Dennis Dechaine

In March 1989, Dennis Dechaine was convicted of the murder of Sarah Cherry. Sarah Cherry went missing between noon and 3:20pm on Wednesday July 6, 1988. After police were called, two documents found in the driveway with Dennis Dechaine’s name on them lead police to begin searching for him, as well as for Sarah Cherry. At 8:30pm on the same day, Dennis was seen emerging from woods where the body was found two days later at 12:20pm on Friday July 8. He was subsequently detained by the police. Given these circumstances, it would be natural to suspect that Dennis abducted and murdered Sarah Cherry.

However, the medical examiner found that based upon the progression of rigor mortis, Sarah died 30 to 36 hours prior to her body being examined at 2p.m. on Friday, that is between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. Thursday morning, meaning that Dennis could not have been the murderer.

In addition, blood was found under Sarah’s fingernails, and DNA analysis excludes Dennis.

The prosecution claimed that Dechaine confessed, however this is contradicted by contemporaneous notes.

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Justin Wolfe

Justin Wolfe was charged with capital murder for allegedly hiring someone to kill Daniel Petrole Jr., in 2001. Prince William County prosecutors theorized that Wolfe, who was 19 at the time and sold marijuana that he purchased from Petrole, murdered his drug supplier because he owed Petrole vast amounts of money. Rather than pay up, they claimed, Wolfe arranged a hit on the drug boss, allegedly choosing Owen Barber IV as his triggerman. In addition to Barber’s testimony implicating Wolfe, the cops were able to link Wolfe, Barber, and Petrole to the drug ring via phone records. In 2002, a jury in Prince William County, Virginia, convicted Wolfe and sentenced him to death. He’s been in prison since his arrest in 2001, and on death row for most of that time. In 2005, he came within two weeks of being executed.

In the summer of 2011, Raymond A. Jackson, a federal district judge in Norfolk, vacated the murder conviction and Wolfe’s death sentence.

What led Judge Jackson to make that decision? For one thing, Barber recanted his testimony. Barber was the main witness against Wolfe at trial, and the only one who testified to the murder-for-hire. But in 2005, he completely disavowed the story he told at trial, swearing that he had lied about Wolfe hiring him to kill Petrole only after the cops threatened him with the death penalty. It was the police, Barber said, who cooked up the idea that Wolfe was the mastermind behind the murder-for-hire.

Source & Read More : Article Nov 2014 Slate.com “Why Is Justin Wolfe Still in Prison?”

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News

Justin Wolfe admits role in drug dealer’s slaying, enters guilty plea after stint on death row March 29, 2016

As a result, this case is no longer a supported case, and categories and tags have been removed.

Justin Wolfe sentenced to serve 41 years in prison for 2001 murder
July 20, 2016

 

Linda Carty

Linda Carty claims she was framed by drug dealers in response to her work as an informant and has appealed her conviction. Her appeals have been unsuccessful and the appeal procedure has been exhausted.

In 2014, key witnesses against her, including a DEA agent for whom she worked as an informant, recanted and claimed they were coerced into testifying against her by the prosecutor.

Retired DEA Special Agent Charles Mathis accused prosecutor Connie Spence with threatening to allege in court that he had had an affair with Carty. Mathis denies the affair, but was concerned the effect it would have on his career.

Two of Carty’s co-defendants accuse prosecutors of threatening them with the death sentence and of feeding them stories implicating Carty.

Her co-defendant, Chris Robinson, testified against her at her trial, but has since recanted, claiming that prosecutors coerced him to testify that he saw Carty put a trash bag over Rodriguez’s head when Rodriguez was in the trunk, claiming the story is untrue. “When we were rehearsing I would say the story back to them they would stop me and add something in or take it out then make me keep going. They would stop me by saying ‘Wait, wait, this is what happened,’ ” he said in his affidavit. Capital murder charges were dropped against Robinson in exchange for his testimony.

Another co-defendant, Gerald Anderson, who was not called to testify, alleged that prosecutors attempted to get him to testify falsely against Carty as well.

Source: Wikipedia

See also http://www.reprieve.org.uk/case-study/linda-carty/

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Jermane Scott

20 years ago Jermane Scott was given a LIFE sentence for Agg Murder/Credit Card Misuse.

Jermane is from Ohio USA (trial court OHIO).

Jermane has maintained his innocence to the Agg Murder charge from the very beginning.

Jermane Scott did NOT commit murder.

  • No DNA evidence.
  • No Motive.
  • NO Murder Weapon and Inconsistent/Contradictory Witness Statements throughout.

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Why so Many “Confessions” in Shaken Baby Syndrome Cases?

Article on questionable coercive police tactics when interviewing parents. References the case of Melissa Calusinski.

Wrongful Convictions Blog

In suspected SBS cases, the child abuse pediatricians (CAP’s) and the police are perfectly willing to coerce a confession out of you, and they have circumstances on their side, because you are at your most vulnerable. You are terribly concerned about the condition of your child, or worse yet, your child has just died. (See our previous post on child abuse pediatricians here: The Child Abuse Pediatrician (CAP) – Just Another Term for Medical “Cop”)

We’ve posted about SBS “confessions” before. See Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) – A CBS Report: Blaming Melissa for the coerced “confession” of Melissa Calusinski. See Scenes of a Crime – A Documentary of a False Confession andBlatantly Coerced Confession Results in Conviction Reversal for the coerced “confession” of Adrian Thomas.

Washtenaw Watchdogs (Washtenaw County, MI) have just published an investigative report article on their website dealing with this very issue…

View original post 7 more words

Update: White House Report on Forensics Science: “Eradicate” the Use of Bitemarks

Bitemark identification is unscientific – according to Jo Handelsman at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

Office of Science and Technology Policy

Update on the Update: More on this today (Wednesday July 22, 2015)  from Radley Balko at THE WATCH

On Tuesday, July 21, the White House OSTP issued an oral presentation by:

Jo Handelsman

Dr. Jo Handelsman is the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in June of 2014. Dr. Handelsman helps to advise President Obama on the implications of science for the Nation, ways in which science can inform U.S. policy, and on Federal efforts in support of scientific research.”

Her remarks were presented at the International Symposium on Forensic Science Error Management – Detection, Measurement and Mitigation, Arlington, VA, July 20-24, 2015, organized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In its essence, she recommended the “eradication” of forensic science practices of the kind relied upon by bitemark identification — specifically using bitemark identification…

View original post 304 more words

Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter

Almost 20 years ago, a jury found Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter guilty of first-degree murder and related counts in a drive-by shooting that killed 19-year-old Karen Summers in 1994. Scott and Carpenter, who were 17 at the time of the crime, were sentenced to life plus 170 years in prison.

A witness who testified against the two in exchange for a deal from prosecutors, Michael Lee Wilson, was convicted of a different murder and executed in January 2014.

Shortly before his execution, Wilson released a videotaped confession discussing his deal with the state and a written affidavit saying that he had killed Summers during a gang-related drive-by shooting.

Christina Green with the Oklahoma Innocence Project and Josh Lee with Ward Lee & Coats are representing Scott in post-conviction relief proceedings.

News Article July 20, 2015

Innocence Project Post July 20, 2015

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News

22 Years Later, Oklahoma Innocence Project Could Free Two Convicted Murderers Jan 26, 2016

Death Row Inmates Claim They Committed Tulsa Murders Others Were Convicted For Jan 30, 2016 ( report on evidentiary hearing on Friday Jan 29, has videos ).

A killer’s word: Should Michael Lee Wilson’s confession free two men? Jan 31, 2016 readfrontier.com

A judge declared both De’Marchoe Carpenter and Malcolm Scott innocent Monday afternoon. May 9, 2016

Malcolm Scott and De’Marchoe Carpenter freed after 20 years in prison, declared innocent May 9, 2016

 

Gary Leiterman

Gary Leiterman was convicted after worthless DNA evidence linked him to the 1968 murder of Jane Mixer.

Leitermans’s DNA, Jane Mixer’s evidence from her murder, and John Ruelas’ DNA were all in the Michigan State Police lab at the same time. It’s obvious that there was contamination, since in 1969 Ruelas was a young child.

An alternate possible suspect is serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards.

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Howard Guidry

“Unlike Lay and Skilling, however, Guidry was totally innocent. The only evidence used to convict Guidry was the coerced confession and hearsay testimony from the suspected killer’s girlfriend. Both pieces of evidence were thrown out in September 2003 by Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who ordered Harris County in Houston to release or retry Guidry within 180 days.”

Source : Death row prisoner Howard Guidry By Gloria Rubac, Houston, Published Jun 4, 2006 1:52 PM

News 20 July 2015

Attorneys for Howard Guidry accuse Former Texas Prosecutor Kelly Siegler of withholding evidence in Guidry’s 1995 murder trial just a week after another man prosecuted by Siegler, David Mark Temple, had his conviction overturned for the same reason…

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David Mark Temple

In 2007, David Mark Temple was convicted of murdering his wife on January 11, 1999. In July 2015, the conviction was overturned.

Report, July 8, 2015 : “Judge says ex-prosecutor Kelly Siegler withheld evidence in David Temple Case”

Quote

A visiting judge has accused former Harris County prosecutor Kelly Siegler of withholding evidence in the murder case against David Mark Temple, who was convicted of killing his wife in 2007, and has recommended that Temple be granted a new trial.

Judge Larry Gist’s findings, which were issued Wednesday after nearly three months of witness testimony in a habeas hearing, are not binding; it’s now up to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to decide whether the former Katy football star and high school coach was denied a fair trial in a high-profile case pitting two outsized egos — Siegler and defense attorney Dick DeGuerin — against each other. (The CCA previously denied Temple’s appeal).

“Both were famous and neither could stand losing to each other,” Gist wrote in his 19-page recommendation, issued Wednesday.

But the finding paints a picture of Siegler being overzealous to the point of depriving Temple of a fair trial, leading to his conviction for the shotgun slaying of his wife Belinda in 1999.

Prosecutors “intentionally, deliberately, or negligently failed to disclose” investigators’ reports and witness statements that pointed to other suspects, but Siegler continued the suppression even following the conviction, according to the findings.

Siegler testified in the habeas hearing that potential exculpatory evidence didn’t need to be disclosed if prosecutors “did not believe it was true,” according to the findings.

Gist also wrote that Siegler influenced post-trial maneuvers by telling police and officials within the DA’s Office not to disclose public records if they were requested. The findings also state that Siegler continued to pull strings even after leaving the DA’s Office in 2008, after 21 years, by getting an alleged witness who approached DeGuerin after the trial to change his story.

In that situation, Daniel Glasscock gave DeGuerin a sworn statement that he overheard another man implicate himself in the murder. Glasscock passed a polygraph administered by the DA’s Office and also gave the same story to a DA’s investigator.

But Siegler “asked” a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy — who was involved with the trial investigation — to contact Glassock and another witness “before they could be contacted by the Special Prosecutor [in the habeas investigation] or current members of the District Attorney’s Office. The Deputy did so and afterwards, their stories were significantly different than the original version,” according to the finding.

“In substance, Glasscock repudiated the most important details to the extent that his future credibility as a witness is significantly impaired,” Gist wrote.

At trial, DeGuerin argued that Belinda Temple, who was eight months pregnant, was killed by teenagers during a burglary. But prosecutors said that David Temple was having an affair and had a clear motive to kill his wife. Temple was sentenced to life in prison.

Houston attorney Paul Looney, who worked on Temple’s case before DeGuerin took over, told theHouston Press that Siegler’s ultimate goal was to use the case as leverage to get her own TV reality series — an idea she had unsuccessfully pitched once before.

Siegler then asked to take over the Temple case, which had been languishing for years because the original grand jury chose not to indict.

“This was her opportunity to enhance her resume to the point where she would get her TV show,” Looney said. “It worked, she got the show (“Cold Justice” on TNT). But boy, at what a price. At the price of David Temple’s life, at the price of an entire family’s reputation, and at the price of her own integrity.”

As for Siegler’s impression of exculpatory evidence, Looney said, “If Kelly’s bizarre interpretation of that rule were ever to be the law, then all a prosecutor would ever have to do to keep any witness statement away from the defense is say, ‘Well, I didn’t believe it, so I didn’t give it to the defense.’ That’s never been the law, it would totally eliminate law, but she just boldly stated it — and the only thing I can figure is she’s trying to find some arguable basis to try to defend her law license from the ultimate scrutiny of the State Bar of Texas, which undoubtedly is going to happen over this case.”

But Looney alleged that Siegler not only violated professional ethical standards, but that she committed a felony by obstructing justice.

“If Kelly Siegler’s a lawyer in five years, I’ll be shocked,” Looney said. “And if she’s not a felon in five years, it’ll be because [District Attorney] Devon Anderson decided to protect her own friend.”

Most of the investigators’ reports and witness statements revealed at the habeas hearing were not available — or even known — to Temple’s appellate lawyers, and were only discovered after Temple’s latest team filed a post-conviction writ. (Looney gave props to Temple’s current lawyers, Stanley Schneider and Casie Gotro, saying they conducted “some of the best legal work that’ll ever be done in our state.”)

“They went in and started looking through all the files, and they had a ‘holy shit’ moment where they’re looking at stuff that nobody’s ever seen or heard of before,” Looney said.

Siegler was not available for comment, but we’ll update if we hear back.

End Quote

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See also here, re Siegler.

News
24 November 2016 Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirms Gist’s findings.
28 December 2016 Released on bond.

Temple’s appellate attorney, Stan Schneider said “The new evidence is really substantial, and I believe the evidence shows overwhelmingly that he’s innocent.”

7 January 2017 Update post : David’s Alibi.

Arron Adams

Arron Adams was convicted of conspiracy and robbing the same bank 3 times in 2009 in Tamarac, Broward County, Florida, and sentenced to 15 years.

The co-defendant was acquitted and has given sworn statements that Arron is innocent and should also have been acquitted. The conviction was based on prosecution misconduct, failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, misidentification and evidence tampering.

DNA and  fingerprints did not match Arron.

There is a petition here by his grandparents, and an older (closed) petition here with 197 signatures.

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Mark Weiner – Exonerated

A Virginia judge on Tuesday vacated the conviction of a Montgomery County native who has long maintained he was innocent of abducting a woman in Charlottesville and taking her to an abandoned home in 2012.

Mark Weiner, 54, walked away from jail a free man after the Albemarle County prosecutor took the unusual step of siding with the defense in calling for the 2013 verdict to be thrown out. Weiner was serving an eight-year sentence.

..

Benjamin said an analysis of cellular data showed that during the course of the alleged abduction, Steiniger’s cellphone was pinging off a cell tower near her mother’s home and never accessed one that was close to the abandoned home.

Read full report here, Washington Post, Jul 14, 2015

or Slate.com report

“Some prosecutors would call that sort of thing exculpatory information that must legally be turned over to the defense. Lunsford thanked the officer for stopping by and said she would no longer be needing his testimony after all. (This officer would later call the defense attorney and tell him what had transpired.) The second law enforcement officer offered up the same conclusion. He didn’t get to testify, either.”

or Discussion here.

Preston Grant Hawkins

On September 19, 1995, Preston Grant Hawkins, aged 17, was confronted by two armed men in a hotel laundry room after an earlier trivial dispute. He panicked and shot both of them, one of them was killed.

He fled from the scene instead of calling the police, and was later arrested, charged and convicted of first degree murder.

The prosecution claimed he had intent to murder the men before the confrontation, when in truth it was an ugly armed confrontation initiated by the two other men. Perhaps Preston should not have opened fire, but he was afraid they would shoot him first. This was certainly not first degree murder.

Preston’s girlfriend was also charged, and was persuaded to testify against him to support the prosecution’s theory of what occurred.

The full story is set out very clearly on the website Preston Grant Hawkins ” Truth and Justice”.

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Cyrus Wilson

In 1992, five days after his 18th birthday, Cyrus Wilson was arrested and charged with first degree murder. In 1994, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He has maintained his innocence throughout the entire 22 years he has been incarcerated.

He was convicted on the eye witness testimony of a juvenile, who has since recanted his testimony. The facts of the case are simple, he was targeted as a suspect because the victim stole his car 3 months prior to the murder. He did not swear out a warrant against the victim at the time because he was 17 years old and not able to do so.

The gun an eyewitness testified was used to commit the murder has been proven by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations to not be the murder weapon. This information was not made available to Cyrus’s defense attorney (a court appointed public defender who had never defended a murder trial).

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Garreth Stephens and Jared Sowders – Exoneration Report

In March 2013 two young men Garreth Stephens & Jared Sowders were arrested in Clark Co. Indiana and charged with the murder of Steven Baldwin, based solely on hearsay from the original suspect in the case who was a known drug dealer.

They spent almost 6 months behind bars before being released on bail.

There was no physical evidence or evidence of any kind that placed either boy at the crime scene.

Both Garreth and Jared had strong alibis.

Garreth was 19 years old, a student at Indiana State, a private pilot who was in the ISU aviation program completing his federal aviation requirements to be a commercial pilot. Jared was 18 years old, had just graduated high school, was sworn into the Army and was getting ready to leave for boot camp.

On November 14, 2014, a jury found Jared  and Garreth not guilty.

Defense attorneys Bart Betteau and Perry McCall called the exoneration a vindication.

Bart Bettau stated: “Not only did we prove that there wasn’t enough evidence out there to convict them. I think Perry and I together proved they were absolutely innocent.”

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Byron Halsey settles for $12.5m

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against Halsey, who maintained his innocence through the one-month 1988 trial, but a holdout on the jury spared his life.

Halsey was exonerated after a 2006 DNA test showed he was not the killer. The charges against him were dropped a year later.

When State Police ran the DNA results against its database, it matched a convicted rapist, Clifton Hall, a neighbor of Halsey who prosecutors had used as a trial witness.

In February 2013, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought on Halsey’s behalf against the city of Plainfield and two police officers, ruling there was no proof the officers committed misconduct. In April 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit reversed the dismissal and sent the case back for trial, saying: “Except when an innocent defendant is executed, we hardly can conceive of a worse miscarriage of justice.”

In July 2015, the lawsuit was settled for $12.5 million.

News report here | Exoneration Report 

9th Circuit rules old DNA evidence may be tested

People convicted of crimes through inconclusive or outdated DNA testing procedures should be allowed new tests using the latest technological advances without regard to a three-year time limit set by law, a federal appeals court ruled.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first in the nation to rule that the advances in DNA technology mean previously useless samples should be considered newly discovered evidence that is not subject to statutory time limitations.

The three-judge panel acknowledged in its opinion Friday that the ruling could re-open many closed cases to new DNA testing. But the judges say protecting the innocent is paramount, particularly when innocence can be proven by DNA evidence even after a conviction has been made.

“No tradition is more firmly established in our system of law than assuring to the greatest extent that its inevitable errors are made in favor of the guilty rather than against the innocent,” the opinion written by Judge Andrew Kleinfeld read.

The ruling was made in the case of a Montana man who was convicted of attempted sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl in 2006 and sentenced to more than 14 years in prison. His lawyer, who took on the case on behalf of the Montana Innocence Project, said the decision will have a broad effect.

Read full article here July 14, 2015

Jeffrey Deskovic to appear every week on TV show

Jeffrey Deskovic, M.A., well-known exoneree turned advocate who served 16 years in prison prior to being exonerated by DNA, to serve as producer and on-screen wrongful conviction expert for “Wrongfully Convicted: The Deskovic Files”, a weekly episode every Friday on “The Security Brief with Paul Viollis” at 12 PM EST on Reelz cable station.

Mr. Deskovic’s weekly blog will feature his thoughts about the stories of the guests who appear on “The Deskovic Files: Wrongfully Convicted” episodes of “The Security Brief.”

See here and here for more details.

Jeffrey Weinhaus

Jeffrey Weinhaus was shot four times by police in September 2012, after resting his hand on a legal gun in the presence of two policemen.

He was subsequently found guilty of assaulting a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and of possessing marijuana.

Article : Journalist Jeffrey Weinhaus: Why Was He Shot And Jailed?

Video at Copblock.org

US Supreme Court Filing June 5, 2015

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