Monday, September 1, 2014

David Harold Eastman: Australia; Back in court for the first time since release - but prosecutors have yet to decide if they will push ahead with a new trial. (Destruction of forensic exhibits cited as one of the reasons mitigating against a new trial). The Age.


STORY: "David Eastman case back before the court for first time since his release," by Canberra Times reporter Christopher Knaus, published by The Age on August 31, 2014.

GIST: "David Eastman's murder case will come back before the court on Monday for the first time since he was released after 19 years behind bars. Eastman is facing the prospect of a retrial for the alleged 1989 assassination of ACT police chief Colin Stanley Winchester outside his Deakin home. The Director of Public Prosecutions is deciding whether it can and should try Eastman again over Mr Winchester's murder. That decision was left to the DPP when the ACT Supreme Court decided earlier this month to quash Eastman's conviction but order a retrial. The conviction was found to be unjust, mainly because of glaring flaws in the forensic evidence used against Eastman at his 1995 trial and incomplete disclosure of information to his defence..........If prosecutors do decide to push ahead with a trial, Eastman's lawyers can make an application to stay proceedings. They have previously argued that a fair trial is now impossible, given that witnesses are dead, forensic exhibits have been destroyed and more than 25 years have passed since the crime. Extensive media coverage could also make it difficult to find a jury free from prejudice. Acting Justice Brian Martin, head of the Eastman inquiry, described the prospect of a retrial as "not feasible and would not be fair" when he handed down his report in May. But the full bench of the ACT Supreme Court disagreed in its judgment quashing Eastman's conviction last month. "Weighing all the factors and considerations to which we have referred above, we have concluded that the interests of justice require that we order a retrial," the judges wrote."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/david-eastman-case-back-before-the-court-for-first-time-since-his-release-20140831-10ajpn.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;  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

James Kulbicki: Maryland; Former Baltimore police officer awarded new trial in 1995 murder conviction because of flawed bullet analysis; Court finds Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis is "evidence not generally accepted by the scientific community." CBS News.


STORY: "Prosecutors assessing retrial in ex-Md. cop's murder case," by James Kulbicki, published by CBS Baltimore on August 30, 2014.

GIST: "Prosecutors with the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office said they will assess the feasibility of holding a new trial for a former Baltimore Police officer whose nearly 20-year-old murder conviction was overturned Wednesday. Former officer James Kulbicki won a chance at a new trial earlier this week after the Maryland Court of Appeals tossed his murder conviction because of flawed bullet analysis. Kulbicki, now 57, was convicted in 1995 of first-degree murder in the slaying of his alleged mistress, 22-year-old Gina Nueslein. Her body was discovered in 1993 in the Gunpowder Falls State Park. In its 4-3 ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals wrote that the use of Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis, in which the elemental makeup of bullet fragments are compared to one another, contributed to Kulbicki's conviction and is "evidence not generally accepted by the scientific community." Kulbicki filed a post-conviction appeal in 1997, arguing that the ballistic evidence was more conjecture than science, and that his attorneys failed to adequately cross-examine the state's expert who drew conclusions from the faulty analysis. In 2006, the appeals court issued an opinion debunking the accuracy of the forensic technique. Kulbicki used the opinion to bolster his appeal. "The use of CBL evidence never should have been introduced in court because the conclusions it led to were simply not true," said Edwin Kilpela, Kulbicki's attorney, adding that his client's case is "one of several" in the past 10 years that highlights the inaccuracies of bullet analysis. Prosecutors say they are looking into retrying the case, if witnesses are available and evidence is accessible."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/prosecutors-assessing-retrial-in-ex-maryland-cops-murder-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;  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Barton McNeil: Limited DNA testing allowed; Found guilty of murdering his daughter in 1998; WJBC;


STORY: "New DNA testing allow(ed) in McNeil murder case," by Adam Studzinski, published by WJBC on August 26, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "Barton McNeil was found guilty in 1998 of murdering his daughter."

GIST: "A McLean County judge has ruled DNA testing on several pieces of evidence in the case of a man convicted of murdering his daughter in 1998 will be allowed. Barton McNeil is currently in prison for the death of his daughter, Christina McNeil. Judge Scott Drezewski ruled on Tuesday DNA testing will be allowed on stains found on the victims bed sheets, a latent finger print found at the murder scene and a window screen found at the scene.........McNeil has also claimed he did not murder his daughter. He has said his girlfriend at the time, Misook Wang, might be the true murderer. Wang was convicted in 2012 of killing her mother-in-law. McNeil and his defense attorneys believe this new DNA testing might show the presence of someone else the night of Christina's death."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.wjbc.com/common/page.php?feed=211&pt=New+DNA+testing+allow+in+McNeil+murder+case&id=152824&is_corp=0

See Innocence Project page:  "The realization that Misook is in fact capable of murder under extremely similar circumstances, coupled with the incomplete forensic evidence presented at Bart’s original trial, has prompted the Illinois Innocence Project to review Bart’s case and assist him in his pursuit of proving his innocence.  The Project seeks to have the above items of evidence tested via the latest DNA technology, including “Touch DNA” procedures."

 http://www.uis.edu/innocenceproject/cases/current/mcneil/

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, August 29, 2014

Kathleen Folbigg: Australia: Marie Claire Magazine takes a close look at her troubling case; Author Nikki Barrowclough zeroes in on "medical advances at the heart of a fresh attempt to convince authorities to review her case." (Must, Must Read. HL);


STORY: "Is this our worst serial killer - or is she innocent?" by Nikki Barrowclough, published by Marie-Claire on August 28, 2014. (Nikki Barrowclough is a New Zealand-born journalist who worked full time as a writer with Good Weekend magazine and the Sydney Morning Herald from 1990 until 2012. She was nominated for a Walkley award in 2010 for an exclusive interview with Julian Assange.)


SUB-HEADING: "She's set to languish in jail - in protective custody - for at least the next 14 years, but supporters of Kathleen Folbigg fear she is the victim of a miscarriage of justice. Nikki Barrowclough investigates the case of the woman convicted of killing her four children."

GIST: "In April 2003, Folbigg stood trial for the deaths of her children. After a seven-week case that gripped the nation - newspapers raked over every inch of her life, from her troubled childhood to the clothes she wore in court - Folbigg was found guilty of three counts of murder and one of manslaughter. Today, she remains in custody at Sydney's Silverwater Women's jail. And yet doubts remain over her conviction. Some academics worry about the medical evidence, in particular the results of Laura's autopsy, which raised the possibility that the baby had died of an inflammatory condition of the heart known as myocarditis. Yet the forensic pathologist who carried out the post-mortem ruled her death as "undetermined". In court, he said his ruling hadn't been coloured by the deaths of Folbigg's other children, but in a letter he'd previously written to the investigating detective, he said had he not known about the family history he might have ruled myocarditis. However, he stressed that he did not believe this was the likely cause. Others fear Folbigg was a victim of a climate of suspicion around SIDS. Until the early '90s, SIDS was considered a mysterious tragedy - probably caused by sleep abnormalities. Mothers of children who died were treated with sympathy, not scepticism. Then, in 1994, Waneta Hoyt, 47, a New York mother of five babies whose deaths had previously been attributed to SIDS, confessed to killing the children. After that, the pendulum swung back - hard - to the notion of murderous mothers. Consequently, mothers were rarely given the benefit of the doubt, even in the absence of incriminating evidence, according to Australian legal academic Associate Professor Emma Cunliffe, who wrote a book about Folbigg in 2011 called Murder, Medicine And Motherhood. Professor Cunliffe's book - which triggered fresh interest in Folbigg's case - set out to examine the quality of the evidence. Speaking from Canada, where she is now based, Professor Cunliffe says she was particularly interested "to see why the Folbigg conviction stuck" after other mothers overseas, who had also been found guilty of killing multiple infants in similar SIDS-related cases, had been acquitted or exonerated, or had the charges against them dropped. Professor Cunliffe points to the case of Sally Clark, a 35-year-old English solicitor who was convicted in 1999 of murdering her two sons. Like Folbigg, Clark's children died within weeks of being born, and at first their deaths were attributed to SIDS. Like Folbigg, Clark was charged and convicted of their murders. However, three years later, her conviction was quashed on the basis that the medical evidence presented to the court had been incomplete - and that the case relied on a now discredited theory known as "Meadow's Law". (A coroner ruled that Clark's tragic death, in 2007, was accidental: the result of acute alcohol intoxication.)
Meadow's Law refers to the saying by a prominent British paediatrician, Professor Sir Roy Meadow, that "one [SIDS] death is a tragedy, two is suspicious and three is murder unless proven otherwise". In the Clark case, Professor Meadow told the jury there was a one in 73 million chance of two cot deaths occurring in the same family. But he had used a statistical method that has since been disproven. Did Meadow's Law play a role in helping convict Folbigg? When she was first arrested in 2001, American paediatric forensic pathologist Dr Janice Ophoven gave evidence at the committal hearing. She said the chances of four unexplained infant deaths from natural causes were one in a trillion, but she had used the same, discredited method Professor Meadow had relied on. Justice Graham Barr excluded these flawed statistics and mention of Meadow's Law at Folbigg's trial. Even so, Professor Cunliffe in particular believes it may have indirectly played a part in her conviction. "While the judge excluded the improper statistical evidence that some experts wished to explain to the jury, he did not exclude opinions that were based on the underlying reasoning of Meadow's Law," she says. "Several prosecution witnesses seemingly allowed their belief in Meadow's Law to influence their conclusions about the likely cause of death in Folbigg's children." Since Folbigg's trial there has also been greater acknowledgement that SIDS is complex and may have many causes. Professor John Hilton, a prominent Sydney forensic pathologist who once chaired the SIDS International Pathology Committee, says that, realistically, those causes include covert homicide. But he also refers to recent SIDS research that suggests subtle genetic abnormalities could be at play: the most common of which, heart defects, may as yet be undetectable under a microscope. These types of medical advances are at the heart of a fresh attempt to convince authorities to review her case.

The entire story can be found at:

https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/news-and-views/latest/a/24838602/is-this-our-worst-serial-killer-or-is-she-innocent/

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;  

 


Sent from my iPad

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brenda Frazier; Columbia South Carolina; Police chief says his department's only drug analyst has resigned - and that 188 criminal drug cases in which her tests were crucial evidence are now in jeopardy. (Accuracy of her testing determinations said to be open to question); The Times;


STORY: "Columbia police chief: Drug analyst resigns; nearly 200 cases may be in jeopardy,"  by reporter Harrison Cahill, published by the State on August 25, 2014. (Thanks to Justin J. McShane for drawing this important  story to our attention on his excellent blog, "The truth about forensic science.")

GIST: "Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said Monday that the department’s only drug analyst has resigned and that 188 criminal drug cases in which her tests were crucial evidence are now in jeopardy. The drug tests done by Brenda Frazier in those 188 cases will need to be reviewed by other agencies following an internal audit of the department’s drug analysis lab, Holbrook said at a news conference at police headquarters. Frazier submitted her resignation Monday, the chief said. Last week, Holbrook closed the department’s drug lab after a departmental review found Frazier wasn’t following standardized procedures required to make sure her drug testing results were accurate. Her determinations for both the weight of tested drugs, and what kind of drugs were being tested, are open to question, law enforcement officials have said. Frazier, who had been working at the lab since 2011, had done analyses in a total of 746 cases, Holbrook said, and she had testified in court numerous times. Midlands criminal defense lawyers, notified Friday of the drug lab problems, said they are glad Holbrook and 5th Circuit solicitor Dan Johnson are taking action to review Frazier’s cases. “This is serious – her job is important. Her drug tests can put people away for five, 10, 15 years,” said Jack Swerling, a Columbia defense lawyer who has handled numerous high profile drug and murder cases. He has taught at University of South Carolina Law School, held seminars and commented on national television. “The fact that she was involved in upwards of 1,000 cases is very significant, particularly for people who may have been convicted on the basis of faulty drug analyses,” Swerling said. “This is going to open up the door for people to challenge all her old cases, too.”.........Law officials don’t know how many wrongful convictions may have resulted from Frazier’s work, nor do they know if anyone was wrongly convicted and sent to prison. They say they are working to find out that information."

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.thestate.com/2014/08/25/3639732/columbia-police-chief-drug-analyst.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;  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

David Harold Eastman: Australia; (Aftermath 5): Reporter Christopher Knaus tells the story of a second bungled investigation - the probe of mafia links to Colin Winchester's murder - in the Canberra Times.


STORY:  "Mafia links to Colin Winchester's murder may be nvestigated before any retrial of David Eastman," by reporter Christopher Knaus, published by the Canberra Times on August 26, 2014.

GIST: "The court also used Friday's decision to take aim at the Australian Federal Police for not seriously investigating new but untested claims casting suspicion on the Calabrian Mafia, or 'Ndrangheta. The organised crime syndicate are said to have had a motive to kill Mr Winchester, believing he double-crossed them during an investigation into drug crops in NSW. The Director of Public Prosecutions is in the process of deciding whether to push ahead with a second trial of Mr Eastman, decades after the crime. But, in Friday's judgment, justices Steven Rares, Michael Wigney and acting justice Dennis Cowdroy warned that the DPP may need to tell the AFP to properly investigate the new Mafia evidence. "The proper investigation by the AFP and assessment by the Director of that material and any such investigation will be germane to the exercise of the Director's discretion to proceed with a new trial," they wrote. "It would appear to us, from the confidential material, that the investigation of this material to date may have been unsatisfactory and deficient." The court said it would be reasonable to expect the DPP would "request or require" the AFP to conduct further investigations into the highly sensitive material. "[Particularly] in light of some of the apparent deficiencies in both the original investigation into the alternative hypothesis and the investigation of the new material that has occurred thus far," it said. The new evidence, which was heard in highly restricted confidential hearings before the inquiry earlier this year, is said to take suspicion of Mafia involvement beyond the mere speculation that has previously existed. The claims are described as now potentially at a level of a "reasonable hypothesis consistent with Mr Eastman's innocence".

The entire story can be found at:
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/mafia-links-to-colin-winchesters-murder-may-be-investigated-before-any-retrial-of-david-eastman-20140826-108qv8.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;  

Jeffrey MacDonald: North Carolina; Reliability of former FBI investigator Michael Malone (hair identification testimony) at core of most recent move for a new trial; Fayetteville Observer;


  "Lawyers for Jeffrey MacDonald are again seeking a new trial, citing new evidence that discredits a government witness. In a motion filed last Thursday, MacDonald's lawyers argue that a judgment filed last month by a U.S. District Court judge should be amended based on a Department of Justice report released that same month. They also argue that MacDonald should be able to appeal that judgment to a higher court. MacDonald, 70, is serving three life sentences for the February 1970 stabbing deaths of his pregnant wife, Colette, and daughters Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, in their home on Fort Bragg.........Last month, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox ruled that MacDonald's lawyers failed to establish that he shouldn't have been found guilty of the murder of his wife and two daughters. Fox also said MacDonald's lawyers failed to establish the merits of new evidence presented at a seven-day hearing in September 2012.
As part of his 169-page order, Fox also denied a certificate of appealability, leaving the future of the case in question. In the recent motion, MacDonald's lawyers said the DOJ report calls into question a former FBI investigator who worked on the MacDonald case. That former investigator, Michael Malone, testified that synthetic hairs found in the MacDonald home most likely belonged to a doll. MacDonald's lawyers had argued the hairs bolstered MacDonald's account of the attack that killed his family - that the hairs belonged to a wig worn by one of the attackers. MacDonald's lawyers said they were unaware the federal government was investigating Malone. "The Department of Justice and FBI spent the last several years reviewing Michael Malone's work-product and trial testimony to determine whether Malone provided invalid, unreliable, or false hair identification testimony," according to the motion. "The DOJ criticized Malone's testimony because he failed to perform his tests in a scientifically acceptable manner. The DOJ also claimed that Malone's hair statistics overstated the hair evidence's significance." The Office of Inspector General of the DOJ released its report on the FBI Laboratory in July. It devotes an entire chapter to Malone, who "repeatedly created scientifically unsupportable lab reports and provided false, misleading, or inaccurate testimony at criminal trials." MacDonald's lawyers said the DOJ report was not considered by the court in making its decision. "It is startling in its depth as to the knowledge within the FBI and the government regarding Malone's unprofessional conduct, along with the false evidence and testimony he produced," the lawyers argue in the motion. "This information should have been disclosed to the defense. Setting aside the constitutional implications and due process concerns from this non-disclosure, this analysis of  Malone by the Office of the Inspector General is highly disturbing. It calls into
question any conviction obtained, in part, by the analysis and or testimony by Malone. Indeed, the report itself noted Malone gained fame through his work in helping to secure Dr. MacDonald's conviction."........ Since his conviction, MacDonald has made repeated attempts at a new trial or to have his convictions overturned. The case has long captured the nation's attention. It was the subject of the best-selling 1983 true crime book "Fatal Vision," which was turned into a television miniseries of the same name."
The entire story can be found at:

http://m.fayobserver.com/news/crime_courts/jeffrey-macdonald-s-lawyers-cite-criticism-of-investigator-in-seeking/article_8bda7a37-200b-5431-9ccf-10ffdda46617.html?mode=jqm

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;