Monday, August 02, 2010

Notable innocence coverage

Three notable innocence-related stories today from the Houston Chronicle:
In the first story, Jeff Blackburn from the Innocence Project of Texas says he thinks there are "thousands" of innocent people incarcerated in Texas prisons. Though that may sound high, it jibes with the various estimates from different sources on the number of actually innocent people in Texas prisons, which range from 1,200 to 5,000.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

And I bet Blackburn has dollar signs in his eyes over getting his "cut" from all of those wrongful incarceration state reimbursment checks!

Anonymous said...

11:07, I hope they all get rich off of it. Until the state (or local DA's and commissioners, more likely) realize that they're going to get tagged with judgments every time this BS happens, it'll never change.

And oh yeah, let's prosecute a few ADAs who use falsified evidence (this is not one of those cases) to boot.

Rage

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You'd lose that bet, 11:07: Neither he nor any other lawyer will get a cut from those checks. That was the point of the legislation, which FWIW Blackburn helped draft and worked hard to pass. Go here to read why "Nobody going forward will find themselves similarly situated."

R. Shackleford said...

I really think ada's who falsify evidence should be prosecuted to the max. Those people are the worst of the worst.

Hook Em Horns said...

Texas has done more than most states with it's reimbursement plan for folks found to be innocent, however, we do not go as far as Colorado in punishing those involved in the wrongful conviction.

It's kind of like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. If we don't address the reasons we have innocent people in prison, we are going to keep on paying. Of course, the good ole boy and good ole girl system is NOT interested in punishing wrong, i.e. Sharon Keller!

Anonymous said...

I just read Kerry Cook's book "Chasing Justice" on his prosecution for capital murder in Tyler, Smith County. If even a third of the information is correct, and I have great reason to believe (as did the Texas CCA) that it is, half the DA's office in Tyler should be serving sentences in Texas prisons.

yvette99 said...

DAs & ADAs who fabricate evidence need to be procecuted if there is no consequences they won't stop doing it. It is shameful that these justice officials can steal a persons life and destroy it and no action is taken!

Anonymous said...

Why? TDCJ and the TDCJ parole board revoke parole everyday on the most minute charges! Why I know someone who is in a maximum security prison, serving the ramainder of a 25-year sentence, for a bad check he wrote back in 1988. The tragic part is he served his sentence for 4.6 years and served parole until his parole officer quit in April of 2000. He was told that he did not have a new po assigned to him (for 6 months he called them). He went on living and working. Then in 2008 he received a very lucrative job offer in new Mexico and he took it (his parole was up in Dec 2007. The cops busted his door down in jun 2009. So talk about "miscarriage of justice," how dies that even make sense? The way TDCJ tells it , they issued a blue warrant for him in April 2000- they have not produced paper to back that up and he was seeing his po in April 2000! TDCJ is so messed up! He had not committed a crime in 20 years! Add to that he is Bopolar and extremely intelligent.

The Team said...

Hey Grits, please allow me to remind everyone about the thousands that are living amongst us. Either they are discharged, on parole, and/or on supervision. If one is not guilty going in he/she is still not guilty coming out.

To add insult to injury, if his or her case has absolutely nothing to do with DNA, Death Row, or an Open Case everyone systematically ignores it and I mean everyone. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hey Team, I know what you mean firsthand, that friend I posted about; he is my husband and I was just turned down by the innocence project, cos our case is not important enough, high profile enough, or about a minority! I was told to seek an attorney (we cannot afford on my salary!) so much for 'doing good for the common man!'

Anonymous said...

"half the DA's office in Tyler should be serving sentences in Texas prisons."

Unfortunately, the last DA to prosecute him, Jack Skeen, is now a judge. In Smith County if you are a corrupt and dishonest DA you get promoted by the voters so you can then be a corrupt and dishonest judge. For more on Skeen's behavior as a judge see the recently released 14th Court of Appeals opinion in the Patrick Kelly case.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Regarding the estimated amount.
It has to off by half a million or so if one takes into consideration the statement made by "career prosecutor" (his words) Casey J. O'Brien aka: jigmeister. Over at Simple Justice in a Post titled "Plea Bargaining 201" he said, "In my experience as a career prosecutor, there are three types of cases with many exceptions, that go to trial: the very serious, the very solid, and the very close. The other 95% are pled. I have often wondered what would happen if the defense community balked and refused to bargain.

He has basically admitted to working in conjunction with the defense for decades to dispose of the weak ass cases via plea-bargaining instead of dropping charges. Now we know why they call him the ‘King of Nolo Contendere’

Thomas R. Griffith said...

"Regarding the idea of prosecuting the rogue ADAs.
Mr. Greenfield's policy forced O’Brien to use his real name, which allowed me to recognize him as the person that Judge Hearn allowed to introduce a .38 cal. Rohm revolver having absolutely nothing to do with the case. (Now known as the 'Mystery Gun') I was graciously allowed to confront him about his falsifying of evidence including the two State's Exhibits docs. dated seven years apart that contains three number twos. He avoided it and me like the plague and even referred to me as Mr. Griffin.

Since he won't even attempt to right one of his 95% wrongful convictions via plea-bargaining and can't & won't be prosecuted for his crimes in a court of law due to loopholes surrounding his immunity, I'm personally exposing him and his record. *Until he announces publicly where in the hell he obtained the 'Mystery Gun" from and where it went to and apologizes for not dropping the charges. Thanks.

The Team said...

12:41, you are invited to expose them all at PNG by submitting your story/case. Thanks.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Just to mention it, the various Innocence Project groups, the ACLU and other legal services nonprofits get many, many thousands of requests for legal assistance and can only accept - for reasons of limited resources - a tiny fraction of requests for help, usually in the low single digit percentages. Don't look for nefarious reasons why they didn't take your case - I've worked for and with these groups and I promise those critiques are ill-conceived. They simply can't remotely handle the volume and still do a good job on the cases they take, meaning often even "good" cases get turned down.

Hook Em Horns said...

What is Texas hiding? The Lone Star remains hostile to innocence claims yet leads the nation in DNA exonerations. We pay off those exonerated with millions yet allow the perpetrators of the wrongful conviction to still practice there dastardly deeds. We have done NOTHING to prevent this from happening again.

Hook Em Horns said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, regarding the various Innocence groups. Things might have changed since I contacted them from 1998 through 2006. They 'all' said that they have been overwhelmed with thousands of request and only handle cases involving DNA, Death Row, and Open Cases. Some were kind enough to refer me to other groups "If your case involves DNA, Death Row, and is an Open Case."

Do you have any contact information for those of us seeking assistance (in Texas) with Closed & Cleared cases having absolutely nothing to do with DNA, & Death Row? Thanks a million.

FWIW -
*The Urban Justice Center - only helps residents of the city of Dallas.
*MASS (Joyce Ann Brown) - said they only help those in prison and those that have not plea-bargained.
*ACLU - form letter reply said, "We must refer all post conviction legal problems to TDCJ Inmate Legal Services"
*TDCJ Inmate Legal Services - only helps those in the prison system.
*Chronicle & DMN - BELO editors & reporters policy restricts them from covering your story if your case is from the 80's & has nothing to with DNA.
*Mr. Blackburn - DNA, Death Row, & Open Cases.
*NAACP - will not help Caucasians (with wavy brown hair and no mustache) that have been indicted via a Caucasian crime victim that originally reported suspect as being black with straight black hair and no mustache.
*Texas Board of Pardons & Paroles (Clemency Section) - systematically denies consideration while they circle jerk you.
*Governor's Office - will not reply.
*President(s) Bush 1, Bush 2 & Obama - will not reply.
*Texas Appleseed – does not help individuals but will refer you to groups only interested DNA, Death Row, & Open Cases.
*Office of the District Attorney - from rotten Rosenthal, Magdison, to Lykos all have not and will not reply (unless? you guessed it.) No DNA, not on Death Row and not an Open Case - don't bother the Post Conviction Integrity Unit.

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