supervisors, with no response for months. 


Knox reportedly has been placed on leave.


 Providence declined to verify Knox’s employment status but confirmed it is investigating the clinic’s workplace environment.


Months ahead of publication, Wisconsin Watch sent Knox two emails containing investigative findings, questions and interview requests. She did not respond to emails or follow-up phone calls from Wisconsin Watch.


During Knox’s UW tenure, criminal and child welfare investigations upended the lives of many innocent families. Some cases mandated 24-hour in-home supervision for weeks as CPS and police investigations failed to find evidence to sustain Knox’s suspicions of child abuse.


Dane County Director of Human Services Shawn Tessmann said the CPS system is designed to have multiple checks and balances. She said abuse is substantiated in just 15 percent of cases referred.


"We are concerned that families are not unduly brought into the CPS system while also making sure that necessary protections are in place for kids who are at risk," Tessmann said.


Directors of Human Services in Dane, Green and Rock counties, the three counties where all of the families lived at the time of their CPS referral, all said they use an initial assessment based on state standards to determine if the safety and wellbeing of a child are at risk.


Mandated reporters like Knox who claim they see signs of abuse trigger the CPS assessments. None would comment on their interactions with Knox.


"Only after this assessment is it determined if the allegation is substantiated or not based on the facts gathered," Tessmann said.


UW Health told Wisconsin Watch it doesn’t track the number of referrals its child protection program makes to child welfare authorities and law enforcement each year. 


However, all of the parents and caregivers who spoke to Wisconsin Watch were seen by Knox, Physician Assistant Amanda Palm, another member of the child protection team, or both. 


Some families asked for their names to be withheld because of the stigma of child abuse, fear of losing their jobs or the lingering trauma from the allegations.


The hospital declined interview requests on behalf of staff and administrators.


Families faced wrongful charges:

Knox’s pursuit of allegations against them caused emotional trauma, unnecessary legal and medical bills and at least one initially missed diagnosis, parents told Wisconsin Watch. 


In the case of Henry’s clotting disorder, the focus on a child abuse diagnosis over the actual cause of his brain bleeding could have threatened his life, the Shebestas say.


These parents came under suspicion under a policy advising that most bruising or fractures should trigger a child abuse assessment for babies who cannot yet walk or pull themselves up to stand. Knox helped write that policy, which a spokesperson said is based on national standards.


There are around 350 child abuse pediatricians at hospitals across the country responsible for determining whether a child’s symptoms indicate intentional harm.


 Knox is a prominent member of the increasingly controversial subspecialty. She is often a speaker at national conferences and an expert witness in criminal cases across the country.


The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families reported over 4,900 confirmed child maltreatment cases in 2019. Within the four types of child maltreatment tracked — neglect, physical, mental and emotional abuse — the majority are attributed to neglect. 


Physical abuse ranked second; DCF reported just under 800 substantiated cases in 2019.


While Wisconsin law requires doctors to report suspected child maltreatment and gives any mandated reporter immunity from legal repercussions when reports are made in good faith, consequences for a doctor misdiagnosing child abuse remain elusive.



Medical experts who often defend caregivers in court told Wisconsin Watch the child abuse pediatrics subspecialty lacks accountability and scientific rigor, a conclusion also reached by Do No Harm, an NBC News/Houston Chronicle investigation, which uncovered hundreds of cases of false allegations leveled by child abuse pediatricians.


Mom’s worry turns to charges of abuse

In 2018, Kimberly Marshall had taken her 7-month-old son Marshall Hass to two separate doctor appointments, reporting a persistent fever and a "crackling" sound in his lungs. One appointment was at UW Health’s emergency department, where doctors declared nothing was out of the ordinary.


But the mother of four knew something was wrong.


An X-ray at her family pediatrician’s office revealed a broken rib. A doctor told her the fracture was indicative of child abuse, and Marshall came under suspicion as the cause of the injury.


The Madison pediatrician’s office where Marshall had taken all four of her children for over 15 years rushed her and the baby to American Family Children’s Hospital. Police met her in the lobby.


"It was really upsetting because it just turned into this: 'You’re an abuser,'" Marshall said, tearing up as she recounted the incident.


Knox and Palm asked her how she lifted the baby’s car seat and whether she was violent. The pair said the only way her baby could have suffered a broken rib was from abuse or some kind of trauma, like a car accident, Marshall recalled.


The only thing Marshall could offer was that the baby had rolled off a couch and onto a carpet a week earlier while she was in the shower and his older siblings were watching him.


"I honestly don’t know how he broke his rib," Marshall told Wisconsin Watch.

Knox wrote in the baby’s medical record: " ... the fact that the fracture is unexplained further raises concern for physical abuse of a child."


They told Marshall she could not be alone with her other children while authorities investigated her son’s case.


Further complicating matters, Marshall’s husband, Tim Hass, was stuck in Texas, being debriefed after a one-year deployment to the Middle East. Once the case escalated to a child abuse investigation, the helicopter crew chief for Wisconsin’s Army National Guard grabbed an expedited trip home.


Police and CPS asked Kimberly if they could go to her home while she was still in the emergency room with the baby and interview her three older children who were ages 11, 12 and 14 at the time. She said yes. More testing revealed nothing else was wrong with her son.

Marshall described feeling "like a captive" in the hospital.


"At no point did they say that I could decline these things, or that the hospital would pay for them," Marshall said. "It really seemed like if I didn’t do absolutely all these things that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave, and they would take my child."


The couple got a lawyer who told them to follow up with their own pediatrician instead of Knox and directed CPS to communicate with him instead.


Dane County’s child protective services closed the case after finding no evidence of abuse.


"It must be terrible for people who don’t have the same resources we do," Marshall said.


Video clears Madison parents

In another case, a Madison mom in 2015 was in the same room as her toddler, and his dad was one room away, when they heard him cry out in pain. He had fallen into the side of the couch and began favoring his left arm. The parents rushed him to West Towne Clinic, a UW Health urgent care clinic, where X-rays revealed a break in the boy’s left arm. The clinic sent the family to UW’s emergency department.


There, a radiologist said the break showed signs of healing, prompting emergency medicine Dr. Michael Kim to ask the boy’s parents when their son had broken his arm the first time. Kim noted in his report the parents told him they didn’t know their son had an old injury.


Because the child’s injury was unexplained, Kim consulted with the Child Protection Program. He told authorities the case was low risk for abuse. He added that Knox would be unable to determine the exact cause of the injury.


After a follow-up appointment with the child protection team six days later, Knox and Palm diagnosed the case as "gravely concerning for nonaccidental trauma."


Palm told Madison Police Detective Matthew Nordquist, if not for the age of the break, the parents would not be under investigation. Delaying medical care is a form of child neglect under Wisconsin law.


Nordquist asked Palm if it was possible the boy could have injured his arm without his parents knowing. Palm did not give him a definitive answer, according to his police report.


"There’s no way that he could have just hidden it from us for 10 days," said the boy’s mother, who witnessed nothing out of the ordinary leading up to her son’s injury. She asked not to be named because she also works for the University of Wisconsin.


The parents cleared themselves by showing Nordquist footage from the child’s bedroom camera. Nordquist reviewed the videos of the week before the fall, and wrote in his report he saw the boy "gripping toys with his left hand, using it to balance, putting his body weight on it, and using both hands to climb onto furniture as he plays," and "never observed him favor his arm, look at his arm or show any expression of pain."


The detective closed the case saying he believed the parents sought care as soon as they saw any sign of injury.


Mark on skin triggers abuse claim

After their 5-month-old’s constant drooling irritated and cracked the skin on his chest, his parents sought medical care. But their pediatrician’s colleague, who saw the baby that day, instead focused on a mark on his left arm.


The pediatrician referred the family, who lived in Madison at the time, to UW Health’s child protection team for over four hours of extensive testing that included an eye exam and an attempted but failed blood draw. The baby "had bruises all over his arms from all the needle sticks," his mother recalled.


The baby’s mother, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, who knew this mark was from her son’s habit of sucking on his arm, was told that "'Kids won't do that when they're six months old.'"


In medical records, Palm wrote the "case is being diagnosed as gravely concerning for physical abuse," and that Knox reviewed the case and agreed.


A police officer and CPS worker closed their cases after witnessing the baby repeatedly sucking his left arm in the hospital.


The parents asked to remain anonymous because of the stigma of child abuse allegations.


False medical info given to authorities

The Shebestas first brought Henry to the UW because their pediatrician sent them there.


 The doctor treated Henry during an episode of flu-like symptoms that did not resolve and after an MRI found bleeding on the baby’s brain.


He warned the parents that UW doctors would question them as a matter of protocol because they had no explanation for the bleeding. He told the Shebestas he would vouch for them.


Dr. Bermans Iskandar, who led a team of neurosurgeons caring for Henry, reported finding bilateral "chronic subdural collections," or bleeding, on both sides of the baby’s brain.


 Henry would eventually have a successful surgery to alleviate the bleeding.


The day before the surgery, the Shebestas were referred to the hospital’s child protection team. During the couple’s initial interviews, a detective and a CPS worker delivered shocking new — and false — information about their son’s condition.


Greg Shebesta remembered a detective said Henry had three distinct brain bleeds that occurred on three separate days. Someone, they were told, had intentionally harmed their son, and he was now brain-damaged. They suggested the child’s caregiver could be to blame, but the Shebestas insisted the woman — whom they trusted completely — would never harm Henry.


"This was the first time we had heard this information, and it devastated both of us," Katie Shebesta wrote in a letter to hospital officials that the couple did not send out of fear of retaliation.


When they returned to Henry’s hospital room, neurosurgeon Iskandar was prepping Henry for a bedside procedure. They asked him if what they just heard was true.


Iskandar refuted the statements and went to find Knox.


 They would later learn Knox had not consulted with the neurologist before she gave authorities incorrect medical information.


Confused and wanting answers, the couple requested a conference with Knox on their second night in the hospital. They said after she showed up hours late, Knox explained that Henry’s case was not clear cut because there was no sign of injury.


Greg Shebesta asked Knox when the child abuse inquiry would end. 


The Shebestas both clearly recall Knox’s answer: When someone feels guilty enough to confess.


Knox’s team ran a battery of tests, which found Henry suffered no broken bones or bleeding behind his eyes. In her report, Knox noted Henry’s Factor XIII blood clotting test result came back "mildly low," the same blood clotting deficit, Dr. Carol Diamond later said, "very likely" caused Henry’s brain bleeds.


Yet, Knox concluded: "The case remains gravely concerning for nonaccidental trauma as the mechanism of injury."


CPS closed the Shebestas’ case, but only after two months of weekly in-home visits, sometimes unannounced, to scrutinize the parents.


"People say, ‘What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.’ And we're not better for it," Greg Shebesta said.


He said the experience left him emotionally drained. "I felt dead inside."


And for a time, he set up a video camera in the family’s living room and turned it on when his wife wasn’t home.


Instead of filming precious family memories, Greg Shebesta collected evidence — in case he was ever wrongfully accused of child abuse again."


The entirety story can be read at: 


https://www.wpr.org/parents-recount-terror-wrongful-child-abuse-diagnoses-former-university-wisconsin-doctor

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;
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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;
—————————————————————————————————
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.

Daryl Howard: North Carolina: On-going trial in his civil suit against Detective Darrell Dowdy for allegedly making up and withholding evidence resulting in his wrongful conviction and sentence of 80 years behind bars. (Reporter Virginia Bridges; Charlotte Observer)... "Howard contends a drug gang called the New York Boys raped and killed the mother and daughter to send a message to people who took their drugs. Over the last three weeks, Howard and his team of attorneys have been trying to convince a jury that Durham police detective Darrell Dowdy made up and withheld evidence resulting in Howard’s wrongful conviction. The federal case is being heard in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. Dowdy’s investigation, Howard contends, led to Howard’s decades-long imprisonment tortured by the injustice and witnessing and experiencing unspeakable violent and sexual crimes. Dowdy’s attorneys are fighting a case in which a defense expert agrees Dowdy didn’t follow procedure in documenting parts of his investigation."


STORY: 'Don't make me remember': North Carolina man, doctor describe trauma from wrongful conviction," by Reporter Virginia Bridges, published  by The Charlotte Observer, on November 24, 2021.

PHOTO CAPTION: "A judge found that new DNA evidence raised questions of Howard's guilt and vacated his conviction in 2016. “I want to go see my grandchildren, go see my mom and go home,” Howard said at the time. Gov. Roy Cooper pardoned Howard in April 2020. "

GIST: Darryl Howard walked slowly to the stand with his head bent forward over his broad shoulders. He spent a night in the hospital this month with a skin infection in his leg. Not yet 60, he walked with the hunch of an older man. 

After he settled into the witness chair in the federal courtroom, his attorney asked him to introduce himself. “My name is Darryl Anthony Howard,” he said in his gravely smoker’s voice.

 Mr. Howard, his attorney asked, did you have anything to do with the murder and rape of Doris and Nishonda Washington? Black Friday Sale Unlimited digital access - “No sir,” Howard said. 

Howard later explained he wasn’t a good father before he went to prison for nearly two decades, but he’s trying to be one now. 

He has a grown daughter and son he is trying to reconnect with and a 16-month-old son he sees every day, he said. 

And then, there is Darryl Junior, who overdosed on drugs while Howard was behind bars. “I was in prison for something I didn’t do, and he died,” Howard said, and he started to sob. “Sorry, I have a difficult time talking about him,” he said. 

This is the complicated life of Darryl Howard whose 1995 double-murder conviction was vacated in 2016 after he spent 23 years behind bars for a double murder and arson, which he has denied doing from the beginning. Gov. Roy Cooper pardoned Howard in April. 

MADE UP, WITHHELD EVIDENCE? Howard was convicted of arson and two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Doris Washington, 29, and her 13-year-old daughter, Nishonda, who were found naked, dead and strangled on a bed in an apartment set ablaze in November 1991.

 He was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

 Howard contends a drug gang called the New York Boys raped and killed the mother and daughter to send a message to people who took their drugs.

 Over the last three weeks, Howard and his team of attorneys have been trying to convince a jury that Durham police detective Darrell Dowdy made up and withheld evidence resulting in Howard’s wrongful conviction. 

The federal case is being heard in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

 Dowdy’s investigation, Howard contends, led to Howard’s decades-long imprisonment tortured by the injustice and witnessing and experiencing unspeakable violent and sexual crimes.

 Dowdy’s attorneys are fighting a case in which a defense expert agrees Dowdy didn’t follow procedure in documenting parts of his investigation.

 Dowdy’s attorneys have fought to present evidence about Howard selling drugs around the 1990s, being high during the 1995 trial and being found with drugs in 2020. 

Howard’s attorneys contend the defense is attempting to introducing evidence that suggests he is a bad person who doesn’t deserve to be awarded a lot of money.

 They have argued through questioning that no matter how someone has lived, everyone deserves justice. 

Jurors will weigh his testimony in deciding how much compensation Howard should receive if they find Dowdy fabricated and withheld evidence. 

Other federal wrongful conviction cases have resulted in jury awards in the tens of millions of dollars, including a recent case in which two brothers cleared of a 1983 murder and rape won $1 million for every year of wrongful incarceration. 

ABOUT DARRYL HOWARD Howard was the second-youngest of about 10 children.

 He dropped out of school in ninth grade. His mother made him attend cooking classes, but he made money selling marijuana for about four years, he testified.

 He started selling cocaine and heroin around 1986. Howard’s supplier was a man from Panama, Howard said, and he sold at the now leveled Fayetteville Street public housing complex in Durham.

 Howard became addicted to cocaine and heroin himself, he said. 

After Howard’s supplier was arrested, Howard said he downgraded his selling operation to fund his personal habit, spending lots of time in Few Gardens, a crime-ridden public housing complex that gangs and drug dealers had carved up.

 In his testimony, Howard recounted a life filled with brutality: domestic violence when he was young, losing his father at 12, being stabbed in the neck while sleeping in a juvenile detention facility, getting shot about 10 times in five incidents in so many years.

 On the night Washington and her daughter were killed, just after midnight on Nov. 27, 1991, Howard and his girlfriend were getting high at Sharon Bass’s apartment in Few Gardens, he said.

 Bass sold drugs out of her apartment, Howard said. 

Howard said he knew Doris Washington, who lived near Bass. “I would call it associates,” said Howard, who said he hung out with other drug addicts. “We had the same problem.” 

Around midnight, he and his girlfriend went to pick up drugs from a man for Bass, he said. 

The man lived near Washington’s apartment.

 As they walked back, they saw smoke coming out Washington’s window, Howard testified. 

Howard went straight to Bass’s apartment when he heard sirens because he didn’t want to be arrested for trespassing again, he testified. 

He had been banned from all public housing properties and arrested for trespassing about 70 times, according to court documents. 

Back at Bass’s he got high and went to sleep, he said. 

The next morning, Howard was pulled over as he left Few Gardens for his other girlfriend’s home to change. 

He was arrested for trespassing by Officer Robbie Davis.

Davis arrested Howard a lot, he said. “He didn’t like me at all,” he said.

 After Howard was arrested, he was taken to the magistrate. Davis testified that Howard brought up the Washingtons’ deaths and said he knew Washington had been mad at her daughter for dating an older man.

 Howard also said he didn’t know why Doris killed her daughter and then herself, Davis testified. 

Howard denies making those statements. 

Howard was charged with murder a year later, after multiple people in Dowdy’s investigation placed him inside and outside the Washingtons’ apartment around the time of the killings. 

Howard’s legal team, however, has noted key witnesses who changed their stories and/or gave more specific incriminating information after a $10,000 reward was offered in the case. 

Others, in more recent statements, said Dowdy planted the information in their statements." 

The entire story can be read at:

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article256072347.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;
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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;
—————————————————————————————————
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Omar Raddad. France. Bulletin: (A Decision on his DNA-based application for a review of his conviction is expected within weeks, (December 16, 2021) 'News.in-24 English' reports..."Sentenced in 1994 to 18 years imprisonment, Omar Raddad had benefited from a partial pardon from President Jacques Chirac, then from parole in 1998. But this pardon did not annul the conviction and did not exonerate the gardener Moroccan. Based on a report revealed by the newspaper Le Monde, the defense of Omar Raddad filed last June at the courthouse in Paris, a request for review of the trial, a very exceptional procedure in France. The report drawn up in 2019 by a private expert, to which the French newspaper had access, concluded to the presence of about thirty traces of a complete male DNA not belonging to the gardener and found in one of the famous inscriptions. made with the blood of the victim, who designated Omar Raddad as the murderer. The expert Laurent Breniaux, who analyzed 35 traces of one of the DNA present in the famous inscription “Omar me killed”, favors, in his report, the hypothesis of a deposit of fingerprints at the time of the facts, and not from subsequent “pollution” by investigators. In other words, these genetic traces could have been deposited by the author of the inscription, who would then not be Mrs. Marchal but potentially the real murderer, believes the defense of Omar Raddad."


BACKGROUND:  (From a previous post of this Blog. (Link below): "The facts of the case are that a widowed heiress of a car manufacturer, Ghislaine Marchal, was brutally murdered, allegedly by Raddad. The victim was found to be smothered in blood in the cellar of her property in Mougins, in the South of France.  Evidence found at the scene of crime included two inscriptions on two doors, the victim’s blood used as the art medium. The phrases inscribed were as follows: “Omar m’a tuer” and “Omar m’a t”, meaning “Omar killed me”. This was considered sufficient evidence and Raddad was arrested.  On February 2, 1994, Raddad was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Evidential Aspect: These famous inscriptions set in motion a multitude of questions that were raised with the evidence submitted and the scrutiny that it went under. Some of the questions raised were:

  • How could a woman stabbed 16 times, drag herself and write on the wall?

Raddad in a 2010 interview with the French weekly Journal du Dimanche[3] said: “How an elderly woman, knocked out and gravely injured with 16 stab wounds, could drag herself from one end of the room to the other to write, ‘Omar killed me’ – twice – is something I’ve tried to visualize in my prison cell a thousand times in the dark. It’s impossible!” ......... "Raddad may be guilty, or he may be innocent. The only way of knowing is if he is awarded a fair trial. The uproar that was caused because of this case was not because of the outcome of the case. It was caused because of the way he was treated and of the way the decision was held. The possibility of the retrial will most definitely raise questions and cause more turmoil. Maybe even more than was present before as the global world continues to progress and become more inclusive and speak out on a greater level."

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

PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Based on these new elements, the investigating committee of the Court of Revision, made up of five magistrates, began examining the request filed by the defense. His decision will then be reserved for several weeks, according to a judicial source, cited by the media in France. In its report, the investigating committee can either reject the request, or order additional information, or send it to the Court of Revision, which will then have the last word on the organization of a new trial. Sentenced in 1994 to 18 years imprisonment, without the possibility of appeal at the time, Omar Raddad, who has never ceased to proclaim his innocence, had in total spent more than seven years in prison. The Omar Raddad case is one of the most famous and controversial criminal cases in France."

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

STORY: "Omar Raddad case: French justice examines a new request for review,"  published by New.in-24 (English) on  November 25, 2021.

GIST: "Paris – The French justice examines this Thursday behind closed doors a new request for revision of the trial of Omar Raddad, this Moroccan gardener condemned, then pardoned without ever being exonerated, for the murder in 1991 of his boss Ghislaine Marchal.


Neither the applicant nor his lawyer Sylvie Noachovitch made a statement before the start of the hearing held in camera before the investigating committee of the Court of Revision.


Sentenced in 1994 to 18 years imprisonment, Omar Raddad had benefited from a partial pardon from President Jacques Chirac, then from parole in 1998. But this pardon did not annul the conviction and did not exonerate the gardener Moroccan.


Based on a report revealed by the newspaper Le Monde, the defense of Omar Raddad filed last June at the courthouse in Paris, a request for review of the trial, a very exceptional procedure in France.


The report drawn up in 2019 by a private expert, to which the French newspaper had access, concluded to the presence of about thirty traces of a complete male DNA not belonging to the gardener and found in one of the famous inscriptions. made with the blood of the victim, who designated Omar Raddad as the murderer.


The expert Laurent Breniaux, who analyzed 35 traces of one of the DNA present in the famous inscription “Omar me killed”, favors, in his report, the hypothesis of a deposit of fingerprints at the time of the facts, and not from subsequent “pollution” by investigators.


In other words, these genetic traces could have been deposited by the author of the inscription, who would then not be Mrs. Marchal but potentially the real murderer, believes the defense of Omar Raddad.


“These new elements represent a real hope”, affirms MaĆ®tre Noachovitch, lawyer for Omar Raddad, who said she was “convinced that they are an upheaval of the file and obviously give rise to doubts about Omar’s guilt. Raddad ”.


Based on these new elements, the investigating committee of the Court of Revision, made up of five magistrates, began examining the request filed by the defense. His decision will then be reserved for several weeks, according to a judicial source, cited by the media in France.


In its report, the investigating committee can either reject the request, or order additional information, or send it to the Court of Revision, which will then have the last word on the organization of a new trial.


Sentenced in 1994 to 18 years imprisonment, without the possibility of appeal at the time, Omar Raddad, who has never ceased to proclaim his innocence, had in total spent more than seven years in prison.


The Omar Raddad case is one of the most famous and controversial criminal cases in France."


https://new.in-24.com/News/339602.html


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


Check out New York Times story: "A Socialite, a Gardener, a Message in Blood: The Murder That Still Grips France,"  - at the link below.

 "His supporters argue that Ms. Marchal’s real killer was able to prop the bed against the door while leaving the basement and wrote the messages to avoid detection by framing the gardener.

An empty handbag was not proof of theft, they said, and no jewels or other valuables went missing. Most important, neither Mr. Raddad’s DNA nor his fingerprints were ever found at the crime scene.

In 2015, new DNA technology led to a discovery at the scene of the traces of four unknown men. An expert for Mr. Raddad subsequently identified the presence of 35 traces of DNA from one unknown man that was mixed with the second message written in the victim’s blood, said Ms. Noachovitch, Mr. Raddad’s lawyer.

“This DNA must belong to the killer,” Ms. Noachovitch said, arguing that it was very unlikely that it came from investigators or others who contaminated the scene.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/20/world/europe/france-murder-ghislaine-marchal-omar-raddad.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;
-----------------------------------------------------------------
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;
—————————————————————————————————
FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
FINAL, FINAL, FINAL WORD: "It is incredibly easy to convict an innocent person, but it's exceedingly difficult to undo such a devastating injustice. 
Jennifer Givens: DirectorL UVA Innocence Project.