Monday, May 02, 2011

Roundup: The 'Duty to Correct' and other stories

Here are a few stories I noticed over the weekend that deserve Grits readers' attention:

Prison workers fired for relations with inmates
Three firings but no prosecutions stemming from alleged inappropriate relationships between prison workers and Texas sex offenders. "Two of the workers were actually counselors in the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Goree Unit prison when fellow workers reported the deeper relationships with their patients." Further, "the prison system's Inspector General, questioned why his office was not notified on at least two of the Goree SOTP employee cases."

Prison gangs as cartel subcontractors
Like Barrio Azteca, Texas Syndicate gang members now "work as subcontractors for Mexican cartels," according to this Houston Chronicle story.

'Why won't Charles Sebesta just go away?'
Murray Newman asks "Why won't Charles Sebesta just go away?," while Sebesta continues to tell the Brenham Banner Press that it's his accusers who are "misleading and dishonest." Newman says, Sebesta "can try to blame the 48 Hours program all he wants for giving a slanted view of his actions, but he has a much harder sell in trying to explain why the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals had a similar view. They aren’t exactly known for their crazy liberal rulings."

Lazy journalism and the sex offender registry
I'm increasingly convinced that lazy journalists are the primary constituency for the bloated sex offender registration list, allowing stories like this one from the Killeen Daily Herald that try to make news out of nothing. The article begins by announcing that "Five registered sex offenders are living within one mile of the main entrance of Nolanville's only city park." None of them are violating residency restrictions or live closer to the park than allowed by law, but somehow this is "news"? Pathetic.

A 'duty to correct' flawed forensic methods?
Is there a "duty to correct" when long-used forensic analyses like older arson investigation techniques are debunked as junk science? That's the subject of a thoughtful article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram exploring the issue. It's also concern arising from the recent reprimand of a forensic psychologist whose testimony on mental impairments "used flawed techniques that artificially inflated disability scores, making defendants eligible for the death penalty."

Dallas exoneree seeks to help others falsely convicted
The SMU student paper has a nice feature on Christopher Scott, a Dallas man exonerated in 2010, a dozen years after being convicted of capital murder. "He has since devoted his time to reaching out to other wrong convicted individuals and aiding other recent exonerees. Scott founded The House of Renewed Hope, an organization that aims to support and encourage newly released exonerees to assimilate them back into society."


Anonymous said...

The Syndicate justifies it saying the man killed was a snitch.

According to the Houston Chronicle,

He was suspected of snitching, and bragging at a nightclub about being a member.

The Latino gang long has provided a blueprint for gangs of all races climbing into the major leagues of crime. It was the first Texas prison gang to embrace such Italian mobster traditions as strict rules and harsh discipline.

Among the Syndicate's main rules: Once you join, you are in for life and the gang comes before your blood family, God or anything else.

The Syndicate claims not to kill innocent people, but does go after those who betray them.

Anonymous said...

Two counselors in the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Goree Unit prison are charged with being sexually involved with inmates they were counseling?

These may not be guilty but others have been.

Two questions:
Did their co-workers cover for them and, if so, for how long?

What motivates counselors in Sex Offender Treatment Programs to do this?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Open Letter
To: Mr. Scott, we learned about your false arrest & wrongful conviction via one of the students (Ms. Natalie Harris) working on your case. She wanted us to know that it was non-DNA related and that it has inspired her to continue her good works in that field.

We wanted to thank you for choosing to create 'The House of Renewed Hope' & pray that you consider concentrating on non-DNA claims of actual innocence in closed/cleared cases as you gain momentum. Humans from all walks of life have become 'Victims of the System', sadly only those lucky enough to have DNA evidence on their side and even luckier to be cherry picked get a chance to have a wrong corrected.

An honorary title of ‘PNG Ambassador’ has been bestowed upon you in an effort to persuade you to take the battle all the way to the white house if need be. You can and must do so with or without outside encouragement and whatever you decide remember that we stand with you.

Never let them forget - that in order to be wrongfully convicted, one must first be: falsely arrested by bad cops, handed off to the un-detectives, willingly prosecuted by rogue ADAs, voir dire proceedings resulting in goofball jurors & lazy judges that deny and allow.

In closing, contrary to popular belief – false eyewitness identification is not the leading cause of wrongful convictions. When it takes a group effort the dictionary refers to it as a conspiracy and organized crime with the results lasting forever. VOTS come in all shapes, sizes and shades and will never forget. Good luck in your endeavors. Thanks.