Monday, October 26, 2015

Innocence work here, there and yon

Big day for my employers at the Innocence Project of Texas today:

Prosecutor faces interrogation over Brady
In Dallas, IPOT board chairman Gary Udashen questioned a former prosecutor accused of withholding Brady material in the 1999 murder convictions of Dennis Allen and Stanley Mozee (Mr. Allen is an IPOT client; Mr. Mozee is represented by the national Innocence Project). After prosecutors and the trial judge recommended relief, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered the trial court to put the prosecutor on the stand and ask him why he failed to turn over evidence of deals with jailhouse informants. That's what happened today.

DNA mixture notification snafu
This afternoon, IPOT's legal director Mike Ware attended a Forensic Science Commission work group discussing notification and indigent defense challenges related to defendants convicted based on erroneous DNA mixture protocols. (See prior Grits coverage.)

Exoneration Commission: What issues might it investigate?
See recommendations drafted by your correspondent on behalf of the IPOT for the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Panel suggesting issue areas for possible study based on an examination of recent innocence cases. The commission's first meeting is Thursday afternoon in Austin.

Tack on the fact that we sent out a fundraising email this morning and it's been quite a busy day.


Anonymous said...

"...said he [retired Prosecutor Rick Jackson] did not make any promises to jailhouse witnesses ahead of their testimony, but told them that if they told the truth, he might do what he could to help them later..."

If that’s all on the up-and-up, then there should have been no issue disclosing that at trial – that Jackson was open to rewarding the snitch after-the-fact and turned over the letters that showed that, contrary to his testimony, Hardeman was in search of a deal. Jackson is hiding behind semantics. This whole “I didn’t offer a deal” is not technically a lie because Jackson didn’t offer a deal, but he let it be known that a deal could be possible if the snitch testified to his satisfaction. That is enough of a deal to require disclosure. That Jackson apparently doesn’t think so shows that he did not have the proper ethical standards to be a prosecutor.

This is yet another Dallas Prosecutor that Craig Watkins should have charged with Brady violations, per his election promises (and Professional and Ethical Responsibilities).

But, alas...once a politician, always a criminal.

Anonymous said...

Who is on the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Panel?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

See its composition here. The Judicial Council seat went to Carol Vance; the governor has not announced his appointment as of last week.

Anonymous said...

Given that Prosecutorial misconduct is the cause of approximately 50% of the exonerations, emphasis should be placed on creating enforcable penalties on the specific ADAs who knew, should have known, or the cause of the misconduct. Since Prosecutors can't be sued individually, and the Texas Bar is limp on dishing sanctions, the taxpayer needs to know that there are other legal means to impose a penalty on those individual who squander fiduciary responsibilities and government monies (because of numerous re-trials/mistrials, exoneration payouts, etc.)

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, re: fundraising.

I thought the IPOT was funded by Grants & a percentage of the Client's apology lotto.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Some grants, no percentage. Fundraising definitely required.

Gadfly said...

Grits, an addition you, but surely no surprise: Abel Reyna stiffing the public (not the Waco Trib itself, this time) on open records requests. And, the office of our ethics-challenged AG actually admits it:

Anonymous said...

“What do you do when you have a blatant violation of criminal law? You normally go to police, who take the case to the DA’s office,” Gates said. “What do you do with the DA’s office is the one violating the law?” -- Randall Scott Gates, regarding DA Abel Reyna's violation of Public Information.

Grits, I defer you to anon 8:38 above.

Or the clusterf*cks John Bradley, Ken Anderson, Charles Sebesta, Rick Jackson, (New Orleans) Harry Connick Sr., etc.

Wesley Shackelford said...

The Commission's members are listed at Yesterday the governor named Houston attorney Charles Eskridge to serve on the Commission.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Grits, thanks for clarifying that.

On that note:
I will personally raise one thousands dollars (U.S.) and bring it in the form of a cashier's check to the IPOT front door within 30 days of learning the following - The IPOT has publicly announced (Published) that the Policy / Rule re: Applicants' seeking post conviction assistance considerations 'must' have exhausted all direct appeals (any type of appeals) prior to applying - has been 'Removed' and everyone with a claim is encouraged to apply. Including those that applied and were Denied due to the discriminatory manner in which the specific Policy / Rule was utilized to cull out claimants that originally pled Not Guilty but, latter, were advised to avoid or, stop a jury trial in progress in order to trade it in for a Guilty plea with a Latin twist aka: no contest or nolo contendere. These victims' are the very one's that didn't and won't appeal and to leave the majority simply hanging, is equal to assisting those that Teamed up to deprived them of a full jury trial all the way to verdict. There's no way in hell everyone is innocent and not guilty, in order to know the truth you have to seek it.

Imho. Simply removing this Cherry-Picking legalese Roadblock / Hurdle, (if it's not a roadblock then what exactly is it and who / whom authored it?) that was purposely placed in front of the majority of claimants having absolutely nothing to do with DNA or, Death Row (The 95% +/- humans deprived of a full jury trial all the way to verdict via: legal advice) would inspire others to match or, one up me.

Until then, sadly, the only ones that might consider donating will be those that exhausted all direct appeals (the three to five percent that received a verdict from a jury - exonorees and / or those related to them, and that limits fundraising abilities. It's like asking for only those people with a size 20 foot to donate to a cause that only assists those with a size 20 foot. If the Policy / Rule remains in place, the IPOT would be better off changing the name to The DNA & Death Row only and sometimes Lab Mixups Innocence Project. I would prefer to see it extended to all Universities & Law Schools in Texas in an effort to spread the claims' out and known as being All Inclusive.

Thanks just the same.