Thursday, February 11, 2016

George Perrot: Massachusetts: Daily Mail: Having spent 30 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape because of bogus FBI evidence, he has walked free... "Prekop also repeatedly described her attacker as being clean shaven, while Perrot had a beard and mustache at the time of the attack. She also testified at trial that Perrot, who had grown up in her neighborhood, was not her attacker. The only other piece of evidence linking Perrot to the crime scene was a single hair that DNA analysis showed had the victim's blood on it. At his initial trial, FBI agent Wayne Oakes presented microscopic analysis of the hair found at the crime scene, and told jurors that it had to come from Perrot, and only someone 'with lesser training' would concluded otherwise. Prosecutor Francis Bloom told jurors that the evidence was so strong, the only way that Perrot could be innocent was if police had planted a strand of hair at the scene. Perrot also signed a confession in which he admitted breaking into Prekop's house, but was interviewed without any attorney or parent present, despite being a minor."..."Perrot's conviction was overturned on September 24, with Judge Kane saying that ‘justice may not have been done because of the introduction of evidence that exceeded the foundational science.' Kane also criticized agent Oakes saying he 'departed from his role as a neutral expert and slipped into the role of a partisan for the government.' Prosecutor Bloom was also blasted by Kane, who said Bloom 'despised Perrot' as shown in diary entries in which he called Perrot 'inherently evil' and 'a sociopath.'"


STORY: "George Perrot: Man who spent 30 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape because of bogus FBI evidence walks free," by reporter Chris Pleasance, reported by the Daily Mail on February 11, 2016.

SUB-HEADINGS:    "George Perrot, now 48, was jailed for life for rape and assault in 1987     Perrot, then aged 19, was convicted of raping Mary Prekop, 78, at her home     Conviction was based almost entirely on single hair found at the scene after Prekop twice testified that Perrot was not her attacker     FBI has since admitted that science used to link hair to Perrot was bogus     Perrot's conviction was quashed last month, and he was freed on bail Wednesday     Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek a retrial, though judge said it is 'unlikely' they will be able to get a conviction."

GIST:  A man who spent 30 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of rape has been set free today. George Perrot, now 48, was arrested in 1985 aged 17, accused of raping 78-year-old Mary Prekop at her home in Springfield, Massachusetts.Despite Prekop testifying that Perrot was not her attacker, he was convicted two years later largely because of FBI analysis surrounding a single hair found at the crime scene. The FBI has since admitted that its analysis was based on bogus science, leading to Perrot's conviction being overturned last month. At a bail hearing on Wednesday, Judge Robert Kane ruled that Perrot should be allowed to go free.  Judge Kane said he is 'reasonably sure' Perrot did not rape Prekop, adding that it is unlikely prosecutors will be able to secure another conviction....Perrot's case dates back to 1985 when a man broke into the home of Mary Prekop before beating and raping her, the latest in a spree of similar attacks in the city of Springfield. Officers arrested Perrot and initially accused him of a string of violent rapes, though DNA evidence and witness testimony excluded him from most of these crimes. He was eventually charged with the rape and beating of Prekop, despite the fact that she failed to pick him out of a lineup. Prekop also repeatedly described her attacker as being clean shaven, while Perrot had a beard and mustache at the time of the attack.  She also testified at trial that Perrot, who had grown up in her neighborhood, was not her attacker.  The only other piece of evidence linking Perrot to the crime scene was a single hair that DNA analysis showed had the victim's blood on it.   At his initial trial, FBI agent Wayne Oakes presented microscopic analysis of the hair found at the crime scene, and told jurors that it had to come from Perrot, and only someone 'with lesser training' would concluded otherwise. Prosecutor Francis Bloom told jurors that the evidence was so strong, the only way that Perrot could be innocent was if police had planted a strand of hair at the scene.  Perrot also signed a confession in which he admitted breaking into Prekop's house, but was interviewed without any attorney or parent present, despite being a minor... Bloom was also found to have fabricated a confession from Perrot and forged his signature on it, alongside that of a detective, to pressure two teens into confessing that they helped during the break-in and rape. Perrot was granted a second trial and but was convicted again largely due to evidence surrounding the hair, with his original sentence reinstated in 2003. Since that second conviction, microscopic hair analysis has been shown as a bogus science when conducted without other fail-safes, such as DNA testing. The FBI itself has acknowledged that nearly every examiner in that forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence. In 2014 the agency wrote to Perrot saying there had been errors in the expert testimony in his case, which formed the basis for another appeal in September last year. Perrot's conviction was overturned on September 24, with Judge Kane saying that ‘justice may not have been done because of the introduction of evidence that exceeded the foundational science.' Kane also criticized agent Oakes saying he 'departed from his role as a neutral expert and slipped into the role of a partisan for the government.' Prosecutor Bloom was also blasted by Kane, who said Bloom 'despised Perrot' as shown in diary entries in which he called Perrot 'inherently evil' and 'a sociopath.' Perrot's case for a new trial was championed by lawyers from The Innocence Project and the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University in Waltham. 



Bulletin: Tim Bosma trial; Hamilton Ontario: When you thought you heard it all! CBC News reports that a trailer containing crucial prosecution evidence - Tim Bosma's truck, key evidence in the murder trial of the two men accused of killing him - was left unsecured during transport to an Ontario Provincial Police forensic facility, "allowing a (cardboard) box to fly out the rear doors onto the highway, where it was run over by an unmarked police car."..."Millard's lawyer, Ravin Pillay, seized the opportunity in court Wednesday to point out that Troubridge couldn't say if anything else had fallen out of the trailer or been disturbed once she wasn't travelling behind it. "You don't know if anything else came out, because you weren't watching it, correct?" he asked. Troubridge said she believed the box was the only thing that fell out....She went back to the same area of the highway that night to look for the box and believes that she found it. "You don't know if it's the same box," Pillay said during cross-examination. "I know it's the same box, I saw it come out of the trailer," she said. But it had also been driven over by several cars, she said. A second box was also recovered by police, but Troubridge said it didn't come from the truck. Bosma's truck was found inside a trailer at the home of Dellen Millard's mother, police officers testified. .. After the tow truck driver pulled over, he secured the trailer doors with a piece of wire he had in his truck, Troubridge testified. Pillay also questioned that decision in cross-examination. "You didn't secure the trailer at that moment with another lock?" Pillay asked. "I didn't have one," she answered."


"A trailer containing Tim Bosma's truck, key evidence in the murder trial of the two men accused of killing him, was left unsecured during transport to an Ontario Provincial Police facility, court heard Wednesday — allowing a box to fly out the rear doors onto the highway, where it was run over by an unmarked police car. The trailer with the Ancaster, Ont., man's truck inside was being transported from a secure facility in Hamilton to an OPP forensics facility in Tillsonburg, Ont., for examination on May 14, 2013. Det. Const. Lauren Troubridge was tasked with following the trailer as it was towed. On Highway 403, at the Golf Links Road overpass, the rear doors of the trailer flew open while travelling around 110 km/h, Troubridge testified in court Wednesday. This was around 6:30 p.m. "It was very heavy traffic at that time," she said, adding that a cardboard box fell out of the trailer and she ran over it with her car. "The lock wasn't actually securing the doors closed," she said, elaborating that the bar across the back of the trailer didn't secure the doors properly. Const. Brent Gibson testified that on May 12, 2013, he locked the trailer with his own lock. During cross-examination, Troubridge agreed that the doors "apparently" weren't secured as they should have been. Troubridge said that once she saw the doors fly open, she honked her horn — but the tow truck driver didn't notice. She changed lanes, sped up next to the driver and got his attention to pull over. Dellen Millard, 30, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 28, of Oakville, Ont., have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of the 32-year-old father from Ancaster, Ont., whose body was found burned beyond recognition. Millard's lawyer, Ravin Pillay, seized the opportunity in court Wednesday to point out that Troubridge couldn't say if anything else had fallen out of the trailer or been disturbed once she wasn't travelling behind it. "You don't know if anything else came out, because you weren't watching it, correct?" he asked. Troubridge said she believed the box was the only thing that fell out. Doors secured with wire, not another lock. She went back to the same area of the highway that night to look for the box and believes that she found it. "You don't know if it's the same box," Pillay said during cross-examination. "I know it's the same box, I saw it come out of the trailer," she said. But it had also been driven over by several cars, she said. A second box was also recovered by police, but Troubridge said it didn't come from the truck.   After the tow truck driver pulled over, he secured the trailer doors with a piece of wire he had in his truck, Troubridge testified. Pillay also questioned that decision in cross-examination. "You didn't secure the trailer at that moment with another lock?" Pillay asked. "I didn't have one," she answered. Pillay also asked if she could have called for backup from the side of the road and used another lock. "I guess I could have done a few things, but I secured it with a wire. That's all we had," she said."http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/tim-bosma-trial-trailer-with-truck-left-unsecured-during-police-transport-1.3441914

'Shaken Baby' Syndrome: (2); Some positive news from blogger Sue Luttner on her illuminating "On SBS" blog: "Enlightened rulings Outrageous stories."..."A series of promising decisions has offered renewed hope for a few prisoners and parents while also highlighting some of the outrageous circumstances that can surround charges of inflicted pediatric head trauma." (Must Read. HL);


POST: "Enlightened Rulings; Outrageous stories," by Sue Littner, published by "on SBS"  on February 2, 2016.

GIST: "A series of promising decisions has offered renewed hope for a few prisoners and parents while also highlighting some of the outrageous circumstances that can surround charges of inflicted pediatric head trauma."

The entire post  (with details of the enlightened rulings and outrageous stories), can be found at the following link:

http://onsbs.com/2016/02/01/enlightened-rulings-outrageous-stories/

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

Harold Levy: Publisher;

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Suzanne Johnson: California; 'Shaken Baby' Syndrome; (1): Reuter's correspondent Steve Gorman reports that her case is in the vanguard of new legal challenges..." For decades, pathologists, pediatricians and courts recognized a distinct set of internal head injuries - brain swelling, bleeding on the surface of the brain and behind the eyes – as proof of death by deliberate shaking, even in the absence of other overt signs of violence. But medical consensus has shifted in recent years and research now shows such injuries can be caused by accidental falls from a short height, or even medical conditions such as blood-clotting disorders and latent trauma from a difficult birth, which can manifest weeks later. Johnson, now 71, remains in prison while her bid for exoneration is pending." (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "California 'shaken baby' case in vanguard of new legal challenges, by reporter Steve Gorman, published by Reuters on February 9, 2016.

GIST: "After 17 years in prison for an infant's death at her San Diego daycare center, Suzanne Johnson is in the forefront of legal challenges to "shaken baby syndrome" as courts catch up with medical advances in understanding the mechanisms of childhood brain trauma. A judge last month agreed Johnson deserved to be considered for a new trial in a case that hinged on the syndrome, a 1970s-era forensic diagnosis long accepted as sufficient to convict caretakers accused of harming and even killing babies. Appeals such as Johnson's are occurring with greater frequency at both the federal and state level, said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a Northwestern University law professor who wrote a book on the subject. But legal bids to reverse guilty verdicts are long and grueling, the outcome far from guaranteed, Tuerkheimer said. "Criminal convictions are final, and science moves on," she said.... Because the accused are typically trusted caregivers or parents, the consequences of a wrongful conviction are especially devastating, not only for defendants but for their children and spouse. "We are shredding families," said Seattle-based lawyer Heather Kirkwood, who has filed appeals on behalf of several people convicted in such cases. For decades, pathologists, pediatricians and courts recognized a distinct set of internal head injuries - brain swelling, bleeding on the surface of the brain and behind the eyes – as proof of death by deliberate shaking, even in the absence of other overt signs of violence. But medical consensus has shifted in recent years and research now shows such injuries can be caused by accidental falls from a short height, or even medical conditions such as blood-clotting disorders and latent trauma from a difficult birth, which can manifest weeks later. Johnson, now 71, remains in prison while her bid for exoneration is pending. Defense lawyer Alissa Bjerkhoel said she is hopeful prosecutors will ultimately concede the case. The San Diego County District Attorney declined to comment while the case is under appeal. Sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for causing injuries that killed 6-month-old Jasmine Miller in June 1997, Johnson insisted the baby suddenly collapsed hours after an accidental fall from a high chair. Jurors, however, accepted prosecutors' explanation, backed by several medical experts, that the child died from violent shaking and a blow to the head deliberately inflicted by Johnson in a fit of rage over the baby's crying. In their petition to overturn the conviction, however, Johnson's lawyers presented new medical expert opinion that the baby was probably badly hurt by slipping out of her high chair, damage likely compounded by latent head injuries the infant presumably had suffered in a previous accidental fall from her parents' bed weeks before she died. They also introduced the fact, not presented at trial, that paramedics trying to revive Jasmine forced a breathing tube down the baby's esophagus rather than her windpipe, an error that likely contributed to or ensured her death.  Citing declarations from doctors that key medical testimony "is now considered unsupported," San Diego County Superior Court Judge Jay Bloom on Jan. 4 ordered prosecutors to show why the guilty verdict should remain intact. He gave them until early February to contest Johnson's petition, after which her attorneys could file a response and the judge would likely set a hearing in the matter."

The entire story can be found at:

http://in.reuters.com/article/us-california-shakenbaby-idINKCN0VI125
 

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

Harold Levy: Publisher;





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Bulletin: David Eastman: Stay application (3); Canberra Times reports: "Eastman prosecutor denies 'playing games' with jury on forensics." .... ""Eastman's barrister Mark Griffin, QC, asked the former prosecutor Mr Adams why he'd let Mr Barnes fly overseas to personally meet with world experts on gunshot residue analysis. Mr Griffin put it to Mr Adams that he was trying to bolster the credibility of Mr Barnes in the eyes of the jury.......... Mr Griffin spent much of Wednesday questioning Mr Adams about what he knew of Mr Barnes methods, and of concerns that others had expressed about his work. At one point, the former prosecutor was asked whether he believed Mr Barnes was too emotionally involved in the case and lacked impartiality. Mr Adams responded that he believed he was involved in his opinions, something that was normal for most experts. He said he would have been concerned if Mr Barnes was not invested in his opinions. "I saw nothing that suggested anything out of the ordinary," Mr Adams said."""Reporter Christopher Knaus.


"The man who led the prosecution of David Eastman has rubbished suggestions that he was "playing games" with the jury to boost the  credibility of forensic expert Robert Barnes. The evidence of former prosecutor Michael Adams, now a NSW Supreme Court judge, continued on Wednesday, as Eastman's lawyers continued their efforts to ensure their client avoids a second trial for the 1989 shooting murder of former territory police chief Colin Stanley Winchester. Eastman spent 19 years behind bars before the 2014 Martin inquiry found deep flaws in the forensic evidence used to link propellant found in his boot with that at the murder scene. Those flaws led to the quashing of his conviction, allowing him to walk free. His lawyers are now trying to prove that prosecutors engaged in misconduct at his original 1995 trial, arguing they deliberately kept information from the court that could cast doubt on Mr Barnes' evidence. If proved, prosecutorial misconduct could be used to weigh against a retrial taking place. The Martin inquiry, however, has already found that prosecutors acted professionally and ethically, and that any failure to disclose information was inadvertent. Eastman's barrister Mark Griffin, QC, asked the former prosecutor Mr Adams why he'd let Mr Barnes fly overseas to personally meet with world experts on gunshot residue analysis. Mr Griffin put it to Mr Adams that he was trying to bolster the credibility of Mr Barnes in the eyes of the jury.......... Mr Griffin spent much of Wednesday questioning Mr Adams about what he knew of Mr Barnes methods, and of concerns that others had expressed about his work. At one point, the former prosecutor was asked whether he believed Mr Barnes was too emotionally involved in the case and lacked impartiality. Mr Adams responded that he believed he was involved in his opinions, something that was normal for most experts. He said he would have been concerned if Mr Barnes was not invested in his opinions. "I saw nothing that suggested anything out of the ordinary," Mr Adams said."
 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/eastman-prosecutor-denies-playing-games-with-jury-on-forensics-20160210-gmqd2l.html


Bulletin: Annie Dookhan: (Part Two); Hinton Lab; State inspector general paints picture of notoriously flawed crime lab where chemist Annie Dookhan had committed multiple protocol violations, throwing thousands of drug cases into question..."Tuesday’s report released by Inspector General Glenn Cunha is a follow-up to initial findings from more than a year ago that found the lab “lacked formal and uniform protocols with respect to many of its basic operations, including training, chain of custody and testing methods.” The Office of the Inspector General previously found numerous instances where samples were tested multiple times “with inconsistent results,” but the lab “typically only reported the final result to the parties in the corresponding criminal case.” While determining Dookhan to be the “sole bad actor” at the lab, Cunha in 2014 found a variety of deficiencies at the lab, including a failure to “provide potentially exculpatory evidence to the parties in criminal cases by not disclosing information about additional, inconsistent testing results. WWLP.


"After months spent testing hundreds of samples from the notorious Hinton State Laboratory Institute, the state inspector general verified the crime lab’s findings in the “vast majority” of cases, though several discrepancies were raised by the review. In 2012, former Gov. Deval Patrick shuttered the Hinton crime lab after officials determined chemist Annie Dookhan had committed multiple protocol violations, throwing thousands of drug cases into question. Dookhan later pled guilty to 17 counts of obstruction of justice, eight counts of tampering with evidence, perjury and falsely pretending to hold a higher-education degree. Tuesday’s report released by Inspector General Glenn Cunha is a follow-up to initial findings from more than a year ago that found the lab “lacked formal and uniform protocols with respect to many of its basic operations, including training, chain of custody and testing methods.” The Office of the Inspector General previously found numerous instances where samples were tested multiple times “with inconsistent results,” but the lab “typically only reported the final result to the parties in the corresponding criminal case.” While determining Dookhan to be the “sole bad actor” at the lab, Cunha in 2014 found a variety of deficiencies at the lab, including a failure to “provide potentially exculpatory evidence to the parties in criminal cases by not disclosing information about additional, inconsistent testing results.”
http://wwlp.com/2016/02/02/ig-finds-discrepancies-in-old-hinton-drug-cases/

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bulletin: Susan Neill-Fraser; Tasmania; She argues that there is "fresh and compelling evidence" which should open the door for a final right of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. She identifies three people who could have killed her partner Bob Chappell - and, "A fresh analysis by forensic science consultant and former top West Australian homicide investigator Mark Reynolds had debunked the Crown’s case the DNA was a secondary transfer, but was rather bodily fluids deposited by direct contact, according to the app­lication. It also claims fresh analysis of forensic evidence cast doubt on police methods. “In certain areas of forensic investigation, the application of accepted forensic techniques ... had not been undertaken with proper attention to detail or had not been undertaken correctly.” It goes on to say Neill-­Fraser could not have dumped Mr Chappell’s body overboard in the way police claimed. The analysis claims it would have been “mechanically imp­ossible for the applicant to have winched the deceased in the manner described by police." The Mercury;


"Convicted murderer Susan Neill-Fraser has identified three other peo­ple who could have killed her partner Bob Chappell — including a suspected hitman. In documents lodged with the Supreme Court as part of her bid to overturn her conviction, Neill-Fraser’s legal team claims to have fresh evidence that police withheld evidence and bungled forensic tests. Neill-Fraser. above, is serving 23 years in prison for the murder of Mr Chappell, who disappeared from the couple’s yacht moored near Sandy Bay, on Australia Day 2009. His body has never been found. Neill-Fraser has protested her innocence from the outset and has a determined band of supporters who have been seeking to clear her name. New legislation allows a convicted person a final right of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal if there is “fresh and compelling evidence” and there has been “a substantial miscarriage of justice”. “There is fresh and compelling evidence ... regarding persons other than the applicant who may have had the opportunity to murder or cause the disappearance of the ­deceased” In her appeal documents lodged by former Integrity Commissioner Barbara Etter, Neill-Fraser names three other people — including one she claims is a hitman.........A fresh analysis by forensic science consultant and former top West Australian homicide investigator Mark Reynolds had debunked the Crown’s case the DNA was a secondary transfer, but was rather bodily fluids deposited by direct contact, according to the app­lication. It also claims fresh analysis of forensic evidence cast doubt on police methods. “In certain areas of forensic investigation, the application of accepted forensic techniques ... had not been undertaken with proper attention to detail or had not been undertaken correctly.” It goes on to say Neill-­Fraser could not have dumped Mr Chappell’s body overboard in the way police claimed. The analysis claims it would have been “mechanically imp­ossible for the applicant to have winched the deceased in the manner described by police”.........If granted leave to proceed, this appeal is a final avenue for Neill-Fraser to establish her innocence. If successful, she would be entitled to an acquittal or a new trial."