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 ret...
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 Th...
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 ...
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: &q...
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 Conviction...
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 investig...
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.
In the years since I started publishing this Blog I have become increasingly disturbed by the 'white elephant' in the room: S...