Monday, October 20, 2014

Reginald Tanubagijo: California; Shaken Baby Conviction; Tanubagijo testified that he neglected to tell anyone that as Buddy began to choke, he reached over to where the child was placed in a chair on top of the table, causing it to topple over onto the tile floor. He testified that he was afraid and ashamed to tell anyone immediately. He is seeking a new trial; The Reporter;


STORY: "Suisun City foster father convicted in infant death case to argue for new trial," by reporter Ryan Chalk, published by The Reporter on October 17, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "New trial motion expected in 2010 infant death case."

GIST: "A former Suisun City foster father who was convicted of second degree murder in July was back in Solano County Superior Court on Friday, although attorneys delayed the setting of a date to argue for a new trial. Reginald Tanubagijo was convicted by a jury of second degree murder and felony child abuse charges in connection with the Nov. 29, 2010, death of an infant in his care. The baby was rushed to a hospital that night after Tanubagijo told paramedics it began choking on milk, however, tests revealed it had suffered head trauma, according to testimony........Medical experts for the prosecution included their opinion that the injuries Buddy suffered could be labeled as abusive head trauma, formerly known as shaken baby syndrome. Investigators, aware of the child's head injuries, interviewed Tanubagijo twice in the days after he made the initial 9-1-1 call. Jurors watched a video recording of his second interview with investigators, in which he states that Buddy fell from the kitchen table. Late in that second interview, Tanubagijo admitted to shaking the baby four-to-five times in an attempt to revive it after the fall.........Tanubagijo took the witness stand in his own defense and testified that he neglected to tell anyone that as Buddy began to choke, he reached over to where the child was placed in a chair on top of the table, causing it to topple over onto the tile floor. He testified that he was afraid and ashamed to tell anyone immediately. Tanubagijo's defense attorney is expected to file a motion for a new trial, and at a prior hearing, allegations of potential juror misconduct were indicated as a possible argument.
Tanubagijo was ordered back to court on Dec. 2, for the setting of a date when attorneys will argue the new trial motion.
The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.thereporter.com/crimebeat/ci_26752015/suisun-city-foster-father-convicted-infant-death-case

  PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 






Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hannah Overton: Texas; Prosecutors to retry her; Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned her conviction in September citing ineffective trial counsel at her 2007 trial for the death of Andrew Burd. Overton contended Andrew had emotional and medical problems, including an eating disorder in which he'd consume odd food items. An autopsy showed elevated sodium levels in his body.


STORY: "Prosecutors to retry woman in foster child's death," published by Associated Press on October 17, 2014.

GIST: "Prosecutors say they'll retry a South Texas woman whose capital murder conviction in the 2006 salt poisoning death of her 4-year-old foster son was overturned. Nueces County District Attorney Mark Skurka said Friday that he has ordered a new trial for Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi, who had served seven years of a prison sentence of life without parole. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Overton's conviction in September, citing ineffective trial counsel at her 2007 trial for the death of Andrew Burd. Overton contended Andrew had emotional and medical problems, including an eating disorder in which he'd consume odd food items. An autopsy showed elevated sodium levels in his body.

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.kxxv.com/story/26817998/prosecutors-to-retry-woman-in-foster-childs-death

See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post:  "She has served seven years of a life sentence for capital murder in the death of her 4-year-old stepson who died of a sodium overdose (salt poisoning).  She truly did have ineffective assistance of counsel, because her attorney did not present the videotaped deposition of a salt poisoning expert saying that the overdose was likely unintentional, and there was nothing she could have done. But here’s the part of the story that really gets me.  Overton had also filed a claim that the prosecution had withheld exculpatory evidence (Brady violation), and the court was presented with both the IAC claim and the Brady claim.  In it’s ruling, the court declined to rule on the Brady claim, saying it was unnecessary since they had granted a new trial based upon the IAC claim.  They let the prosecutor off the hook."

 http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2014/10/17/texas-appeals-court-grants-new-trial-but-lets-prosecutor-off-the-hook/

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 
 
Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shaken baby syndrome: Investigative journalist Lee Scheier reveals the truth about the "Louise Woodward" case - that Democratic candidate for Governor Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life. The Boston Globe;


COMMENTARY: "Martha Coakley, stop lauding bad science," by Lee Scheier, published by the Boston Globe, on October 16, 2014. Lee Scheier is an investigative journalist who has written extensively for the Chicago Tribune and many other publications. He has spent the last eight years researching a book on shaken-baby syndrome. (Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for bringing this insightful commentary to our attention. HL);

PHOTO CAPTION: "Martha Coakley, right, embraced Deborah Eappen on Oct. 3. Eappen is the mother of Matthew Eappen, who died in 1997 at the age of 8 months."

GIST: "Coakley’s odd invocation of this case demands that we look at the facts. What cannot be lost in all of this political maneuvering is the truth about the Woodward case and all the thousands of shaken-baby cases before and since Woodward. The truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life. At the heart of the Woodward prosecution — and many others like it — is the pseudoscience of the shaken-baby syndrome diagnosis. Anecdotal studies by pediatric neurosurgeon Norman Guthkelch in 1971 and radiologist John Caffey in 1972 and 1974 asserted that the presence of the so-called “triad” — subdural and retinal bleeding plus brain swelling — in an infant constituted certain proof that the last caretaker to hold a baby had “shaken” that child to death. Under Guthkelch and Caffey’s theory, this could be the only cause of death. Because of these studies — and because nearly all shaking cases are have no eyewitness — the presence of the triad was the only evidence necessary to prove murder. In recent years, however, experts have become increasingly skeptical. “The problem lies with Caffey’s level of certainty that subdural bleeding along with bleeding in the eyes could only be caused by shaking,” says Louis Fogg, a professor at Rush University and the former president of the Chicago chapter of the American Statistical Association.........Perhaps most tellingly, Dr. Gulthkelch himself — one of the scientists who first posited the theory — has since voiced concerns about its application in the criminal justice system. Nonetheless, in the face of rigorous scientific evidence to the contrary, many in the medical community still claim that shaken baby syndrome is a valid diagnosis because so many within the medical community support it. But science is not a popularity contest. After all, Galileo was the only scientist of his day who believed that the earth revolved around the sun. And this consensus does nothing to alter the fact that, to this day, there has never been an experiment that proves a causal link between shaking a baby and death. “An association alone between shaking and the triad contains so much inherent doubt that no jury in good conscience should convict on that evidence alone,” says Fogg. “You need strong experimental evidence of causation if you’re going to send someone to prison.” This lack of strong experimental evidence of causation did not stop Coakley from trying to send Woodward to prison for life. And despite the growing chorus of scientists casting doubt on shaken baby syndrome, such prosecutions continue: In Middlesex County, nanny Aisling Brady McCarthy currently stands accused of shaking 1-year old Rehma Sabir to death. Prosecutors should hang their heads in shame for blindly accepting bad science and bringing these cases to court.
Indeed, Coakley nearly sending a young, innocent woman to prison is nothing to be proud of. It is certainly not worthy of a photo shoot in a political election."
The entire commentary can be found at:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/16/martha-coakley-stop-using-bad-science/HHSGMlgwZMV2cWVhX7QZ4O/story.html

See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post by Phil Locke; "In an op-ed piece that will appear in tomorrow’s (10/19) print edition of the Boston Globe, Lee Scheier takes former prosecutor Martha Coakley to task for her “deft misuse of science” in the SBS conviction of Louise Woodward, a British nanny who was working for the Eappen family when their 8-month-old son Matthew died in 1997. Coakley is currently running for governor of Massachusetts, and recently set up a photo op with Deborah Eappen, Matthew’s mother, trying to defend her record on “protecting children.” This quote from the article:  “Coakley’s odd invocation of this case demands that we look at the facts. What cannot be lost in all of this political maneuvering is the truth about the Woodward case and all the thousands of shaken-baby cases before and since Woodward. The truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life.”

 http://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2014/10/18/shaken-baby-syndrome-sbs-bad-science-and-the-race-for-massachusetts-governor/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Mathew and Grace Huang: Qatar; The American couple caught in the Qatari justice system hope to be permitted to return to the USA following a court hearing on Monday. (October 20, 2014); The Huangs, who maintained their daughter suffered from an eating disorder, have denied wrongdoing in connection with her death and are fighting the conviction. CNN. (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "American couple held in Qatar in child's death may soon resolve case," by CNN Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott, published by CNN in October 17, 2014.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS: Matthew and Grace Huang were living in Qatar when their daughter died. They were imprisoned, later released during their appeal. They will find out this week if the appeal has been successful.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Matthew and Grace Huang speak to the press outside the Court of First Instance before their trial in Doha, Qatar on March 27."

GIST: "An American couple hopes to return to the United States next week to be reunited with their family after a two-year legal nightmare has trapped them in Qatar, charged with wrongdoing in the death of their adopted daughter. On Monday Matthew and Grace Huang will appeal their conviction, which has garnered international attention and raised questions in the media about the prosecution and overall fairness of the Qatari justice system..........When their 8-year-old daughter Gloria died in January 2013, the couple was immediately arrested on charges they starved her to death. "It was a shock," Grace said. "She is our daughter." The Huangs, who maintained their daughter suffered from an eating disorder, have denied wrongdoing in connection with her death and are fighting the conviction.........A report by pathologists hired by the defense, obtained by CNN, states they found no evidence tissue samples were taken from Gloria's body after her death, despite the fact Qatari investigators submitted an autopsy report. Advocates for the Huangs suggested the lab report was fabricated and said their request with the Qatari judiciary for a formal investigation has gone unanswered. "There is no credible evidence," said Eric Volz, who heads the firm David House Agency that is also assisting with the Huangs' case. "In an objective court the judge should have thrown out the case."
The entire story can be found at:

www.cnn.com/2014/10/17/world/americans-appeal-qatar-conviction/

See related New York Times story: "Advocates for the couple, Matthew and Grace Huang of Los Angeles, said their optimism was based primarily on a blunt statement from the State Department exhorting the Qatari authorities to “immediately lift the travel ban” on the Huangs during legal proceedings so they could reunite with their other two children and the rest of their family in the United States. The case has become an irritant in relations between the United States and Qatar, the wealthy Gulf emirate and a valued Arab ally. The State Department statement also urged the Qatari authorities to “bring the case to an expeditious and just conclusion.” It was issued in advance of a hearing Monday for the Huangs in Doha, the Qatari capital, on their appeal of a criminal conviction announced in March. “We’ve never seen such strong language,” said Eric Volz, managing director of the David House Agency, a Los Angeles-based group that helps Americans in legal entanglements overseas and has been assisting the Huangs, who have asserted their innocence. “I think the State Department understands it’s not accurate to look at this case through the lens of a legal process.”.........Mr. and Mrs. Huang, who moved their family to Qatar because Mr. Huang had accepted a construction engineering job there, were arrested in January 2013 after they rushed their comatose 8-year-old daughter, Gloria, to a Doha hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The police, suspicious about Gloria’s thin appearance and different skin color, concluded the Huangs were child traffickers who had starved Gloria to sell her organs. They accused them of murder. The Huangs contended Gloria had suffered from a chronic eating disorder, a vestige of her hungry childhood in Ghana. The exact cause of death was never determined. The other two children, boys also adopted from Africa, were placed in an orphanage. But in an early sign that Qatari authorities knew the child-trafficker suspicions were specious, Mrs. Huang’s mother was permitted to take custody of the children and return to the United States. Still, it took nearly a year for the case to reach the point that the Huangs could present their defense. Their lawyers found what they called glaring faults in the prosecution’s case, most notably a pathology report that appeared to have been fabricated. The original murder charge was thrown out in March, replaced by the lesser charge of child endangerment and a conviction that carries a three-year prison term. Lawyers for the Huangs are seeking to have the entire case dismissed in their appeal. Prosecutors are seeking a longer sentence."

 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/world/middleeast/blunt-us-appeal-encourages-huangs-couple-held-in-qatar.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

 PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Junk Science: Radley Balko takes on the peddling of junk science in American classrooms - which he says ensures that the next generation has its fair share of forensic quackery. The Watch; The Washington Post;



"Does your kid have an aptitude for junk science? Does he or she get excited at the possibility of putting innocent people in prison? With the “Bite Marks Analysis Kit” from Nasco, we can support junk science in the classroom, thus ensuring the next generation has its fair share of forensic quackery.........Most regrettably, the kit is hosted in the “Science” section of the Nasco Web site. The company also offers kits for science-challenged forensic disciplines such as blood spatter analysis (see critique here) and hair and fiber analysis (see critique here).  All of these are subjective fields of forensic analysis. (Unlike, say, DNA testing, which is objective and has a margin for error.) There’s still much heated debate over what sort of value subjective fields like these should be given in court. But by definition, the fact that they’re subjective means that they aren’t “science.”"

The entire post can be found at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/10/15/encourage-the-budding-charlatan-in-your-life-with-this-junk-science-ki

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog; 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ed Graf: Retrial; Day 9; Defence expert witness - a fire investigator who used to work for the Texas State Fire Marshall's Office - says there was not enough information to determine if the fire was an accident or incendiary. Poses three possible causes of the blaze: "The boys started it with matches, the hot sun ignited fumes from inside the shed and Ed Graf Jr. started the fire." KXVV TV. (The defence rested its case; Closing arguments to begin Monday);


He did give three possible causes for the fire, though. Those are: the boys started it with matches, the hot sun ignited fumes from inside the shed and Ed Graf Jr. started the fire.  Sing also agreed with District Attorney Abel Reyna when he said just because the cause of a fire is undetermined, it doesn't mean there was no criminal act. The defense rested after speaking with the judge and the state outside of the jury for around 20 minutes. The state then called on three rebuttal witnesses. After the final witness, the judge recessed the trial until Monday morning at 8:30. Closing arguments are set to begin sometime Monday morning and directly after the jury will begin deliberations."

See related Waco Tribune story:  "In state rebuttal testimony, prosecutors read the testimony of Trey Bagby from Graf’s first trial. Bagby was 15 at the time and said he was playing with Jason and Joby and they decided to ride bikes. They only had two and he asked the boys if they had another bike he could ride. He said they told him there was one in the shed but they were not allowed to go in the shed. They told him that Graf would spank them if they went in the shed, so they never did. Bagby said he went up to the boys’ mother after the funeral and tried to hug her but Graf stepped between them and pushed him away with his hand. The last witness, Rick Grimes, a state rebuttal witness, testified that he is a longtime friend of Graf’s and said he visited with Graf in jail and by phone while Graf waited for his retrial. Prosecutors listened to conversations between the two, which were recorded by equipment at the jail. Grimes said Graf called McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna a vulgar name and said whoever drafted the current indictment against him is a “dumb ass.” He also said Graf was confident he would be acquitted, saying the state was going to get “O.J.ed,” a reference to Hall of Fame football player O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend but was later found responsible for their deaths in a civil lawsuit. Defense attorneys asked Judge Matt Johnson if they could cross-examine Grimes on Monday morning to give them a chance to review hours of jail recordings of Graf and Grimes talking."

The entire story can be found at: 

http://www.kxxv.com/story/26817555/fire-investigator-we-may-never-know-what-started-shed-fire

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;  

Jeffrey Havard: Texas; Death Row: Attorney Jennifer Fitzgerald looks at the current status of the case - including the request to add an allegation that the prosecution withheld critical exculpatory information from the defense in violation of Jeff's due process right to a fair trial. Free Jeffrey Havard;


POST: "Attorney Jennifer Fitzgerald's update on the current legal status of the case," published by Free Jeffrey Havard, on October 17, 2014.

GIST: "On May 30, 2014, Jeff filed a motion to amend his November 25, 2013 petition seeking relief. Essentially the Motion to Amend is a request to add an allegation that the prosecution withheld critical exculpatory information from the defense in violation of Jeff's due process right to a fair trial. The State has objected, of course, claiming that they haven't withheld anything, and also claiming – incredibly – that the information that Jeff accuses them of withholding is not "favorable" to Jeff's case. It's not exculpatory, they claim. The state's only expert witness qualified to render an opinion on sexual assault told prosecutors before trial that he did not think there was a sexual assault because he didn't see any evidence of it despite a thorough autopsy. That's not favorable to Jeff's case???"
The entire post can be found at:

http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/ProfessionalexplanationofcurrentstatusofcasebyAttorneyJenniferFitzgerald.html

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 

Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
 
I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

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.ca/2013/12/the-charles-smith-award-presented-to_28.html
 
I look forward to hearing from readers at:

hlevy15@gmail.com.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;