Saturday, April 20, 2024

Nerissa Quewezance: Saskatchewan: (Miscarriage of Justice): Bulletin: Awaiting the results of a federal review - and hoping to be found wrongfully convicted - she has been arrested by Saskatoon police for allegedly breaching her bail conditions arrested by Saskatoon police, 'Indigenous Watchdog' reports. (APTN News)…"She and her sister, Odelia, made headlines in March 2023 when they were freed on bail to await the outcome of a federal Justice Department review of their 1994 second-degree murder convictions. The sisters from Keeseekoose First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan say they spent 30 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Their cousin, who was a youth at the time, confessed to killing farmer Anthony Dolff, 70, in 1993."…"The federal review began in 2022. Their lawyer, James Lockyer of Toronto, said Wednesday he notified both the judge, who granted the bail, and the Crown prosecutor on the case about Nerissa’s arrest. “I am hoping the Saskatchewan prosecutors will show understanding of her situation and not want to pursue the charges of breaching her bail,” Lockyer said in a telephone interview. “She lasted for a year (on bail). That’s pretty good going. Lockyer said he was in the process of crafting a new bail application for Nerissa."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "One of the sisters’ staunchest advocates recently asked federal Justice Minister Arif Virani to wrap up the review. “Both sisters’ current freedoms are extremely limited, and they continue to have a black cloud over them as the wheels of the federal justice system turn at a snail’s pace,” said Kim Beaudin, national vice-chief for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, in an April 12 letter to Virani obtained by APTN. “You have the power to expedite this process, to set an example to all other cases seeking redress for wrongful convictions. It is critical that this government moves this case forward with all due haste, to prove its seriousness about ‘David and Joyce Milgaard’s Law’ (Bill C-40).”

————————————————————————————————————

STORY: "Nerissa Quewezance arrested by Saskatoon police," by APTN News, published by Indigenous Watchdog, on April 17, 2024.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Nerissa and Odelia Quewezance are awaiting the results of a federal review of their 1993 murder convictions."

GIST: "A Saulteaux woman hoping to be found wrongfully convicted has been arrested for allegedly breaching her bail conditions.

Nerissa Quewezance was arrested April 13 after police picked her up on two release order warrants, said Easton Hamm, a spokesperson for the Saskatoon Police Service.

Quewezance, 49, was charged with failing to comply and remains in custody.

She and her sister, Odelia, made headlines in March 2023 when they were freed on bail to await the outcome of a federal Justice Department review of their 1994 second-degree murder convictions.

The sisters from Keeseekoose First Nation in southeastern Saskatchewan say they spent 30 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit. Their cousin, who was a youth at the time, confessed to killing farmer Anthony Dolff, 70, in 1993.

The federal review began in 2022.

Their lawyer, James Lockyer of Toronto, said Wednesday he notified both the judge, who granted the bail, and the Crown prosecutor on the case about Nerissa’s arrest.

“I am hoping the Saskatchewan prosecutors will show understanding of her situation and not want to pursue the charges of breaching her bail,” Lockyer said in a telephone interview.

“She lasted for a year (on bail). That’s pretty good going.”

Lockyer said he was in the process of crafting a new bail application for Nerissa.

Saskatchewan Justice said “Public Prosecutions will not be providing any further comment at this time” because the matter is before the courts.

Lockyer said both women have been struggling with the bail conditions as they await the outcome of the lengthy review.

“We’re hoping to get rid of these convictions entirely – as soon as we can – and once we’ve done that they’re no longer under any kind of court order,” he added.

“It’s an awful waiting game.”

One of the sisters’ staunchest advocates recently asked federal Justice Minister Arif Virani to wrap up the review.

“Both sisters’ current freedoms are extremely limited, and they continue to have a black cloud over them as the wheels of the federal justice system turn at a snail’s pace,” said Kim Beaudin, national vice-chief for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, in an April 12 letter to Virani obtained by APTN.

“You have the power to expedite this process, to set an example to all other cases seeking redress for wrongful convictions. It is critical that this government moves this case forward with all due haste, to prove its seriousness about ‘David and Joyce Milgaard’s Law’ (Bill C-40).”

David and Joyce Milgaard’s Law, named for a Winnipeg mother who worked alone to exonerate her son of rape and murder convictions, would establish a Miscarriage of Justice Review Commission to investigate miscarriage of justice applications in a timelier fashion.

David Milgaard, who died in 2022 after a short illness, wanted a faster and easier system for innocent people.

Right now, the reviews take between two and five years, noted Lockyer.

“As you know, there is currently a criminal conviction review process that is handled by the Criminal Conviction Review Group (CCRG) within the Justice department. Individuals who have exhausted their rights of appeal can apply to have their convictions reviewed,” said Chantalle Aubertin, spokesperson for Virani.

“When an application is made, the CCRG conducts a review on the Minister’s behalf and advises him on the appropriate remedy, if any. The Minister of Justice will then review relevant material and decide, on the basis of the facts and the law, whether a review application should be dismissed or allowed. The Minister of Justice cannot comment on ongoing criminal conviction reviews.”

Aubertin noted “the (Opposition) Conservatives played politics at committee stage on Bill C-40” delaying its approval."

The entire story can be read at:

https://www.indigenouswatchdog.org/update/nerissa-quewezance-arrested-by-saskatoon-police/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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.

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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


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;

————————————————————————————


YET ANOTHER FINAL WORD:


David Hammond, one of Broadwater's attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it's the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.


https://deadline.com/2021/11/alice-sebold-lucky-rape-conviction-overturned-anthony-broadwater-12348801

————————————————————————————————

Anthony Robinson; Illinois: Enough to make one weep: His ordeal (spending 11 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit) prompted an editorial in the Chicago-Sun Times making the point - all too familiar to readers of this Blog - that, 'Too often, justice misses the mark." Publisher's Note: It truly did miss the mark in this case - by miles. As the editorial notes: As the Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm reported recently, Anthony Robinson was convicted of the 2013 murder of Kelvin Jemison in the Bronzeville neighborhood, even though video showed the killer running from the scene and Robinson could barely walk, having been shot multiple times in the leg and foot in late 2012. Two co-defendants allegedly with Robinson were acquitted on a directed verdict. During post-conviction proceedings, Dr. Paul Goodman, a licensed doctor of podiatric medicine and surgery who has years of experience treating gunshot wounds, said “it would be impossible” for Robinson to have committed the crime because of extensive recent surgery on his shattered leg, according to court documents. A physical therapy report from when Robinson was released from the hospital on Dec. 5, 2012 — just four weeks before Jemison’s death — said Robinson was unable to stand without assistance. Also, two witnesses to the shooting said Robinson did not fit the description of the shooter. Yet Robinson was convicted by Cook County Circuit Court Judge James M. Obbish in a bench trial at which Robinson’s public defender did not investigate and introduce the medical evidence. Obbish sentenced Robinson to 55 years in prison."


PASSAGE OF THE DAY: "Even before the medical evidence emerged, questions were raised about Robinson’s conviction.  No physical evidence connected him to the crime, and he did not make a confession.  The video, which was captured by a motion-sensitive camera at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Washington Park homes, showed a shooter with short hair; Robinson had dreadlocks when he was arrested. The day after the shooting, a detective tracked down Dwayne Rolle, who was with Jemison. Rolle identified Robinson as the shooter, but during the trial he testified he did so because detectives “made it seem like” the three youths were the killers — “so I went along with them.”  He denied Robinson was the killer."

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

EDITORIAL: "Anthony Robinson spent 11 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. Too often, justice misses the mark,  the  Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board,  published on April 15, 2024.

SUB-HEADING: "Evidence shows Robinson, who was exonerated and finally released April 8, could not have committed the murder. On many level, the justice system failed."


GIST: "Last week’s exoneration of a man who served 11 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit shows that even with a steady effort at reform, the criminal justice system can fall short on justice.

Everyone from police to prosecutors to defense lawyers to judges to lawmakers needs to keep working to make the system better.

As the Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm reported recently, Anthony Robinson was convicted of the 2013 murder of Kelvin Jemison in the Bronzeville neighborhood, even though video showed the killer running from the scene and Robinson could barely walk, having been shot multiple times in the leg and foot in late 2012. 

Two co-defendants allegedly with Robinson were acquitted on a directed verdict.

During post-conviction proceedings, Dr. Paul Goodman, a licensed doctor of podiatric medicine and surgery who has years of experience treating gunshot wounds, said “it would be impossible” for Robinson to have committed the crime because of extensive recent surgery on his shattered leg, according to court documents. 


A physical therapy report from when Robinson was released from the hospital on Dec. 5, 2012 — just four weeks before Jemison’s death — said Robinson was unable to stand without assistance.


Also, two witnesses to the shooting said Robinson did not fit the description of the shooter.

Yet Robinson was convicted by Cook County Circuit Court Judge James M. Obbish in a bench trial at which Robinson’s public defender did not investigate and introduce the medical evidence. 

Obbish sentenced Robinson to 55 years in prison. Robinson was released April 8 from the Stateville Correctional Center.

Even before the medical evidence emerged, questions were raised about Robinson’s conviction. 

No physical evidence connected him to the crime, and he did not make a confession. 

The video, which was captured by a motion-sensitive camera at the Chicago Housing Authority’s Washington Park homes, showed a shooter with short hair; Robinson had dreadlocks when he was arrested.

The day after the shooting, a detective tracked down Dwayne Rolle, who was with Jemison.

Rolle identified Robinson as the shooter, but during the trial he testified he did so because detectives “made it seem like” the three youths were the killers — “so I went along with them.” 

He denied Robinson was the killer.

Robinson’s conviction and prison sentence were upheld in 2017 by a unanimous panel of Illinois’ First District Appellate Court, in an opinion essentially saying the conviction was valid even though it was based on recanted testimony undermined by the video evidence and witnesses who said Robinson was not the shooter. 

The Illinois Supreme Court declined to take up the case.

The administration of justice failed on many levels, until Lauren Myerscough-Mueller of the Exoneration Project pursued post-conviction relief.

In many ways, Robinson’s case paralleled that of C.J. Rice of Philadelphia, who was shot in 2011, just a year before Robinson, after a witness said she saw him sprinting away from the scene of the shooting, which took place just five days after Rice himself had been shot. 

Rice was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison for attempted murder. 

He was exonerated last month after a post-conviction process that included information from pediatrician Theodore Tapper (father of CNN’s Jake Tapper), who inspected the two dozen staples holding Rice’s torso together after he was shot. 

Like Robinson, Rice was in no condition to sprint from a crime scene.

It is clear now that Robinson should never have been prosecuted and convicted. 

As long ago as 2019, before the medical information surfaced, the nonprofit media outlet Injustice Watch raised questions about the case.

 To their credit, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx did not oppose Robinson’s request for post-conviction relief, and Judge Obbish, a respected jurist, in effect overturned his own initial verdict, which lawyers say is unusual.

Since it was launched in 2007, the Exoneration Project has exonerated more than 200 individuals. A similar initiative, the Innocence Project, has helped free 240 people who were wrongly convicted.

It’s important to bring violent criminals to justice and make the city safer. But it’s also important to ensure innocent people are not convicted of crimes they didn’t commit."

The entire editorial can be reached at:

https://chicago.suntimes.com/editorials/2024/04/15/anthony-robinson-murder-innocent-exoneration-project-criminal-justice-wrongful-convictions-editorial

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  I am monitoring this case/issue/resource. 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.

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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


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;

————————————————————————————


YET ANOTHER FINAL WORD:


David Hammond, one of Broadwater's attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it's the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.


https://deadline.com/2021/11/alice-sebold-lucky-rape-conviction-overturned-anthony-broadwater-12348801

————————————————————————————————

Friday, April 19, 2024

The West Memphis Three: Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley: Arkansas: Major (Welcome) Development: Innocence Project reports that yesterday (April 19, 2024), more than 30 years after their wrongful convictions, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled, in a 4-3 opinion, that Damien Echols is entitled to petition an Arkansas court for new DNA testing on crime-scene evidence that could clear his name and that of his co-defendants - noting that the ruling not only opens up the door for the West Memphis Three to identify the true perpetrator in their case, but hopefully will also help countless other people who have been wrongly convicted in Arkansas seek justice.

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

MESSAGE FROM:  THE INNOCENCE PROJECT: 

Learn more about yesterday's ruling and Damien, Jessie, and Jason's case — and then share the news of the DNA decision with your friends and family on social media.

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

RELEASE: 'Breaking news in the West Memphis Three case.' The Innocence Project: April 19, 2024.

GIST: "In 1993, teenagers Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were wrongly arrested for the murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas — and became known as the West Memphis Three. Although no physical evidence tied them to the crimes, all three teens were convicted and ended up spending 18 years behind bars for something they didn't do.

But yesterday, more than 30 years after their wrongful convictions, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled, in a 4-3 opinion, that Damien Echols is entitled to petition an Arkansas court for new DNA testing on crime-scene evidence that could clear his name and that of his co-defendants.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruling not only opens up the door for the West Memphis Three to identify the true perpetrator in their case, but it hopefully will also help countless other people who have been wrongly convicted in Arkansas seek justice. Last June, the Innocence Project filed an amicus brief to the Court, supporting Damien's appeal for new DNA testing based on our decades of experience using advancements in DNA technology to establish innocence. This brief emphasized that such testing is critical even after a wrongly convicted person has been released from prison, given the collateral consequences of criminal convictions can significantly restrict a person's opportunities and it should never be too late to get to the truth.

Last June, the Innocence Project filed an amicus brief to the Court, supporting Damien's appeal for new DNA testing based on our decades of experience using advancements in DNA technology to establish innocence. This brief emphasized that such testing is critical even after a wrongly convicted person has been released from prison, given the collateral consequences of criminal convictions can significantly restrict a person's opportunities and it should never be too late to get to the truth.

A Crittenden County judge had erroneously denied Damien's request for new DNA testing because he is no longer in prison — but Arkansas' DNA access statute does not limit access to post-conviction DNA testing to only those who are incarcerated. 

The West Memphis Three deserve to be officially cleared of this crime. Yesterday's ruling brings justice one step closer for the West Memphis Three, and for many more wrongly convicted people seeking DNA testing in Arkansas."

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

SEE BREAKDOWN OF  SOME OF THE ON-GOING INTERNATIONAL CASES (OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL USA) THAT I AM FOLLOWING ON THIS BLOG,  AT THE LINK BELOW:  HL:


https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/120008354894645705/4704913685758792985


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


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;

————————————————————————————


YET ANOTHER FINAL WORD:


David Hammond, one of Broadwater's attorneys who sought his exoneration, told the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Sprinkle some junk science onto a faulty identification, and it's the perfect recipe for a wrongful conviction.


https://deadline.com/2021/11/alice-sebold-lucky-rape-conviction-overturned-anthony-broadwater-12348801

————————————————————————————————