Category Archives: Arizona

Anant Tripanti

Anant Tripanti was falsely accused by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office of attempting to defraud others in a real estate appraisal scheme (for a bail bond) that he had no part in. The real perpetrators of the crime were coerced and threatened with prosecution if they did not testify against him.

The motive:

He found evidence that the Maricopa County Attorneys office was engaged in an ongoing practice of arresting and falsely targeting prosecuting people of color, and of low income, fabricating evidence and crimes against them.

Who is Anant Tripati?

I am 54 years old, of East Indian descent, and a citizen and native of Fiji. Until June 24, 1992, I owned and operated “Legal Research Associates”, a successful legal research firm located in Beverly Hills. I was falsely accused by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office of attempting to defraud others in a real estate appraisal scheme (for a bail bond) that I had no part in. The real perpetrators of the crime were coerced and threatened with prosecution if they did not lie and testify falsely during my trial (Documents 2-4). I was convicted of one count of fraudulent schemes, one count of false swearing, and two counts of attempted fraudulent schemes. I was given consecutive sentences totaling 52.5 years in prison with no possibility of parole. I was 38 years old when I went to prison, and I am scheduled to be released in 2044 at the age 94, which will essentially serve as a life sentence. From 1983 to 1987, prior to founding Legal Research Associates, I was in a federal prison for insurance-related fraud. Whilst in prison, I met people who were victims of miscarriages of justice, and became interested in trying to help them. As a result, after my release I set up Legal Research Associates. Undoubtedly, my previous conviction encouraged Maricopa County to frame me with fraud and believe that they could get away with it.

What could have motivated the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office?

In late 1991 I provided assistance during a complex case in Maricopa County Superior Court, in Phoenix, Arizona. During the course of my research I found evidence that the Maricopa County Attorneys office was engaged in an ongoing practice of arresting and falsely targeting prosecuting people of color, and of low income, fabricating evidence and crimes against them. I began to challenge these practices of Maricopa County. A paralegal in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Teresa Archuleta, informed me at the time that I needed to back off, otherwise Maricopa County would put me out of business (Documents 5-6). I did not back down against Maricopa County, and soon thereafter Gunn McKay, Dean Chatfield, Donald Conrad and others from the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office “manufactured crimes against and arrested Mr. Tripati” (direct quote from Document 5; also described in Documents 2-6). On June 24, 1992 Dean Chatfield, Donald Conrad, and Gunn McKay, having traveled from Arizona to California, entered and searched my office. They seized and illegally removed to Arizona (Document 5 and other documents not included here) the thousands of pages of documents, including the evidence I had collected against Maricopa County. They also took my office and computer equipment, computer disks and software, and many other items. Fraudulent return of search documents were filed in Los Angles Court at the request of Maricopa County Officials (documentation available on request).

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Harold Fish

This case is notable due to a retroactive change in the law regarding the burden of proof in self defense cases in Arizona.

On May 11, 2004, 57-year-old Harold Fish, a retired high school teacher, was completing a solo hike in a remote area of the Coconino National Forest near Strawberry, Arizona, when he saw 43-year-old Grant Kuenzli lying on the ground near a car. Fish waved at Kuenzli, whom he did not know, and two unleashed dogs came charging at him.

Fish yelled at Kuenzli to corral the dogs and, when nothing happened, he pulled a 10-millimeter semi-automatic pistol from his backpack and fired a warning shot into the ground. The dogs scattered, but then, according to Fish, Kuenzli himself charged at Fish, threatening to kill him.

Fish fired three shots and killed Kuenzli, a former firefighter who was living out of his car in the forest. Fish covered Kuenzli’s body with a tarp and walked to a highway where he flagged down a motorist who summoned emergency personnel.

Entry at National Registry of Exonerations | News Article on change in law.

Eldon Schurz

“To back him up, Levy threw in a transient, Ronnie Yazzie, who was “reimbursed” twice to travel to Phoenix and stay in a motel, and the testimony of a dubious detective, Armando Saldate who was also involved in the Hyde and Milke cases among many others that are very questionable. Saldate was the “fire expert,” though there were several fireman present at the scene.”

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Shawna Forde

Shawna was leading her own minuteman group called MAD in AZ border by Mexico at a time when the border violence was spilling over into AZ from Mexico. She was working on a case with the FBI to expose some high level members of law enforcement and was making a documentary on it. She had apparently talked about maybe hitting an empty stash house near Arivaca and stealing arms and money from it (empty as in no one living there); she gave a map of it to an undercover FBI agent.

Later three men and a woman knocked upon a man’s home in Arivaca and barged in saying they were law enforcement looking for fugitives, once in the one man shot the husband and killed him, shot the wife and she played dead, shot the 9 year old girl and killed her.

Then two more entered the home and raided it, the female said someone was coming and they all stepped out. The woman survivor got into the kitchen and called 911 and got a gun out of a drawer in there; she screams to 911 they are coming back and as the woman that entered sees her she runs out and tells the guys to finish her off, the guy shooter runs in and gunfire breaks out, the wounded female runs him off and shoots him in the leg, the shooters leave. The survivor cannot pick Shawna Forde out of a police line up and describes a woman that doesnt fit Shawna’s description or hair color.

No neighbor can pick Shawna out of photo line up. No evidence of Shawna is found on the crime scene. Just prior to trial the FBI agent that got the map destroys it knowing it’s major evidence and admits he destroyed it.

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News report with 911 call, June 17, 2009 | 911 call

Another Summary

Tim Casner

Tim Casner was convicted of burglary and sentenced to 26 years in prison. The prosecution’s key witness was Casner’s uncle, Gary Lewis, a drug addict facing a decade in prison on narcotics charges. He traded his testimony against his nephew for leniency. But Gary Lewis has since signed an affidavit recanting his testimony. He told ABC15 Investigators he lied on the stand after he was fed information.

Featured case #46 in Arizona: Facebook Page | Proposal | Featured Case Post | News Article | Petition

Robert Fischer

Featured case #44

Robert Fischer is accused of murdering Lee Radder. Robert was staying with relatives ( he was the step-father of the Lee’s wife ). Lee Radder apparently committed suicide on 30 December 2010, after receiving bad news about a business deal. He had spent the night in a heavy drinking session with Robert. Due to being intoxicated, Robert made some confused, inaccurate statements, stating that he was in bed when the shot was fired, whereas in reality he was in close proximity to Lee.

The prosecution allege Robert staged the scene. However this is scientifically impossible. Forensic evidence conclusively demonstrates that Lee shot himself, and there was no staging.

On 28 February 2014, the trial judge overturned the jury’s verdict, on the grounds that the verdict was contrary to the balance of evidence and prosecution misconduct.

  • Lee’s DNA and partial fingerprint were found on the gun
  • There was no trace of Robert (DNA or fingerprint) on the gun
  • The gun in Lee’s hand and the high velocity back spatter on Lee’s hands is compelling evidence that Lee shot himself.
  • Detective Acosta’s opinion that the defendant manipulated Lee’s body and staged the scene is not supported by the physical evidence and lacked credibility.

See here for the full ruling.

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Jessie B.

Jessica Burlew, a 17 year old girl diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism, has been held in isolation in Estrella Jail since January, 2014. She was been charged with 2nd degree murder for the accidental death of Jason Ash, a 43 year old man who was sexually exploiting her.

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Trial set for Monday August 17th, 2015 ( postponed )

Report August 12, 2015

“Eighteen-year-old Jessica Burlew has been in jail for 571 days as her public defenders and the state of Arizona waded through the complicated and drawn-out process of preparing for a homicide trial. A source close to the situation now tells New Times that attorneys and relevant parties have discussed and debated terms of various plea bargains for months, and court documents suggest that a tentative settlement of a manslaughter plea has been reached.

In return for a guilty plea, Burlew’s second-degree murder charge would be lessened to manslaughter.”

Note: see here for developments since August.

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias defended herself from repeated attacks by her abusive ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander after she dropped his camera.

The prosecution attempted to prove premeditated murder with a ridiculous circumstantial case based around Jodi using three gas cans (false), and changing her hair color on her trip to visit Travis (also false), among other rubbish cited as evidence of premeditated murder.

In addition the State changed it’s theory over the order of the injuries, in a blatant attempt to pit the testimony of the medical examiner against Jodi’s truthful testimony of what occurred. This culminated in a ridiculous claim that his own autopsy report had a “typographical error”.

The physical evidence shows Alexander was shot first, then he stands at the sink, indicating he did not anticipate further attack, consistent with Jodi’s testimony that she shot him by accident.

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Death penalty retrial commenced  29 September, 2014.
Jury hung in sentencing retrial 5 March, 2015.
Sentenced to natural life, April 13, 2015.

Debra Milke

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Retrial date : 2 February, 2015 – Facebook Page for Retrial

Update : Charges dropped 11 December, 2014.

Prosecution appeal to Arizona Supreme Court denied 17 March, 2015.

Entry at National Registry of Exonerations March 2015.

Courtney Bisbee

In 2004, Courtney Bisbee, was falsely accused by one teenager, of an alleged sexual “touching” incident while in a room of teenagers. The crime never happened. The story was made up by her teenage accuser’s mom in a scheme to sue a school district for money. Her own son, and the prosecution’s star witness, would sign a sworn affidavit admitting his mother forced him to lie about this. 

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Article Courtney Bisbee Case – Redux (Sentencing) Oct 3 2015, at The Wrongful Convictions Blog, Part 2


20 November 2015 : Evidentiary hearing granted