I mentioned to you that a couple things had jumped out at me when I re-read the Habeas Corpus appeal, and I want to talk about the second one today.
Here’s the bit from page 16 of the appeal; ‘Q’ is Coy’s defense attorney, and A is Mary Doe, the child’s mother:
"Q:. . . And if I got your testimony right, you told [your sister] that you were sure that [the molestation] had happened; is that right?
A:I never told her I was – I mean, we knew it was true.
The state habeas court found that Coy’s attorney elicited these statements “for the purpose of committing [Mary Doe] to her prior testimony, so that [he] could subsequently impeach [Mary Doe] with the previous inconsistent statement reflected in the complainant’s medical records [that she was not sure the sexual assault actually occurred].”
A brief translation, as best I can: Coy’s attorney asked Mary Doe if she knew, with a certainty born of Divine Motherly Truthiness, that her daughter had been assaulted; with no shadow of a doubt, no cause to question it.
Absolutely, says Mary. No question. We KNEW it happened.
He brought this up so he could later point out, using the child’s medical records as proof, that Mary Doe was, at some point, “unsure if the sexual assault had occurred.” That she didn’t always KNOW it had happened. This was an important point, as the Appeals Court pointed out:
“…by impeaching Ms.[Doe]’s credibility on this issue Coy’s counsel stood to discredit her entire testimony. The very statements Coy complains about, that Ms. [Doe] believed O.S. was telling the truth, were the same statements used to impeach her by confronting her with prior contradictory statements.”
Prior contradictory statements. Why do they matter? First of all, she testified that she knew the assault had happened, even though she had stated, apparently to someone involved in the child’s medical care, that she wasn’t sure if anything had happened. I don’t know if it was a bald-faced lie, or if she was just caught up in the drama and forgot, but basically she swore to something that wasn’t true. This issue of her misremembering salient details also came up during the discussion of whether or not she allowed her young children to watch movies with graphic sexual content.
Second, think back to Coy’s response about that first, untaped interview with Heidi Ruiz. Ruiz stated that Mary Doe was so upset, so completely torn apart by what had happened that when she tried to write out a statement, it was completely illegible. At this crucial point, when the child's testimony supposedly changed from 'being touched' to 'being licked', from 'Indecency with a Child' to 'Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child', Ruiz was naturally forced to throw out the only record of the interview.
From Coy’s Response (Part 4.a):
Court Transcripts Volume 11 of 31 Pg. 177
Ruiz: I got (Mary Doe) to calm down enough to start writing a statement and when I came back to check on her she was visibly upset, still continuing to write her statement. Came back to check on her a few minutes later and she had finished her statement. It was- - her ability to write was not there.
At this point, as far as I know, Jane Doe had not been medically evaluated. So I’m guessing the ‘contradictory statement’ was entered into her medical records three days later, when she was taken to the CAC. Ruiz claimed that, at the time of the first interview, Mary Doe was so upset that she was unable to produce a legible written statement. However, apparently three days after this, she unsure that anything had happened. If she was unsure there had been an assault, why would she be so upset that she couldn’t write a damn statement?
And why did Ruiz feel comfortable destroying the only written record of the child’s changing story?