Sunday, June 24, 2012

Judge: Prosecutorial misconduct warrants new trial in 1997 capital murder

Another high-profile capital murder conviction may be overturned based on alleged prosecutorial misconduct, according to findings of fact and conclusions of law entered by a judge last week in a habeas writ in Shelby County. The judge recommended a new trial for Kenneth Wayne Boyd, who was sentenced for capital murder along with three co-defendants following a trial marked by "the use of jailhouse snitches high on crack, lying witnesses, and suppressed evidence," reported KTRE-TV (June 21). The men were convicted of killing three people in 1997, including a 13-year old girl, but one of the convictions has already been overturned and now Mr. Boyd's seems headed in the same direction:
Boyd has now filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, a document asking for freedom due to injustices.
Thursday, an order signed by District Judge Charles Mitchell stating agreement with allegations made by Boyd was filed.
It recommends that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals release Boyd, vacate his sentence and order a new trial. ...
The order cites a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct including suppressed items of evidence and false testimony. These are some of the same issues that led to the appeals court throwing out Boyd's co-defendant, Rodney Moore's life conviction.
Boyd was whisked away in 1999 following his life sentence for capital murder. To this day he maintains his innocence, along with three co-defendants.
Witnesses say he was in Jacksonville, not Center, When Brian Brooks, Percy Moore and a sleeping 13-year-old Christy Calhoun were gunned down in 1997.

He even passed a polygraph.

But recommendation for relief extends way beyond that.

Facts and conclusions of law are listed in an order signed by District Judge Charles Mitchell.

It cites the use of jailhouse snitches high on crack, lying witnesses, and suppressed evidence on the part of then-District Attorney Karen Price. ...

The order claims the lies were all part of "deals" in exchange for their testimony.
The order reports the state suppressed critical information including that from a prime suspect.

The order cites a pattern of misconduct by Price. This gave the appearance the state would do anything for a conviction. 
The website Shelby County Today offered this summary of the claims upheld by the district judge in Mr. Boyd's habeas writ:
A) Confrontation Clause Claim - Admission of Rodney Moore's out-of-court statement through the testimony of Derrick Brown violated the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. B) Brady Claim (The State has an affirmative duty to disclose evidence favorable and material to a defendant's guilt or punishment under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment) - State failed to disclose material, exculpatory evidence to Boyd's defense team including but not limited to: a partial report of a polygraph examination of a State's witness, letters sent from State's witnesses to the former District Attorney shortly before Boyd's trail; offense reports indicating that another person besides Boyd was responsible for the murders; and information that another State's witness had failed a polygraph examination. C) False Testimony Claim - The application claims false testimony was given by several State's witnesses in an attempt to "cut a deal".
Ugly stuff. And ironically, the woman who prosecuted the case is in a runoff for District Attorney in the GOP primary! Hell, in Shelby County, I wouldn't be surprised if she wins.

1 comment:

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, I can't help but to wonder if her "pattern of misconduct" (Criminal Activity) began in 1997 or if it spans for decades. Do you know the name of the Trial Judge that enabled her in these four convictions?

Three cheers for District Judge Charles Mitchell, is he frigin hero or simply doing his job.

Thanks anyway.