Updated Thursdays

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Redirect

Just a short post tonight; I would like to bring your attention to this article in The Economist detailing the growth of the prosecutor’s growing power in the court room.

"Prosecutors enjoy strong protections against criminal sanction and private litigation. Even in egregious cases, punishments are often little more than a slap on the wrist. Mr Stevens’s prosecutors, for example, were suspended from their jobs for 15 to 40 days, a penalty that was overturned on procedural grounds. Ken Anderson, a prosecutor who hid the existence of a bloody bandana that linked someone other than the defendant to a 1986 murder, was convicted of withholding evidence in 2013 but spent only five days behind bars—one for every five years served by the convicted defendant, Michael Morton."


It’s a long read, but well worth your time.


Marisol Garay, of Mexicaninfo.blogspot.com, has challenged every fan to mail out a letter to the D.A on 11/3. I’ll have some ideas for letters up next week, let’s make this happen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Manual Velez

Another pseudo-exoneration out of Texas; Manuel Velez walked out of prison last week after nine years on death row. He was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s 11 month old son in 2005...although he was hundreds of miles away when the child received the injuries that lead to death.

The news stories revolve heavily around what appears to have been his incompetent defense; it’s repeatedly pointed out that his lawyer could have easily shown that the child was injured while Velez was out of state with just a cursory investigation. What I have yet to see is a reporter asking why, if his innocence was so easily proven, did the investigators not uncover it before the damn thing ever went to trial?

There’s no mention of some new technology that made this possible; the evidence appears to have been there all the time. Why didn’t the police find it? Why didn’t the D.A. find it? Was it unavailable, or simply ignored?

Legal representation matters, but how much damage should an attorney have to repair? Should he have to overcome a lost ‘outcry’ interview? Testimony that changes mid-trial because prosecutors didn’t verify details?




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

D.O.U.

Day of Unity recap, people! Thanks to all who attended & posted pics. It looks like there was a large turnout, no problems, and a wall of cops, shoulder-to-shoulder, blocking the doors of the courthouse; that’s all good, as the point was to create attention and not drama.

Marisol Garay of http://mexicaninfo.blogspot.com/ attended, and has some great pictures posted up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/marisol.garay.372?fref=nf

Sylvia Coy, one of the driving forces behind the protest, has stated their intention to keep this wave going, and it appears that they are planning a second DOU on December https://www.facebook.com/spmretrial?fref=nf
There’s another planning meeting at the Dope House on 10/12.

I’m currently failing at the internets (I must be getting old), so I’m just going to post the links where you can find pictures, videos and info pertaining to the Day of Unity.




There have been a few fans asking what effect the DOU had, what difference it made. I have to tell all of you, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Watching the event take shape and occur filled me with a sense of hope, but it was never meant to be the finish line. It garnered attention, as you can see from the following news mentions:





...but this is not the end. Let’s keep the momentum going.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

S.O.N. Rise



            If you’ve been a coma for the last few days, you’re still probably aware that The S.O.N. dropped on 9/30 and seems to be doing pretty well. I encourage you to try to support a local music shop, but if that’s not an option you can order it from Best Buy, Amazon, Itunes, or Dope House

Alright, ladies and gents; the Day of Unity approaches. If you’re not sure if you should go or not, consider this. County election day is November 4th. Now is the time all those judges, District attorneys, commissioners, etc will be paying close attention to their constituents. We know that the justice system in Harris County has been running on the knife’s edge between Business-as-Usual and Corrupt-as-Fuck for some time now. Although generally I encourage y’all to educate yourselves about the case and spread that knowledge, it has been suggested that we stick to a simpler message for the protest; Retrial.

            I think this makes sense, given the potentially volatile nature of a public protest. If you decide to respect this, don’t let yourself get drawn into an argument; there is a time and a place for debate, naturally, but let’s try to keep 10/3 focused on the retrial.

            Nibu Abraham of Free Press Houston interviewed Carlos Coy for an article that you can read here: http://www.freepresshouston.com/spm/. I don’t think that anyone could have summed up this cluster-fuck of a situation any better or more concisely. Please give it a read, and share it with your friends. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, wherever you spend time. If you comment remember to stay calm, be clear, and don’t let anyone get under your skin.

            I will probably not be in Houston for the protest, so if you go please take pictures and post them to the blog Facebook page. Those of that can’t be there would love to see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

More Grand Antics

Ruben Carrizal, a long-time veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s department, went to work for the Harris County District Attorney. He resigned the same year (2013).

He resigned because he got caught tampering with  government documents; he executed a warrant without a judge’s signature, then went back sometime later, had the judge sign it, and dated  the document to make it look like it had been signed all along.

A Grand Jury chose not to take action on the case, and Carrizal resigned in (presumably) disgrace. He was then re-hired by the Sheriff’s department. Three days later.

It is, shall we say, a Bad Thing, to make either the choice or the mistake of not getting a judge’s signature on a search warrant. It is an Even Worse Thing, in my opinion, to backdate the warrant. He screwed up, and tried to avoid dealing with the consequences. The system in place allowed him to do this, then provided a safe haven for him when his acts came to light; he won’t be facing charges, because a Grand Jury ‘chose to take no action’, which is apparently an even less public way of dismissing prosecution than a “no bill’.

If you plan on attending or supporting the upcoming ‘Day of Unity’, please remember that this is the system we’re fighting against. This is the shit that needs to be made public. In case you missed it, there was a pseudo press-release from SPM about the gathering on October 3rd, and you can listen to that here: https://m.soundcloud.com/dopehouseofficial/the-day-of-unity-speech




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

S.O.N.Light




Just a quick update for today’s post; the Coy family's planning for the Day of Unity continues, and there’s another pre-event planning meeting this weekend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg2jA4xrLh0
At the last meeting there was a speaker-phone call from SPM, so attend & volunteer, if you can. 




You can find links to various social media pages below the post, in no particular order. If I forgot anybody, add it in the comments.


Publicity for The S.O.N. continues to roll out; you can see the Dope House commercial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99c2FHWXP5I
Apparently you can preorder it on Amazon for the correct price of $11.99, or on Best Buy. They've been filming a music video, with Pablo Time Nuñez as SPM's doppelganger. Check out the pictures, they're pretty amazing.


This whole confluence of events has been a long time coming; if you make it to the protest on October 3rd, please remember that there will be eyes on us as a group. There’s no need to argue with anyone, to give or take offence. The point is to get the attention of the public at large, and those that work within the Harris County justice system. Remember that this needs to be done in a positive way.


I have met quite a few SPM fans over the years, and every one of them has been a very cool person. Please, let’s project that awesomeness far and wide from now until 10/03.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lacresha Murray


Lacresha Murray

I’m not sure how I missed this story for so long; Murray’s case started in Austin, when she was just 11 years old. In 1996 she was convicted of stomping a two-year-old that she had been babysitting to death, and sentenced to 20 years. They used a statement she had made (after hours of being questioned, without an adult) to seal the deal.

This was set aside almost immediately, after a judge realized that Murray had received no defense.

She was tried again in 1997, and convicted after a medical examiner testified that bruises on the baby’s body matched the sneaker tread of the 11 year-old’s shoes. She was convicted again and sentenced to 25 years.

In 1999, the Texas Court of Appeals set aside the conviction once again, ruling that her confession should have been thrown out because she had not received an explanation of her rights, and because hey, interrogating an eleven year old for hours non-stop without a family member present might not be, y’know, SOP best practices. Maybe. Also it was pretty apparent that the child in her care had been beaten before she ever arrived at Murray’s home, and gee maybe we should look into that.

Charges were dismissed with prejudice, which means they can not bring her back to trial, and Murray was released after having spent many of her formative years behind bars, as a convicted murderer.

There are many layers of tragedy in this story, not the least of which is that she was convicted twice, without a defense, with a confession obtained by illegally isolating her from her family, from a lawyer, even from a magistrate, and testimony that was later retracted by the medical examiner who had offered it.

This is what we’re fighting against; this is a facet of the justice system that many people simply refuse to see. Justice came, eventually, for most of the people I’ve written about. I believe it will eventually come for Carlos Coy. I urge you to attend or support the upcoming Day of Unity; let Harris County know that we simply want to know that justice will prevail.