Monday, June 26, 2017

David Harold Eastman: Australia.. Australian Capital Government to spend millions of more dollars on a retrial - (in spite of Justice Ian Binnie's report saying Eastman is innocent and calling for compensation. Publisher's Note: ("In spite of Binnie's opinion, he is a brilliant, highly respected judge (except by the ACT) is determined to go to retrial come hell or high water, no matter what the cost - even though those dollars could be a start to pay David Eastman for his wrongful imprisonment over many years because of the state's bungling." HL.) ABC News.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: According to ABC News,  (article below) The Australian Capital  Territory will be spending millions of dollars to retry David Eastman for the alleged murder of  Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester. Eastman was freed in 2014 after almost 20 years behind bars, when an inquiry found forensic evidence linking him to the killing  was flawed. In a report to the New Zealand government, Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie said David Bain was innocent and deserved compensation because botched police work caused him to serve 13 years in prison.  (According to a Globe and Mail story, Binnie described the Bain case as a combination of several notorious wrongful conviction cases in Canada, saying it "seems to be like Milgaard, Morin, Sophonow and Marshall rolled into one fireball. In spite of Binnie's opinion, he is a brilliant, highly respected judge (except by the ACT.   The ACT is determined to go to retrial come hell or high water, no matter what the cost - even though those dollars could be a start to pay David Eastman for his wrongful imprisonment over many years because of the state's bungling. How does The ACTustify its never ending persecution of David Eastman?   As Victims of Crime commissioner John Hinchey put it: ""Justice can't be measured by the amount of money we spend on it," he said. "Here we have the most senior police officer in the ACT murdered in cold blood outside his house." What message would we send the community if we halted proceedings because the costs had come to a stage where people thought we shouldn't proceed? "That's not justice to the family of Colin Winchester, and it's not justice to our ACT Policing force." Proceeding with a retrial -  and fighting tooth and nail to avoid paying a cent to David Eastman in order to appease "the people" is certainly not justice - not  the justice that counts.

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

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STORY: "ACT Attorney-General defends $26m bill for accused cop killer's legal proceedings," by reporters Elizabeth Byrne and Elise Scott,  published by ABC News on January 20, 2017;




GIST: "The ACT's top legal figure has defended government spending around the legal battle and upcoming retrial of David Eastman, who is accused of shooting dead the territory's top police officer in 1989. Mr Eastman was freed in 2014 after almost 20 years behind bars, when an inquiry found forensic evidence linking him to the killing of Assistant Commissioner Colin Winchester was flawed.
His conviction was quashed and a retrial was scheduled for next year, having been repeatedly delayed. As the case drags on, costs associated with Mr Eastman's prosecution continue to rise. Where will the $7 million in new money go: $2.4m to ACT Law Courts and Tribunal; $2.3m to the DPP; $1.9m to Legal Aid Commission to fund Mr Eastman's defence; $800,000 to cover associated police costs......... But ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the government funding was tied to decisions made by the Director of Public Prosecutions, outside of his control. "The decision to prosecute is independent of government," he said. "It's not for the government to be commenting in any way on any individual court case. "The funding that is allocated is an amount that covers the court costs, the prosecution costs, the policing costs, and the defence costs." This year's ACT budget included more than $7 million in new money for the case - in anticipation of Mr Eastman's retrial. ACT Victims of Crime Commissioner John Hinchey said the rising budget figures were necessary to the public interest in order to determine what happened to Mr Winchester. "Justice can't be measured by the amount of money we spend on it," he said. "Here we have the most senior police officer in the ACT murdered in cold blood outside his house." What message would we send the community if we halted proceedings because the costs had come to a stage where people thought we shouldn't proceed? "That's not justice to the family of Colin Winchester, and it's not justice to our ACT Policing force."

The entire story can be found at: 

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-20/act-attorney-general-defends-$26m-bill-for-david-eastman/8635202?pfmredir=sm

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fran and Dan Keller: Texas: Reporter Jordan Smith's perspective on their exoneration: She conducted a reinvestigation of the case which turned up evidence that would ultimately lead to their release from prison..."When I began reinvestigating the case in 2008 for the Austin Chronicle, I was stunned to learn that police and prosecutors who had worked the case back in the early ’90s still believed some of the most outrageous allegations leveled against the Kellers. The Austin Police Department refused to release its investigative report on the case, forcing the Chronicle to take the agency to court. We ultimately won the right to full, unredacted access. After reading the report, it was not hard to understand why the department had fought to keep it secret. It was an ALL-CAPS, run-on-sentence fever dream full of breathless accusations and absent any actual investigation that could prove or disprove the claims. On multiple occasions, the lead investigator took the girl who accused the Kellers to lunch at McDonald’s before setting out for drives in the neighborhood where she would point out locations: Yes, she had been abused there; yes, she recognized the cemetery where the Kellers had killed and buried babies; yes, many of the residents of the quiet neighborhood were in on the hi-jinx. Not once did investigators question the child’s statements. My reinvestigation of the Keller case turned up evidence that would ultimately lead to their release from prison."


STORY: "Couple Exonerated 25 Years After Being Convicted of Lurid Crimes That Never Happened," by Jordan Smith, published by The Intercept on June 20, 2017. (Jordan Smith is a state and national award-winning investigative journalist based in Austin, Texas. She has covered criminal justice for nearly 20 years and during that time has developed a reputation as a resourceful and dogged reporter with a talent for analyzing complex social and legal issues, and is regarded as one of the best investigative reporters in Texas. Her work has also appeared in The NationThe Crime Report, and Salon, among other places.)

GIST: Twenty-five years after they were convicted of a crime that never happened, Fran and Dan Keller were formally exonerated on June 20 in Austin, Texas. The couple’s prosecution in 1992 was part of a wave of cases across the country amid an episode of mass hysteria known as the Satanic Panic. Beginning in the 1980s, accusations flew that the childcare industry had been infiltrated by bands of Satanists hell-bent on brainwashing and sexually abusing young children. The Kellers’ exoneration closes a decades long chapter of profound injustice for a couple that paid an exceptionally high price for the credulousness of local law enforcement.........The exoneration is the first for the nascent conviction integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office under the new DA, Margaret Moore. Court documents filed Tuesday announced that there is “no credible evidence” against the Kellers. Moore said she personally reviewed the case and believes exoneration “to be a just outcome.” Fran and Dan Keller were each sentenced to 48 years in prison for the alleged sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl who was an occasional drop-in at their home daycare center on the rural outskirts of Austin. The child initially accused Dan of spanking her “like daddy” used to, but under intense and repeated questioning by her mother and a therapist, the story morphed to include claims of rape and orgies involving children. From there, the number of children alleging abuse increased and the accusations grew even more lurid and confounding: The Kellers had sacrificed babies; they held ceremonies in a local graveyard; they put blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; Fran cut off the arm of a gorilla in a local park; they flew the children to Mexico to be sexually assaulted by military officials. When I began reinvestigating the case in 2008 for the Austin Chronicle, I was stunned to learn that police and prosecutors who had worked the case back in the early ’90s still believed some of the most outrageous allegations leveled against the Kellers. The Austin Police Department refused to release its investigative report on the case, forcing the Chronicle to take the agency to court. We ultimately won the right to full, unredacted access. After reading the report, it was not hard to understand why the department had fought to keep it secret. It was an ALL-CAPS, run-on-sentence fever dream full of breathless accusations and absent any actual investigation that could prove or disprove the claims. On multiple occasions, the lead investigator took the girl who accused the Kellers to lunch at McDonald’s before setting out for drives in the neighborhood where she would point out locations: Yes, she had been abused there; yes, she recognized the cemetery where the Kellers had killed and buried babies; yes, many of the residents of the quiet neighborhood were in on the hi-jinx. Not once did investigators question the child’s statements. My reinvestigation of the Keller case turned up evidence that would ultimately lead to their release from prison. The only vaguely physical evidence that tied the couple to any wrongdoing was the testimony of a young emergency room doctor named Michael Mouw, who had examined the girl and concluded there was damage to her vaginal area that could be the result of sexual abuse. As it turned out, the doctor was wrong. Mouw told me that not long after the Kellers were convicted, he attended a medical conference where he learned that what he had interpreted as signs of abuse were nothing more than a normal variant of female genitalia. Mouw’s medical opinion had fundamentally changed, offering the Kellers an avenue to challenge their conviction. During a hearing in the summer of 2013, he unequivocally stated that there was no doubt that the child’s genitalia was normal and that he’d gotten it wrong when he examined her in 1991. He said that he tried to reach out to the Austin Police Department after he realized his error but was rebuffed by the detective, who was “convinced they were guilty.” After the 2013 hearing, DA Rosemary Lehmberg — who had been head of the office’s child abuse unit at the time of the Kellers’ prosecution — ultimately agreed that the couple had not received a fair trial, and they were released shortly before Christmas that year. While there was no doubt the couple would not be retried, over the intervening years, Lehmberg declined to take the final step and exonerate them, claiming to my former editor that she could not “find a pathway to innocence” for the Kellers. She was essentially trying to prove a negative — seeking evidence that would prove a crime never happened. Without a formal exoneration, the Kellers struggled to rebuild their lives. They were still saddled with a conviction for sexual assault of a child, which made it nearly impossible to find work or a place to live. Without an income, they had to scrape by with the help of family and food stamps, and they have not been able to get the kind of medical attention they need for health issues prompted in part by abuses they suffered in prison. The court filing Tuesday should pave the way for the Kellers to collect roughly $1.7 million each in state compensation for the 21 years they spent behind bars. Still, the outcome should not be considered a victory for the criminal justice system. With a few notable exceptions, the law enforcement officials in Austin — police and prosecutors, as well as the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals — failed the residents of the city and more importantly the Kellers by accepting the shocking allegations on their face and abdicating their duty to seek the truth of the matter. If it weren’t for the dogged support of people like Mouw and attorney Keith Hampton — who has spent more than six years toiling on the case for free in an effort to bring about this exoneration — the Kellers would still be in prison, and that is where they would have died. Contrary to what many people might think, you don’t have a right not to be convicted of a crime you did not commit. For the most part, the Constitution is silent on this point. Instead, the focus is on whether a person received a fair trial. Did you have at least minimally competent lawyers? Were you afforded the ability to cross-examine witnesses against you? If so, then your conviction — even for a crime that never happened — should stand. Once a person is convicted, the system works only to reinforce that outcome. That remains the reality for untold thousands who sit innocent behind bars today."

The entire story can be found at:
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/20/texas-couple-exonerated-25-years-after-being-convicted-of-lurid-crimes-that-never-happened/

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Fran and Dan Keller: Texas; Historical perspective; Babysitters accused of satanic crimes exonerated after 25 years; 'History' (reporter Sarah Pruitt) provides a valuable historical perspective..."With the exoneration of the Kellers, and improved techniques used by law enforcement officers, social workers and other professionals to interview children in cases where abuse is suspected, it’s tempting to believe something like the Satanic Panic could not happen today. (Author Debbie) Nathan warned against such complacency, however, saying that the Internet has sparked all kinds of new anxieties about what children are doing online, and what kind of dangers they might be exposed to. In fact, the earlier panic may hold a lesson for us in today’s news climate, with its prevalence of conspiracy theories and unsupported rumors. “We saw this 30 years ago,” Nathan said. “It’s sort of an object lesson, what happened then, and I think it’s unfortunate that not very many people remember it.”


PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  On June 24, 2017, The Statesman published a  noteworthy letter  to the editor  from Lewis Jones, who writes that as Fran Keller's trial attorney, he was  overwhelmed with thankfulness by the actions of  prosecutors Margaret Moore and Keith Hampton. "While the dismissal of charges is a remedy, the recompense that the state of Texas is offering does not begin to compensate for the years of abuse suffered during their incarceration," he writes. " Consideration should be given to the severity of what the Kellers endured, as well as the years that they served. The unjust incarceration of Dan and Fran Keller has haunted me for years — and in my anger I ended my own legal career. Perhaps my anger on their behalf was selfish and not what they would have wished. I find myself in awe at the Keller’s ability to forgive those who prosecuted them. They have shown me what it is to move forward in this life — and for that I am thankful."
 http://www.mystatesman.com/news/opinion/letters-the-editor-june-2017/9Lz0qUezpnTbBiH54MpC0N/

Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

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STORY: "Babysitters Accused of Satanic Crimes Exonerated After 25 Years," by  reporter Sarah Pruitt, published by 'History' on June 21, 2017.

GIST:  "On June 20th, a couple who served 21 years in prison for the Satanic ritual abuse of children was formally exonerated by the district attorney in Austin, Texas, who said there is “no credible evidence” against them. The decision brings an end to one of the more prominent cases brought during the so-called Satanic Panic of the 1980s and the early 1990s, where fears of devil-worshippers influencing American children spread rapidly. During this time, hundreds of childcare providers were accused of unspeakable crimes, and many would spend years behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit. Fran and Dan Keller were convicted in 1992 of sexually abusing a three-year-old girl at their home daycare facility on the outskirts of Austin, Texas. After the girl’s initial reports of abuse (she said Dan spanked her, according to the Intercept, but later alleged rape under further questioning), the local community grew panicked. The charges leveled against the Kellers soon included supposedly Satanic rituals like baby sacrifice, the amputation of a zoo gorilla’s arm, secret graveyard ceremonies, and transportation of children to Mexico to be assaulted by members of the military. Following a trial, the Kellers were each sentenced to 48 years in prison. The Kellers were finally released in 2013 after multiple appeals, when the doctor who had provided the only physical evidence of the alleged assault recanted his testimony. This week, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore exonerated the couple, bringing an end to the Kellers’ 25-year-long struggle to clear their names.  Though the Satanic Panic that ensnared the Kellers certainly has historical precedents (most notably the Salem Witch Trials), the panic’s more immediate roots can be traced to the tumultuous decade that preceded it. “In the 1970s, there was a lot of anxiety being put onto the idea that Satanists were controlling things and had their hands in things,” said Debbie Nathan, a longtime investigative journalist who co-authored a book about the panic, “Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch Hunt” (2001), with Michael Snedeker. At the time, a number of gossipy urban myths were going around about Satanic influences on corporations. Procter & Gamble even had to hold a press conference in 1985 to deny allegations that their logo was the sign of the devil. According to Nathan, such myths had staying power because they reflected people’s anxieties about “corporate consumerism and corporate culture,” about women entering the work force, and especially about children being left in daycare facilities in increasing numbers. In the early 1980s, “Daycare was really demonized in ways that were way beyond the facts. There was just a lot of anxiety about public childcare, which I think was tacked onto a generalized anxiety about women going into the workforce.” In the early 1980s, these concerns unexpectedly tracked with those of feminists, who were seeking to confront violence (particularly sexual violence) against women and children. “Those two things came together and caused a really powerful panic,” Nathan said. “It was really remarkable to see all of these institutions buy into the idea that there was an international conspiracy of Satanists set out to recruit tiny kids, and somehow brainwash them so that later on when they became adults, you could sort of snap your fingers and they would go into this Satanic trance.”.........In addition to hundreds of accusations of abuse against daycare providers and other caregivers, people identified all kinds of evil influences in modern American society during the panic. People saw Satanic messages in rock music, cartoons, role-playing video games like “Dungeons and Dragons,” the theme song from “Mr. Ed” and even the diapers they put on their children. By the early ‘90s, evidence was mounting against the existence of a widespread Satanic conspiracy among childcare providers. A report in 1992 by the Department of Justice found the reports of widespread Satanic ritual abuse were not credible. In 1994, the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect released another report debunking the claims.  Thanks to increased skepticism, the Satanic Panic died down by the mid-1990s, and by now many of the cases against childcare providers have been overturned due to mishandled prosecutions. In perhaps the most notorious panic-fueled case, three Arkansas men—known as the West Memphis Three—were freed in 2011 after serving more than 18 years in prison; they had been convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the sexual assault and murder of three young boys, but DNA evidence showed they had no connection to the crime. With the exoneration of the Kellers, and improved techniques used by law enforcement officers, social workers and other professionals to interview children in cases where abuse is suspected, it’s tempting to believe something like the Satanic Panic could not happen today. Nathan warned against such complacency, however, saying that the Internet has sparked all kinds of new anxieties about what children are doing online, and what kind of dangers they might be exposed to. In fact, the earlier panic may hold a lesson for us in today’s news climate, with its prevalence of conspiracy theories and unsupported rumors. “We saw this 30 years ago,” Nathan said. “It’s sort of an object lesson, what happened then, and I think it’s unfortunate that not very many people remember it.”"
http://www.history.com/news/babysitters-accused-of-satanic-crimes-exonerated-after-25-years

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

Kevin Cooper: California: New York Times Columnist Nicolas Kristoff: "On Death Row, but Is he innocent?"..." A man named Kevin Cooper is on San Quentin’s death row awaiting execution for the murders, even though a federal judge says he probably is innocent. “He is on death row because the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department framed him,” the judge, William A. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, declared in a searing 2013 critique delivered in a distinguished lecture series. Fletcher was in the minority in 2009 when his court refused to rehear the case. His dissent, over 100 pages long, points to Cooper’s possible innocence and to systematic police misconduct. It’s a modern equivalent of Émile Zola’s “J’accuse.” At least 10 other federal judges have also expressed concerns about Cooper’s conviction. Many other eminent legal experts, including the then-president of the American Bar Association, have also called on Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene. The evidence of police tampering is overwhelming. When lawyers working on Cooper’s appeal asked for DNA testing on a T-shirt believed to belong to the killer, the lab found Cooper’s blood on the shirt — but also something astonishing: The blood had test tube preservative in it! In other words, it appeared to have come from the supply of Cooper’s blood drawn by the police and kept in a test tube. Kevin Cooper was sent to death row at San Quentin State Prison after his conviction for a quadruple murder. Judges and others question the reliability of the evidence. When the test tube was later examined, it had the DNA of at least two people in it. It appeared that someone had removed some of Cooper’s blood and then topped off the test tube with the blood of one or more other people to hide the deception. What’s extraordinary about the case is that not only is it likely that Cooper is innocent, but that we also have a good idea who committed the murders."


COMMENTARY: "On Death Row, but Is He Innocent?," by Nicolas Kristof, published by The New York Times on June 17, 2017.

GIST: "One June day in 1983, a California professor drove over to a neighbor’s house to pick up his 11-year-old son from a sleepover. Nobody answered the door, so the professor peered through a window — and saw a ghastly panorama of blood. The professor found his son stabbed to death, along with the bodies of Peggy and Doug Ryen, the homeowners. The Ryens’ 10-year-old daughter was also dead, with 46 wounds, but their 8-year-old son was still breathing. This quadruple murder began a travesty that is still unfolding and underscores just how broken the American justice system is. A man named Kevin Cooper is on San Quentin’s death row awaiting execution for the murders, even though a federal judge says he probably is innocent. “He is on death row because the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department framed him,” the judge, William A. Fletcher of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, declared in a searing 2013 critique delivered in a distinguished lecture series. Fletcher was in the minority in 2009 when his court refused to rehear the case. His dissent, over 100 pages long, points to Cooper’s possible innocence and to systematic police misconduct. It’s a modern equivalent of Émile Zola’s “J’accuse.” At least 10 other federal judges have also expressed concerns about Cooper’s conviction. Many other eminent legal experts, including the then-president of the American Bar Association, have also called on Gov. Jerry Brown to intervene. The evidence of police tampering is overwhelming. When lawyers working on Cooper’s appeal asked for DNA testing on a T-shirt believed to belong to the killer, the lab found Cooper’s blood on the shirt — but also something astonishing: The blood had test tube preservative in it! In other words, it appeared to have come from the supply of Cooper’s blood drawn by the police and kept in a test tube. Kevin Cooper was sent to death row at San Quentin State Prison after his conviction for a quadruple murder. Judges and others question the reliability of the evidence. When the test tube was later examined, it had the DNA of at least two people in it. It appeared that someone had removed some of Cooper’s blood and then topped off the test tube with the blood of one or more other people to hide the deception. What’s extraordinary about the case is that not only is it likely that Cooper is innocent, but that we also have a good idea who committed the murders.........There was no reliable evidence against Cooper. But he had escaped from a minimum-security prison (he walked away) where he was serving a burglary sentence and had holed up in an empty house near the Ryens’ home. A court suggested that he had killed the Ryens to steal their station wagon — although it is thought to have been parked in front of the house with the keys in it. And when the car was found, it appeared that three people with bloody clothing had sat in it. One fundamental factor in this case is Cooper’s race, and this case is a microcosm of racial injustice in the United States. The police seemed predisposed to believe the worst of a black man; Cooper was subjected to racist taunts as his case unfolded; and Democratic and Republican politicians alike have shown themselves inclined to avert their eyes, even if this leaves an innocent man on death row. As governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to act. Kamala Harris, who was state attorney general and is now a U.S. senator, was unhelpful. Governor Brown is reviewing the case, but previously as attorney general exhibited little interest. Cooper and his lawyers are not asking for a pardon right now, or even for a commutation to life imprisonment. They’re simply asking Governor Brown to order a review of the case with new DNA testing (critical testing has never been done) to indicate whether Cooper is likely guilty or innocent. They will even pay for the testing, because they believe it will both exonerate Cooper and implicate the real killers. “We’re not saying let Kevin out of jail now, we’re not saying pardon him,” noted one of his pro bono lawyers, Norman Hile. “We’re saying, let’s find out if he’s innocent.” This case is a national embarrassment. It appears that an innocent man was railroaded, in part because he is black, and the government won’t even allow crucial DNA testing. Governor Brown, will you act?""

The entire commentary can be  found at:
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/17/opinion/sunday/kevin-cooper-death-row-innocent.html?em_pos=large&emc=edit_nk_20170616&nl=nickkristof&nlid=57629086&ref=img&te=1&_r=0&referer=

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;


  • Friday, June 23, 2017

    Brendan Dassey: Wisconsin; Significant Development: Appeal court upholds ruling that Dassey's confession in the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach (featured in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer”) was involuntary..."In an Associated Press article, Steven Drizin, an expert on false confessions, Co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University, and one of Dassey’s attorneys said, “While these tactics might not have overwhelmed a seasoned criminal or a 30-year-old with a law degree, they clearly overwhelmed a 16-year-old, socially avoidant, intellectually limited (youth) who had never been interrogated by the police before.”..." In the article we get a fascinating glimpse of how officials differ in viewing common interrogation techniques that have contributed to false confessions… “The appellate panel split, with Judges Ilana Rovner and Ann Williams affirming and David Hamilton in dissent. The majority opinion by Rovner said ‘no reasonable court’ could have any confidence that Dassey’s confession was voluntary. It cited ‘the leading, the fact-feeding, the false promises, the manipulation of Dassey’s desire to please’ as among many factors that cast it in doubt. “Hamilton, in dissent, wrote: ‘The majority’s decision breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors. It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles.’ ” In this writer’s view, the problem with these “standard interrogation techniques,” which we now know risk prompting false confessions, is that they botch attempts to find the truth. This does not serve the interests of victims, defendants, or public safety.":


    STORY: "Appeals Court Concurs: Brendan Dassey’s Confession Was Involuntary," by Nancy Petro, published by The Wrongful Convictions log on June 23, 2017.

    GIST:  "Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal magistrate judge’s ruling that Wisconsin inmate Brendan Dassey’s confession  The state Justice Department had appealed and will likely seek a review by the 7th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court. The state also has the option of retrying Dassey within 90 days. In an Associated Press article, Steven Drizin, an expert on false confessions, Co-founder of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University, and one of Dassey’s attorneys said, “While these tactics might not have overwhelmed a seasoned criminal or a 30-year-old with a law degree, they clearly overwhelmed a 16-year-old, socially avoidant, intellectually limited (youth) who had never been interrogated by the police before.” In the article we get a fascinating glimpse of how officials differ in viewing common interrogation techniques that have contributed to false confessions… “The appellate panel split, with Judges Ilana Rovner and Ann Williams affirming and David Hamilton in dissent. The majority opinion by Rovner said ‘no reasonable court’ could have any confidence that Dassey’s confession was voluntary. It cited ‘the leading, the fact-feeding, the false promises, the manipulation of Dassey’s desire to please’ as among many factors that cast it in doubt. “Hamilton, in dissent, wrote: ‘The majority’s decision breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors. It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles.’ ” In this writer’s view, the problem with these “standard interrogation techniques,” which we now know risk prompting false confessions, is that they botch attempts to find the truth. This does not serve the interests of victims, defendants, or public safety. Attorneys Steve Drizin and Laura Nirider indicated they would seek Dassey’s immediate release. He is now 27 and has been serving a life sentence."

    The entire post can be found at:

    https://wrongfulconvictionsblog.org/2017/06/23/appeals-court-concurs-brendan-dasseys-confession-was-coerced/#more-27418

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Rape kit reforms: (Major Development): Bulletin: Forensic Magazine reports (Chief Science Writer Seth Augenstein) that Texas is implementing a rape kit law reform law including tracking of tests... " One of the key provisions to Texas’ law is mandatory state funding to make the mandatory testing, database tracking and annual auditing possible. A bill that appeared in the Texas legislature in March made headlines when it proposed to crowdfund for testing of rape kit evidence. (The recently passed bill asks drivers renewing their licenses to contribute $1 to statewide rape kit analysis). Other states are attempting to pass laws similar to Texas’. It was reported last year that nearly half of all state legislatures had started working on rape kit reform bills." Forensic Magazine; Reporter Seth Augenstein; June 9, 2017.


    PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  America has a distressing backlog of untested sexual assault tests. This backlog is an impediment to police investigations - and can also prevent suspects from demonstrating that they are innocent.  As Forensic Magazine reports: "Texas is the first state to pass a law that would establish a wide array of rape kit reforms—including mandatory testing, an annual statewide audit and a tracking system for both law enforcement and victims to track results." Other states are atempting to pass similar bills. Kudos to Forensic Magazine - Senior Science Writer Seth Augenstein, in particular" - for the important reporting it has done in this area.

    Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    -----------------------------------------------------------

    "Texas is the first state to pass a law that would establish a wide array of rape kit reforms—including mandatory testing, an annual statewide audit and a tracking system for both law enforcement and victims to track results. The extent of the tracking system—whether it ends with CODIS hits or extends through disposition of potential criminal cases—remains to be seen in its ultimate implementation. The state has become the first to pass legislation that would fulfill requests of advocacy groups like the New York-based Joyful Heart Foundation. “Texas becomes the first state to pass all key pillars necessary to truly address a state’s untested sexual assault kits,” said Ilse Knecht, director of policy and advocacy for Joyful Heart. “In particular, the tracking of rape kits mandated by H.B. 281 is critical.” Such testing would establish a common system to track the kits—from hospitals, to law enforcement and crime laboratories, according to the advocates.  Included within the system would be a mechanism for survivors to check the status of those kits—from collection to analysis.  Such tracking systems in other states have traditionally been able to report whether a suspect is identified—but not necessarily what outcome it results in (for instance, the identity of an unknown assailant, an arrest or a prosecution). Melissa Schwartz, spokeswoman for Joyful Heart, said the new law mandates participation from any agency that investigates or prosecutes a case.
    But getting the full database up and running isn’t as simple as just signing a law, Schwartz conceded.........The tracking system to tell authorities and policymakers how effective “eliminating the backlog” of rape kits is has been a goal of some notable advocates. Rockne Harmon, a retired California prosecutor, has written about the “panacea” of rape-kit testing for Forensic Magazine in the past, and spoken in several interviews about the backlogs. It’s not that rape kits shouldn’t be tested, Harmon says. But testing should be done in a well-orchestrated manner, and the results should all be properly documented, to better understand how funding and law enforcement resources could best be utilized to catch the most—and most dangerous—criminals, he adds. ........Knecht, of Joyful Heart, told Forensic Magazine in January that the state-by-state effort to eliminate the backlog is a “patchwork of progress,” depending on policies and agencies. Texas still has more than 19,000 kits backlogged statewide, according to advocates. One of the key provisions to Texas’ law is mandatory state funding to make the mandatory testing, database tracking and annual auditing possible. A bill that appeared in the Texas legislature in March made headlines when it proposed to crowdfund for testing of rape kit evidence. (The recently passed bill asks drivers renewing their licenses to contribute $1 to statewide rape kit analysis). Other states are attempting to pass laws similar to Texas’. It was reported last year that nearly half of all state legislatures had started working on rape kit reform bills. “With this passage, Texas has demonstrated its commitment to bringing justice to survivors, holding violent perpetrators accountable for their crimes and promoting public safety for all residents,” said Knecht. Forensic Magazine has previously reported on how state-by-state statutes of limitation have begun to expire as the thousands of rape kits remain untested."

     https://www.forensicmag.com/news/2017/06/texas-implement-rape-kit-reform-law-including-tracking-tests

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Thursday, June 22, 2017

    Annie Dookhan: Massachusetts: Bulletin: (Falsified lab evidence); White elephant case); Judge orders Dookhan to pay $2m to wrongly convicted man: (Leonardo Johnson was convicted of selling cocaine in 2008, based on a drug lab report.)...A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to a man wrongly convicted based on evidence falsified by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who created a multimillion-dollar crisis in the state’s criminal justice system. It is the first case in which Dookhan has been ordered to compensate any of the thousands of defendants whose cases she tainted. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani determined that Leonardo Johnson, 53, of Dorchester, is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages for the 15 months he served in prison, because Dookhan gave “false testimony to convict an innocent man.’’ Boston Globe: June 21, 2017.



    Image result for "white elephant"

    In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: Sheer, unadulterated, willful   misconduct in the criminal justice system - much  of it involving forensic evidence - committed by lab technicians,  pathologists, police officers, prosecutors and others.  Think Annie Dookhan; Think Sonia Farak; Think David Kofoed; Think Charles Smith; Think Ken Anderson; Think Gene Morrison.  I have therefore decided to run this image of a white elephant at the top of every applicable post henceforth, to draw our reader's attention to   what I see as a major problem in all too many criminal justice system's - my own included.  Harold Levy; Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;
    "Reformers have for years recommended that all forensic labs be independent from law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies' and this is a key reform promoted by The Justice Project (2008). But fixing these problems is only half the answer' because half of the wrongful convictions attributed to misleading forensic evidence involved deliberate forensic fraud' evidence tampering' and/or perjury.
    From "The Elephant in the Crime Lab," by co-authored by Sheila Berry and Larry Ytuarte; Forensic Examiner; Spring, 2009; http://www.t-mlaw.com/blog/post/the-elephant-in-the-crime-lab/

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    "A federal judge has awarded more than $2 million to a man wrongly convicted based on evidence falsified by Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist who created a multimillion-dollar crisis in the state’s criminal justice system. It is the first case in which Dookhan has been ordered to compensate any of the thousands of defendants whose cases she tainted. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani determined that Leonardo Johnson, 53, of Dorchester, is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages for the 15 months he served in prison, because Dookhan gave “false testimony to convict an innocent man.’’
    https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/06/21/judge-orders-dookhan-to-pay-2m-to-wrongly-convicted-man

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Frits Van Beelen: South Australia; A discredited pathologist Colin Manock case: On-going appeal. Bulletin...Court told fibres from Frits Van Beelen’s jumper found at scene of 1972 murder of teen Deborah Lynch... Kevin Borrick QC, who has represented Van Beelen since his first trial in 1972, urged the five High Court justices to be cautious of the fibre evidence, saying it was a common dye and thread used in myriad of clothing at the time. The first day’s argument centred on submissions that former state chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock’s 1973 evidence on the time of death was flawed. Mr Kimber told the court on Thursday that even if the evidence of Dr Manock was excluded from the 1973 trial, both the evidence of the clothing fibres and the emotional testimony of Ms Leach’s mother would still have resulted in a guilty verdict. Mr Borrick said the scientific evidence levelled at his long-time client had been gradually decreasing since the first trial, when the Crown claimed it could show 27 “matchings” across nine categories at the crime scene to Van Beelen.By the time of the second trial a year later, this had decreased to five categories. The appeal being considered by the High Court only covers two categories — time of death and the fibres." Reporter Mitch Mott; Adelaide Now; June 22:



    "The transfer of clothing fibres helps prove that Frits Van Beelen murdered a teenage girl on an Adelaide beach almost 50 years ago, the High Court has heard. Director of Public Prosecutions, Adam Kimber SC, used the second and final day of submissions to a full sitting of the High Court in Adelaide on Thursday to argue that Van Beelen was inextricably linked to the rape and murder of Deborah Leach, 15, at Taperoo Beach on July 15, 1971. Ms Leach’s semi-clothed body was found partially buried beneath seaweed at the beach, with only a foot obvious to the search party who found her more than 12 hours after she was last seen by her mother. Mr Kimber told the court that numerous fibres were found on Ms Leach’s vest, which was exposed by her jumper being pulled up over her mouth.  Of the numerous fibres, 19 red and 17 black ones were ruled to have come from a foreign source, not Ms Leach’s own clothing or environment. On July 29, 1971, Van Beelen was interviewed by police for the first time and told police he had been wearing either a black and red or a blue jumper at the time of his walk on the beach on the day of Ms Leach’s death. When police attended his home, Van Beelen handed them a red and black jumper which he said he had worn that day. Two experts during Van Beelen’s second trial, which he was awarded after the guilty verdict from his first trial in 1972 was overturned on appeal, testified that fibres found on Ms Leach were indistinguishable from those from Van Beelen’s jumper. Three brown fibres were found on Van Beelen’s jumper, two of which were found to be similar to Ms Leach’s jumper. Van Beelen told police he had not walked within 20 yards of the seaweed on Taperoo Beach but Mr Kimber said seaweed had been found on his jumper. Kevin Borrick QC, who has represented Van Beelen since his first trial in 1972, urged the five High Court justices to be cautious of the fibre evidence, saying it was a common dye and thread used in myriad of clothing at the time. The first day’s argument centred on submissions that former state chief forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock’s 1973 evidence on the time of death was flawed. Mr Kimber told the court on Thursday that even if the evidence of Dr Manock was excluded from the 1973 trial, both the evidence of the clothing fibres and the emotional testimony of Ms Leach’s mother would still have resulted in a guilty verdict. Mr Borrick said the scientific evidence levelled at his long-time client had been gradually decreasing since the first trial, when the Crown claimed it could show 27 “matchings” across nine categories at the crime scene to Van Beelen.By the time of the second trial a year later, this had decreased to five categories. The appeal being considered by the High Court only covers two categories — time of death and the fibres. The High Court will hand down its verdict on the appeal in August."
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/law-order/court-told-fibres-from-frits-van-beelens-jumper-found-at-scene-of-1972-murder-of-teen-deborah-lynch/news-story/d027aebc23cb758aebc0a135eb1d1339

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Dwayne Buck: Texas: Who Is Dangerous, and Who Dies? Dr. James Grigson? (AKA Dr. Death) Dr. Walter Quijano? Other experts who routinely found that a defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness? Errol Morris notes that "an appalling and racialized standard of “future dangerousness” has found its way into American courts. (Morris focuses on Duane Buck and Cristina Swarns, his hard-hitting attorney who has fought this 'life and death' madness in the courts..."I first became involved with all this while making my film “The Thin Blue Line.” I had read about Dr. James Grigson, an expert witness regularly called by the state of Texas. Some referred to him as “Dr. Death” because he would routinely find that the defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness, and thus should be executed. I met with Dr. Grigson in 1985, and on his recommendation I started interviewing Texas death row inmates. Among those Dr. Grigson had testified posed a risk of future dangerousness was Randall Dale Adams, a convicted cop killer — or at least, so it seemed. My film was finished, and Mr. Adams was exonerated. I had thought — stupidly, it turned out — that Dr. Grigson had been put out of business. Not so. The “dangerousness” provision of the Texas law remained very much in place. But I forgot about it. I had done my fair share of good — got an innocent man out of prison. Then, not long ago, I read about the case of Buck v. Davis, decided by the Supreme Court on Feb. 22. Duane Buck had been convicted of capital murder in 1997. He killed his ex-girlfriend and one of her friends. The details of the crime are appalling, but no less appalling is that Dr. Walter Quijano discussed Mr. Buck’s race as a factor in determining his future dangerousness. African-Americans, Dr. Quijano argued, are more likely to commit acts of violence. Though Dr. Quijano opined that Mr. Buck was not a risk of future dangerousness, his testimony about race remained an element for the jury to consider. Dr. Quijano has given similar testimony in other death penalty cases since 1991."


    COMMENTARY: "Who Is Dangerous, and Who Dies? An appalling and racialized standard of “future dangerousness” has been used to condemn defendants. This lawyer fought it," by Errol Morris, published by The New York Times on June 7, 2017. (Errol Morris is a writer and filmmaker. He lives with his wife and French bulldog in Cambridge.)

    GIST: "The death penalty, like abortion, is one of those hot-button topics that keeps popping up into the public consciousness, a roach motel for meretricious ideas and bad public policy — including racism. I would bet that if it involved putting white people to death for killing black people, it would have been abolished years ago. Still, it persists. Except our society — until recently — has come to believe that overt expressions of racism might not be a good thing. Better to keep a fig leaf over it than to explore its underbelly. In 1972, the Supreme Court found in the 5-4 decision of Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty as practiced in this country was unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. But the majority couldn’t agree on a rationale for its decision, so instead of one majority opinion, five separate concurrences were produced. While Justices Brennan and Marshall found the death penalty itself to be cruel and unusual punishment, Justices Stewart, White and Douglas focused on its arbitrariness, leaving the door wide open for states to rejigger their statutes and return to executions. In 1973, Texas did just that — the sentencing phase of a capital trial was separated from the guilt phase, and the jury was asked to consider “whether there is a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society [future dangerousness].” In response to the Furman decision, Governor Preston Smith commuted the death sentences of 52 inmates in Texas, clearing out death row entirely. In 1976, consolidating cases from five different states (Georgia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Louisiana), the court in Gregg v. Georgia found that the death penalty was not unconstitutional in every case. Executions in Texas, now by lethal injection — Old Sparky, the Texas electric chair, had been retired — started back up in 1982. I first became involved with all this while making my film “The Thin Blue Line.” I had read about Dr. James Grigson, an expert witness regularly called by the state of Texas. Some referred to him as “Dr. Death” because he would routinely find that the defendant posed a risk of future dangerousness, and thus should be executed. I met with Dr. Grigson in 1985, and on his recommendation I started interviewing Texas death row inmates. Among those Dr. Grigson had testified posed a risk of future dangerousness was Randall Dale Adams, a convicted cop killer — or at least, so it seemed. My film was finished, and Mr. Adams was exonerated. I had thought — stupidly, it turned out — that Dr. Grigson had been put out of business. Not so. The “dangerousness” provision of the Texas law remained very much in place. But I forgot about it. I had done my fair share of good — got an innocent man out of prison. Then, not long ago, I read about the case of Buck v. Davis, decided by the Supreme Court on Feb. 22. Duane Buck had been convicted of capital murder in 1997. He killed his ex-girlfriend and one of her friends. The details of the crime are appalling, but no less appalling is that Dr. Walter Quijano discussed Mr. Buck’s race as a factor in determining his future dangerousness. African-Americans, Dr. Quijano argued, are more likely to commit acts of violence. Though Dr. Quijano opined that Mr. Buck was not a risk of future dangerousness, his testimony about race remained an element for the jury to consider. Dr. Quijano has given similar testimony in other death penalty cases since 1991. Prompted by the Supreme Court’s decision in Saldaño v. Texas (2000), which vacated the sentence of Victor Hugo Saldaño because Dr. Quijano had testified that Mr. Saldaño’s Hispanic ethnicity made him a greater risk of future dangerousness, State Attorney General John Cornyn promised that his office would not object if the other defendants (Mr. Buck among them) sought to overturn their death sentences based on Dr. Quijano’s testimony. In Mr. Buck’s case, though, they did object, claiming that since it was the defense attorney who put Dr. Quijano on the stand and allowed his testimony into the record without objection, the State of Texas owed the defendant nothing. I called Mr. Buck’s attorney Christina Swarns, litigation director of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Inc., to discuss the case....(Read on  at the link below for a fascinating discussion  between Errol Morris and Christina Swarns. HL) And so we’re back where we started, except things have gotten worse. We have elected a president who invokes future dangerousness with respect to country of national origin (and also religion). In 1977 it was Dr. Grigson and sociopathy; in 1997, Dr. Quijano and race; and now it is Donald Trump and a list of six countries. Think of it as a very thinly disguised form of racism against Muslims. Christina Swarns sent me several legal briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in support of Buck, among them, a brief from the National Black Law Students Association. “Whether by a judge, a prosecutor or defense counsel, an appeal to a jury based on racial prejudice poisons our system of justice.” And from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “Mr. Buck was entitled to have his dangerousness assessed on an individualized basis based on his personal attributes. Instead he received a death sentence tainted by 400 years of racial stereotyping.” Notwithstanding, the concept of dangerousness is alive and well. It took an egregious error to call it into question in Duane Buck’s case. But it should have been ruled as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1976 (under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments) and should be seen as unconstitutional today. Admittedly, there is a difference between a court of law and a presidential order involving immigration. But under any circumstance, should public policy be held hostage to racial and religious discrimination?"

    The entire commentary can be found at:
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/07/opinion/errol-morris-interview-death-penalty.html?_r=0&referer=

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Tyrone Noling: Ohio; Bulletin: On-going appeal for DNA testing; "Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on DNA testing, attorney tells high court; Portage prosecutor say further delays not needed."...Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on the DNA testing he is seeking to potentially exonerate him in the 1990 murder of an Atwater Township couple, his attorney told the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday. “This case has consequences,” attorney Brian Howe said during oral arguments. “There is the possibility of executing an innocent man.”...Reporter Stephanie Warsmith; The Beacon Journal; June 21, 2017.

    .
    "Prosecution’s theory: Tyrone Noling, then 18, shot and killed Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig, both 81, in 1990 in their Atwater Township home during a robbery attempt. Pending issue: The 11th District Court of Appeals remanded Noling’s request for a new trial to the trial court. Noling’s attorneys say prosecutors failed to disclose evidence of an alternate suspect. The DNA testing issue first must be decided. To watch oral arguments before the Ohio Supreme Court: Visit http://bit.ly/2snlD2V. Death row inmate Tyrone Noling’s life may depend on the DNA testing he is seeking to potentially exonerate him in the 1990 murder of an Atwater Township couple, his attorney told the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday. “This case has consequences,” attorney Brian Howe said during oral arguments. “There is the possibility of executing an innocent man.” Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci, however, told the justices that no additional steps are needed and that any further testing will delay justice for the victims in the long-pending case. “This has to end at some point,” he said. It now will be up to the justices to decide if Noling’s testing requests should be granted. Noling’s attorneys are asking the high court for access to the complete results of DNA testing already done, for shell casings to be run through a federal database to see if the murder weapon was used in any other crimes, and for a reputable lab to do DNA testing using the latest technology for shell casings and ring boxes from the crime scene. Portage County prosecutors claim Noling, 45, shot and killed Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig, both 81, in a robbery attempt. The case hinges on the testimony of Noling’s co-defendants, all of whom have recanted. No fingerprints or other evidence put him at the scene. He has maintained his innocence. Howe, who is with the Ohio Innocence Project, pointed during his oral argument Tuesday to the case of Clarence Elkins, who was exonerated based on DNA evidence. Elkins was wrongfully imprisoned and spent nearly eight years in prison for the murder of his Barberton mother-in-law. He was freed after a DNA test of a cigarette butt from another prison inmate was linked to DNA from the crime scene. Earl Gene Mann, the inmate, pleaded guilty and is now serving a life sentence. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the state’s crime lab, determined that DNA tests of casings and ring boxes in the Noling case were contaminated by detectives and crime lab technicians. The same argument was initially made in the Elkins case. If DNA testing hadn’t been done, Howe said, “Earl Mann would still be a free man.” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor asked Howe if it’s true that “an item can be contaminated, but still contain important information.” Howe said it can, unless it is determined that the item is “so contaminated that it is unsuitable for testing.” O’Connor asked Howe if the defense’s goal is to compare the DNA profiles of the shell casings, ring boxes and a cigarette butt found in the Hartigs’ driveway. Howe said if a male profile was found on these items that didn’t belong to Noling, this would be a strong argument that Noling should be excluded as a suspect and granted a new trial. O’Connor asked Vigluicci during his oral argument whether he thought DNA on these items — not belonging to Noling — would be probative or important evidence. Vigluicci said this wouldn’t be possible because BCI determined the shell casings and ring boxes had been contaminated. O’Connor pressed him again, though, on whether this result would be significant. “No. We have no evidence Noling was in the room where the ring boxes are,” Vigluicci said. “We have no evidence he loaded the gun that killed the Hartigs."
    http://www.ohio.com/news/local/death-row-inmate-tyrone-noling-s-life-may-depend-on-dna-testing-attorney-tells-high-court-portage-prosecutor-say-further-delays-not-needed-1.775703

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Frits Van Beelen; South Australia; Bulletin; On-going appeal: 9 News: 22 June; 2017..."Defence counsel Kevin Borick QC told the court that evidence on the time of death from pathologist Colin Manock's was so wrong it should never have been presented to the jury as a key factor in the case. "It had no basis at all in science," Mr Borick said. "It had no scientific validity. Dr Manock was completely wrong." As a result, Mr Borick said there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice."


    "A High Court hearing is set to continue as an Adelaide man, found guilty of murdering a teenage girl 45 years ago, makes his last bid to overturn his conviction. Frits Van Beelen was originally sentenced to death but served 17 years' jail for murdering 15-year-old Deborah Leach, who was found buried in seaweed at Taperoo Beach in July 1971. The Full Bench of the South Australian Supreme Court rejected his latest appeal in July last year, ruling against his contention that new and compelling evidence had emerged. But the High Court is considering an appeal against that ruling and was told on Wednesday that later science had seriously discredited forensic evidence at Van Beelen's trial. Defence counsel Kevin Borick QC told the court that evidence on the time of death from pathologist Colin Manock's was so wrong it should never have been presented to the jury as a key factor in the case. "It had no basis at all in science," Mr Borick said. "It had no scientific validity. Dr Manock was completely wrong." As a result, Mr Borick said there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice.
    Van Beelen has always maintained his innocence........The High Court hearing continues on Thursday with more evidence from Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber.On Wednesday, he said while Dr Manock had been wrong to limit the time of death to a period of one hour, that did not eliminate Van Beelen as the possible killer."
    http://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/06/22/03/34/van-beelen-high-court-appeal-to-continue

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Frits Van Beelen: South Australia; Graham Archer's excellent 'Today Tonight Adelaide' Documentary' on his case: A 'must see' backgrounder for today's appeal - with fascinating video footage..." "For 45 years he's maintained his innocence. Now, could one of South Australia's most controversial convictions be overturned?"...From ABC News story: (Reporter Candice Prosser): ""In order for Van Beelen to be convicted the jury had to accept Dr Manock's evidence that the death occurred between 4:10 and 4:30," Mr Borick said. "They had to accept that the death occurred at the time he was at the beach, that's 4:15 and 4:30 but that's an error, Dr Manock was completely wrong." Mr Borick told the court the evidence presented at trial was unreliable. "The miscarriage of justice occurs because an unscientific opinion was expressed which was not only wrong, but it was scientifically invalid," he said. He said evidence of fibres found on the teenager's clothing that allegedly matched Mr Van Beelen's clothing was also disputed at the time. "The value of that fibre evidence, in my submission, falls away to nothing until we have Van Beelen at the beach at the relevant time ... when the death occurred," Mr Borick said. "It's still always going to come back to the fact that the jury were told that the death occurred before 4.30. If it occurred after 4.30, which had to be a reasonable possibility, then the jury could not have convicted."


    GIST: "For 45 years he's  maintained his innocence. Now,  could one of South Australia's most controversial convictions be overturned?"

    The entire documentary can be found at:

    https://www.todaytonightadelaide.com.au/stories/van-beelen

    See ABC News Story (Reporter Candice Prosser) on the on-going  appeal  before five justices at the link below: (Under the heading 'Van Beelen murder appeal lawyer citicizes original evidence as 'unscientific.')..."A man convicted of murdering an Adelaide teenager more than 40 years ago has appealed to the High Court, arguing flawed forensic evidence presented at his trial amounted to a substantial miscarriage of justice. Frits Van Beelen, 70, was originally sentenced to death over the murder of Deborah Leach but was later released from prison after serving 17 years. The 15-year-old girl was drowned and sexually assaulted at Taperoo Beach in 1971. Mr Van Beelen has launched a new appeal on the grounds of "fresh and compelling" evidence under recent legislative amendments. His lawyers have argued flawed evidence presented at his trial by forensic pathologist Dr Colin Manock about the time of the teenager's death cast doubt over the conviction. Mr Van Beelen lost a Supreme Court appeal in a majority decision, and is now seeking to have that ruling overturned in the High Court. It is the first time the new appeal laws have been tested in the High Court. Mr Van Beelen's lawyer, Kevin Borick QC, told the court there had been a miscarriage of justice. "In order for Van Beelen to be convicted the jury had to accept Dr Manock's evidence that the death occurred between 4:10 and 4:30," Mr Borick said. "They had to accept that the death occurred at the time he was at the beach, that's 4:15 and 4:30 but that's an error, Dr Manock was completely wrong." Mr Borick told the court the evidence presented at trial was unreliable. "The miscarriage of justice occurs because an unscientific opinion was expressed which was not only wrong, but it was scientifically invalid," he said. He said evidence of fibres found on the teenager's clothing that allegedly matched Mr Van Beelen's clothing was also disputed at the time. "The value of that fibre evidence, in my submission, falls away to nothing until we have Van Beelen at the beach at the relevant time ... when the death occurred," Mr Borick said. "It's still always going to come back to the fact that the jury were told that the death occurred before 4.30. If it occurred after 4.30, which had to be a reasonable possibility, then the jury could not have convicted.""

     http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-21/evidence-disputed-at-van-beelen-murder-appeal/8639604

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;

    Keith Kutska: Wisconsin...Bulletin: One of five men still in prison for their involvement in the death of Tom Monfils, he is seeking a U.S. Supreme Court review of Monfils murder case...USA Today Network; June 13, 2017...."Keith Kutska is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction in the 1992 murder of Tom Monfils at a Green Bay paper mill. Kutska filed a request for review of the case by the Supreme Court on May 18. One of five men serving life in prison for Monfils' death, Kutska appealed his conviction in Brown County Circuit Court in 2015, arguing that his trial lawyer and subsequent lawyers were ineffectual."...(From earlier post)..."So, what does Cal Monfils think happened to his brother that November day in 1992? Monfils finds himself leaning to the latest defense theory, pitched by lawyers from the Minnesota Innocence Project, that Tom Monfils killed himself "It's my brother, and I don't want to say that, but it's a possibility," Monfils said. "I feel bad for his wife, his kids and everybody if it happened that way, but it sure would be terrible to have six lives put away for nothing." Tom Monfils' widow, Susan, originally told family members she thought Tom had committed suicide, Cal Monfils said. That information had never been shared with the defendants, their lawyers or the jury, according to defense lawyers who have taken up the case for the five remaining defendants. Those lawyers claim in newly filed court documents that Tom Monfils was depressed and stressed from his troubled marriage and from realizing he was on the outs with co-workers for reporting the theft of a piece of extension cord by fellow union member Keith Kutska. Cal Monfils won't pretend to know what was on his brother's mind, but "I also can't say it didn't happen."..." Those defense lawyers, who have mounted an effort to get a new trial for the men, claim the original defense lawyers were lulled into accepting a false conclusion by the medical examiner claiming that Tom Monfils was clearly murdered. New defense lawyers now say independent medical experts dispute then-medical examiner Dr. Helen Young's conclusion that injuries on Tom Monfils' body happened before he died and before he was in the vat, indicating he was murdered. Those lawyers argue in court documents that their medical experts say the injuries more likely happened to Monfils' body while inside the vat. "If you get a diagnosis from a doctor, people will tell you to get a second opinion, yet they got one opinion from the coroner," Cal Monfils said."


    "Keith Kutska is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review his conviction in the 1992 murder of Tom Monfils at a Green Bay paper mill. Kutska filed a request for review of the case by the Supreme Court on May 18. One of five men serving life in prison for Monfils' death, Kutska appealed his conviction in Brown County Circuit Court in 2015, arguing that his trial lawyer and subsequent lawyers were ineffectual. Reserve Judge James Bayorgeon, who heard the original case in 1995, rejected Kutska's bid for a new trial, as did a state court of appeals.  The Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to review the case in April. Kutska and five others were convicted in 1995 of conspiring to murder Monfils. Prosecutors said Monfils was killed after he told authorities Kutska had stolen a piece of electrical wiring from the former James River mill, where they both worked. Kutska was suspended from work and then incited others to confront Monfils, 35, who disappeared that day. His body was found a day or two later in a pulp vat. Rey Moore, Michael Hirn, Dale Basten and Michael Johnson are each serving life terms.Mike Piaskowski was released when a federal appellate judge ruled there had been insufficient evidence to convict him."

    The entire story can be found at:

     http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/2017/06/12/kutska-seeks-supreme-court-review-monfils-murder-case/390702001/

    See earlier post at the link below: ""Cal Monfils finds it easier to believe his brother committed suicide in 1992 than thinking six guys murdered him in a Green Bay paper mill and kept quiet about it all these years. "It's almost more believable than that six guys kept a secret for 20 years for what they say was union brotherhood," Monfils said. A jury found otherwise in 1995, and the six men went to prison for conspiracy to murder Thomas Monfils at the then-James River Mill.........Cal Monfils, 47, of Green Bay finds himself in the unusual position of having joined the defendants' battle for freedom. Cal says he is at odds with most of his family on the issue, but he can't swallow the notion the men are anything other than innocent. "These six people, they all had children, houses, they held responsible jobs," Monfils said. "It really makes no sense. It's hard to believe someone could be in jail all these years, remaining quiet. … It's a pretty weak glue that holds them together. Somebody would have cracked. Or told their wife or best buddy, and none of those came forward either." Back in the 1990s, when his brother's death was an unsolved crime, police secretly recorded conversations, performed garbage searches and took a variety of other extreme measures, "and it all yielded nothing," Cal Monfils said. "It kind of makes you think there was nothing. "These guys would not have been sharp enough to throw off police so completely." Monfils said police even sent him undercover to talk to one of the defendants, Michael Hirn, in hope that Monfils would record him saying something incriminating. "He said, 'Cal, I don't know what happened …. But the police have it wrong. We need to get the FBI in on this.' And his family did contact the FBI, because they felt the police were heading in the wrong direction," Cal Monfils said. "I'm not saying I believed him, but it raised doubt." That doubt has continued to grow, he said. He was unconvinced at the trial, unsurprised in 2001 when a federal judge threw out the case against defendant Mike Piaskowski, and found himself even more convinced after reading "The Monfils Conspiracy," a book by two local authors that claims to reveal fatal errors in the police investigation of the case. So, what does Cal Monfils think happened to his brother that November day in 1992? Monfils finds himself leaning to the latest defense theory, pitched by lawyers from the Minnesota Innocence Project, that Tom Monfils killed himself "It's my brother, and I don't want to say that, but it's a possibility," Monfils said. "I feel bad for his wife, his kids and everybody if it happened that way, but it sure would be terrible to have six lives put away for nothing." Tom Monfils' widow, Susan, originally told family members she thought Tom had committed suicide, Cal Monfils said. That information had never been shared with the defendants, their lawyers or the jury, according to defense lawyers who have taken up the case for the five remaining defendants. Those lawyers claim in newly filed court documents that Tom Monfils was depressed and stressed from his troubled marriage and from realizing he was on the outs with co-workers for reporting the theft of a piece of extension cord by fellow union member Keith Kutska. Cal Monfils won't pretend to know what was on his brother's mind, but "I also can't say it didn't happen. "He was forever going to be the guy that made the call. He was going to be that guy." Cal Monfils accepts the claim by defense lawyers that investigators should have at least given credence to that theory back during the investigation and done psychological analysis. Those defense lawyers, who have mounted an effort to get a new trial for the men, claim the original defense lawyers were lulled into accepting a false conclusion by the medical examiner claiming that Tom Monfils was clearly murdered. New defense lawyers now say independent medical experts dispute then-medical examiner Dr. Helen Young's conclusion that injuries on Tom Monfils' body happened before he died and before he was in the vat, indicating he was murdered. Those lawyers argue in court documents that their medical experts say the injuries more likely happened to Monfils' body while inside the vat. "If you get a diagnosis from a doctor, people will tell you to get a second opinion, yet they got one opinion from the coroner," Cal Monfils said. "One person looked at the body." The lawyers of the Minnesota Innocence Project, who took up the case after friends of the authors of "The Monfils Conspiracy" shared the book with contacts in the Minneapolis area, recently filed a motion with the Brown County Clerk of Court's office asking to vacate the convictions "in the interest of justice." The case was automatically assigned to Circuit Court Branch VI, the branch presided over by Judge John Zakowski, who was the district attorney prosecuting the case when the six men were convicted in 1992. "I could have taken care of it in 10 minutes," joked Zakowski this week. Zakowski took himself off the new case, which was then reassigned to another branch. Zakowski continues to defend the convictions, as he has done during appeals processes through the years and upon the publishing of "The Monfils Conspiracy." The book, done with Piaskowski's help, claims police botched the investigation from the beginning and concocted the mill confrontation between Monfils and the six defendants. "That's how far we've come — now the argument is he wasn't even murdered," Zakowski said of the latest defense gambit. "It's just ridiculous." http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/2014/11/08/new-legal-team-argues-monfils-death-suicide/18730633/

    Tuesday, June 20, 2017

    Frits Van Beelen: South Australia; Murder appeal set for June 21: ABC News (reporter Matt Coleman) says "questionable pathology evidence is again the issue."...Parallels drawn with role played by disgraced pathologist Dr. Colin Manock in the Henry Keogh case:..."Mr Rau's changes to the law allowed people to appeal in court again, if they had what the court deemed "fresh and compelling" evidence. When Mr Keogh did that in 2014, he had spent 20 years in jail for murder over the 1994 drowning of his fiancée Anna-Jane Cheney in a bath at the couple's Magill home in Adelaide's north-eastern suburbs. He was able to convince the court there had been a miscarriage of justice in his case due to "fresh and compelling evidence" that cast doubt on the testimony given by discredited former chief forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock. The Court of Criminal Appeal ruled the pathologist - among other things - had misled the trial court with a drowning hypothesis that amounted to "unsustainable speculation". Mr Keogh's conviction was set aside and he was released on bail to await a retrial - which the public prosecutor later decided not to go ahead with. Van Beelen is trying to use the same "fresh and compelling" laws that Mr Keogh used. Do the two cases have anything else in common? Yes, a very important common factor. Dr Manock himself. Dr Manock also gave evidence at Mr Van Beelen's trial - and like with the Keogh case - significant questions have been raised about it. Mr Van Beelen's lawyers told previous court hearings that in other cases Dr Manock was involved in, he had been found to have provided unreliable evidence and in the Keogh case he had "deliberately hid" or failed to disclose crucial evidence. They argued in court that Dr Manock was not qualified to give evidence, was incompetent, untrustworthy and had used inconsistent science. The "fresh and compelling evidence" Mr Van Beelen's lawyers are relying on are three articles raising doubts about the scientific methods used by Dr Manock to determine Ms Leach's time of death."


    STORY: "Van Beelen murder appeal bid sees High Court test 'fresh and compelling' evidence laws," by reporter Matt Coleman, published by ABC News on June 20, 2017.

    SUB-HEADING: "A South Australian man will go to court this week in yet another bid to quash his conviction for murdering a teenage girl in the early 1970s."

    KEY POINTS:  "Van Beelen has had several appeals rejected; He is the second person to test new laws; The first use of the laws also involved a murder case; Questionable pathology evidence is again the key issue. But the Frits Van Beelen case is more than just a renewed attempt by a man to clear his name after 45 years. The latest move will see Australia's highest court more clearly define the boundaries of laws designed to ensure that those with "fresh and compelling" evidence of their innocence don't rot behind bars.  

    GIST: What was Frits Van Beelen convicted of? Van Beelen was convicted of murdering 15-year-old Deborah Leach at Taperoo Beach in Adelaide's north-west in July 1971. Ms Leach's partially-clothed body was found buried in seaweed more than 12 hours after she was last seen running towards the beach. From its earliest stages, this case has been anything but straightforward. According to the High Court's summary, Van Beelen was first convicted and sentenced to death in October 1972. He appealed and got a retrial, was convicted again and then sentenced to death for a second time in July 1973. Van Beelen appealed yet again but that was dismissed later in 1973. He then applied to appeal to the High Court and to the Privy Council in London but it was refused. The case summary states "his conviction was again affirmed in September 1974 on the hearing of a petition for mercy". Van Beelen served 17 years in prison. How does he have yet another chance to clear his name? The Van Beelen case is in court again because of legislation passed by the South Australian Parliament in 2013 and first used - successfully - by another man, Henry Keogh, in December 2014. When he introduced the laws, Attorney-General John Rau noted that a convicted person normally had one right of appeal. Once that appeal process was exhausted, if new evidence against the soundness of a conviction emerged, the defendant had only one option available - "to petition the Governor for mercy". Mr Rau's changes to the law allowed people to appeal in court again, if they had what the court deemed "fresh and compelling" evidence. When Mr Keogh did that in 2014, he had spent 20 years in jail for murder over the 1994 drowning of his fiancée Anna-Jane Cheney in a bath at the couple's Magill home in Adelaide's north-eastern suburbs. He was able to convince the court there had been a miscarriage of justice in his case due to "fresh and compelling evidence" that cast doubt on the testimony given by discredited former chief forensic pathologist, Dr Colin Manock. The Court of Criminal Appeal ruled the pathologist - among other things - had misled the trial court with a drowning hypothesis that amounted to "unsustainable speculation". Mr Keogh's conviction was set aside and he was released on bail to await a retrial - which the public prosecutor later decided not to go ahead with. Van Beelen is trying to use the same "fresh and compelling" laws that Mr Keogh used. Do the two cases have anything else in common? Yes, a very important common factor. Dr Manock himself. Dr Manock also gave evidence at Mr Van Beelen's trial - and like with the Keogh case - significant questions have been raised about it. Mr Van Beelen's lawyers told previous court hearings that in other cases Dr Manock was involved in, he had been found to have provided unreliable evidence and in the Keogh case he had "deliberately hid" or failed to disclose crucial evidence. They argued in court that Dr Manock was not qualified to give evidence, was incompetent, untrustworthy and had used inconsistent science. The "fresh and compelling evidence" Mr Van Beelen's lawyers are relying on are three articles raising doubts about the scientific methods used by Dr Manock to determine Ms Leach's time of death. Why is the High Court involved? The High Court is getting involved due to disagreement between South Australian judges. When Van Beelen launched his appeal under the "fresh and compelling" laws in July 2016, he did so in the South Australian Court of Criminal Appeal. Two of the three justices hearing the matter dismissed it. They ruled that the evidence questioning Dr Manock's original time-of-death determination did not amount to "compelling" evidence. Chief Justice Chris Kourakis, however, said he would have allowed the appeal and would have ordered a retrial. With two judges against - and one in favour - the appeal was dismissed, but Van Beelen's lawyers took the case to the High Court. They are this week, effectively, asking the High Court to over-rule the two judges who dismissed the 2016 appeal. They are arguing, among other things, that the South Australian court failed to understand the compelling nature of the material that cast doubt on Dr Manock's original time-of-death evidence. They also say the South Australian court was wrong to conclude that Dr Manock's evidence was questioned at trial in the 1970s and therefore later questioning was precluded. The High Court hearing is scheduled for June 21."

    The entire story can be found at:

     http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-21/van-beelen-high-court-bid-test-evidence-laws/8632088

    PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. 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.com/2011/05/charles-smith-blog-award-nominations.html Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com. Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;