Updated Thursdays

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kyrie Eleison (Part 2)



So, we talked a bit about Alfred Dewayne Brown’s conviction, and the acrobatic stunts pulled by the Grand Jury to facilitate it; I mentioned that the judge in his case was Mark Kent Ellis, who was also the judge in Carlos Coy’s case.

     I do believe that this is significant; don't forget that his was the courtroom in which LaDondrell Montgomery was convicted of a crime that it would have been physically impossible to commit, Montgomery being a guest of the Harris County jail at the time.


     It should also be pointed out, though, that when confronted with the found evidence, Ellis wrote to the Court of Criminal Appeals and recommended that Brown receive a new trial. It's possible he did this because he believed Brown to be innocent, but more likely because he realized that without that phone call being presented at the trial, the jury did not have all of the information necessary to find the truth. 

     There are a few pieces of information revealed by SPM that I feel are of similar importance, and it encourages me to think that Ellis is capable of revisiting previous convictions; if at some point it becomes possible to prove Coy’s assertion that the height of the bed would have made it physically impossible for him to have committed the crime he was convicted of, maybe Judge Ellis will be an ally and not a hurdle.

     I would also like to point out the tireless work of journalist Lisa Falkenberg, bringing Alfred Brown’s case to light. If you stop by the Chronicle’s website to read these excellent articles, please let her know that you appreciate what she’s doing.





            

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kyrie Eleison

Lord, have mercy.
There has been a significant dust-up over the recent appeal of Alfred Dewayne Brown, who was convicted of capital murder back in 2005. In Harris County. In the courtroom of Judge Mark Kent Ellis.

            At the time, Brown's alibi was that he had been sleeping at his girlfriend’s place and actually called her at work from the apartment’s landline at the same time prosecutors said he was with his accomplices after the crime. Sadly for him, his girlfriend was the prosecutor’s star witness and insisted that she had no idea if he’d left the apartment early enough to commit the crime.

            He received the death sentence.

            Until...strangely enough, evidence of that phone call he mentioned turned up in one of the homicide investigator’s garage. Huh. How weird. Mike Anderson, the D.A. at the time, agreed that Brown should receive a new trial.

            From the Houston Chronicle’s article:


"I think there were a lot of records, and this got overlooked," said (Chief of the DA’s Post Conviction Writs Unit, Lynn) Hardaway, who still believes Brown is guilty. "It was one piece of paper."

But an innocent oversight is doubtful when you consider another document in the garage stack - one that shows one of the prosecutors had requested the records, apparently soon after Brown's girlfriend told the grand jury about the phone call.

      So there’s that; mysteriously missing evidence that one might say tends to exonerate the defendant (excuse me, the condemned). And that sucks. But the girlfriend, Erika Dockery, testified against him; that not only was she not willing to vouch for his whereabouts that morning, but that he had admitted to her that he was involved in the crime.


     
Appellate attorneys were so outraged by a 146-page transcript of Dockery's testimony before the 208th Harris County grand jury on April 21, 2003, that they entered it into the public record for judges to review.

In it, grand jurors don't just inquire. They interrogate. They intimidate. They appear to abandon their duty to serve as a check on overzealous government prosecution and instead join the team.

            In this transcript, Brown’s girlfriend testifies that Brown was in her house that morning; the Grand Jurors browbeat and intimidate this woman until she reverses herself, threatening her with charges of perjury, of prison, and most abominably, of ripping her away from her children. The quotes released so far read like a B-movie villain’s ultimatum; I swear to God, the phrase “Think about your kids, darling” is uttered.


            The Grand Jury is supposed to be impartial; to hear the prosecutor’s reason for bringing charges, and then to decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial. In this case, the Grand Jury destroyed testimony that, at the least, would have provided the police’s number one suspect with an alibi, and they did it in one of the most atrocious ways possible; by threatening to rip a mother and her children apart.






Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's on your calendar?

If you follow the blog Facebook page, you may have seen these graphics posted:




It looks like they were created in conjunction with the Free SPM group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/430324587056440/



This is not connected to the blog at all, but if you have any skills or experience with this sort of thing, why not contact the group and offer to help? I would love to see this get off the ground, and I know that y’all would as well. I applaud anyone who wants to get involved in this case, using whatever skills they possess. Many hands make the burden light, etc etc.  https://www.facebook.com/events/330196240468665/

It has been pointed out that Oct 5 is a Sunday, and the courts will be closed. While this is true, if participation is enthusiastic enough, there may be news coverage. I think that putting public pressure on the county would be extremely beneficial, whereas the court employees themselves have little-to-no power over the situation; the point is to be heard by the judicial system, and media coverage may be the most effective route.


If you plan on attending, I also would urge you to be respectful of your surroundings, your fellow protesters and by-standers. I'll try to keep y'all updated if there's any more news.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Raymond Samano! Everyone else, thanks so much for playing.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Contest 3

Time for another contest from SPM; my apologies for not posting this earlier. You can see that this was meant to be posted up in June, so the legal letter he mentions has already been posted as 'The Never Ending Letter' parts A, B, and C. As always, you must be 18 to play, and if you don't have a blog account with an email address, that means I can't contact you. The first person to guess correctly will win.

                                                                                                            5/12/2014
Fambo,

            Dang, that last contest was way too easy. Now, I’m beginning to remember that I may have, already, had a verse (or something) that defined “The D.O.P.E.” as the dopest on planet earth. Did I?

            I’m going to have to think of something a little trickier. Still, I congratulate Francisco Perez for being the quickest on the draw, and shooting down the mystery in record-breaking time. You sly devil, you!
            Well, I finally got to writing the legal letter I promised you months ago. I’ve got the rough-draft already done, it’s thirty-two pages long. Now, I just need to type it up and mail it to the one-and-only, Incandesio The Great. That’s her new name (as far as I’m concerned.)

            So, that will be in the mail in about 3 days. Don’t miss it.

            You know, Francisco asked me a few questions after he won the contest. Great questions, by-the-way. His questions gave me the idea that that’s what everyone should do when they win a contest. Francisco asked these questions at the same time he gave his address to Incandesio.
            So, for the next contest, if you win, ask me two or three questions and I’ll answer them in the letter I write you. But, if you don’t mind, share my answers with the rest of SpmAftermath.com. Also, please give me the names of the two additional people you would like me to sign an autograph for.
           
            Again, if you win, as you send your address to Incandesio, ask me two or three questions so my letter to you will be exactly what you want. Also, include the names of the two additional people you’d like me to sign an autographed picture to.

            With that said, how bout we do another contest. Okay, if I bought a pitbull, I’d name him “Scary Loco.” The question is, why would I name him that.
            Hint: If I had a club, I’d name it
            “L.A. SYCO ROC.” lol!

            That was funny. Well, on my next Fam letter I’ll be giving you an update on The S.O.N., and it will be good news. Until then, I’ll leave you in a dark, cold world of doubt and distrust.A world so lonely that you reach out for help only to grab a handful of taunting winds that chill your bones.
(Sorry, I’ve been practicing my somber prose.)

            Well, Fam, it’s always two scoops of love and two tons of loyalty. I’ll write you more in just a bit.

Con Todo Mi Amor,

            Los

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thoughts and Questions

I have been thinking a lot about SPM’s assertion in his last letter, that because of the height of the bed in question the crime he was convicted of would have been physically impossible to commit. Not so much the mechanics of the situation, as without an accurate measurement it would be impossible to verify the claim; but about whether or not having something like that, some sort of concrete proof of his innocence, would be enough to get him a new trial.

In Herrera V Collins (1993), the Supreme Court ruled that, as long as all the justice system’s duck were in a row, that every ‘i’ was dotted and every ‘t’ was crossed, being factually innocent wasn’t enough to overturn a death sentence.

It looks like this was revised in 2013, when they decided that "actual innocence ... serves as a gateway through which a petitioner may pass"; that’s mighty nice of them. However, the burden of proof is very high. If Coy could prove that he was physically incapable of committing this assault, it might be enough.

            Another question, though, is why it was not brought up at trial. The defense presumably had access to both the bed and a tape measure, and this point should have been introduced at trial. Would the appeals court decide that, because the defense had access to a potential proof of innocence but didn’t bring it up during trial, they forfeited the right to use it? It’s possible.

            A final question, which would not be considered by the Supreme Court, is how the fuck did we wind up with a series of laws so convoluted that we can even entertain the thought that an innocent person may be permitted to die in prison because they received a technically perfect trial?





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jim Bolding



In his most recent letter, SPM quotes the investigating officer in his case, Heidi Ruiz, when she mentioned the founder of the HPD lab’s DNA section, a Mr. Jim Bolding. The decision whether or not to collect evidence was based on this guy’s training. Bolding, the lab director, was a key figure for many years and is mentioned repeatedly in the report issued by an independent investigator back in 2005.

Bolding appears to have been a self-taught serologist, and lacked the necessary education in statistics to effectively perform DNA analysis. Because of his recommendation the lab began storing evidence in rooms without temperature controls.

“Over the many years that Bolding remained in charge, the serology department became marked, according to Bromwich, by a "disregard for scientific integrity." Analysts beneath Bolding often neglected to test evidence that was presented to them; the tests they did perform were "generally unreliable." They misinterpreted, misrecorded, misreported the results. The investigator even found a case in which Bolding seemed to have committed "outright scientific fraud and perjury."”

A federal jury found that the city showed ‘deliberate indifference’ to the problems at the crime lab when they awarded George Rodriguez $5 million for the false evidence which led to his conviction.

A key piece of the case against Coy –namely, any shred of physical evidence- rested in the hands of an officer who, by her own admission was trained “year after year” by this guy.