Friday 15 June 2012


There have been cases of injustice thrust upon innocent people all over the world and probably from the beginning of Man’s entry into this world. Space doesn’t permit me to list all the cases of injustices committed world-wide but I will give my readers some of them that took place in the United States. It is a sad reflection of our era that a nation like the United States that believes in justice for all has so many cases of injustice thrust upon so many of its  innocent citizens but I suppose a nation that has over 313 million citizens can never hope to be free of injustices thrust on its innocent citizens. 
Massachusetts:  Between the years of 1991 and 1993, Boston Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn concealed evidence that might have cleared Vincent Ferrara and Pasquale Barone of murder charges.  In 2005, the USDOJ Office of Professional Responsibility found Auerhahn acted with “reckless disregard of discovery obligations,” but the only consequence he suffered was a private reprimand. 

Massachusetts Chief US District Judge Mark L. Wolf, in a rare rebuke to the US Justice Department, later asked the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers to launch disciplinary proceedings against Jeffrey Auerhahn, because he withheld key evidence in a New England Mafia case heard in the early 1990s. 
Later, Judge Wolf’s rebuke would be upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which called Auerhahn’s behavior “outrageous,” “egregious,” “feckless” and “a grim picture of blatant misconduct.”

To hold Auerhahn accountable, Judge Wolf petitioned the local office of the Bar Counsel to consider disciplinary action against Auerhahn. As a result of the judge’s request, the Bar Counsel sought to have Auerhahn suspended for two years.
Later, Auerhahn's conduct was referred to a state agency in which he had to face a 3-judge disciplinary panel that judges lawyers for misconduct. Two members of the panel of three federal judges ruled that “the allegations of professional misconduct had not been proven by clear and convincing evidence.”

Across Boston, some of the city’s attorneys found that the panel’s ruling was absolutely ill-judged. Two of the judges had chosen to ignore the factual findings Judge Wolf had made about Auerhahn in 2003. The two judges arrived at their decision even while recognizing that Judge Wolf had observed the key witnesses firsthand and made thorough findings at the hearings.

 Even though the two members of the panel noted that their ruling in favor of Auerhahn does not necessarily mean they condoned his actions, they however concluded that the Office of Bar Counsel had failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Auerhahn had violated the rules of professional conduct.
As of this year, Jeffrey Auerhahn is still the Assistant US Attorney in Boston.

California.  Ed Jagels was first elected to the Kern County prosecutor's office in 1983, at a time when the United States public attention was focused on rumors of child molestation and Satanism, much of which proved to be false.
Soon after his election he created a task force to investigate sex crimes against children. The cases eventually brought into court between the years 1983 and 1987 involved false claims of satanic ritual abuse performed by eight supposed pedophile groups. He brought into court cases that had no physical evidence, or independent witnesses. His cases were based solely on the testimony of alleged child victims who had been coached and sometimes tricked into testifying against their parents and other adults. Long prison sentences were obtained against many of the adults, but the cases began to unravel in the late 1980s as the children grew older and recanted their testimony. Of the 26 convictions, 25 were reversed. The county paid out nearly $10 million to settle claims made by the former prisoners and the alleged victims. He was unapologetic about the false convictions in the 1980s sex abuse cases despite the fact that 25 of the people he prosecuted were later deemed innocent by a higher court.

As a ‘get tough on crime’ prosecutor, Jagels was very popular in his conservative town of Bakersfield, California. In the 2000s he prosecuted a man under the three strikes law, which carried a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence, for stealing a pack of doughnuts worth less than $1, because the man had been convicted of two felonies in the 1970s. The three strikes law allows prosecutors to disregard some prior offenses. Jagels didn’t take full advantage of that. Many prosecutors rarely charge a nonviolent offense as a third strike offence.
Jagels was re-elected six times as the Kern County district attorney, before announcing his retirement in 2009.

The judge was just as stupid. To sentence a petty thief who stole a 50-cent packet of donuts to 77 years in prison just seems rather disproportionate.
Florida.  William Dillon spent 27 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit based on fraudulent "evidence" from dog handler John Preston (discredited in 1984) and perjured "snitch" testimony from another jail inmate.  The snitch testified at a legislative hearing about how Brevard County detectives got him to lie under oath.  

 In more than 15% of wrongful conviction cases overturned through DNA testing in the US, a lying informant testified against the defendant at the original trial. Often, statements from people with incentives to testify—particularly incentives that are not disclosed to the jury—are the central evidence in convicting an innocent person. Many innocent people have been wrongfully convicted in cases because of the testimony of incentivized witnesses. In many cases, the snitches had been paid to testify. Many snitches have testified in exchange for their release from prison or they testified in multiple distinct cases that they have evidence of guilt, through claiming to have overheard a confession when in fact they didn’t overhear a confession.
Florida.  There are wolverine prosecutors like Jagels are all over the US. What follows is an example of a wolverine prosecutor who gets convictions regardless of guilt and he is in Broward County, Florida. His name is Robert Carney.  Of course, he later became a judge. It would appear that having a  belt full of scalps would qualify prosecutors to move up to the bench as judges where they can then apply the same, twisted legal rationales to the cases tried by and before them. 

Hard questions were raised about his role as the prosecutor in four murder cases he prosecuted during the 1980s. Those cases were thrown out on appeal— disproved by DNA evidence or alternatively, had become marred by serious doubts that justice was truly done during those four trials he prosecuted. As a homicide prosecutor, Carney played a major part in three Broward murder cases against John Purvis, Anthony Caravella and Christopher Clugston that were thrown out by appeals courts because the validity of the convictions had been greatly undermined. He also played a lesser role in one of Florida's most notorious wrongful convictions, that of Frank Lee Smith.
As you may have guessed, wolverine prosecutors often travel in packs. Robert Carney's successor, Carolyn McCann, launched an effort to assault the credibility of Edward Blake and his lab, Forensic Science Associates.  Why did she do that, you may well ask? It is because Blake not only found DNA in the Anthony Caravella case, but his tests cleared Caravella of rape and murder charges.  In 2001, the Broward County Sheriff's crime lab couldn't find any DNA evidence that could clear Caravella so McCann presumed that Caravella must have been guilty based on other evidence submitted to the court. 

MississippiFormer Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter, 55, resigned his job as a judge and pled guilty to misleading authorities. His plea meant he would be spending 18 months in a federal prison, and of course it meant losing his law license. 
On March 28, 2008, DeLaughter was suspended from the bench indefinitely by the     Mississippi Supreme Court due to allegations of bribery and judicial misconduct. DeLaughter pleaded not guilty on February 12, 2009 to a five-count federal indictment in which these charges were linked to the criminal investigation of disgraced tort attorney Richard Scruggs.  He later pleaded guilty on July 30, 2009 to one obstruction of justice charge.

He didn’t have to answer for what he did to Cedric Willis when he was presiding over the trial of this unfortunate man. This crooked judge sentenced this innocent man to prison for the rest of his natural life, even though evidence was available to the judge which was to the contrary.
In June 1994, Cedric Willis, who was then 19 years old, was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi for two crimes: the first for the June 12th attack on a couple in their driveway as they returned home late at night and the rape of the wife and robbery and shooting in the leg of the husband; and second for the June 16th robbery of a family at gunpoint in their driveway as they returned home and the shooting of the father of the family in the leg. Cedric Willis was arrested and charged with all of these crimes (including by then, the capital murder of the father as he had died from his wounds). All of the victims gave similar descriptions of the perpetrator and ballistics testing showed the same gun was used in both crimes. All of the victims identified Cedric Willis from a never-disclosed photo array and then later in line ups.

The same gun was also used in at least 3 other armed robberies committed within a 2-hour time frame of the murder of Carl White Jr. in which the robbery victims were shot in the leg, but none of those victims would identify Cedric Willis as the perpetrator.

A year after Cedric’s arrest, DNA testing performed on the rape kit taken from the rape victim revealed a male profile that did not match Cedric Willis or the rape victim’s husband. At the insistence of the State, the kit was re-tested and again excluded Cedric Willis as the perpetrator.

The State of Mississippi then dropped the rape charges against Cedric Willis and re-indicted him on only the robbery of the Whites and the murder of Carl White Jr. The State of Mississippi then moved to prevent Cedric Willis from being allowed to introduce the DNA test results at his armed robbery and murder trial and the court agreed that they should be kept out. Neither would the court allow Cedric Willis to present evidence of the 3 other robberies committed with the same gun within a 2-hour time period of the robbery of the Whites and the murder of Carl White Jr., for which Cedric Willis had a tight alibi and in which none of the victims could identify him and in which the police had numerous eyewitness reports describing the car used and its occupants which in no way linked Cedric Willis to the string of robberies.
Cedric Willis was effectively forced to undergo his trial with his hands tied in 1997. The jury, who heard only the compelling eyewitness testimony of the murder victim’s family, convicted him quickly and he was sentenced to life in prison (for the murder) plus an additional ninety years (thirty years each for the robbery of each of the rest of the murder victim’s family).

In September 2005, the Circuit Court of Hinds County reversed Cedric Willis’s conviction and granted him a new trial on all counts. On March 6, 2006, Judge Tomie Green determined that the eyewitness identifications were inadmissible at a new trial and, upon joint motion of the defense and the State, Judge Green dismissed the charges against him. An hour later, Cedric Willis walked down the front steps of the Hinds County jail into the arms of his family and supporters.
Later, I will present to you more examples of injustices that occurred in the United States. Later still, I will present to you injustices that also occurred in other countries.

No comments: