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Monday, August 15, 2011

Open Records 5

Well, that was quick; I got my letter from the Attorney General's office Saturday informing me that the information I requested would not be released.

I didn't expect to get it so quickly, but here's why. They didn't even have to consider it. The 'Family Code' gives them the authority to conceal ALL evidence relating to sexual assault of a minor. They don't have to release ANYTHING to the public, even though the case is ten years old.

Section 261.201 of the Family code states:
Except as provided by Section 261.203, the following information is confidential, is not subject to public release under Chapter 552, Government Code...the files, reports, records, communications, audiotapes, videotapes, and working papers used or developed in an investigation under this chapter or in providing services as a result of an investigation.

So basically every goddamn thing the prosecution and HPD had, did, or wrote, is being hidden behind the Government Code. We are not even allowed to know what methods Officer Heidi Ruiz used to get a witness, who had already been unsuccessfully shaken down by the DA's office, to say that Carlos Coy had assaulted her. The video-taped interview from the CAC? Not available. A list of the physical evidence collected? Not available. Deals or threats they made to get people to testify? Not available. The reason why they presented 8 women to accuse Carlos Coy of assaulting them, then dropped those cases after they got the one conviction? Not available.

They tell us a crime has been committed, and that justice has been done, but they hide the information that could prove them right or wrong. This is such bullshit! We are denied the opportunity to examine their evidence while they sit on mountains of DNA kits that they have not identified, tested, or even stored properly. This is the system responsible for our safety. This is the system we hope will give us justice.

Is it any wonder, under this system, that exonerating evidence takes ten, even twenty years to come to light, while innocent men rot in prison? Their kids grow up, their families die off, and then they're kicked out the door with an "oops, sorry" and a check, if they're lucky.

But I'm not discouraged. Rick Perry has announced that he'll be running for the Republican nomination this year. Media attention will be focused on Texas, to figure out what kind of a man he is, and what's been happening on his watch. Let's make sure they find this case. What happened to Carlos Coy has happened to hundreds, maybe thousands of men in Texas over the last ten years. Lying or simply incompetent crime lab technicians, sneaky-ass prosecutors who don't see the need for due diligence, judges that deny the defense teams the opportunity to present vital evidence in court...This is Perry's legacy.

This could be a nightmare for Perry if we can just make it known. If he's smart, he'll quietly start a review so it will at least look like he's doing something. Please, write to your newspaper; send an email to the local TV news. Demand to know why Perry thinks he's fit for national office when he can't even make his own goddamn local governments adhere to the rule of law. Thursday's post will be another letter to Pat Lykos, and one to the Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott. Join me in sending word to the DA's office that we want to see some fucking justice in the criminal justice system.



Anonymous said...

I admire your perseverance. I think its really fucked up that he's been denied so many appeals. If you read this article: https://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/newsarchive/2002/20020709brisenofacts.htm
this man murdered the sheriff here in my hometown. I believe it was around the same time that Carlos was tried and incarcerated.. He was proven guilty through DNA evidence and witness testimony and was still allowed to appeal his case several times. So why don't they let Carlos appeal his case? Why don't they test the DNA evidence? I just think its really fucked up that they won't give him his chance.. Everyone deserves a fair trial. Free SPM!

Incandesio said...

I really appreciate your comment!
He has appealed three times on the basis of attorney ineffectiveness, but each time his appeal has been denied. The fact that he appealed the same thing three times suggests to me that his attorney's incompetence was so blatant, so wrong, that his appeals lawyer just assumed that the court, when confronted with it, would have to overturn it.
unfortunately, this is the Texas Appeals Court. You can't even get an appeal confirmed if your lawyer was SLEEPING during your trial.

Every year that Coy serves, every appeal they deny, just makes the eventual exoneration all the more embarassing for them. It's a concept called 'The Finality of Conviction'...They would rather keep innocent men in prison than allow guilty men to hope for early freedom.
It may seem too stupid to be real, but it is:
"In the majority opinion, the Supreme Court ultimately decided that the finality of a conviction is more important than making sure the right person was convicted. “We sharply disagree that finality is more important than scientific certainty. Fortunately, most state legislatures and state courts also disagree and grant our clients DNA testing that has proven innocence in case after case,” said Nina Morrison, Staff Attorney at the Innocence Project who worked on the Osborne case."


This case was a complete and utter clusterfuck. Eventually, justice will be done. Hopefully sooner rather than later.