Sunday, February 22, 2015

Capital cases called into question

Allegations of police and prosecutor misconduct highlight a pair of capital cases that were the subject of recent high-profile MSM coverage.

First, consider the latest appeal of Linda Carty, who was "convicted of plotting the murder of her neighbor, Joana Rodriguez, in order to steal Rodriguez's newborn baby in 2001." Reported the Houston Chronicle (Feb. 13), "Her previous appeals have all failed - despite international protests over the fact that her Harris County-appointed attorneys spent only two weeks preparing for her capital trial." However, Carty:
gained support for a new appeal from two unlikely sources: the DEA agent for whom she was once a confidential informant and a star prosecution witness who has now recanted.

In affidavits separately supplied to Carty's current defense team in 2014, the agent and two of Carty's co-defendants allege that Harris County prosecutors crossed ethical boundaries and threatened them to ensure Carty's conviction.

Retired DEA Special Agent Charles Mathis, in his affidavit, specifically accused Connie Spence, the lead prosecutor on the case, with threatening to cross-examine him in open court about "an invented affair that I was supposed to have had with Linda." Mathis insists that allegation was false, but worried that it could have clouded his law enforcement career if Spence had carried out her threat in a capital murder trial that generated considerable publicity.
See Mathis' affidavit. Further, reported the Chron's Lise Olsen:
The affidavits from two of Carty's co-defendants accuse Spence and another prosecutor of threatening them with a death sentence and of feeding them stories designed to "nail" Carty.

The allegations of prosecutorial misconduct have been presented as "new evidence" in support of Carty's effort to win a hearing, a request now pending in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that was filed by Michael Goldberg, a Baker Botts civil attorney who has stuck with the case for more than a decade pro bono.
Pretty explosive stuff, if it can be proven. And harder to discredit Carty's DEA handler than some jailhouse snitch. Definitely one to watch.

In other capital news, investigators on a true crime TV show this week announced they believe Rodney Reed, a Bastrop man sentenced to die soon for the 1996 murder of Stacey Stites, was falsely convicted. Reported the SA Express-News (Feb. 18):
The TV investigators found that the evidence points blame toward Stites’ fiancĂ©e at the time, Jimmy Fennell Jr., who provided a timeline of his whereabouts that at the time ruled him out as a suspect.

“For me, it’s obvious,” [retired NYPD detective sergeant Kevin] Gannon said. “As far as I’m concerned, the murderer is Jimmy Fennell… I can’t see it being anybody else.”

The investigators also sourced evidence that shows Fennell has a violent past, and that he is currently serving time in prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman while on duty and in uniform as a police officer.
See parts one and two of the A&E feature on Rodney Reed's case.


Anonymous said...

Looks like the 21st District Court stayed Mr. Reed's execution today. I believe this was the right decision. There's something wrong with this conviction, and it needs a non-biased re-examination.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors and police will continue their corrupt arrest and convictions without being held responsible. Until they are held responsible and sentenced the same nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

After dealing with Connie Spence and Craig Goodheart for years, I believe the witnesses.

dfisher said...

Whats curious about the Reed case is the Dallas CO Commissioners Court is going to meet in executive session Tuesday to discuss the Rodney Reed case???

Also, last Friday I filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct against 2nd Administrative Judicial Region Presiding Judge Olen Underwood, for appointing Judge Doug Shaver to preside over the Reed Case.

Visiting Judge Shaver is already holding an appointment in the 3rd Administrative Judicial Region under appointment of Presiding Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield.

The TX Constitution Art. XVI Sec. 40 does not allow the holding of 2 paid appointments at the same time unless you are exempted under the article. Regional visiting judges are not exempted under the article. An additional problem is Judge Shaver failed to execute his Statement of Appointment and Oath of Office under Judge Underwood's appointment, which voids all acts under the appointment, which includes Reed's Execution Order.

This the same issue Gov. Perry tried to void the special prosecutor's indictment of him a month ago.

Anonymous said...

They murdered an innocent man in the Harris county jail last week. Called it suicide but he was just months from being exonerated. This is a conspiracy with arms all the way into the district attorney's office.

dfisher said...

Michael Morton's column in the Houston Chronicle's today is on point when it comes to testing all DNA in criminal case where the defendant claims innocence.

In the wrongful conviction of Michael Morton the lack of DNA testing was not what got him convicted, it was the fraudulent testimony of the former Travis CO Chief ME Roberto Bayardo,

In Morton's case Bayardo testified Morton's wife died at about 1:30 a.m. based on her stomach contents, which meant she died at home with her husband. Bayardo did not collect any evidence to support his time-of-death, nor did he use or mention the standard forensic methods to make that determination. The time-of-death of Morton's wife was the only evidence against Michael Morton and is what got him convicted and sentenced to prison for some 26 yrs.

Now we come to the Conviction of Rodney Reed and here again Roberto Bayardo was the cause of this wrongful conviction. In Reed's trial Bayardo put the time-of-death of Stacey Stites at about the time she would have arrived in Bastop, but again he ignored the forensic evidence, and was off by some 12 hrs. Had Bayardo used the forensic evidence associated with her body, then Stites' boyfriend would have been promptly arrested and convicted, but no Bayardo did what he has always done and Reed
came within a week of being execute. All because Bayardo lied on the stand, in my opinion.

In 2009 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published a series on TX medical examiners. In this series they quoted Bayardo stating he did not write autopsy notes, because he was afraid they would be subpoenaed. Only the defense has to subpoena autopsy records, medical examiners freely give the prosecutors everything they want, even perjury.

Ask yourself, how many more defendants have suffered the same fate as Reed and Morton? And there are more, all because of Bayardo and his employer, the Travis CO Commissioners Court.

Anonymous said...

The Reed defense has used Riddick to review the case and attack the time of death for over 10 years. But we are suppose to believe that only a few months ago he looked at the crime scene photographs he is now relying on to argue a different time of death? LOL

Anonymous said...

Re Reed:

Def attys hire their own pathologists to review the evid in preparation for trial. If the body had been moved, how come their expert did not see it?

Bayardo testified that time of death is an estimate within 4 hours. The def argued that the boyfriend did it. The jury heard all this and did not find it credible and convicted Reed which was the right decision. Now, years later, defense attys are exploiting Bayardo's senility. He'll pretty much say anything they want him to say. Baden made a fool of himself in St. Louis. Spitz hates cops and shilled for Casey Anthony & Phil Spector. And as already pointed out, the appellate defense attys have used Reddick for a decade to attack time of death and presumably has seen the crime scene and autopsy photos but now argues body was moved based on them?!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mathis is going to get torn a new one. His affidavit is so full of shite. One example is that he says the DA said she wd have to cross examine him about an "improper relationship" Note how he does not say the DA accused him of having an affair. Did he have an improper relationship with Carty? Yes, he did. Most professions have standards restricting involvement with clients. He crossed those boundaries. If he was going to be uncooperative on the stand, the DA would be forced to bring that out.

Another example is Mathis claim he wd put Carty back on the "books." Why didnt he then? Because neither Houston PD or the DEA would allow it. They stopped using Carty as a CI because she was a loose cannon, did not follow instructions, and was caught committing serious crimes after she agreed to be a CI. I believe she was observed leaving a known drug house. When the officer attempted to stop her, she tried to run him over and then took LE on a high speed chase. They found a lot of drugs in her car plus an illegally possessed firearm.

The other affidavits are bogus, too. Someone killed the victim. She did not hogtie and put a bag over her head herself. If she had lived, Carty would have lost the baby and been sent to prison.