Friday, May 29, 2015

Dan and Fran Keller: Texas; Radley Balko's take on "the on-going legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic."..."Ultimately, the panic and power of suggestion was pervasive enough to dupe our entire criminal justice system, as dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated." (Must Read. HL); (Must Read. HL);


STORY: "The ongoing legacy of the great satanic sex abuse panic," posted by Radley Balko, published by the Washington Post on May 26, 2105. (Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces.)

GIST: "The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday threw out the 1992 sexual assault convictions against Dan and Fran Keller but declined to find the former Austin day care owners innocent of crimes linked to a now-discredited belief that secret satanic cults were abusing day care children nationwide. The Kellers spent more than 22 years in prison after three young children accused them of dismembering babies, torturing pets, desecrating corpses, videotaping orgies and serving blood-laced Kool-Aid in satanic rituals at their home-based day care. No evidence of such activities was ever found.........The nine judges did not provide an explanation for why they rejected the Kellers’ innocence claim except to say their decision was based on the findings of the trial judge “and this court’s independent review of the record.”.........The panic actually began in the 1980s. It was instigated and perpetuated mostly by groups of fundamentalist Christians who saw Satan in every heavy metal album, “Smurfs” episode, and Dungeons & Dragons game, along with a quack cadre of psychotherapists who were convinced they could dig up buried memories through hypnosis. What they did instead was shed some light on just how potent the power of suggestion can be. Remarkably, children were convinced to testify about horrifying — and entirely fictional — violations perpetrated on them by care workers and, in some cases, by their own parents. But it wasn’t just children. As the Kellers’ conviction shows, the panic was so overwhelming, it could convince trained medical professionals to see abuse where there was none. Some defendants were convicted of gruesome crimes such as the aforementioned dismembering of babies despite the fact that there were no corpses and no babies missing from the immediate area. Ultimately, the panic and power of suggestion was pervasive enough to dupe our entire criminal justice system, as dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated.........And here’s the “expert” who sealed the Kellers’ conviction: The state presented a witness, Randy Noblitt, who claimed to be an expert on satanic cults and rituals and who testified that the complainant had described such rituals. Applicant’s brief on appeal noted that Noblitt had parlayed his testimony into a business opportunity, giving lectures and writing a book on the evils of ritual abuse, and that pointed to “a Noblitt-sponsored 1995 conference as providing an eye-opening look into his world view.” That conference included speakers who “revealed” the FBI’s cover-up of a satanic cult in Nebraska that had White House ties, the existence of more than 500 satanic cults conducting eight sacrificial murders a year in New York City, and that then-President Bill Clinton was the anti-Christ..........That the highest court in Texas still can’t bring itself to declare the couple innocent, in spite of all that we know now, shows just how difficult it can be to undo the damage caused by a moral panic and junk science in the courtroom. This didn’t just go on in Texas. It was all over the country, from conservative, law-and-order spots such as Kern County, Calif., to liberal strongholds such as Middlesex County, Mass. One of the best treatments of the panic is the movie “Witch Hunt,” which focuses on Kern County, arguable the epicenter of the panic. Here’s a trailer: The entire movie is now available online.  See the end of this post."


The entire story can be found at:

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2015/05/26/the-ongoing-legacy-of-the-great-satanic-sex-abuse-panic/

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;







Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bulletin: Adam Bowers; West Virginia; He has been found guilty on all charges from a 2001 sexual assault case involving an 83-year-old woman. Jury out for only an hour and a half. "The prosecution focused mainly on the DNA evidence that linked Bowers to this case, instead of Joseph Buffey, who plead guilty back in 2001. A DNA expert said that only 1 out of 40 billion people would have the same DNA as what was found at the crime scene and identified as Bowers."

After nearly an hour and a half of deliberations, Adam Bowers was found guilty on all charges from a 2001 sexual assault case involving an 83-year-old woman.........Following Bowers testimony, the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments. The prosecution focused mainly on the DNA evidence that linked Bowers to this case, instead of Joseph Buffey, who plead guilty back in 2001. A DNA expert said that only 1 out of 40 billion people would have the same DNA as what was found at the crime scene and identified as Bowers. But the defense argued that that they jury couldn't rely on just the DNA and that no physical evidence linked Bowers to being at the victim's home on Nov. 30 of 2001.........Bower's could face up to 55 years behind bars. His sentencing is scheduled for August 19th at 11:45 a.m.

Sabastian Prosa: Ontario; CBC reports that drunk driving charges won't be stayed, as judge rules that, even though loss of a blood sample violated his Charter rights, "Results from the testing of his blood sample are not necessary for Mr. Prosa to put forward his defence. They may or may not have supported it." Prosa has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. At trial, he has admitted to driving the vehicle that night, as well as to having almost double the legal limit of alcohol in his system at the time. But Prosa says he believes his drink was spiked on the night of the crash, and his lawyer, Alan Gold, argues the loss of the blood sample affects Prosa's ability to mount a full defence."


STORY: "Sabastian Prosa drunk driving charges won't be stayed,  judge rules,: published by the CBC on May 27 2015.

SUB-HEADING: "Judge Glenn Hainey says accused's  charter rights were violated, but trial should continue."

SUB-HEADING: "Judge calls attempt to drop charges a "Hail Mary attempt."

GIST: "A judge ruled Wednesday that charges will not be stayed against a man charged with drunk driving in connection with a crash that left two people dead.
The lawyers for Sabastian Prosa, who was 19 at the time of the 2012 collision, had asked for 12 charges he faces to be dropped because a sample of his blood leaked during the investigation and couldn't be properly tested.  Justice Glenn Hainey said the loss of the blood sample did violate Prosa's charter rights, but said he wouldn't stay the proceedings. The judge is expected to make a ruling in the case at an upcoming June court date. "Results from the testing of his blood sample are not necessary for Mr. Prosa to put forward his defence. They may or may not have supported it," Hainey said.........Prosa was behind the wheel of a GMC Envoy that struck a van carrying Jayanatha Wijeratne, along with his wife, Antonette, and their 16-year-old daughter, Eleesha, in August 2012. Jayantha Wijeratne, 49, and his daughter died in the crash, while Antonette Wijeratne suffered severe injuries. Prosa has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. At trial, he has admitted to driving the vehicle that night, as well as to having almost double the legal limit of alcohol in his system at the time. But Prosa says he believes his drink was spiked on the night of the crash, and his lawyer, Alan Gold, argues the loss of the blood sample affects Prosa's ability to mount a full defence. "

The entire story can be found at:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/sabastian-prosa-drunk-driving-charges-won-t-be-stayed-judge-rules-1.3089493

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;

Adam Bowers: Joseph Buffey; West Virginia; At the end of Day Two of his sexual assault trial, the big question was still "whether or not there is one suspect or two." WDTV.


STORY: "Adam Bower's sexual assault trial: Day Two," by reporter Andrew Havranek, published by WDTV on May 27 2015.

GIST: "Wednesday marked the second day of trial for a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case, and the big question in the courtroom is still whether or not there is one suspect or two. Prosecutors called upon multiple forensics experts and police detectives, and explained in-depth how DNA was pulled from the then 83-year-old victim. Experts went through the DNA pulled from swabbing the victim, from a pillowcase and bed sheet, as well as an article of clothing from the victim. One forensics expert from California based company Forensic Analytical Systems explained how they separated the DNA that did not belong to the victim. Based on their examinations, they found the male's DNA belonged to one person, who they identified as "unknown male number one." Bowers was linked to this case after a test showed it was his DNA, not Joseph Buffey's, who pleaded guilty in this case when it happened back in 2001."

The entire story  can be found at:
 
http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Adam-Bowerss-Sexual-Assault-Trial-Day-Two-23428

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;

Aisling Brady McCarthy: Massachusetts: Irish Times reports that even before the trial has begun, defence lawyer Melinda Thompson - a former prosecutor now working for one of the top law firms in Boston - "has questioned even the validity of shaken baby syndrome, the credentials of Dr. Newton (Dr Alice Newton, who first diagnosed Rehma as the victim of abuse), and the overall health of the child," - but says "prosecutors remain bullish that there is ample evidence to back up their claims."


STORY: "Trial outcome hangs on medical balance," by reporter John Breslin published by the Irish Times on May 9, 2015.

SUB-HEADING: "After two years in jail, the Irish nanny charged with first degree murder of a child has been released on bail. John Breslin analyses what this means.

GIST: "Aisling  Brady McCarthy is charged with first degree murder, intentionally and brutally shaking a one year old baby so hard that it led directly to her death. Ms Brady McCarthy has spent the last more than two years in jail near Boston, Massachusetts, on a bail bond she and her family could not afford. This week she was released, on lower bail and with conditions What is going on?.........Some violent incident took place in that bedroom that January day, it is alleged. Rehma was fatally injured. And the nanny was the only possible suspect, police, and then prosecutors, concluded. Within days, Ms Brady McCarthy, now 36, from Lavey, Co Cavan, was charged with battery to a child. Weeks later, after a grand jury deliberated, it concluded she should be tried for murder. Grand juries in the United States almost universally side with prosecutors. There is no defence called before such a jury, only the prosecution, no presumption of innocence, only that the defendant has a case to face. They heard evidence from Dr Alice Newton, who first diagnosed Rehma as the victim of abuse, that she died from brain trauma as a result of being shaken violently. This was at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). The Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and ruled “the cause of death is blunt force head injuries, and the manner of death is homicide and not accidental”. This according to the state’s district attorney. Ms Brady McCarthy, undocumented or an illegal immigrant as it quickly emerged, was charged with first-degree murder in April 2013, that with intent she deliberately murdered Rehma.......... But she has defence lawyers, a couple of the best in Boston. By chance, someone knew someone who knew Melinda Thompson, a former prosecutor now working for one of the top law firms in Boston. The Irishwoman was not going to be represented by an overworked public defender with a pile of files and little time to study them. Immediately, Thompson went on the offensive, declaring her client was innocent and, over the following months, now years, went to work on the medical evidence. She has questioned even the validity of shaken baby syndrome, the credentials of Dr Newton, and the overall health of the child. Rehma Sabir was a sick child. She suffered from malnutrition. She had injuries to her back and other parts of her body not connected to the day she was fatally injured. These injuries were caused weeks before that tragic day. It is known Ms Brady McCarthy had no part in causing these injuries as the child was in the sole custody of her parents. In filings to Middlesex Superior Court, the defence has laid out the arguments it will make before a jury. “Despite the child’s extensive history of medical problems, and despite the lack of any outward evidence that she had been abused, within a few hours of [Sabir’s] arrival at BCH, ‘child protection team’ personnel suspected abuse,” lawyers Thompson and David Meier wrote. “McCarthy was interrogated by police within an hour of Dr Newton’s diagnosis. McCarthy was interrogated again the next night, and the second interrogation was video and audio recorded. There are no other recorded statements of any witnesses in the case.” In a separate filing, they added: “It would be wrong ... to allow experts to come to trial and guess, or speculate, or argue about [shaken baby syndrome] when it is not yet a scientifically validated entity.”.........Ms Brady McCarthy’s trial was due to start this week. Some three days were set aside for jury selection, with the trial expected to last three to four weeks. Instead, the trial was delayed as the medical examiner’s office carries out a review of nine reports submitted by the defence. Ms Brady McCarthy was released on $15,000 bail, paying 10% of that amount in cash. She is confined to home and has an electronic bracelet attached to her ankle..........So she is now due to go on trial in July, if she goes on trial at all. The defence has asked a number of times that the case be dismissed, that there is no case to answer and certainly this is not a first degree murder. Now it is up to the medical examiner’s office. It is reviewing the reports and will come back in about four weeks with its conclusions. The prosecutors remain bullish that there is ample evidence to back up their claims. But already, and repeatedly, the defence has asked: is there reasonable doubt?"

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, May 27, 2015

Adam Bowers: West Virginia; (Case is related to Joseph Buffey): Officer asked when the investigation moved to a single perpetrator theory, which according to a police report, occurred in January of 2002, two months after the incident. This investigation stems from a 2013 finding from Joseph Buffey's attorneys that evidence matched the DNA of Bowers, not Buffey. Buffey was the man originally convicted of the crime.)


STORY: "Second suspect in 2001 sexual assault and robbery case appears in court," by Your 5News Team, published on May 26, 20125.

GIST: ( Tuesday marked the beginning of Adam Bowers trial. Bowers is the second man connected to a 14-year-old sexual assault and robbery case. Jury selection took place at the Harrison County Courthouse and testimonies began in the afternoon. The victim's son, and former Clarksburg detectives, Robert Matheny and David Wygal, took the stand to give their testimonies.......... Detective Matheny was asked when the investigation moved to a single perpetrator theory, which according to a police report, occurred in January of 2002, two months after the incident. This investigation stems from a 2013 finding from Joseph Buffey's attorneys that evidence matched the DNA of Bowers, not Buffey.  Buffey was the man originally convicted of the crime."

http://www.wdtv.com/wdtv.cfm?func=view&section=5-News&item=Second-Suspect-in-2001-Sexual-Assault-and-Robbery-Case-Appears-in-Court-23392

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;

FBI overstated hair match crisis. (23): (The Emperor's clothes); The Washington Post exposed the FBI use of junk hair analysis science in hundreds of criminal cases over many years. (Bravo! HL); Now, in an editorial, it calls not only for reassessment of forensic technologies - but also for scrutiny of other parts of the system "if the chances of wrongful convictions are to be reduced."


PUBLISHER'S VIEW: The Washington Post  puts the onus of  healing a badly broken U.S. criminal justice system on the  Justice Department, saying: "We hope the Justice Department undertakes an analysis not only of the breakdown in hair forensics but also of other vulnerabilities in the system." That alone is not enough. Judges should do a much better job of keeping junk science out of the courtrooms;  Prosecutors should avoid calling controversial scientific evidence that has not received strong concensus in the scientific community. (Which should be enough to eliminate the scientifically unfounded,  destructive  shaken baby syndrome - a major cause of wrongful convictions).  Defence lawyers   should aggressively challenge the credentials of so-called prosecution "experts." And the FBI should waste no time notifying people that they may have been wrongful convicted by the FBI's own flawed science  - and giving them the opportunity to straighten things out.

Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

EDITORIAL: "The FBI's flawed justice," published by the Washington Post on May 8, 2015.

GIST: "The stunning  admission by federal law enforcement officials of flawed testimony by forensic experts in hundreds of criminal cases has focused attention on the dubious use of hair analysis. Add this to a list of factors that has played a role in securing the conviction of people who later proved their innocence, including mistaken eyewitness identifications, bad informants and police or prosecutorial misconduct. Forensic technologies must be reassessed, but other parts of the system also need scrutiny if the chances of wrongful convictions are to be reduced.........The FBI errors do not necessarily mean defendants were innocent. But the confirmation of long-held suspicions about hair analysis, the inability of courts to keep junk science out of courtrooms (and hair analysis is not the only suspect technique) and the questionable reliability of other evidence provide reason to worry about how many innocent people are being convicted.........With the exception of the rare bad apple, police and prosecutors don’t set out to convict the wrong person, but even the most well-meaning people can be affected by contextual or cognitive bias, particularly in a system with crushing caseloads and intense pressure. Better protections are needed. Steps in the right direction are improvements by D.C. police in procedures for eyewitness identification and the creation of a conviction integrity unit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District. But more needs to be done, including, as we’ve argued before, requiring the prosecution to share information with the defense more thoroughly and consistently. We hope the Justice Department undertakes an analysis not only of the breakdown in hair forensics but also of other vulnerabilities in the system."

The entire editorial can be found at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-fbis-flawed-justice/2015/05/08/824a4ed0-e91c-11e4-9767-6276fc9b0ada_story.html?wprss=rss_homepag

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;