Saturday, August 19, 2017
Susan Neill-Fraser: (Australia): More extraordinary developments; (Reported by The Mercury): High profile Queen's Counsel calls on state government to launch an independent inquiry - and revelation that one of Neill-Fraser's previous defence lawyers Hobart lawyer (Jeffrey Ian Thomson) has been charged with perverting justice in relation to the case..."A police spokeswoman said that during an unrelated investigation in early February, police were given information alleging a possible conspiracy to pervert justice by falsifying evidence in support of Neill-Fraser’s appeal, which is currently before the court. The word from inside the force is there will more charges to follow. Outside court after Mr Thompson’s appearance on Wednesday, Neill-Fraser’s daughter Sarah Bowles said her mother would be “shocked and in disbelief with regard to this latest development”. Renowned barrister Tom Percy QC, who is representing Neill-Fraser pro bono, declined to comment on developments this week, saying he “might have more to say” on Wednesday when the case heads to the Supreme Court in Hobart for a mention. Melbourne criminal law specialist Paul Galbally has confirmed he is still on the defence team but declined to comment further. Legal reform activist Bob Moles — who runs a project investigating alleged wrongful convictions in South Australia — believed the appeal could go ahead despite the charges. “I’m of the view that the Neill-Fraser appeal could and would be successful if the appeal court was informed of the errors which had occurred at trial,” he said. “They have nothing whatever to do with the current events.” Dr Moles highlighted the court’s decision to allow evidence about luminol — a screening test for blood but not a conclusive one — to be heard at the trial. But former Tasmanian DPP Tim Ellis SC, who prosecuted Neill-Fraser, said the defence claims surrounding luminol were baseless. “I never claimed it was blood in there. I said it was tested with luminol but then it was examined for blood ... our witness said that she couldn’t say it was blood. The jury was never addressed on the basis it was blood in there, it’s a complete non-issue,” he said."
STORY: "High-profile Queen’s Counsel Robert Richter met with Premier Will Hodgman over murder case," by reporter Patrick Bill...
Book Review: Willie Grimes: North Carolina: 'Ghost Of The Innocent Man: A true story of trial and redemption.'... Martha Ann Toll chronicles justice too long delayed..."Deploying the same precision with which he documents Grimes' prison life, Rachlin recounts the arduous and complex work to move the wheels of justice. 19 years after Grimes' arrest, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill to establish an Innocence Inquiry Commission; Chris Mumma's fingerprints were all over it. Read Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man to follow the twisted path that led Chris Mumma to pick up Grimes' file, ultimately exposing the use of outdated photos to misidentify the perpetrator, the failure to fingerprint relevant parts of the crime scene, exculpatory evidence destroyed, contorted "science" involving a single hair, and more."
BOOK REVIEW: "Ghost of the Innocent Man: A true story of trial and redemption," by Benjamin Rachlin, reviewed by Martha Anne Tol...
Friday, August 18, 2017
Trump Regime's Forensic Science 'Reform': (7): Veracruz Post commentary: Jefferson Sessions’ program to lock up more Americans includes abundant use of junk forensic science. Mark Sumner..."In a landmark 2009 report, the National Academy of Sciences found that nuclear DNA testing was the only reliable forensic discipline; those based on expert analysis, as opposed to laboratory testing, weren’t really science at all. "In other words, most “expert forensic opinion” is just opinion. Error rates determined by the NAS showed that the majority of such would should not be accepted as definitive evidence. But for Sessions, anything that puts more Americans behind bars is just fine. He wants more money for bad tests, and less scrutiny for how they’re used. “I don’t think we should suggest that those proven scientific principles that we’ve been using for decades are somehow uncertain,” [Sessions] said during a 2009 Senate hearing on the National Academy of Sciences report. This would make more sense if Sessions had declared that leeches have been used for centuries, and he didn’t think anyone should suggest we should stop bleeding patients to address illness."
COMMENTARY: "Jefferson Session's program to lock up more Americans includes abundant use of junk forensic science," by Mark ...
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Reid Technique; (False confessions): Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism podcast: "Behind The Scenes Look At Controversial Police Interrogation Method."..."The then-22-year-old former Iowa City, Iowa, woman was surprised to find out that police suspected her of breaking both legs of a 15-month-old toddler. Her case reveals how a controversial method of police interrogation called the Reid Technique works, and how critics say it sometimes produces false confessions — something Varallo-Speckeen says she delivered in that July 2013 police interview. “I think we will make a great stride in reducing the rate of false confessions when we complete the move away from controversial techniques like Reid,” said Dean Strang, a Madison, Wisconsin, lawyer who has become known as one of the defense attorneys featured in the Netflix program “Making a Murderer.” That program tells the story of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man convicted of a sex assault he didn’t commit. Strang and others speak in this podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report that digs into the investigative method. The podcast includes portions of the recording of Varallo-Speckeen’s interrogation."
PODCAST: "Behind The Scenes Look At Controversial Police Interrogation Method," by Krista Johnson with Jeff Stein, published ...
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Jeffrey Havard: Mississippi: Shaken Baby Syndrome; Radley Balko - a long-time critic of medical examiner Steven Hayne - puts his spotlight on the Havard case in his high-power, influential Washington Post column 'The Watch.'..."Controversial medical examiner backs off shaken baby claim in death penalty case."...".Part of the problem is that Hayne is incredibly slippery. It’s true that at trial, he never explicitly said that Chloe Britt had been sexually assaulted. He merely failed to object when prosecutors suggested it — and he offered up that comment that her contusion was “consistent with” penetration by an object. He undoubtedly knew the impact that would have on the jury. In 2014, Hayne unleashed another bombshell. He told the Clarion-Ledger that he never thought Britt had been sexually assaulted. He later told Havard’s attorneys that he even told prosecutors his opinion before trial, more than once."
COMMENTARY: "Controversial medical examiner backs off ‘shaken baby’ claim in death penalty case," by Radley Bal...
Susan Neill-Fraser; Murder Appeal: Significant Development: Bulletin: Third person charged with perverting course of justice. ABC News reports..." Police today charged a 51-year-old Sandy Bay man with perverting the course of justice. Police alleged he attempted to deliberately influence a witness to manufacture evidence at the appeal. A 57-year-old Risdon Vale man was charged on Monday and last week, Karen Patricia Nancy Keefe appeared in court charged with corrupting a witness and perverting the course of justice. The Sandy Bay man is due to appear in the Magistrates Court this afternoon."
"A third person has been charged by Tasmanian police as they investigate a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in Susan-Neil...
Krystal Voss; Colorado: Major Development; New trial ordered for woman convicted in 2004 of child abuse in the death of her nineteen-month-old son and sentenced to twenty years in prison...."The reversal is another setback for advocates of "shaken baby syndrome," a diagnosis that's been used in court to prosecute hundreds of caregivers for abuse over the past three decades but has been attacked by skeptics as junk science. In a 139-page opinion dated August 7, Alamosa District Court Judge Pattie Swift ruled that Voss's conviction should be thrown out because her attorneys at trial failed to summon any medical experts to challenge the prosecution's claim that Kyran Gaston-Voss's death was the result of a violent shaking. The decision comes after new testimony by nationally recognized pediatric specialists that the toddler's injuries, including a devastating brain injury, could have been caused by an accidental fall."
STORY: "Krystal Voss's "Shaken Baby" Conviction Finally Tossed," by reporter Alan Prendergast, published by Westw...