Friday, January 26, 2007

Arrogance and Innocence

Dave Mann at the Texas Observer explores the arguments in favor of a Texas Innocence Commission, as does Glenna Whitley at the Dallas Observer, and Sheron Patterson at the Dallas News.

I wanted to also link to a particularly hostile string on the prosecutors' user forum criticizing the proposal, but they appear to have taken it down.

However you can still read the DA's consoling one another that negative public perceptions of prosecutors don't matter because their critics are morons: "The understanding of our work and choices are not for the least common denominator," said an Amarillo prosecutor. "While the American society has generated great persons of deep understanding, we also came up with Susan Sarandon and Steve Urkel."

I hope that's exactly the attitude DAs take when the Innocence Commission comes up for debate at the Legislature. Such arrogance, indeed the utter failure to acknowledge reality, belies DAs' weak position in the debate. Too many exonerations have occurred over the last few years for anyone to believe their critics are all ignorant and ill-informed.


Anonymous said...

What place is this?????
Today I left Judge Barbara Rollins' court where our son, Moishe Turner was certified to stand trial as an adult and was remanded to the Taylor County Adult Jail on S. 27th Street, one street over from the juvenile center on S. 26th Street.
Already horrified that our 15 year old son who had never been in any trouble before (no trials no adjudications) could be shipped to an adult jail for witnessing a murder and the only other witness I'm told, is a drug dealer woman who also witnessed the crime but was there with the man who was murdered. She admitted in her police statement that they went to the elementary school campus to sell drugs.
A few weeks after returning to Abilene, Moishe was approached by a young man who identified himself to us as a seventeen year old mall worker.
The young man was allowed into our home. I told him our son's age and cautioned him not to do anything to get our son in trouble. This has been my routine for years with even our now adult children.
This person was not who he said and began to give Moishe marijuana to smoke.
July 11, 2005, this young man gave Moishe small amount of marijuana, three cigars and a few bullets and told him to hold onto them till later. I believe that he was trying to get my son hooked on drugs. Moishe later told me that the young man had offered him a lot of other drugs but he only smoked a marijuana cigarette.
Around eight-thirty that night, the young man repeatedly called Moishe with me speaking to him the first time on the house phone.
I left the house being called back to work. In my absence Moishe succumbed to the repeated calls and walked across the street to meet Stewart, the person he called his friend. I have the phone record that backs this up.
When Moishe arrived at the school, he was surprised to see other persons there. He saw the woman who identified herself as Stewart's girlfriend, standing outside the truck smoking and several other people he didn't know. He noticed that his friend was talking then shouting with another man. He heard his friend say, " aw hell, Brian man!" then start shooting, with this Brian person returning the gunfire. Brian killed Stewart as Stewart and his girlfriend jumped in Stewart's truck to escape. Moishe hid behind the truck to escape gunfire. He took off running when he saw a chance not knowing what started all the shooting and the one who called him to come there, he'd just seen murdered.
Brian jumped in Stewart's truck and chased Moishe down but took time to allow Stewart's girlfriend to get her purse and dog out before he left. Moishe looked back as he ran, was relieved seeing her on her cell, thinking she was calling 911 for help.
Brian caught up with Moishe and threatened him. I suppose he saw Moishe was a kid and knew Moishe really didn't have anything to do with what went on between Stewart and him. When he was able to get away, Moishe ran, lost, asking strangers how to get to our apartment until a man gave him a ride home. Moishe only knew we lived by the mall, so with that information, the man brought Moishe near enough to home that Moishe directed him the rest of the way. Police, cars with lights were all around. Moishe thought he was safe knowing he had seen Stewart's girlfriend on her cell phone. He thought she was calling police. She never did. Moishe was arrested that night as he tried to come home. The police and Stewart's girlfriend, who was not arrested with her drugs and was covered in blood, began to create a version of events that fingerprint, DNA and other physical evidence scream, lies!
After our son was sent to the adult jail, I went to the court records and learned our son's DNA, fingerprints, etc., was nowhere in evidence so they wanted to put him in with grown men to terrorize him into confessing to something he did not do. The DA, Harriet Haag and Dan Joiner already knew evidence backs up what Moishe told them that night and completely refutes any other version. The girlfriend is a dope dealer and lying on a 15 year old kid. But she has blonde hair and blue eyes which seem to be the standard of proof in Taylor County.
I would like the FBI, ACLU, Judicial Review Board and President of this United States of America to come clean this mess.
As I fled my family and the nodding Judge Rollins, to see where they were taking Moishe, I saw 2 figures chained at the waist to trees with their hands cuffed behind them. I was numb with fear for what was about to happen to Moishe. Judge Rollins had issued 2, two hundred fifty thousand bonds for Moishe and no bond on a capital murder charge. And they already knew that they had no evidence linking him to a crime! She nodded all through court but I don't know how she can sleep nights judging children on rumor and courthouse gossip.
Taking my camera and shouting out to the figures in the field just outside the jail yard fence (persons being arrested looking to their right from a police car window would get this sight as their last free world visual) I took off walking, snapping and
calling out to the men. I touched the first one and shook him to wake him up. I looked up in the sky for buzzards and saw none. As I continued to investigate, I realized these were dummies dressed in regular clothes. I am a medical professional and they fooled me. The disguise was excellent with some gauze dressing wrapped over their faces. I knew then I am in racism HELL!!!!!!
I told everybody I saw to get over there and witness, photograph and turn it in to the Washington office of the FBI.
That was over two years ago, my son is still in jail with adults, no bond, no trial, no evidence and no constitution for an American born citizen. Oh.... I forgot to tell you our skin is brown.
I am simply, Deborah...his mom and friend

Anonymous said...

February 3, 2007
A district judge Friday denied the request for a new lawyer by an Abilene teenager accused of capital murder.

Bob McCool and Frank Scarborough will continued to represent Moishe Turner, who is scheduled to stand trial 9 a.m. Monday in the 350th District Court.

Turner is accused of shooting Stewart Wofford in the face July 11, 2005, during a drug transaction in front of Ward Elementary School, 3750 Paint Brush Drive. Wofford's pregnant girlfriend witnessed the shooting. Wofford's body was later found in some bushes along Rebecca Lane near Catclaw Creek.

At the time of the incident, Turner was 15. In October 2005, Turner was certified to stand trial as an adult.

Friday, the defense counsel filed a motion to withdraw and a motion of continuance because of conflicts family members had with them.

When they asked to withdraw from the case, the lawyers said ''irreconcilable differences have arisen ... and as a result counsel has been unable to completely and adequately prepare this case for trial due to the inability to communicate effectively with the defendant and members of his family ...,'' according to court documents.

District Judge Thomas Wheeler denied another motion filed by the defense counsel that would have delayed the trial. McCool and Scarborough argued that prosecutors filed more evidence that would require further investigation.

Turner, who remains in custody in the Taylor County Jail, has been charged with capital murder and two counts of murder. If convicted of capital murder, he woulf be given a mandatory life sentence. He could, however, be sentenced to probation if the jury finds him guilty of a lesser crime.

Copyright 2007, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved.

Anonymous said...

Moishe Turner Committed a Cold Cold Crime and was convicted of it in the court of law. I hope he suffers everyday for it. Stewart Wofford was a good friend of mine and may he R.I.P-

Anonymous said...

Take what Moishe's mom says with a grain of salt and go read the REAL truth here

That's all that needs to be said.
R.I.P. Stewart.