Thursday, May 21, 2009

Only a hit dog hollers: Brady violation at root of latest Dallas exoneration

I've read this story though several times now, and I think former prosecutor Patricia Hogue protests just a bit too much in her shrill accusation that Dallas DA Craig Watkins and his Conviction Integrity Unit misled the Court of Criminal Appeals and let a rapist free. "If the DA's office wants to do that and let rapists out of jail, that's OK. I'm not part of it anymore," Hogue said. "It's still absolutely false that I withheld evidence."

At issue: Hogue accepted a plea from Antrone Johnson, then a juvenile, on sexual assault charges after the victim told her the day before trial that she hadn't really been raped. Reported Jennifer Emily at the News:

Withholding such evidence from the defense is called a "Brady violation." The term refers to a 1963 U.S. Supreme County case – Brady vs. Maryland – in which the court found that prosecutors violate defendants' constitutional rights if they intentionally or accidentally withhold evidence favorable to the defense.

There is no criminal charge for a Brady violation in Texas.

The day before Johnson's trial, the girl told prosecutors that Johnson did not sexually assault her, according to court records. A school official also called her "a great liar," according to another notation in the file.

Hogue claims she would have disclosed the recantation verbally to the defense attorney, but defense counsel in the case doesn't agree and it's awfully hard to imagine any lawyer worth their fee who wouldn't get the case dismissed, or at least reduced, once they knew the victim backed off her accusation.

From this distant perspective, it doesn't seem credible to believe Ms. Hogue told Johnson's attorney her main victim/witness changed her story at the eleventh hour. No one but her behaved like they had that information.

See prior Grits coverage.


Angee said...

I thought this was standard in such cases. "You were telling the truth but you are lying now because you don't want to see him punished."
Nobody believes that someone charged with a sex crime is innocent. And nobody believes that an innocent person would take a plea. There is the assumption that the innocent individual can push for a jury trial and walk away a free man.

Soronel Haetir said...

The title of this post made me think some cop had secretly trained their drug dog to alert on some non-drug signal and the defense somehow got hold of this info.and failed to

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Soronel, it was a reference to Ms. Hogue's excessive protestations.

Anonymous said...

Grits, if we are to follow your standard, then you are never to be believed, because you are always hollering like a bit dog about every little thing. Have you spent any time at all trying to present a balanced opinion?

Hook Em Horns said...

"And nobody believes that an innocent person would take a plea. There is the assumption that the innocent individual can push for a jury trial and walk away a free man."


Jarrod said...

Liars in the justice system? Not in Texas. Oh, no! There may be problems with the system but the people involved are above reproach. PASS THE BARF BAG PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Da"s are here to convict not set somebody free.that's excactly why evidence are withhold. especially in sex evidence needed. just hearsay.i believe we all lied at one time to get our selfs out of trouble perfect exsample.people except plea bargains cause the forces you too.only the once that have walked in somebodys shoes accused of a crime like that would know.most of this type of crimes are based on hearsay,and DA"s make this people out to be monsters when in matter of fact society is blindfolded by the state officals.about what happend. you can make today a false report and be convicted tommorow of this crime. their is no way out.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

8:09, your attempt at a snappy retort betrays that you don't understand the saying. If you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the thinking goes, only the hit dog hollers.

Judging by your complaint, I'm guessing you don't really want to see a "balanced" opinion, just someone else's, in which case it's a big old blogosphere out there ahd you should probably spend your time somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Scott, you can be fair without being balanced. Especially if being balanced means, "He said, she said. Take your choice." Thanks for continuing to expose the all too ubiquitous lack of justice in the criminal justice system. To be balanced you would have to create a blog when the CJS gets it right. It's perfectly fair to do your blogs when they get it wrong. And you probably only scratch the surface on those. Keep up the good work.
Rev. Charles in Tulia

Anonymous said...

Rev. Charles and the same similiar situated, if Scott and the Grits post is posing such an unbalanced or unfair approach - then it should be fair to say we won't be reading any more unwarranted, unnecessary slurs. Let's stay focused. A District Attorney is suppose to enforce the law - BY THE LAW...not withhold evidence to get a conviction any more then a judge should place "personal" feelings into a sentence. The cliche "only a hit dog hollers" is giving a visual that the this case was Ms. Hogue continues to holler because she was the one "hit" per say. Its like when someone says "who ate my lunch" from the lunch room refrigerator and everyone automatically says "Not Me". So then if its "Not me" then why say anything? The question was clear and plain....WHO? Thus expecting an answer - from the culprit. Much like in this case...she was the DA...she withheld evidence to obtain this conviction...thus the writing by Grits and thus...the open forum. The blog is to strike conversation and get opinions and inform you of the current workings in a world that we citizens vote someone into office, pay tax money and yet.....simply do nothing or enforce nothing...but quickly incarcerate and write verbal slayings about matters that are not within the blogs at that time. Your opinion counts...its needed...lets just stay focused. She was wrong and there are many, many prosecutors like her. Would you want your juvenile child lynched by a DA and tagged with any ugly mark for his/her entire life as a "sex offender". Well, that is what happened here and that is what is happening.

Anonymous said...

I think the topic sentence was on the mark. We've seen in larger applications where justice is NOT being applied lawfully. Gitmo is an example. Torture IS illegal if applied to us, and WE have signed several accords stating that torture is a violation against laws of humanity. However, we have also seen where the political machine is more than happy to bypass those rules/laws. Why do you think it is occurring in Gitmo and overseas? accountability... This instance shows that even little fish can play by their own set of rules. The ex-DA decided to not discharge the duties of her office.

Anonymous said...

Hogue, who was fired when Watkins took office in January 2007, questioned why the DA's office would take the word of Johnson's attorney, V. Ray Davis, who was convicted in 1998 of trying to bribe a prosecutor.

I highly encourage anyone to read the entire article. This is not the case to be raising a fuss about.

Anonymous said...

Some dogs "Holler" when they think they might be going to get "Hit"... or even scolded.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who ever dealt with Patricia Hogue will tell you that they are not surprised at her actions and reaction. Have you ever heard of a DA who admitted to hiding evidence? She should hand in her bar card.

Anonymous said...

Prosecutors have not studied the law in a long time. There job is to see that justice is fairly administered; but, they all believe their duty and job is to convict, no matter what the truth is or the actual consequences. The ADA should be prosecuted for lying to the court, and she should have her law license taken away. How many other cases has she used the same or similar tactic to get her way?

It seems that prosecutors holler the loudest when hit because they think they are invincible and whatever means they use to get to their end result is justifiable.

Do the ADAs have merit pay, on how many convictions they get?

This event was not reported in the rural areas. It is a sign of hope that a blog can get information spread.

On the Gitmo reference on torture, everyone needs to remember "War is hell" and whether Iraq is declared formally as a war, there are American men and women dying there every day. The enemy will certainly do as bad if not worse forms of torture to the soldiers. Under the circumstances, comparing Gitmo to this ADA is like comparig oranges to apples. History has shown the statement above is true.

But, the system we are all to operate under and by, should punish an ADA and/or her superior at the time.

Maybe term limits for elected officials and for the assistants should be looked into.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Hogue? is she still practicing? Is she still prosecuting the innocent?