I have noticed an interesting trend; if you follow the social media pages of the 'Free SPM' movement you may have seen it too. When one persistent person pops up to sling insults and try to undermine what we're doing here, a swarm of them always seems to follow. Whether on Twitter, Facebook, or here, they like company.
I don't engage with them like I used to, but if you choose to do so please make sure you're doing it calmly, even nicely. They call us child molesters and make threats against us because they want a reaction. The most maddening thing in the world for them is a quiet, educated response.
You're asking them to question something that most of them have accepted on faith; that a conviction is proof of guilt. It's a scary thing for them to be told that the justice system is not just; accepting it would mean that the basic precautions that most of us take like following the speed limit, paying our taxes, and not hurting others don't mean shit in the face of prosecution. It would mean that not murdering, raping, or stealing is no defense against a decades-long prison sentence.
So have patience, and have compassion. You don't have to let their arguments go unanswered but understand that they're struggling against knowledge, and no amount of force is going to win them over. Only time and information can do that.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
This is an interesting article that takes a look at Johnny Holmes, the DA who mentored Chuck Rosenthal (The DA at the time of Coy’s conviction.) Although it’s focused on Holmes’ death penalty stance, it illustrates the no-holds barred of the top prosecutor, something that seems to have been passed down to his successor.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
The Houston Press has recently set about championing the cases of innocent men and women who have been wrongfully incarcerated. No, no, I shit you not. If you search the term ‘innocent’ on their page, you get multiple articles, written within the last few years, decrying various injustices.
So, for today’s letter, I hope you will consider taking a moment to ‘pitch a story’ by clicking on the ‘contact us’ link on their website. I think it would be more meaningful if you write an original letter, but I’m including mine below to give y’all some ideas. I don’t particularly expect to get a fair shake from the Press, but it can’t hurt to try. If you want a refresher on a few of the problems I found with 'South Park Monster', start here:
To read Coy's rebuttal, start here:
Then go here:
But it you don't read those, at least read this one:
As always, please be polite, make the case as you see it, and don’t worry whether your letter is ‘good enough’ or not. You are their reader base, let them know what you want to read about!
Sir or madam,
I was very interested to see your recent article about the looming execution of Daniel Lee Lopez. In it, author Craig Malisow suggests, somewhat snarkily, that there are numerous innocents trapped on death row that may put up more of a fuss as their execution dates grow closer.
I agree that, given the state of Harris County’s justice system over the last twenty years, there surely are. I would be particularly interested in a new examination of the trial of Carlos Coy, also known as the South Park Mexican. Although he did not receive a death sentence, he is currently serving 45 years on the fluctuating testimony of a child who may very well have been coached.
While your former columnist John Nova Lomax wrote a long-winded and supposedly comprehensive account of the case against Coy in 2002, I find it to be loaded with strategic omissions that render it little more than an opinion piece. Mentions of HPD’s refusal to collect physical evidence, or of the outcry statements from mother and daughter which were summarily destroyed the same day they were given, or of their testimony changing from the witness stand itself are nowhere to be found. I would be interested to see the lead prosecutor’s later Brady Violation examined (in the case of Glen Kahlden), as well as the second-chair prosecutor’s later connection to Coy’s defense lawyer.
With so many cases being overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, hidden evidence, and misrepresented or discredited science, I think your readers would be fascinated by an updated look into his case.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Just a short post today; there’s a great article in the Washington Post about wrongful convictions; here’s an excerpt:
“The average time served for the 1,625 exonerated individuals in the registry is more than nine years. Last year, three innocent murder defendants in Cleveland were exonerated 39 years after they were convicted — they spent their entire adult lives in prison — and even they were lucky: We know without doubt that the vast majority of innocent defendants who are convicted of crimes are never identified and cleared.”
Check it out, it’s worth a read.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
“There's a 1,300-page offense report detailing the investigation into the fatal shooting of Belinda Temple in 1999. There are audio tapes of witnesses who saw the pregnant teacher at Katy High School on the day she was killed later than previously thought. There's a statement from a teenage neighbor that the Temples' dog, known for its viciousness, would calm down after sniffing him.
Those are three examples of evidence withheld from David Temple's defense lawyers that could have helped him at his 2007 trial, lawyers said Monday, as they called for a special prosecutor to investigate the notorious Katy slaying and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.”
I wrote about the Temple case a couple of weeks ago, but did not realize the sheer amount of evidence withheld by the D.A’s office. This is an excerpt from an article in The Houston Chronicle, which you can read at the link below.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
A quick note; SPM was recently moved to the Ramsay Unit; you can find his new address here: http://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/
Time for another letter to the DA! As always, please feel free to write your own, copy this one, or just send out one of the printable flyers to your right.
I’m writing today about the case of Carlos Coy, 908426.
As you are no doubt aware, former prosecutor Kelly Siegler has been much in the news lately. After Judge Larry Gist determined that she withheld exculpatory evidence in the 2007 case of David Temple, lawyers for Howard Guidry claimed that Siegler had done the same thing in their client’s case.
Denise Oncken, the first-chair prosecutor in Coy’s case, had a similar Brady finding held against her in the 2008 case of Glen Kahlden. Kahlden, like Coy, was accused of aggravated sexual assault of a child. It does not seem too far-fetched to imagine that similar misbehavior may have affected Coy’s case.
Carlos Coy has many supporters in Houston and around the world. We urge you to please, review his case. See if the behavior of the prosecutors may have resulted in an unfair trial, and give him and his family justice.
Me, my name, etc etc.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
A few times, I have been asked why I post stuff that has nothing to do with Carlos Coy’s case. A big part of convincing people that his trial was unfair is, in my experience, establishing the idea that Harris County’s justice system is fucked.
With that in mind, I’d like to bring your attention to the unfolding saga of Kelly Siegler. A former Harris County Prosecutor, Siegler was famous for a TV show based on solving cold cases, and her role in exonerating Anthony Graves.
A judge recently that she withheld vital evidence from a 2007 case, resulting in an unfair trial for David Temple. Grits for Breakfast highlighted this statement from the ruling "Of enormous significance was the prosecutor's testimony at the habeas hearing that apparently favorable evidence did not need to be disclosed if the State did not believe it was true."
This has nothing, and everything, to do with Carlos Coy’s case. I have long maintained that his case was not unique, that it was not unusual, that it was an example of the Harris County ‘justice’ machine grinding along the way it always has. Stories like this support my belief; Siegler is a part of the system that produced Chuck Rosenthal, Denise Oncken, and Lisa Andrews.