George Powell

George Powell III was convicted of armed robbery in 2009, and sentenced to 28 years in prison.

A jailhouse informant who claimed Powell confessed to him has recanted, admitting that everything he said was a lie.

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a state agency that reinvestigated — and called into question — the key piece of evidence against Powell. Powell’s conviction hinged on a dispute over the height of the robber. The clerk at the 7-Eleven told police that the man wearing sunglasses and a ball cap who pointed a gun at her was about 5-foot-6. Powell, however, stands 6-foot-3.

To account for the discrepancy, prosecutors called to the stand an expert who examined video footage of the robber as he walked past the height-measurement strip next to the store exit. Michael Knox, introduced as an expert in forensic video analysis, testified that the 7-Eleven surveillance video showed a suspect at least 6-foot-1.

Although Knox “had never before estimated height based on photos or videos,” the appeal said, jurors convicted Powell of aggravated robbery.

In 2014, however, the Texas Forensic Science Commission voted to examine Knox’s determination as part of its role in helping judges, prosecutors and lawyers better use forensic evidence at trial.

The commission hired a national leader in forensic video analysis who — using industry-standard methods that Knox did not, including three-dimensional laser scanning and measurement scale analysis — determined that the robber was no taller than 5-foot-9, and could have been as short as 5-foot-6.

In its report on the Powell case, the commission concluded that Knox’s analysis was flawed and that his determination about the robber’s height was “unsupportable,” Powell’s appeals said.

Add it all up, defense lawyer Mike Ware said, and “this is an obvious case where they simply arrested and convicted the wrong man”.

Source: “Was the conviction of a Central Texas man built on bad science, lies?” American-Statesman, Nov. 18, 2016

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Patrick Pursley

Patrick Pursley was convicted of a 1993 murder, based on unreliable key witness testimony, jailhouse informants, and faulty forensic science.

At trial, the State’s expert concluded that the bullets and cartridges recovered from the crime scene were fired from a gun linked to Pursley “to the exclusion of all other firearms.” However the State’s expert has now admitted that he was wrong, and a defense expert has found that neither the cartridges nor the bullets recovered from the crime came from the gun linked to Pursley. On April 19, 2016 Pursley was granted an evidentiary hearing.

Sources:

http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/wrongfulconvictions/exonerations/waiting-for-justice/

http://www.jiwc.org/our-cases/patrick-pursley/

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News

March 3, 2017 New trial granted

 

 

Rodricus Crawford

Rodricus Crawford was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.

On February 16, 2012, something truly terrible happened that could only be described as any parent’s worst nightmare. Rodricus Crawford, a young father in Caddo Parish, Louisiana woke up and noticed that his son, Roderius, who had just turned one a week earlier, was lifeless.

Rodricus, who was sleeping on the pullout couch, immediately yelled out for help. An uncle called 911. Various family members took turns performing CPR and it seemed like nothing they were doing was making one bit of difference.

When the EMTs showed up, they refused to allow Rodricus to get in the ambulance with the baby and were slow to leave. It had already taken far too long for them to get there. They were so disrespectful to the family that it caused a stir there in the community. Within minutes, police arrived. Thinking they might take Rodricus to the hospital, they instead arrested him and took him to the jail. His only son had died and instead of comforting him as the grieving father that he was, he was interrogated and harassed.

Not a single soul in his family believed Rodricus Crawford killed his son. When police called in the boy’s mother, who lived a few doors down, for questioning, she didn’t believe it either. Rodricus loved the boy with his whole heart — everybody in the community knew that. No motive existed.

Over the next year, what unfolded in Louisiana, under the leadership of its then-Acting District Attorney Dale Cox, was like a bad movie. With no motive and no witnesses, Rodricus Crawford was charged and convicted of murdering his son. Black jurors were routinely struck from the jury pool. Even though an expert testified that the young boy likely died of complications to undiagnosed sepsis and pneumonia, which the family thought was just a small cold, Cox was convinced, in part due to a pathologist’s report, that Rodricus had deliberately smothered him to death.

A cut on the boy’s lip, which multiple family members testified was caused by a recent fall in the bathroom, was used as the justification of the smothering claim. Anybody who has ever had children knows far too well how often kids fall and hurt themselves, but it was completely ignored.

Crawford’s first appeal was denied by the Supreme Court of Louisiana on November 14, 2014. In November 2016, the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned the conviction. Four medical experts submitted reports indicating that his son had died of pneumonia. The baby’s blood had tested positive for sepsis, which can be fatal for young children. One judge wrote: “No rational trier of fact could have concluded that the State presented sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the specific intent to kill his one-year-old son,”

Sources: New York Daily News, November 18, 2016The New Yorker, November 23, 2016

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A science-based blast at Prosecutors’ belief in alchemy, voodoo and bitemarks

FORENSICS and LAW in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends

The Current Issue

Oxford University Press’  Journal of Law and the Biosciences just published an amicus curiae (i.e. friend of the court) anti-bitemark treatise which empirically debunks the recent PCAST deniers such as the National DA Association, the IAI, a ‘congress’ of crime labs, the US Department of Justice and the FBI.

The treatise does a complete look into skin-pattern-matching origins, early case law of its acceptance, judicial scientific mis-conceptions about validity, self-serving assumptions, dozens of exonerations, and ruinous failures in proficiency testing. The parallels to alchemy and voodoo are striking. Recent research into the impossibility of bitemarkers possessing ‘medical certainty’ in court gets special attention.

NOTE: the use of ’empirical’ should be considered facts, peer-reviewed studies, failed reliability testing and data underscoring the false beliefs advertised by the bitemark dentists belonging to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Read about the ‘Bullshit Factor about Bitemarks.’

Here…

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Ricky Kidd

Ricky Kidd was convicted of a 1996 double murder, and sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

The KC Police Commissioner & former prosecutor Cindy Dodge agree he is innocent.

An eyewitness recanted, and he has an alibi his public defender failed to investigate. He applied for a gun permit at the sheriff’s department on the day of the murders.

Jackson County prosecutors have put up barriers, saying it’s too late, and Kidd missed his chance to properly appeal.

Another man convicted of the murders named his two accomplices, not Kidd.

Video News Report 18 November 2016

Page at Midwest Innocence Project

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Alternative suspects

The case of Russ Faria (exonerated November 2015 after a retrial) and Pamela Hupp is in the public eye, with Dateline showing an update on the case yesterday. Hupp has been charged with another murder, and according to officials, the serial number on a $100 bill in Pamela Hupp’s bedroom dresser was sequential with numbers on four $100 bills found on a man she said was a stranger who she killed as an intruder.

During the Faria’s first trial, Judge Chris Kunza Mennemeyer ruled against the defense and they could not introduce the details about Pamela Hupp because it was not direct evidence ( see Russ Faria Found Not Guilty – Or When Pigs Really Fly , November 8, 2015 by Lise LaSalle ).

The point : In another Missouri case, Michael Amick faces a retrial set for Monday November 28, 2016. However, once again the jury will not hear evidence on alternative suspects : a prison confession by David Youngblood, 52, who is serving life without parole for the death of four older adults who were killed in two separate incidents in 2010. Those victims were burned, some of them shot, in their homes about 30 minutes from where Vaughan died, a crime very similar to the one for which Amick stands accused.

Is this a level playing field?

 

 

 

Justin Ross Harris

Justin Ross Harris was convicted of murder, after forgetting to drop his son at daycare.

Prosecutors argued that Harris, who was exchanging sexual text messages with women the day Cooper died, intended to kill his son because he wanted to be free of his family responsibilities, however there was no objective evidence to establish that this was true.

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Jeromy Poirier

14915018_240836962998118_942807992_nJeromy Poirier was falsely accused of sexually abusing his 2 1/2 year old daughter during a custody battle with cps by his wife’s parents.

Jeromy’s mother-in-laws sister worked as a case worker for cps and told them what his 2 1/2 year little girl needed to say to ensure victory.

Jeromy’s wife Cailey witnessed her maternal family coaching their daughter and when she stood up for the right thing, parents and aunt had their corrupt cps friend remove Jeromy and Cailey’s daughter, Marlie from both of them. They did this so that they could coach and brainwash her to say her daddy did things to her. They have even told Marlie that her daddy and mommy are dead and are in heaven.

Denton, TX CPS amended their petition to claim Jeromy and Cailey’s second daughter was born in Denton county when she was not, and it was not even their jurisdiction, but the judge looked over all of this and let Jeromy’s in-laws and the corrupt cps caseworker do whatever they wanted.

Jeromy has taken a polygraph with honest results. His daughter was taken to a children’s hospital immediately after the “outcry”, there were no signs of sexual abuse.

His in-laws waited an entire year after the false allegations were made to take the daughter for a forensic interview with the police, in which no outcry was made. They ended up taking her back for a second forensic interview where supposedly they had her make an outcry at that point.

A whole year passed after this point and the criminal investigation was suppose to be closed. Two years after the false allegations were made, Jeromy was arrested.

Jeromy and Cailey both tried to assist the detective in charge at the start of the case, and he would not speak to them at any point.

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Trevin Gamble

Wrongfully Convicted Of Murder Although His Mother & Siblings Swear He Was At Home With Them Doing Time Of Shooting Incident That Took A Young Girls Life

My name is Trevin Gamble. I was wrongfully accused of being involved in a shooting back in 1993 that resulted in a young girl’s life being taken.  The shooting was triggered by a gang rivalry between kids from my neighborhood and the neighborhood several blocks away.

Trevin on a visit with his mother at South Correctional Center

 

I have always maintained my innocence.  I had no involvement in the crime that took place that I have been convicted of, nor did I have any foreknowledge that the events were going to take place.  I was home with my mother and siblings the night of this incident.

I was arrested with 3 older guys from my neighborhood and accused to have been with them when the shooting took place.  Each of my co-defendants were older than I but I believe, because the state did not have a good case against my co-defendants, their plan all along was to use me against them.  One of my co-defendant’s, Kevin Smith, was nearly 20 years old, had served several years in the penitentiary already, and since his release…had been implicated in a number of crimes including murder.  Kevin was who they really wanted.  The police had been wanting to send Kevin back to prison since his release.

There was no physical evidence connecting me to the shooting.  The shooting incident happened at nearly midnight.  I was at home with my mother and siblings, and no where near where the crime I am locked up for took place.  My family members who were present that night all attested to the fact I had not been gone away from the house during the time the shooting allegedly occurred.

The primary evidence used to connect me to the crime was the testimony of a witness that knew me from the neighborhood.  The incident occurred during the wee hours of the night. It was pitch dark and there was bad lighting.  The shooters were allegedly shooting from the shadows of a dark vacant lot which sat approximately 50-60 ft from where the victim was struck.  I am a very dark-skinned individual – there is no way someone could positively identify me from 50 fee away at midnight!  There were approximately 20 people lingering around the street when the shots were fired and none of the witnesses positively identified me as the shooter but the one girl who misidentified me.  Moreover, there were numerous individuals standing out with the victim when the shots were fired.  People that knew me personally, yet none of them placed me on the crime scene.

I have served 22 years of a JLWOP sentence.  Recently the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the Missouri Board of Probation and Parole has to allow juveniles sentenced to life parole eligibility after serving 25 years.  Recently, the Governor signed this new legislation into law.  As a result of this, I do have some hope of maybe regaining my freedom in the not too distant future.

Nevertheless, I am innocent!!!  I was not involved in the crime I was accused and ultimately convicted of.   I have exhausted my appeals, but not my resolve of proving my innocence.  Currently, I do not have legal representation and my family no longer has funds to help me retain an lawyer.  I am seeking “pro bono” assistance to challenge my case on the basis that I am innocent!

Source

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Vanessa Cameron

Vanessa Cameron was convicted of murder of her son’s father in 2012. She was sentenced to 70 years. There was no physical evidence. Just a false confession from Vanessa and the testimony of the co-defendant Lakisha Brown. The alleged shooter was acquitted of murder. The real shooter plead guilty and received 25 years. The real shooter is Vanessa’s older sister Susan Sutton. All facts of the case can be read on www.freevanessa.com.

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