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;  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Susan Neill-Fraser; Tasmania; Misuse of forensic evidence among errors leading her wrongful conviction says South Australian lawyer and researcher Dr. Bob Moles, as supporters call for a hearing by the Court of Criminal Appeal. ABC News.


STORY: "Bob Chappell murder: "Lawyer flags 'errors' in Susan Neill-Fraser's trial," published by ABC News on August 20, 2014.

GIST:  A lawyer who specializes in miscarriages of justice claims he can identify four errors in the murder trial of Hobart woman Susan Neill-Fraser that warrant review. South Australian lawyer and researcher Dr Rob Moles has joined the campaign to overturn Neill-Fraser's conviction for murdering her partner Bob Chappell on their yacht five years ago. Neill-Fraser is serving a 23-year sentence and intervention by Tasmania's Attorney-General is her only hope after two attempts to have the conviction overturned failed. Her husband's body has never been found and Neill-Fraser's supporters continue to maintain she is innocent......... Supporters want Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin to send the matter to the Court of Criminal Appeal. After studying the case for several months, Dr Moles said he had identified what he believed were four errors made at the trial that could warrant the conviction being overturned. "Forensic evidence, for example, involved an initial screening test as if they were confirmatory evidence of the presence of blood and that was a mistake," he said. "And it's the type of mistake that was made in the IRA bombing cases in England in the 1990s and also in the case of Lindy Chamberlain in Australia. "We're quite confident that if we have the chance to speak to people in forensic services and with the DPP office that we can avoid the normal adversarial aspects of these cases at this stage and develop a joint approach to the Attorney-General."
The entire story can be found at:

https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/24761202/bob-chappell-murder-lawyer-flags-errors-in-susan-neill-fraser-trial/

See related story on mounting pressure for a review of Susan Neill-Fraser's conviction: "Neill-Fraser's lawyer, Barbara Etter, said a forensic investigation in Victoria had found new DNA evidence on Mr Chappell's yacht. "I think this new report on the DNA is a dramatic development, and one that should seriously concern those who administer justice in this state," he said. "Something needs to be done urgently to address what is a serious concern, a serious flaw, and this is a flaw that went through the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeal, and even to the High Court." Independent federal MP Andrew Wilkie has urged Tasmania's Attorney-General to order an immediate review, claiming the murder conviction had made Tasmania a laughing stock amongst Australia's legal profession. Mr Wilkie said the State Government should act now, given experts had raised doubts about the use of DNA evidence and a blood screening test. If they are that sure then they should have nothing to fear from this being revisited. Mr Wilkie said the state was being laughed at regarding blood testing methods.
"If the people who are so sure of Neill-Fraser's guilt, if they are that sure, then they should have nothing to fear from this being revisited and for those including myself who think there are too many questions over the conviction, then we can have those questions answered," he said.""

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-25/supporters-of-convicted-murderer-susan-neill-fraser-push-for-ur/5694952

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;  

Monday, August 25, 2014

David Harold Eastman: Australia; Aftermath 4: Publisher's view: Why the government's silence on whether it will force him to endure a second trial is "cruel and vindictive" - and why a new trial would inevitably lead to yet another miscarriage of justice. Harold Levy. Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.


PUBLISHER'S VIEW:

Almost a week after the Supreme Court quashed David Eastman's conviction the Australian Capital Territory still has not announced whether it is going to put him through the strain and uncertainty of another trial. This silence seems cruel and vindictive in light of the grossly bungled police investigation, the tainted forensic investigation, the pain of more than twenty years of imprisonment flowing from a miscarriage of justice, and the undue passage of time which would make the burden of presenting a defence almost impossible and risk yet another wrongful conviction for Mr. Eastman. To force him into another trial merely postpones the government's duty to probe the bungled police and forensic investigations to ensure that no one else will fall prey to the same calamitous errors - and  postpones the government's duty to generously compensate Mr. Eastman for  the horrors the state has put him through.

Harold Levy: Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.

 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;