Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Letter to Pat Lykos 28
Time for another letter to Pat Lykos! This one's pretty long, and I want to talk more about this issue in later posts. Every now and then I get to this point where I think I've written everything I have to say about the case. It's a little scary, because I don't want to be 'done' with this until we see justice.
I had that feeling again, and I was reading through the Habeas Corpus to try and break something loose. Although the D.A.'s designation of the child as a 'victim' before the verdict had even been given was the first issue on appeal, it didn't strike me as significant until I realized that Lewis had filed a motion in limine to prevent it from happening; technically I realized it after I Googled the meaning of 'in limine' because, well, I don't speak fucking Latin.
Anyway, as always, I'd really appreciate if you'd take a minute to print this out, write your own, or simply download one of the flyers available in the toolbar on your right and send it off.
The Honorable Pat Lykos
1201 Franklin St
I'm writing today about the case of Carlos Coy, #908426.
As you may be aware, one of the issues mentioned in his appeal is that the complainant was repeatedly referred to as 'the victim' throughout the trial, from the opening statements through the summation. His defense lawyer filed a motion in limine to prevent it, but the trial court denied it. By denying that motion, and then placidly allowing the term to be used in court, it appears that the court viewed the child as a victim, destroying Coy's entire defense strategy before the first witness was ever called.
In my letters to you, I have often wondered how Coy was convicted without any physical evidence; I'm beginning to realize that by designating the child in this case a 'victim' at the very beginning, presenting anything solid would have been redundant. The State declared the child a victim, and if there's a victim, there must be a perpetrator; Coy was the only one named, and Harris County was more than happy to make it official. After the criminal court chose not to demand the State follow it's own rules at the beginning of the trial, the Court of Appeals refused to overturn the verdict since Coy's defense lawyer did not also act as referee.
It stated, almost flippantly, that “the record reflects that Coy’s attorney repeatedly reminded the jury that it was to decide whether O.S.’s allegations were true but did not object each time O.S. Was referred to as a “victim” in passing.” (pg 15)
Over and over and over again, that word was hammered (in passing!) into the minds of the jury. 'The victim said such-and-such'...'I know the victim'...When the prosecutor posed a question to the child's mother, blatantly assuming the truth of the allegations, the court upheld an objection 'as to the form of the question', but reading it over now, it seems more like a sop to proper etiquette than true regulation of unethical behavior.
How can we call this trial fair when, without proof or evidence, the complainant's status as a victim was decided in advance? With no injuries or physical evidence to prove that a crime actually occurred, why was the 351st court allowed to make that determination for the jury?
I have great faith in our justice system, and so many high expectations of it, so seeing it used to railroad citizens, be they guilty or innocent, is absolutely crushing. Please, review the case, the Habeas Corpus, and the Appeal's Court response. Consider whether this verdict should continue to not only affect Carlos Coy and his family, but to help support a precedent that, in my opinion, has doomed too many innocent men and women to prison time without regard for the facts of their cases.
Thank you for your time.
Me, my address, blah blah blah.