Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Corpus prosecutors cheat to win, alleges trial judge

One of the subscriptions Grits donors pay for is to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, without which your correspondent would have missed this most recent high-profile example of alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the Anthony Macias murder case.

Concluded Judge Nanette Hasette (!) in her order reversing Macias' murder conviction, "The court concludes that the intentional suppression of evidence and lack of timely disclosure of exculpatory, mitigating and impeachment evidence described herein constitutes prosecutorial misconduct and undermines the confidence of the public in the judicial system, and the outcome of this trial specifically," Wrote courts reporter Krista Torralva ("Judge finds prosecutorial misconduct in murder case," 2/1):
Prosecutors could face criminal charges or state bar sanctions for violating evidence disclosure laws.

Defense lawyer John Gilmore said he has not filed a grievance with the state bar but is considering the options. The defense also is looking into whether the law could prevent prosecutors from retrying [Courtney] Hayden, 25.

Two weeks after a jury sentenced Hayden in December to 40 years in prison, [prosecutor Jenny] Dorsey faxed a letter to the defense telling them the medical examiner's initial opinion of the fatal gunshot wound was different from his trial testimony. Dr. Adel Shaker testified Macias was shot from up to three feet away. But he initially believed the shotgun's muzzle was against Macias' chest, which defense lawyers argued supports self-defense. A text from Shaker to Dorsey before he testified said he "could live with three feet."

Hernandez said her family doesn't blame prosecutors. They felt Dorsey advocated for them.

Outside the courtroom, Hayden's mother, Maggie Hayden, condemned prosecutors' actions. She called the judge's order "vindication."

"(Prosecutors) owe it to the public to be truthful and they lied," she said. "I have no sympathy for them at all."

Prosecutor Mike McCaig, who represented the office, declined to comment. District Attorney Mark Skurka, who is in the second week of an attempted capital murder trial, issued a statement late Monday saying he agrees Hayden deserves a new trial but disagrees with the judge's findings of prosecutorial misconduct.

"Our office holds itself to a standard that exceeds that required by law, and for that reason I agreed that she should receive a new trial," Skurka said.

"As District Attorney, I have always strived to do justice and comply with all applicable law … And I have endeavored to instill that same sense of justice and duty in my prosecutors," Skurka said.

In a two-day hearing, defense lawyers accused Skurka of instructing Dorsey to not disclose Shaker's wavering opinion. Skurka denied the accusation but said in retrospect he didn't have all the information.

The letter Dorsey sent to [defense attorney John] Gilmore, under [supervising prosecutor Retha] Cable's direction, didn't mention a discussion with Skurka. A previous draft the defense subpoenaed showed Dorsey wrote Skurka's advice, "amounted to — don't worry, experts can change and develop their opinions over time."
Grits readers last saw Mark Skurka in another Krista Torralva story reacting to evidence that his office may have prosecuted false claims against jail inmates for assaulting corrections officers, a charge his office filed 30-40 times per year. He tightened up corroboration requirements to make sure it wouldn't happen again while failing to revisit old cases for possible innocence claims or prosecute a deputy who allegedly beat, then falsely accused, an inmate.

This time last year, Grits authored a post titled, "Is reticence of Nueces prosecutors to disclose evidence an institutional failure?"

These latest allegations add to a nascent perception that the Nueces County DA's office tolerates or even somehow promotes a culture that condones concealing exculpatory, mitigation or impeachment evidence.

Go get 'em, Ms. Torralva. Your reporting recently has been worth the Caller Times subscription price.


Anonymous said...

This can only go on if the judges allow it, if dishonest prosecutors are not prosecuted and convicted, and if the public remains apathetic.
This happens everywhere in Texas. It is not surprising that of all the people exonarated in 2015, Texas, with 54, had over one-third of total:

"Fifty-four Texans were exonerated last year, according to the National Registry of Exonerations’ annual report. Most of those cases came from Harris County, which had the most exonerations of any county in the country, reporting 42 convictions vacated in drug cases and one overturned death sentence. It was a rare year for Dallas County, though, which reported no exonerations in 2015 after having 25 in the preceding seven years.

“Exonerations are now common,” the report stated. “We average nearly three exonerations a week, and most get little attention.”

Criminal justice experts say the numbers reflect problems in the state’s criminal justice system and Texas’ aggressive efforts to address them and ensure that innocent people don’t remain in prison."

How can these psychopath/sociopath-prosecutors and their accomplices sleep at night is beyond comprehension, unless, we see them for the sociopaths that they really are: no conscience, no empathy, no sense of justice, -- only unbridled narcissism. In the case of prosecutors and judges, they have a State license that allows them to achieve personal gains from the untold suffering of the innocent and most vulnerable.
They may have passed the "bar", but they belong behind bars. I'd love to watch them join those whom they unjustly incarcerated. It would not be a pretty sight.

Disbar this group and to prosecute them, perhaps under RICO: if you think about it, you'll see that, because it takes a whole organization to put innocent people behind bars, and even execute them, these criminal events constitute a form of organized crime. The Bushes and Abbott, IMO, belong there too. They know what's going on and let it happen.

It is beyond criminal to put and keep innocent people behind bars, especially when this is accomplished deliberately. It is even more criminal to execute them.

There are people who this very minute are rotting in a filthy, desolate, inhumane, Texas prison cell, guarded by some sadistic psychopaths with a true educational level no higher than 2nd grade and protected by their union, regardless of the illegal abuses and torments they inflict on the prisoners.
Some guards just do their jobs, others shouldn't be there, and they are.

So, the torture goes from a false arrest and conviction, to years of slow psychological and physical abuse at the hands of some coward want-a-be-cops rejects who will be Texas proud when they inflict untold harassment and pain upon those who, at that point, cannot defend themselves.

The cycle of abuse, though, does not end here: even if a person is exonerated, their records may take years to be cleared from the false charges. Many have died in prison, a few were even executed.

All, with taxpayers' money, our money. Thus, if we keep silent, we are de-facto accomplices: "they" become "us". We can only be pardoned if we protest the injustices. Thank-you GFB and other activists. We need your voices.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will ever change until the victims become violent activists. Indeed, after spending an hour revisiting GFB's prior posts going back a decade I realized that nothing at all has changed. Talk, and no action, always results in no change.

DEWEY said...

Prosecutors could face criminal charges or state bar sanctions for violating evidence disclosure laws." --- I'm not going to hold my breath until that happens (even though I do look good in blue !).

texngal said...

Harris County has the most corrupt counties in the State of Texas! Needs to be taken apart and redo the entire Prosecutors Office is only out for a win, not bringing justice but wanting to let wannabe attorneys play prosecutors.

George said...

@ Anonymous 7:24,

Roger that, I agree for the most part of your comment. This type of behavior from our criminal "justice" officials is the result of a long history of the "get tough" mentality of Texas citizens. This mentality, I surmise, is undergoing a shift of sorts. All of us should works towards ending this "win at all costs" mentality that so many of our elected and appointed officials maintain.

However, there's still a great deal of "conservative" citizens in our state that simply choose an elected official ( who can go on to appoint pretty much whom they want to fill appointed offices ), based on party affiliation. Quite a few of these citizens watch Sean Hannity on Fox News, listen to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh on talk radio, listen to their minister bolster his/her political views upon the congregation and thus base their political views upon these influences instead of doing the research needed to reach an independent conclusion concerning an issue.

I personally have several family members who otherwise are loving and caring people but when you bring up the topics found here on GFB, they 1) do not want to discuss the issues especially if they feel that their views will be "challenged", 2) become glassy eyed, yawn and say things such as "Oh well, some things will never change.", etc.

Let's face it, the conservatives have power right now because the vast majority of people who actually vote are supportive of these conservative officials and politicians. Until we see an upheaval in the number of people who register to vote and actually vote, I personally don't see much change in the short term. By the way, most politicians DO NOT want large voter turnouts because this would upturn their apple cart and drastically change the political field. Attempts have been to quell large voter turnout of course. You don't hear about it much on the MSM because they are in the "ins" back pockets -- they make astronomical amounts of money during the election cycles from paid political ads.

As to the Anonymous commenter above who advocates violent activism, that may or (most likely) may not have the effect you think it would. Violence involves people getting hurt, sometimes -- actually most of the time -- innocent people get hurt or killed. At some point, violence could be the most viable option ( that's how our nation started is it not ), but as I stated above, right now the answer is for people to get off their asses and perform the greatest civil duty of all, to register to vote, truly educate themselves on the issues and then actually vote.

On election days, there should be a national voting holiday for the national voting days and state/local holidays on the state/county/local voting days. Voting should be promoted and by not having voting compete with our jobs, a higher turnout should be a result.

Back to the topic, yes DA's cheat to win -- of course they do, that's what they are trained to do. It's wrong and it is NOT justice and the bastards need to be prosecuted themselves. I've stated it many times before here but here it is again. Elected and appointed officials must be held to a higher level of honesty and integrity than the people that are subject to them. They should do what's right, morally and civilly, do it to the very best of their ability. If they withhold evidence or conceal those who do then they should be punished at lease as severely as those they prosecute and, IMHO, at a higher level of punishment simply because they know better.

Anonymous said...

So apparently George thinks that conservatives are the cause of all the misdeeds being done by prosecutors. I don't know what church he is referring to where the pastors are bolstering their political views upon the congregation, but any pastor that is doing that and I doubt they are, risks losing their 501c3 status.

Do DA's cheat to win, absolutely, and I don't think that it's a big secret that they do. However, trying to pin the blame on conservatives for it happening sounds like sour grapes that the candidate he supports didn't get elected.

George said...

@ Anonymous 12:15,

I don't think that conservatives are the cause of all misdeeds being done by prosecutors. I do think that a majority of conservatives follow the party rhetoric and support their "team" guy regardless of what he does afterwards and will staunchly defend what they do, just as you are doing right now judging from your comments.

While most pastors will not literally stand in the pulpit and proclaim to vote for the GOP, they impart their messages in ways that make no mistake as to who they feel their members should support. I think it's safe to assume that, especially in southern US, protestant congregations follow conservative "values", code word for GOP members. No sense in arguing semantics here, please.

Seems like I hit a raw nerve with you Mr. Anonymous, the blame should be pinned on all who continue to advocate this form of injustice, either directly or indirectly.
I think the conservatives deserve quite a bit of the blame. If you feel otherwise, so be it.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the GFB posting, 'Immunity' (including the various forms of it) and the possibility of relying on it, allows the rogue to attempt to cheat. When it takes a Team Effort to get away with it, it becomes obvious that the House is in on the 'Rigged' game. Thank God for judges that call Bullshit! & don't allow it and may those that do - be forced to Take-the-Plea at the pearly gates where they get to choose between Notsohottendere & Notsocoldtendre.

I agree with 'everything' 7:24AM shared in response to this 'GFB' posting. As a side note: Remember folks, women are falsely arrested & falsely convicted too, but for some reason, men seem to be the majority of so called - Clients & Exonorees. What's that about?

So much so, that I invite him/her to consider sharing this view with the: entire state, potential jurors and all types of political candidates' seeking a 'Donation' (they won't reply but at least they'll get the message).(Try to avoid Law Blogs/Blawgs, as most aren't inclined to allow non-lawyers to rub elbows with lawyers. That goes double for those of us that have been victimized by fake defense lawyers.) Name names, and provide source(s) in your endeavors to share information, ideas and possible solutions / remedies in relation to our 'Rigged' CJS.

And, George is on point (as always) about the slackers in regards to non-voting. No Vote - No Voice. Those - Voting Just to be Voting (without researching)... see George's comment.

Thanks (Grits).