Today I want to list some of the institutions involved in Coy's conviction, and give you a little bit of information about each. I've talked about each of them before, at length. These are just a few of the more glaring occurrences that I believe should be more well known:
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Talking Points 2
The CAC is a medical center tasked with evaluating and treating children believed to have been molested. In 2004, the center came under fire for the misbehavior of a nurse who was apparently more interested in gathering evidence for law enforcement than following approved methods for caring for potentially abused children.
Judge Mark Kent Ellis is, for all intent and purposes, the 351st court. I was not sure whether to put him in the ‘People’ or ‘Institution’ category. He was the presiding judge when LaDondrell Montgomery received a life sentence for a crime that he could not have committed, being in jail at the time.
"It boggles the mind that neither side knew about this during trial," Ellis said Thursday. "Both sides in this case were spectacularly incompetent."
The mind does, indeed, boggle, but consider for a moment the third party to this travesty. There was both surveillance video and eye-witness testimony presented against Montgomery. Because the man could not have been present during the crime the evidence must have been un-compelling at best; yet the court, that trusting and credulous institution, allowed it to be presented to a jury, who then turned it into a conviction.
Finally, we have the Houston District Attorney’s Office. I talked about Chuck Rosenthal, the DA, in the last Talking points post, but the office is no stranger to controversy; the Houston Chronicle has labeled the office under Johnny Holmes a ‘Powerful Death-Penalty Machine’. John Bradley, the prosecutor who fought vigorously against testing the evidence that eventually exonerated Michael Morton, served under Holmes for two years.
The Houston Crime Lab is such an unforgivable cluster-fuck that I don’t think I can condense it into a few paragraphs; I’m going to give you a brief timeline of articles from the Houston Chronicle:
July 29, 2011: "HPD crime lab faces more heat; Former supervisor testifies she quit over accuracy of alcohol tests."
July 19, 2010: "District attorney calls for emergency DNA lab; Houston's backlog of cases keeps growing."
January 27, 2010: "HPD lab faces 3rd backlog problem; 300 cases are in need of firearm forensics."
December 13, 2009: "Prints and problems; HPD's fingerprint scandal reminds us how much we need an independent crime lab."
April 25, 2009: "Another crime lab bungle surfaces; Prosecutors to ask that man who has spent 22 years in prison be freed on bail. Richard could be 4th man cleared after crime lab errors."
January 26, 2008: "HPD again shuts down crime lab's DNA unit; Move follows resignation of division's leader in cheating probe."
December 12, 2007: "HPD lab analyst indicted on theft, tampering charges. His suspension triggered a review of 200 narcotics cases he'd handled."
June 17, 2007: "'Troubling' Cases Surface in Report on HPD Crime Lab; 1991 conviction for rape, murder has drawn the most concern."
January 5, 2006: "HPD Lab Probe Details More Lapses; Revelations show 2 divisions' problems amount to 'near-total breakdown.'"
December 18, 2005: "HPD's lab's troubles predate DNA testing; Experts' review finds a pattern of problems in 1980s studies of blood samples."
June 5, 2005: "Bitter pills; HPD analysts faked drug evidence in four cases. How much more fraud has gone undetected?"
November 5, 2003: "DNA evidence destroyed; pardons called possible."
June 25, 2003: "HPD ignored warnings, ex-lab man says; Retired official says he cited 'train wreck.'"
April 3, 2003: "HPD chief proposes independently run crime lab."
June 5, 2002: "Rape Kits; HPD strives to end 'embarrassment' of untested DNA."
This bullshit extends to multiple forensic laboratories even farther back than 2002, to the Josiah Sutton case in 1999 and the Timothy Cole case in 1986. It continued in 2012 & 13, with lab tech Jonathon Salvador’s “shoddy work”. The white lab coats and unshakeable science of ‘CSI’ are a myth; the reality is that just because something is printed on a lab report doesn’t mean it’s the product of conscientious research.