Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Injustices in the United States

Obviously injustices are not occurring just in the United States alone since they occur everywhere however I am going to submit to my readers some of the injustices in the United States. Injustices no matter where they occur are caused in two ways; carelessness and deliberately.

Illinois. In Zion, IL, on Mother's Day in 2005, 8-year-old Laura Hobbs and her friend, 9-year-old Krystal Tobias, disappeared while bike riding. After searching all night, Laura's father, Jerry Hobbs, found them, stabbed to death. There followed a marathon, 48-hour police interrogation, after which it was announced that Jerry had confessed. It was a classic, coerced, false confession, but the media went with it. Nancy Grace called him "a monster." When the physical evidence -- DNA -- proved him innocent, the state took another 2 1/2 years to set him free and look for serial killer Jorge Torrez. How many lives did the coerced false confession cost?

California. Caramad Conley of San Francisco spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit because then-homicide investigator Earl Sanders, who would later become police chief, had stood by in court while the star prosecution witness, a paid snitch, lied under oath. Business as usual.

California. Only a tiny percentage of prosecutors who engaged in misconduct were disciplined by the State Bar of California during a 12-year period, according to a report released October 4, 2010. Among 707 cases between 1997 and 2009 in which courts explicitly determined that prosecutors had committed misconduct, only six prosecutors -- 0.8% -- were disciplined by the State Bar of California. Only 10 of the 4,741 disciplinary actions by the state bar during the same period involved prosecutors. "Preventable Error: A Report on Prosecutorial Misconduct 1997-2009," issued by the Innocence Project's Northern California chapter, was written by Kathleen Ridolfi and Maurice Possley, a visiting research fellow at the project. Possley won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting at the Chicago Tribune. Ridolfi is a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. Click HERE to download the full report (pdf format).

North Carolina. SBI agent Duane Deaver will likely face a judge to explain why he shouldn't be sent to jail for making shifting explanations about criminal blood tests in the case of Greg Taylor, found innocent by the NC Innocence Inquiry Commission. The most likely question a judge will consider in Taylor's case is simple: Did Deaver lie to the commission in September 2009 about blood tests performed on Taylor's SUV in 1991. The answer should be obvious.

Missouri. A northwest Missouri judge has ordered all evidence thrown out in a decade-old murder case in which a former Kansas City attorney is accused of beating his law partner to death in their downtown office. This is some of the most egregious prosecutorial misconduct documented by a court in a long time. When the defense says "show me," the prosecution says "no."

Texas. Police in Richardson, Texas put a lot of effort into coercing a rape confession from deaf teenager Stephen Brodie back in 1990. Maybe that's why they continue to insist they had the right guy, even though the physical evidence tied the crime -- and 15 other rapes in the area -- to Robert Waterfield. Brodie spent 10 years in prison for the crime. He has now brought a petition to establish his innocence, based on Waterfield's fingerprint on the window of the victim's bedroom. The cops remain in denial.

UPDATE: Stephen Brodie was exonerated and freed on September 29, 2010.

Wisconsin. In response to the title of an article posted (below) just a few weeks ago, about the rarity of discipline for Wisconsin prosecutors, we can only add: "You're darn tootin'!" Both the Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Wisconsin Department of Justice determined in 2009 that it was neither unethical nor illegal for Calumet County DA Ken Kratz to send sexually charged text messages to the victim of a vicious domestic abuse case he was prosecuting. His conduct doesn't look so good in daylight. The rats who covered for him have deserted his sinking ship, but remember: The people now prosecuting Kratz are the same ones who covered for him.

UPDATE: Kratz resigned from his post as Calumet County DA on October 1, 2010.

New York. Prosecutors' failure to disclose that hypnosis was used to help a witness recover memories of alleged sex abuse as a child does not invalidate a defendant's guilty plea, a federal appeals court has ruled. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant the habeas petition sought by Jesse Friedman, who was seeking to undo his 1988 guilty plea in a molestation case that rocked Nassau County, N.Y., and became the subject of the documentary "Capturing the Friedmans." While the Court denied the appeal, the judges urged the Nassau DA to reopen the case. In the interest of justice.

Wisconsin. The Office of Lawyer Regulation wants to publicly reprimand Outagamie County District Attorney Carrie Schneider, saying she didn’t disclose a plea offer made to a witness and allowed the witness to lie under oath about it. The allegations against Schneider stem from a complaint filed in 2007 by Sheila Martin Berry, the former victim/witness coordinator for Winnebago County who runs Truth In Justice, an organization that publicizes wrongful convictions and misconduct by police and prosecutors. DAs rarely disciplined in Wisconsin.

New York. In vacating a murder conviction and barring prosecutors from retrying the case, a federal judge in New York has lashed out at the Brooklyn district attorney's Office for failing to take responsibility for its prosecutors' alleged misconduct. At a contentious, 90-minute habeas corpus hearing on June 8, 2010, Eastern District Judge Dora L. Irizarry noted that petitioner Jabbar Collins, a renowned jailhouse attorney, had uncovered numerous documents while serving his 34-years-to-life sentence suggesting that prosecutors had withheld evidence, coerced witnesses and lied to the court and the jury. The DA's wagons are circled.

New York. The trial judge should have caught this, but instead put his seal of approval on a coerced Alford plea by Rashjeem Richardson and sent him to prison for a knife attack someone else committed. Rochester prosecutors said four witnesses identified Mr. Richardson, when only one did so, and she retracted the next day because she had been drunk when she fingered him. When faced with a choice between a conviction and truth, prosecutors in Rochester choose a conviction.

Florida. Now that Anthony Caravella's conviction for the 1983 rape and murder of Ada Cox Jankowski has been tossed by DNA, officials there are forced to face the fact that now-retired Sheriff's Deputy Tony Fantigrassi 's real talent was extracting false confessions from innocent people. And then there's the crime lab. A legacy of corruption.

New Jersey. An assistant Camden County prosecutor accused of withholding evidence resigned yesterday after prosecutors agreed they never turned over all the information required when a Camden man charged with murder tried to prove his innocence. Harry Collins, who has been with the office for more than 15 years, resigned after the prosecution of Perman Pitman came under scrutiny. Pitman was freed last month shortly after officials discovered a handwritten note by Collins that said a witness had been paid to lie. "Please destroy this note."

Maryland. In Baltimore, Donnie Chestnut's trial was delayed 15 times. Small wonder. The state had no basis for the drug charges filed against him, and no justification for shooting him four times. He was acquitted -- and filed suit the same day.

North Carolina. State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) agent Michael Deaver stands with a foot in each camp -- junk science and egregious police misconduct. He can take a great deal of credit for Greg Taylor's conviction for a crime he didn't commit, because Deaver selectively reported -- and testified to -- finding blood in Taylor's truck, when he knew that more sophisticated tests showed the substance wasn't blood at all. SBI Director Robin Pendergraft stands behind Deaver, but there is a growing call across the state: Re-examine Old Cases.

Colorado. So just what have cops and prosecutors in the Rocky Mountain State learned from the case of Tim Masters--a vulnerable kid targeted to clear a disturbing murder, railroaded through court and convicted on speculation and innuendo because there was no evidence against him? Douglas County Sheriff David Weaver and DA Carol Chambers give a resounding answer: Nothing, absolutely nothing.

No comments: