Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Prosecutor to testify over withheld informant deals

Pursuant to a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals order, on Monday in Dallas a former prosecutor will be called to testify regarding deals with jailhouse informants discovered during the habeas process which had never been disclosed to counsel at trial. See a brief announcement posted today by my employers at the Innocence Project of Texas (IPOT).
Dallas County District Judge Mark Stoltz
Dallas County District Judge Mark Stoltz

Dallas District Judge Mark Stoltz ordered the two defendants, Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee, released on bail last year after agreeing with the District Attorney that exculpatory evidence had been withheld and they deserved relief. But the CCA remanded the case, ordering the trial court to take testimony from the prosecutor in question, which is what will happen Monday.

For more background, see past coverage from the Dallas Morning News and the national Innocence Project, which represents Mr. Mozee. IPOT represents Mr. Allen.

MORE: With Monday's hearing happening so soon before the first meeting of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission on Oct. 29, it occurred to me it may be helpful to provide links to policy resources on confidential informants related to issues which arise in these two cases and others since 2010 - most notably Richard and Megan Winfrey involving jailhouse informant testimony:


Anonymous said...

Jailhouse snitches have the moral character of grave robbers. When facing serious time, a jailhouse snitch will lie on his/her own mother. D.A.s entice jailhouse rats by offering leniency, such as reducing the charge to a lesser crime. If all else fails, a d.a. can always lay out thirty pieces of silver.

Michael W. Jewell
President, Texas CURE

Anonymous said...

What happened in the Kerry Cook case is a good example of how this type of thing can be harmful in more ways than one. That jailhouse snitch was facing a murder charge and they gave him a sweetheart deal for manslaughter. He got out of jail and killed again. They used a killer to convict an innocent man, and the killer was freed so that he could kill again. That's what happens when you put winning above all else.

Anonymous said...

Although no one has ever made the connection before, a forensic scientist is kinda like a snitch. Forensic analysts produce reports almost exclusively for the Prosecution.

Forensic analysts (willingly or ignorantly) omit scientific information, exaggerate inculpatory findings, or present false information favorable to the prosecution. In return, the forensic analysts receives a paycheck, a promotion, or pay raise (or at least avoids constructive termination and harassment from their supervisors).

Many crime labs will claim "independence" from the Prosecution's Office, but the relationship is often harmonious (much like a snitch and the Prosecution's Office).

The Innocence Project has suggested that at least 15% of wrongful convictions included fraudulent snitch testimony. Upwards of 45% of wrongful convictions included fraudulent or misleading forensic testimony.

So there are similarities. Except forensic scientists do it while wearing a white coat.