LIFER ROGER CARLOS RAY FIGHTS CONVICTION OF 1987 MURDER; HEARING ON SUPPRESSED EVIDENCE JULY 7, 2022

Top: Atty. Sarah Hunter (l) represents Dwight Love (center)in 1996; excerpts from Detroit News article by Ron French (r) citing miscellaneous files; bottom (l) Judge Daphne Means Curtis

In 1996, Atty. Sarah Hunter exposed DPD’s use of  “miscellaneous files” to hide exculpatory evidence

Ricardo Ferrell

In 2022, precedent brings new hope for Roger Carlos Ray, in prison since 1993–hearing on suppressed 1987 DPD files set for July 7, 2022

Court of Appeals vacated conviction and ordered a new trial in 2020 

By Ricardo Ferrell, Field Editor

With Diane Bukowski, VOD Editor

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Ed. note: the names of the prosecution’s chief witness against Roger Carlos Ray, who may be the actual murderer, and the new witness whose affidavit says that man confessed the crime to him, have been redacted here since judicial action on the case is still pending.

May 2, 2022

Roger Carlos Ray MDOC

Through nearly three decades in prison, Roger Carlos Ray, 57, has always maintained his innocence of the gruesome murder of John Holmes on Detroit’s west-side in 1987.

Now he may finally have a chance for freedom, thanks to an investigation by private investigator Scott Lewis in 2018, which points to the chief trial witness against Ray as the likely murderer.

Based on that evidence, the Michigan Court of Appeals vacated Ray’s conviction July 23, 2020 and ordered a new trial.

An evidentiary hearing on a “Successive Motion for Relief from Judgment based on Newly Discovered Evidence in the Detroit Police Department ‘Homicide File'” is set for July 7 in front of Wayne 3rd Circuit Court Judge Miriam Saad Bazzi. Atty. Laurel Kelly Young of Grand Rapids is representing Ray.

THE CASE OF DWIGHT LOVE AND THE ‘MISCELLANEOUS’ FILES

DPD Commander Gerald Stewart (l) helps Rosa Parks at her house after she was attacked inside in Aug. 1994. Atty. Gregory Reed (r). 

In 1996, Dwight Carvel Love and his attorney Sarah Hunter first exposed DPD’s long-standing practice of using “miscellaneous files” separate from the official homicide file to hide exculpatory (favorable) evidence from the defense.

Recorders Court Judge Daphne Means Curtis ordered those files in Love’s case released, and he and his attorney found exculpatory and impeachment evidence in them favorable to Love.  Judge Curtis dismissed the case, and after several years of appeals by the prosecutor’s office, finally freed Love.

In an affidavit in 1999, Hunter swore she met secretly with a former FBI agent and a DPD officer who was on leave, who reported corrupt practices in the department. Later, the officer allegedly killed himself and his wife, and the former FBI agent died as well, leaving Hunter the only witness to the meeting left alive. In the excerpt below, “Mr. Harrison” is the DPD officer, and “Mr. Robertson” is the former FBI agent. Link to full affidavit is below excerpt.

 

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Sarah.Hunter.Affidavit-Dwight-Love-case.pdf

Westville Apartments at 6017 Grand River (photo DPD homicide file-1987). Building is no longer there.

Dwight Love was arrested and convicted in 1981 for a murder near Holden and Trumbull. The John Holmes killing happened six years later, in 1987 at 6017 Grand River, a 1.3 mile walk from the first scene.

DPD Commander Gerald Stewart, referenced in Hunter’s post above, headed the Department’s city-wide Major Crimes Unit through those years.

John Holmes was the building manager of the Westville Apartments at 6017 Grand River for several years.  Tenants told Detroit Police he was a loan shark and carried large amounts of money as well as a gun. One tenant alleged that he also dealt drugs. Police discovered his badly burned body in the building’s incinerator room in the basement on   , 1987. They reported he had been beaten and shot in the back of his head.

Through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act, Private Investigator Scott Lewis obtained the homicide file for the victim, John Holmes (87-203), including the Detroit Police Homicide Section miscellaneous file.

Lewis told VOD that the City normally sends both as part of the same PDF file. During VOD’s review of that combined file, the sequence of records from 1987 to 1993 randomly skipped back and forth between the two years, with one arrest record date of 1993 crossed out in pen and changed to 1987. Lewis sent the record to Ray, who identified records from 1987 that had not been produced at his trial.

Private investigator, former TV reporter Scott Lewis

The prosecution’s entire case against Ray for the murder of Holmes hinged on what the chief prosecution witness told homicide investigators in three separate conflicting statements. The first did not implicate Ray.

The last two statements, the only ones read to the jury, claimed the witness saw Ray in bloodied clothing after the crime, and that Ray and another (unidentified) man ordered the witness under gunpoint to carry Holmes’ safe to a dumpster behind the building, and clean up the scene, including the apartment where the murder took place, the apartment rented by witness #1. Ray had been staying there, with witness #1 and his girlfriend.

There was no weapon or bullet evidence tying Ray to the murder, although a DPD report shows that one bullet and another fragment were extracted from Holmes’ head.

The homicide file included handwritten police notes from the 1987 record: 1) A Michigan identification card for the prosecution’s chief witness, found wedged between the coach cushions in Holmes’ living room. That witness claimed he had not been in Holmes’ apartment for several months, and testified at trial that Roger Carlos Ray was the killer, and 2) A note about new Witness #2: called the DPD to report an incriminating confession from Witness #1. Police never followed up on it.

DPD Note by Sgt. Bobby Gary, from homicide file, shows ID of witness #1

Investigator Scott Lewis contacted new witness #2 and obtained his affidavit on April 6, 2018. He states that witness #1  told him that the deceased, John Holmes, had money in his safe and that he had to get the money out of the safe and had to get rid of Holmes to get the money.

Subsequently, witness #1 showed him a stack of money and two .357 handguns and asked witness him to get rid of the handguns. Witness #2 called the Detroit Police Dept. and told them his name and that he had information about the murder of Holmes, but was placed on indefinite hold. He never got back to police.

The file also shows police obtained the names of five tenants who had been evicted in the month prior to Holmes’ murder, but no follow-up is indicated.

Police investigators originally focused on Witness #1 as the suspect, although Ray’s jury never knew this. Progress notes from the investigator explicitly identify witness #1 as the suspect. Just days after the homicide, detectives were trying to reach him at work but could not find him because he had stopped going to work and left without getting his  paycheck.

Police referred him and his girlfriend, listed as a witness, who was with him when he saw Ray in bloodied clothing, for polygraph exams twice, but each time the two failed to show up after first stating they would be there.

Records show that the safe was taken into evidence under tag #ET407736 and referred for fingerprinting, but there is no record of referrals for a blowtorch and a cigarette filter found with the body. A lab report on the fingerprints on the safe shows they were not identifiable.

Ray was not arrested and charged in the crime until 1993, six years after the murder.

FBI agent Stu Carlisle, part of a Repeat Offenders multi-agency task force, said a “confidential informant” told him where Ray was, and six officers went to the location to carry out the arrest. The DPD detectives in charge of Ray’s case in both 1987 and 1993 were Bobby Gary and Richard Ivy.

According to court records, Ray was tried by a jury in front of Detroit Recorder’s Court Judge Craig Strong. He was convicted of Homicide-Felony Murder and Crime with a Weapon on November 12, 1993 and sentenced to life without parole by Strong. Over the years, Strong denied four of Ray’s motions for relief from judgment, but this time the Court of Appeals overturned his findings and ordered a new trial.

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, can keep coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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AS 31ST EXONERATION ANNOUNCED, WAYNE COUNTY, ASST. PROSECUTORS, DETROIT COPS FACE FEDERAL LAWSUITS

“Is anyone investigating how these cases went so wrong?” asks Channel 7 as Dennis Atkins becomes the 31st Wayne County Exoneree since 2018, after conviction in 2005 based solely on hearsay testimony

Exonerees Ramon Ward, Larry Smith file federal lawsuits targeting Wayne County, multiple Asst. County Prosecutors, Detroit police officers by name

Ramon Ward (l), Larry Smith (r)

Cite “unlawful arrest, detention, sexual assault, use of fabricated evidence, concealment of exculpatory evidence, malicious prosecution” et alia.

“Defendant County’s policy and/or custom of the WCPO obtaining false statements and false testimony for use against criminal defendants                                                                                            may continue to this day.”

The day after this story was posted, the Detroit News published: “DETROIT FACES ONSLAUGHT OF LAWSUITS FOR WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS” which covers 17 exonerees’ wrongful conviction lawsuits vs. the City of Detroit. Read it on VOD’s download of the article at: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Detroit-faces-onslaught-of-lawsuits-for-wrongful-convictions.pdf

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By Diane Bukowski

April 12, 2022

Dennis Atkins (MDOC photo)

DETROIT “Is anyone investigating how these cases went so wrong?” Channel 7 anchor Dave Lewallen asked Feb. 4, leading into a story on the 31st exoneration reported by Wayne County’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), that of Dennis Atkins. (See video at head of story.)

Atkins was convicted at age 22 of the murder of Billie Rutledge, on June 4, 2005 on Omira Street on Detroit’s east-side.  EMS techs were loading him on a stretcher into their vehicle, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a release.

“His convictions were based upon the [hearsay] testimony of his ex-girlfriend, her brother, and her brother’s girlfriend,” Worthy explained   ” . . .The Conviction Integrity Unit review of the case has revealed that Billie Rutledge was likely killed because he was a potential witness in a homicide case. No eyewitness or physical evidence linked Mr. Atkins to Mr. Rutledge’s death.” She reported Atkins passed a polygraph test arranged by the CIU in July, 2021.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy

See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wayne-County-Prosecutors-Office-CIU-Dismisses-Charges-Against-Dennis-Atkins.pdf

But Worthy did not explain why her office took Atkins to trial in 2005 based solely on hearsay testimony, or why it failed to investigate other suspects in the case at the time before sending him to prison for the next 17 years.

Contemporaneous media coverage shows that the WCPO and the DPD were likely aware of the evidence on the other related homicide case before charging Atkins.

The National Registry of Exonerations just reported, “Rutledge’s 15-year-old brother Lemuel told the news media that he believed Rutledge was killed because he knew information about the March 11, 2005 murder of Shadad “Tommy” Yousif, who was killed in his auto repair business located two blocks away at the corner of Seven Mile and Omira. Rutledge worked in Yousif’s business and rumors had circulated that he was the driver for the gunman who killed Yousif.”

The NRE further detailed a complex maze of killings surrounding Yousif’s death, related to an insurance fraud scheme in which Yousif and his employees were allegedly involved. It identified likely suspects in those killings, some of whom were later killed themselves.

See:   http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp- content/uploads/Dennis-Atkins-National-Registry-of-Exonerations

The media report the NRE referred to, an article in the Detroit Free Press, was published June 7, 2005, three days after the murder

“Police are investigating whether Rutledge was killed because he knew too much or was connected to a March 12 slaying in Detroit,” the Free Press reported. It quoted DPD spokesman James Tate’s comment, “We’ve heard that [Rutledge] was involved in a previous crime with another individual that is known to us.”

Christine Kowal was the Assistant Prosecutor in the Atkins case. A Court of Appeals opinion affirming Atkins’ conviction identified DPD’s Sgt. Ernest Wilson as the Officer who tried to find a key defense witness in the case, and claimed he was not able to do so. Based on his testimony, the COA denied the defendant’s claim that the Prosecutor had not exercised due diligence in finding the witness. See: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Dennis-Atkins-COA- 20070510_C268461_46_268461.OPN_.pdf

(L to r) Exoneree Marvin Cotton, DPD Sgt. Ernest Wilson, Exoneree Mubarez Ahmed

Before Atkins’ conviction, Wilson played major roles in the wrongful convictions of exonerees Mubarez Ahmed and Marvin Cotton in separate cases in 2001.

As Officer in Charge (OIC) in the Ahmed case, he blatantly coerced a witness during a line-up, showing her Ahmed’s photo before the event and directing her to pick him out, along with other transgressions. In the Marvin Cotton case, he responded to the scene of the crime and participated in Cotton’s interrogation. Jail-house snitch Ellis Frazier, Jr. was recruited to say he heard Cotton confess to the killing involved, but recanted that statement years after Cotton’s conviction.

A federal lawsuit citing police misconduct was filed against Wilson by Nathaneal Taylor resulted in an undisclosed settlement amount in 2014. In 2019, Wilson was sued over the illegal eviction of a mother and daughter in Detroit.

Exonerees Sue Wayne County, Prosecutors, Cops

Two eye-opening federal lawsuits filed against Wayne County, its assistant prosecutors, and Detroit police officers might help answer the question raised by Channel 7 reporters above: “How did these cases go so wrong?”

The lawsuits, filed in Sept.  and Nov. 2021, by Wayne County exonerees Ramon Ward and Larry Smith, name multiple assistant prosecutors and police officers the plaintiffs allege stole decades of their lives from them and their families.

Ward spent 27 years, and Smith spent 26 years in prison. The convictions of both men were based primarily on the testimony of so-called “jail-house snitches.”

RAMON WARD:

The Smietanka Law Group of Grandville, Michigan, and the Law Office of Jarrett Adams PLLC of Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York City filed Ward’s lawsuit on Nov. 24, 2021. Significantly, neither are based in Wayne County or southeast Michigan.

Mainstream media coverage of Wayne Co. exonerations generally steers clear of naming prosecutors.

Detroit’s two major newspapers and all of its main TV outlets endorsed Kym Worthy for re-election in 202o, as did all Democratic politicians locally and state-wide. She has been in office since 2004.

USDC Judge Paul Borman

Worthy was re-elected in 2020 after vigorous opposition from Attorney Victoria Burton-Harris, who garnered nearly 40 percent of the vote. Support for Burton-Harris came from progressive forces locally and nationally, who alleged Worthy’s office supports policies of mass incarceration and does not charge police who are guilty of murdering civilians without cause, among other allegations.

Ward’s lawsuit is proceeding in front of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan Judge Paul Borman, and currently is in the discovery process until Dec. 20, 2022, with final dispositive motions due by Feb. 28, 2023. No potential jury trial date has yet been set.

PROSECUTORS NAMED IN WARD’S LAWSUIT

The complaint in Ward’s lawsuit includes allegations against Wayne County prosecutors/defendants Robert Agacinski, Nancy Westveld, and Janet Napp, and non-defendant AP’s Thomas Beadle, Rosemary Gordon, William Peterson, and James Heaphy.

Attys. Jarrett Adams(l), John Smietanka(r) filed lawsuit for Ramon Ward; Adams is himself an exoneree; Smietanka has 46 years of experience including as U.S. Atty.  for the U.S. District Court of Western Michigan.

The four defendant AP’s argued the case against Ward at trial and during multiple pre-trial and post-conviction hearings including four times at the Michigan Court of Appeals, twice at the Michigan Supreme Court, and three times during motions for relief from judgment (MFRJ) hearings.

At trial and at the MFRJ’s, they introduced prosecution witnesses, including the infamous jail-house snitches Joe Twilley and Oliver Cowan, took their falsified testimony, and defended them during cross-examination.

Because of the “policy and/or custom of the WCPO obtaining false statements and false testimony for use against criminal defendants,” the lawsuit alleges that the AP’s were likely aware that these witnesses were indeed giving false statements and testimony.

The lawsuit alleges that as the chief prosecutor, Agacinski even read Oliver Cowan’s perjured testimony from the pre-examination into the record, because Cowan had died in the interim and could not testify himself.

EXCERPT FROM ROBERT AGACINSKI MEMO

Agacinski exposed the “ring of snitches” in a Feb. 8, 1995 memorandum to Richard Padzieski, WCPO Chief of Operations,  a memo which later got wide media coverage. He noted in the memo that snitches had been involved in a case he had just tried, likely Ward’s. http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Agacinski-snitches-memo.pdf

However, the lawsuit alleges that on Feb. 16, 1995, Agacinski appeared for the Prosecutor’s Office at Ramon Ward’s sentencing hearing, where he stood silent as Ward, only 18 years old, was sentenced to death in prison, despite Agacinski’s knowledge that the key evidence in the case was fabricated.

The lawsuit also describes complicit behavior by other AP’s not cited as defendants. They include Thomas Beadle, Rosemary Gordon, William Peterson, and James Heaphy.

VOD asked the WCPO whether the named assistant prosecutors are still employed there, but was told to file a Freedom of Information Act request. The WCPO earlier declined to comment on the merits of the two lawsuits saying they are subject to pending litigation.

DETROIT POLICE OFFICERS NAMED IN WARD LAWSUIT

Allegations include beatings, sexual assault by jail-house snitch Cowan

Informant Joe Twilley, Jr. testified for prosecution in “at least 20 cases.”

DPD Officers Dale Collins (l) and Monica Childs (r).

Ward’s lawsuit names as Detroit Police Department defendants Officers Monica Childs, Dale Collins, Fred Jorgensen, and Tony Sanders.

The names of Dale Collins and Monica Childs appear in multiple cases of wrongful convictions. In Ward’s case, Collins was the Officer-in-Charge.

The lawsuit says that, prior to charging Ward, Collins and P.O. Danny Maynard took statements from witnesses who identified two other suspects, one of whom later turned out to be the actual killer of victims, Denise Sharon Cornell and J0an Gilliam. Then Monica Childs interrogated him a first time, denying him a lawyer. He refused to talk t0 her and provided a signed statement saying he had not killed the women.

Former Detroit police homicide chief William Rice, now on Giglio-Brady list.

Shockingly, the lawsuit alleges that during that first interrogation, Collins and DPD Lieutenant William Rice beat Ward bel0w the neck with a phone book.

Afterwards, DPD officers placed Ward in a cell on the 9th floor of headquarters at 1300 Beaubien. Informants Joe Twilley, Jr. and Oliver Cowan were there as well. Allegedly, Cowan assaulted him physically and sexually while holding a blade to his neck, after he refused to talk to informant Joe Twilley, Jr.

Childs then interrogated him a second time, and claimed he first confessed to the murders, but then denied them. Ward said he never confessed to the murders. The other DPD officers were involved in supporting roles.

Judge John Shamo

According to court records, Collins also testified on behalf of informant Joe Twilley, Jr. during a secret motion for relief from judgment re-sentencing hearing July 27, 1994 in front of Recorders Court Judge John Shamo.

The hearing resulted in a reduction of Twilley’s sentence of 12-25 years to “a few years,” and resulted in Twilley’s immediate release.

AP Rosemary Gordon represented the WCPO.  Collins told the court that Twilley had helped obtain convictions in 20 homicide cases. Judge Shamo noted that DPD Sgt. William Rice testified earlier in another secret hearing for an informant, and effusively praised Collins as an honest police officer. Gordon told the court that AP Thomas Beadle also supported relief for Twilley.

See full transcript at:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Dale-Collins-Snitch-Twiley.Resentencing.pdf 

Full lawsuit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Ramon-Ward2-COM-Federal-Complaint-112421.pdf

LARRY SMITH LAWSUIT    

Atty. Jarrett Adams

Attorney Jarrett Adams filed exoneree Larry Smith’s first federal complaint on September 3, 2021, and later filed an amended complaint on January 27, 2022, against the defendants, Wayne County, Asst. Prosecutor Robert J. Donaldson, and DPD officers Monica Childs, Gene Karvonen, Roger Mueller, Walter Love, and John Dembinski.

It is proceeding in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in front of U.S. District Court Judge David Lawson, with Dispositive Motion Cut-off set for Jan. 20, 2023, Final Pretrial Conference set for August 30, 2023, and Jury Trial for Sept. 12, 2023.

Adams is himself an exoneree who was wrongfully convicted at the age of 17, and sentenced to 28 years. He studied law during the 10 years he served, filed multiple appeals, and was finally exonerated with the assistance of the Wisconsin Innocence Project. He now runs law offices in Milwaukee, Chicago and New York.

US District Court Judge David Lawson

The lawsuit notes that Smith turned himself in at DPD Headquarters on 1300 Beaubien, after learning police were looking for him as they investigated the murder of Kenneth Hayes, 20, on March 24, 1994. Defendant Monica Childs interviewed him, and claimed in her progress notes that he told her witnesses could not identify him because “he was wearing a hood.” Smith denied he said that or any admission in the case.

It says that prior to trial, Defendant AP Robert J. Donaldson asked Childs numerous times for her notes, which she finally produced three months prior to trial in Nov. 1994, saying they were in another case file. It then alleges that Edward Chico Allen, housed in the DPD lock-up, was recruited to falsely testify that Smith had confessed to him.

“Defendant Donaldson and/or Defendant Childs promised Allen leniency in his [capital] criminal case if he falsely testified that Smith bragged about shooting Hayes,” the complaint says. It says the Prosecutor and police continued to house Allen at the lock-up rather than the Wayne County Jail, and plied him with food, alcohol, drugs, and the ability to go out to have sex. It alleges that Childs took Allen, still housed in the lock-up, to a hotel to have a “sexual relationship” after Smith’s conviction in November.

Larry Smith with his mother Debra Smith. Both spoke at a mass Wrongful Conviction rally outside the Frank Murphy Hall June 4, 2021.

In 2003, Allen signed a notarized affidavit recanting all his testimony against Smith and provided it to Smith and his attorneys, which Atty. Mary Owens attached to his habeas corpus appeal.

Nonetheless, the WCPO continued to fight Smith’s appeals in federal court as they did in state court, all the while knowing he was convicted based on false testimony and evidence. So his appeals there were denied as well.

The lawsuit also alleges that faulty and negligent testing and preservation of evidence by the Detroit Crime Lab, which was shut down in 2008 because of those issues, resulted in false ballistics results in Smith’s case, which were highlighted by AP Donaldson as key to his guilt during trial testimony.

In a May, 2017 Detroit Metro Times article, journalist Ryan Felton exposed the rampant use of jailhouse informants (snitches) by DPD/WCPO. He reported that Edward Allen told a private investigator that Detroit police filed over 100 murder cases as a result of such testimony.

The investigator also reported that Allen said, “The police would also supply police witnesses with the discovery packets and allow them to read up on the case so that eventually testimony would match the government’s allegations.”

See full lawsuit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Larry-Smith-COM-Amended-Federal-Complaint-012722.pdf.

BOTH LAWSUITS FILED FOR RAMON WARD AND LARRY SMITH ASK FOR:

“Compensatory damages, costs, and attorneys’ fees against each Defendant, along with punitive damages against each of the individual Defendants, injunctive and equitable relief against Defendant, County of Wayne, as well as any other relief the Court deems appropriate.”

FIRE/CHARGE WCPO, DPD CRIMINALS!

As exoneree Lacino Hamilton infers in the comment at the beginning of this story, true justice for Ward and Smith, along with likely thousands of people from Wayne County who are wasting their lives away in MDOC prisons, will not come until the corrupt systems in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and the Detroit Police Department are torn down and re-created for the benefit of the people.

Still shot from NBC’s interview with Kym Worthy Aug. 8, 2021.

Not one Assistant Prosecutor or Police Officer named as defendants in the Ward and Smith lawsuits has been disciplined, fired, or charged by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her office for the offenses cited in the Ward and Smith lawsuits, or in the cases of the rest of the 31 exonerees Wayne County boasts.

Exposed in the glare of the searchlight these lawsuits have provided, the official actions may include perjury, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice, and numerous other crimes.

PROSECUTORIAL IMMUNITY NOT ABSOLUTE

Many believe that prosecutors have absolute immunity, but the U.S. Supreme Court have substantially restricted that privilege through the years, most recently in Thompson v. Clark 596 U.S. (2022). There, the current U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3, uniting conservatives with the liberal minority, that: “To demonstrate a favorable termination of criminal prosecution for purposes of a section 1983 Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim, a plaintiff need not show that the criminal prosecution ended with some affirmative indication of innocence but need only show that his prosecution ended without a conviction.” Thompson v. Clark :: 596 U.S. ___ (2022) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center.

The issue is addressed more broadly by the USDOJ Office of Justice Programs:   PROSECUTORIAL IMMUNITY NO LONGER ABSOLUTE | Office of Justice Programs (ojp.gov)

U.S. Supreme Court

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Buckley v. Fitzsimmons, 113 S.Ct. 2606 (1993), points to a growing recognition of the difficulty of maintaining absolute prosecutorial immunity when the system imprisons the wrong person for the wrong reason, i.e., when exculpatory evidence has been concealed or incriminating evidence has been fabricated. When prosecutors abandon traditional advocacy roles to participate pretrial or precharge in police investigative work in collateral law enforcement administration on a day-to-day, case-by-case basis, they may enjoy only qualified immunity for that conduct. This article discusses in some detail the Court’s opinions in Buckley and Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976) and briefly covers the Court’s opinions in other related cases.”

In the Channel 7 story at the head of this article, Reporter Kimberley Craig says she called the U.S. Attorney’s office, but was told they do not comment on whether investigations at their level have been opened.

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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(Contact editor for details on other ways to send funds, at 313-825-6126 or diane_bukowski@hotmail.com.)

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Related stories:

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FAMILIES MARCH FOR MEN HELD WITHOUT TRIAL UP TO 4 YEARS IN WAYNE CO. JAIL; DEMAND “OPEN THE COURTS”

UPDATE! APRIL 4, 2022

ALL COURTROOMS NOW OPEN FOR TRIALS

A report from the County Clerk criminal division indicates that all courtrooms in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice are now open to handle trials and other events, starting Monday, April 4, 2022. Building open at 8 a.m., courtrooms open at 9 a.m.

However, the building itself is not yet open to the public. The Ninth Floor Clerk’s Office is still not open to the public, meaning lack of full public and media access to review public court documents. The public will not be allowed in to view trials, etc. but can access them on Zoom/YouTube. This is likely a violation of defendants’ rights to a public trial under the Sixth Amendment.

Donald Davis, Jr. MDOC photo

IS THIS GROUNDS FOR THOSE WHOSE TRIALS ARE HELD WHILE COURTROOMS ARE CLOSED TO APPEAL THEIR SENTENCES?

The Michigan Supreme Court just ordered a new trial for Donald Davis, Jr. of Flint because Genesee County Circuit Court Judge Geoffrey L. Neithercut ordered the courtroom closed for the duration of the trial.

“The trial court’s closure of the courtroom for nearly the entirety of defendant’s trial after a single, benign interaction between an observer and a juror constituted plain error. Because the deprivation of a defendant’s public-trial right is a structural error, the error necessarily affected defendant’s substantial rights. This structural error presumptively satisfied the plain-error standard’s requirements for reversal, and neither the prosecution’s arguments nor the record evidence rebutted that presumption. The Court of Appeals judgment was reversed, and the case was remanded to the trial court for a new trial.”

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/People-v-Davis-MSC-3-14-22.pdf

Michigan Supreme Court throws out conviction in 2016 Flint murder case | Crime | abc12.com

Prisoners’ families want:  

  • Dismissal of charges vs. prisoners held past Speedy Trial limits.
  • Open the Courts to handle trials; open the jails for public visitation.
  • Post all c0urt filings on the Wayne County Courts website at Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan (3rdcc.org).

Darrell Ewing/Derrico Searcy hearing March 18 again adjourned to May 5 to hear judge’s pre-trial rulings on Brady motions to dismiss 

VOD is waiting for Court Administrator’s Office to reply to request for information on plans to dismiss charges, re-open courts and jails at: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/VOD-request-to-Office-of-Corporate-Counsel-for-info-re-WCJ-prisoners.pdf

DONATE TO VOICE OF DETROIT https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

Contact Operation Liberation, organizers of rally:  586-943-8780 

By Diane Bukowski

March 31, 2022

“Prison was hell. It was a new kind of plantation. I felt like an escaped slave. What I saw in the United States in those prisons was slavery, it was Black people with chains, in cells, it was just poor people stepped on and smashed. I’ll never forget what I saw. I’ll never forget what I’ve lived  through . . . what my people have lived through.”  –Assata Shakur in new documentary, Black and Cuba

In Detroit’s Wayne County Jail, hundreds of people, held without a trial far beyond Michigan’s statutory pre-trial maximum of 180 days (six months), and the federal 70-day trial limit, live essentially as captured slaves, as revolutionary exile Assata Shakur described above.

These men and women watch from the jail’s narrow windows every day as thousands of party-going visitors flood downtown Detroit’s streets around the prison, and others make their way to work, oblivious to the plight of those inside the jail.

Their continuing incarceration violates not only state law, but provisions of the U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment and the Federal Speedy Trial Act of 1974.

Families of many people in the jail turned out March 17 for a spirited rally demanding:

  • Dismissal of charges vs. prisoners held past Speedy Trial limits.
  • Open the Courts to handle trials; open the jails for public visitation.
  • Post all c0urt filings on the Wayne County Courts website at Third Judicial Circuit of Michigan (3rdcc.org).

Some of dozens of family members on the court steps at the Unlawful, Unjust rally March 17, 2022.

Michigan Public Radio reported in February that at least 120 inmates at the Wayne County Jail have been held without a trial past 18 months, which includes the time allowed for evaluation of their cases before their cases are dismissed with prejudice (meaning the charges cannot be brought back again).

From Michigan Public Radio/NPR

But many others are being held beyond six months.  Meanwhile, a Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration recommended in 2020 that the statutory time limit be firmly set at 18 months.

They also recommended the rescission of various factors such as the defendant’s obligation to challenge his/her incarceration directly, which have delayed compliance with the 180-day rule.

MPR noted that one prisoner has been held for 47 months, the longest of any man in the jail. VOD interviewed him,  Javonte Wiley, along with seven other men in the jail who have been held past Speedy Trial limits on March 17.

Wiley has been held since Oct. 3, 2017 on capital (life) charges which were dismissed twice in 2017 and 2019 after lengthy trial proceedings including jury trials. He was not released after those trials because judges dismissed the cases WITHOUT prejudice.

The same charges in the same case were brought back in 2020 by Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, acting as a one-man grand jury.  A “review date” is set for May 17, 2022 in front of 3rd Circuit Court Judge Shannon Walker, after a year of constant adjournments.

UNLAWFUL, UNJUST! RALLY THURSDAY MAR. 17 TO FREE WRONGLY HELD PRISONERS; OPEN VISITS, COURTS, FILES | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Hear full Mich. Public Radio podcast below after box on Michigan’s right to speedy trial.

On March 18, the day after the March 17 rally at the Frank Murphy Hall, Darrell Ewing and his co-defendant Derrico Searcy appeared again before Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne in a seemingly endless series of Final Conference pre-trial hearings. A Michigan Court of Appeals upheld Wayne Third Circuit Judge Michael Hathaway’s order for a new trial in their case, rendered in October, 2019, which vacated their convictions for the 2009 murder of J.B. Watson.

Child at rally asks Judge to intervene against a lengthy pre-trial delay in the case of Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy.

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy has consistently failed in her appeals of multiple state and federal court rulings on the defendants’ side.

Worthy has held Ewing and Searcy hostage in the Wayne County Jail since early last year, awaiting the new trial.

On March 18, Asst. Prosecutor Kam Towns further delayed a hearing before Judge Williams-Claybourne on motions to dismiss the case due to alleged Brady v. Maryland violations, including the existence of Tyree Washington’s Mirandized confession to the Watson murder, given under oath to the Michigan State Police in Feb. 2017.

At March 18 rally: Darrell Ewing is known as “Apple.”

Towns insisted that Ewing’s handwritten motion to dismiss, filed with his request to act as his own attorney, be E-filed through the state system, although that is not a requirement for prisoners filing pro se.  Atty. Lillian Diallo said she would do that immediately,  and withdraw her own motion.

Judge Williams-Claybourne  ordered the state’s response by April 18, with the parties to appear again May 5, to discuss the state’s response to that and other motions, and hear the Judge’s rulings.

“The trial will hopefully take place in June or July,” Judge WIlliams-Claybourne estimated. Ewing reacted with optimism, since he will be able to argue his motion, and tentative trial dates have finally been set.

(Screenshot) Darrell Ewing (seated at center and Derrico Searcy (behind him) appeared in person at their hearing March 18, 2022. Also shown are attorneys Lillian Diallo and Blase Kearney behind them, and AP Kam Towns at far right.

Family members and friends of prisoners conclude rally with prayers for their loved ones on courthouse steps March 18, 2022.

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, coming! Any amount is appreciated.

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(Contact editor for details on other ways to send funds, at 313-825-6126 or diane_bukowski@hotmail.com.)

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U.S/NATO HISTORY OF BLOODY WARS ACROSS THE GLOBE SHOWN IN BANNERS BY SERBIAN FOOTBALL FANS

SERBIAN FOOTBALL FANS DISPLAY BANNERS DEPICTING U.S./NATO HISTORY OF BLOODY INVASIONS ACROSS THE GLOBE.

https://english.news.cn/20220321/9e02130d39da4f60b4153b4c1a6f3fea/c.html

PUBLISHED IN ZINHUA, NEWSPAPER OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA — WHAT MORE IS THERE TO SAY ABOUT RUSSIA-UKRAINE??? WELL, OLIVER STONE HAD A LOT MORE TO SAY:

 

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Related Stories:

Putin’s Bombers Could Devastate Ukraine But He’s Holding Back. Here’s Why (msn.com)

Click on the above link to read this entire story from Newsweek.

Excerpt: “If we merely convince ourselves that Russia is bombing indiscriminately, or [that] it is failing to inflict more harm because its personnel are not up to the task or because it is technically inept, then we are not seeing the real conflict.”

But, the analyst says, the damage associated with a contested ground war involving peer opponents shouldn’t blind people to what is really happening. (The analyst requested anonymity in order to speak about classified matters.) “The heart of Kyiv has barely been touched. And almost all of the long-range strikes have been aimed at military targets.”

In the capital, most observable to the west, Kyiv city authorities say that some 55 buildings have been damaged and that 222 people have died since February 24. It is a city of 2.8 million people.

“We need to understand Russia’s actual conduct,” says a retired Air Force officer, a lawyer by training who has been involved in approving targets for U.S. fights in Iraq and Afghanistan. The officer currently works as an analyst with a large military contractor advising the Pentagon and was granted anonymity in order to speak candidly.

“If we merely convince ourselves that Russia is bombing indiscriminately, or [that] it is failing to inflict more harm because its personnel are not up to the task or because it is technically inept, then we are not seeing the real conflict.”

In the analyst’s view, though the war has led to unprecedented destruction in the south and east, the Russian military has actually been showing restraint in its long-range attacks.

As of the past weekend, in 24 days of conflict, Russia has flown some 1,400 strike sorties and delivered almost 1,000 missiles (by contrast, the United States flew more sorties and delivered more weapons in the first day of the 2003 Iraq war).

U.S. launches “Shock and Awe” bombing of Iraq in 2003.

The vast majority of the airstrikes are over the battlefield, with Russian aircraft providing “close air support” to ground forces. The remainder—less than 20 percent, according to U.S. experts—has been aimed at military airfields, barracks and supporting depots.

A proportion of those strikes have damaged and destroyed civilian structures and killed and injured innocent civilians, but the level of death and destruction is low compared to Russia’s capacity.

“I know it’s hard … to swallow that the carnage and destruction could be much worse than it is,” says the DIA analyst. “But that’s what the facts show. This suggests to me, at least, that Putin is not intentionally attacking civilians, that perhaps he is mindful that he needs to limit damage in order to leave an out for negotiations.”

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UNLAWFUL, UNJUST! RALLY THURSDAY MAR. 17 TO FREE WRONGLY HELD PRISONERS; OPEN VISITS, COURTS, FILES

OPERATION LIBERATION  586-943-8780 

By Diane Bukowski

Editor, Voice of Detroit (Please note: to contact the organizers of these events, use the phone number above for Operation Liberation.)

Donate to VOD to keep our stories coming    https://www.gofundme.com/donate-to-vod

DETROIT — Operation Liberation rallied hundreds of supporters and family members of prisoners, including the wrongfully convicted, outside the Frank Murphy Hall last year, June 4, 2021. They took over the street in front for five hours and marched around the Wayne Co. Jail. Now they have issued a new call to address current urgent issues affecting prisoners in the Wayne County Jail and throughout the state.

Family members of Tamerra Washington were among hundreds who turned out to rally June 4, 2021 at Detroit’s Frank Murphy court/jail complex June 4, 2021.

Others organizing for this event include Wayne Co. exonerees Larry Smith and Davontae Sanford, and family members and supporters of prisoners in the Wayne County Jail and the MDOC.  Michigan Liberation, which will be getting petition signatures for the restoration of MDOC prisoners “good time” credits, and Silent Cry, based in New York City.

See: Good Time Makes Good Legislation Introduced by Senator Irwin – Michigan Justice Advocacy (mijustice.org)

Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy, who helped organize last year’s event, were in the jail then and are still there 10 months later, despite the fact that their convictions were vacated in 2020. They will be in court Friday, March 18, part of a seemingly non-ending series of “final conferences” to set up a new trial. Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy is refusing to dismiss charges despite a Mirandized confession to the crimes given to State Police by another man in February, 2017 which had been concealed in prosecutor’s files.

There are currently 1,416 men packed inside the Wayne County Jail with them, many also locked up months and even years past legal limits. None of them have been convicted of the charges on which they are being held. The state Speedy Trial Act sets a six-month pre-trial time limit and mandates release on recognizance in the case of confirmed violations.  Operation Liberation is further demanding:

DISMISS CHARGES VS. THOSE HELD PAST 180 DAY SPEEDY TRIAL ACT LIMIT

Operation Liberation organizer Darrell Ewing is shown at bottom right of photo.

VOD interviewed a sample of men held without timely trials at the Wayne Co. Jail March 10. Screenshots of some of their faces are shown at left. VOD reviewed the Registers of Action on the Wayne Co. Court website for each to be able to report accurately on the comments.

However, as stated above, the actual PUBLIC records cited on each Register are NOT available for public review in violation of the Michigan FOIA>

Corey Holmes, 44: held since Oct. 19, 2018, bound over to Wayne Co. Circuit Court (WCCC) Jan. 18, 2019. First pre-trial hearing Dec. 2, 2019. Multiple pre-trials and adjournments since. A pre-trial set for March 3, 2022 was adjourned to June 6, 2022.  “This is causing me and my family a great deal of stress and anxiety,” he told VOD. “It’s affecting my mental health, causing hopelessness and despair with no end in sight. My attorney usually stays in touch, but since COVID-19, it’s harder to see him.”

LaTonya Holmes, Corey’s sister, told VOD, “The situation in Wayne County Jail is deplorable, a violation of my brother’s rights. He caught COVID while he was in there, which had to have been brought in by a guard. Every time he goes to court, the prosecutor says they need additional time; they’re hiding evidence from his attorney. One judge retired, and the next one adjourned a hearing for a family funeral. Meanwhile, my brother was arrested while we were making arrangements for our brother’s funeral, so he wasn’t able to go to that, our mother had a heart aneurysm and we’ve lost many family members to COVID.”

Wayne County Jail Cell/Detroit Free Press photo

Javonte Wiley, 26: Held since Oct. 3, 2017 on capital (life) charges which were dismissed twice in 2017 and 2019 after lengthy trial proceedings including jury trials. The same charges in the same case were brought back in 2020 by Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Kenny, acting as a one-man grand jury.  A “review date” is set for May 17, 2022 in front of 3rd Circuit Court Judge Shannon Walker, after a year of constant adjournments.

“Javonte’s grandmother and aunt passed,” his mother Deloris Jones told VOD. “His younger brothers and sister are going through school without him, and his daughter is growing up without her dad. He gets frustrated and depressed. The pressure they put on young Black men. I help by constantly putting money on his phone and commissary accounts and his father and I are spending a lot of money on attorneys every time the charges are brought back.”

Wayne County High-Security Jail Cell area, Div. 2. Detroit Free Press photo

Immanuel Wesley: Held since Sept. 4, 2020 under a similar scenario. Court records show he was charged with assault with intent to commit murder and other crimes on that date. He was not arraigned in 36th District Court until Nov. 4, 2020, a violation of state law.

His preliminary examination was held Feb. 22, 2021, four months after his arraignment (another violation) and the case was dismissed without prejudice due to the failure of a witness to appear. His case then appears on a second docket for the same charges in 2021, with a preliminary exam held March 25,2021, resulting in a bind-over to WCCC with a bond of $150,000 which was not paid. Several final conferences, adjournments and a pre-trial hearing later, he is now awaiting another pre-trial hearing March 17, 2022 this week. “They don’t even have a victim in my case,” he told VOD, “but they’re trying to get me to take a plea deal.”

Young protesters outside the failed Wayne County Jail site across from the current one, Jan. 21, 2017.

Lartrell Iverson, 24:  Held since Dec. 19, 2020, has not yet had a preliminary examination to bind him over to WCCC. He is still under the 36th Dist. Court’s jurisdiction. “They are using the pandemic as a license not to hold hearings,” he told VOD. “The prosecutor’s office keeps stalling, trying to get guys to take plea deals. There is nothing to occupy us, recreation has been eliminated, we can’t get exercise or fresh air.”

Roderick Graham:  Held since 12/16/2020 on manslaughter charge. Bound over to WCCC Feb. 10, 2021. Multiple conferences, motion hearings, held since then, with several adjournments. Motion hearings indicate multiple orders were “signed and filed,” but VOD has no way to access what those orders were, since they are not accessible on-line or in the court clerk’s office. Witness lists filed Dec. 10, 2021. Review date set for March 30, 2022.

Christian Mitchell-Childress, 23: Held since October 20, 2020. Bound over after preliminary exam May 26, 2021. Four final conferences held in last half of 2021; next Final Conference scheduled for April 14, 2022. Once again, no public way to determine results of all previous hearings. Mitchell-Childress says most have been due to the prosecutor searching for missing discovery evidence and trying to locate prosecution witnesses.

Old Wayne County Jail houses high-security cells.

Antrell Brown, 25: Held since December 21, 2020. Bound over after preliminary exam Jan. 13, 2021. Multiple pre-trial hearings, final conferences held with next review date April 1, 2022. That review has been postponed four times since May 25, 2021. He told VOD there are still many questions regarding actual evidence. He also said he suffers from heart problems and has symptoms of chest pain when he takes deep breaths, but the only test administered so far is an EKG and he needs to go to a hospital for follow-up.

Jordan Davison, 25: Held since August 24, 2020 on multiple assault and weapons charges with bond of $500,000, four of which were dismissed March 22, 2021 after preliminary examination was held.  Review date pending April 4, 2022 after multiple pre-trial, conferences, and motion hearings.

PUBLISH PUBLIC COURT FILES ON COURT WEBSITE!

Meanwhile, the public and the media are being denied their lawful right to review court case files. The only information currently on the website at Odyssey Public Access (OPA) (3rdcc.org) lists dates of hearings and actions, but no access to referenced documents is available. The Court has a separate website set up for internal use with links to those public documents, which could easily converted for public on-line use.

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1977, guarantees access, with some restrictions, to public records of government bodies at all levels in Michigan. However, Third Judicial Circuit Court Criminal Division offices are still closed to the public, so individuals cannot go in to view actual court files. The Wayne Co. Probate Court provides links to all case documents on its website, citing the COVID pandemic. Why can’t the Criminal Division do the same?

OPEN THE COURT AND JAIL VISITATION!

Although COVID restrictions have been lifted, for the most part, in Michigan and across the country, family members still cannot visit their loved ones in the Wayne County Jail, and even attorney visits are sometimes constricted. Courtrooms are not open to the public in-person.

Open jail visitation and court observation are vital to the interests of both the public and prisoners in the Wayne County Jail, who have not yet been convicted of any crime. Their families and attorneys are legally entitled to see them in-person to ensure their proper treatment and to maintain support systems, both in jail and in court.

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 VOD’s staff lives either on limited fixed incomes or is incarcerated. We are not paid; we publish the newspaper pro bono. Help keep us afloat by chipping in so stories on this Prison Nation and Police State, and related matters, coming! Any amount is appreciated.

                                       DONATE TO VOD 

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(Contact editor for details on other ways to send funds, at 313-825-6126 or diane_bukowski@hotmail.com.)

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DARRELL EWING/DERRICO SEARCY Final Conference

Continued FRIDAY MARCH 18, 2022 @ 9 a.m.

Watch Live: Hon. Darnella D. Williams-Claybourne – YouTube

Derrico Searcy (l) and Darrell Ewing (r) listened intently to testimony in their evidentiary hearing in 2017 which led Judge Michael Hathaway to grant a new trial. His ruling was in line with numerous other state and federal courts, but the two men have been held in custody for nearly 4 years since.

“The right to defend is given directly to the accused, for it is he who suffers the consequences if the defense fails.” Faretta v. California :: 422 U.S. 806 (1975) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center (cited by Darrell Ewing in his “Motion to Compel Reconsideration of Brady/Discovery Violations”) 

Darrell Ewing and Derrico Searcy are among others in the Wayne County Jail held beyond Speedy Trial Act time limits. Multiple courts ordered a new trial on their 2010 murder convictions, which were finally overturned in October, 2020. But defense attorneys have moved instead to dismiss the case, and for an evidentiary hearing, due to alleged violations of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), by the prosecutor.

A detailed Mirandized confession to the crimes by another man, given to the Michigan State Police in Feb. 2017, which surfaced in the prosecutor’s files during pre-trial discovery, is the key Brady issue.  It had not been disclosed to the defense during the years after the 2010 conviction for the murder of J.B. Watson, while Ewing and Searcy filed repeated appeals.

 A “final conference” on the case is set for Friday, March 18 in front of Wayne 3rd Circuit Court Judge Darnella Williams-Claybourne. She denied defense motions Jan. 10, saying that Brady does not apply post-conviction. But she set time for reconsideration, ruling “Within 21 days, the parties can submit case law that shows that Brady applies on post-conviction, and any new theories.”

Working with his attorney Lillian Diallo, Ewing has submitted his own “Motion to Compel Reconsideration of Brady/Discovery Violations and Egregious Prosecutorial Misconduct.”  Ewing has used his years of incarceration to study law and says he spends most of the day in his cell surrounded by legal work.

He cites extensive case law in his motion, buttressed by two packages of supplemental authorities also submitted to the court. He lists the following topic headings in the main motion:

Brady does apply on post-conviction“Numerous federal and state courts have extended Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 87 (1963) and its progeny into the post-conviction context.”

Due Process Clause“In 2017, shortly before the suppressed confession in the present case was taken, the Michigan Supreme Court adopted in the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.8 (B), which placed on notice and was broadcast to every prosecutor in this great state their duty and “Special Responsibility.” (See graph above left.)

As far back as 1915, the Supreme Court held that when a state grants a criminal defendant a right to direct appeal, “The proceedings in the appellate tribunal are part of the process of law under which he is held in custody by the state, and to be considered in any question of alleged deprivation of his life or liberty, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment.” See Frank v. Mangum 237 US 309, 327 (1915); see also Evitts v Lucey, 469 U.S. 387, 393 (1995).

Ewing also cites the following case as precedential with regard to his and Searcy’s, and provides detailed analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in:

Tennison v. City and County of San Francisco, 2009:  eerily similar to the circumstances of the Ewing-Searcy conviction.  In 1989, J.J. Tennison and Antoine Goff were convicted for the murder of a young man which the prosecution claimed was related to gang wars. The only witnesses who testified at trial to identify the defendants were two children, girls 11 and 14 years old. Another man afterwards confessed to the murder.

Courts thew out the convictions in proceedings after trial, citing Brady. Tennison later won a $4 million wrongful conviction settlement and was fully exonerated after the prosecutor filed for dismissal of the case.

They said the prosecution did not report a $2500 payment to the witnesses under a “secret witness” program, and concealed the Mirandized confession of another man to the crime.

Brady extends to police officers:

Although AP Kam Towns and Jon Wojtala submit that they were never informed of the [Tyree Washington] confession, it matters not. For Brady purposes, “the DPD/MSP and the prosecutor are one.”

Even though “The state’s obligation under Brady is managed by the prosecutor’s office, that obligation applies to relevant information in the hands of the police, whether the prosecutors knew about it or not, whether they suppressed it intentionally or not, and whether the accused asked for it or not.” Harris v. Lafler, 553 F.3d 1028, 1033 (6th Cir. 2009).

Mirandized Confession Like No Other

“A confession is like no other evidence, in that it is among the most probative and damaging types of evidence because it “comes from the actor himself, the most knowledgeable and unimpeachable source of information about his past conduct.” Arizona v. Fulminante US S.Ct 1246, 1257 (1991).

LATER CONFESSION SHOULD HAVE CONSTITUTED NEW EVIDENCE

Tennison and his family reacted with joyful tears after he won his exoneration and a $4M wrongful conviction settlement.

With regard to Washington’s 2017 Mirandized confession to the State Police, Ewing, “In People v. Gumble, 1997 Mich App Lexis 1507 (1997), the Court of Appeals held, “It is the later confession suggesting [his] involvement that constitutes new evidence.”

Therefore, as found in Tennison, when MSP and DPD received Washington’s Mirandized confession by one who had been named pre-trial by a reliable witness [Christopher Richardson] known to FBI agents and multiple grand juries, and a confessor who recounted events surrounding the murder in detail, and whose accounts contradicted that of the prosecution’s witnesses, that it should have immediately been disclosed to the defense.” Tennison at 1094.

He goes on to allege multiple other discovery and Brady violations, including those he says happened during his original trial.

Ewing’s motion joins the motions filed by his attorney and well as his co-defendant Derrico Searcy’s attorney for dismissal and an evidentiary hearing, which are expected to be argued in court March 18.

Related coverage, documents and previous VOD stories:

The cases of Ewing and Searcy have been featured on various national wrongful conviction websites, including a series of six episodes in which legal criminal conviction experts have reviewed the Ewing-Searcy case and found it woefully wanting in evidence to convict.

Darrell Ewing | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Rico Searcy | Actual Innocent Prisoners

Undisclosed Podcast (undisclosed-podcast.com)

https://www.unjustandunsolved.com/post/episode-8-darrell-ewing

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RUSSIA WANTS DEMOCRACY IN UKRAINE: COVERAGE FROM RT AND IZVESTIA

From RT (Russia Today) and Izvestia, globally recognized news outlets of the Russian Federation.

Voice of Detroit Editor’s Note:  I recently announced that this paper is being devoted to issues regarding mass incarceration and police abuse in this country. But as a journalist for the past 22 years, I cannot stand by while the U.S. mainstream media shamelessly delivers coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war straight from the mouths of U.S. politicians and military leaders. 

Some of hundreds at rally for 19-year-old dad Terrance Kellom, executed by Detroit/ICE police in April, 2015.

I was appalled when I tried to access RT (Russia Today) online and found the website is blocked to prevent the U.S. public from reading the other side. VOD is also a news outlet and feels an obligation to do what it can to tell the other side of the story.

 VOD’s coverage of issues relating to prisoners and police brutality will continue. This includes objections to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to spend $40 million to force incarcerated human beings in the MDOC to wear wristband tethers to track their every move, while providing inadequate funds for the replacement of lead pipes in homes in Benton Harbor.

GPS prisoner/offender tracker

While millions, mostly Black people and others of color, and poor people languish in the concentration camps that are U.S. prisons, and while police murder and abuse of the same populations increases without pause, the U.S. continues to spend over half the federal budget on the military, and para-military funding of local police forces, rather than on health care for all, jobs, social services, and infrastructure needs.

It is now sending billions of our tax dollars to prop up the fascist government in Ukraine.


Above: In 2018, Max Blumenthal reported that the US has provided military assistance to the Azov Battalion, known as a bastion of neo-Nazism within the Ukrainian armed forces. He also discusses US and Israeli ties to the far-right government in Poland, where neo-Nazism is on the rise. 

DEMOCRATIZATION OF UKRAINE

Photo: Izvestia

 Under the title “Democratization of Ukraine,” Denis Denisov wrote in Izvestia about the direction of development Russia wants for its neighbor Ukraine. Denisov, Director of the Institute for Peacekeeping and Conflict Initiatives, Associate Professor at the Russian Government’s Financial University, said:

Denis Denisov

“After the start of the special military operation in Ukraine, two of its main objectives were announced: disarmament and the cleansing of the country from Nazism.

“With regard to the goal of disarming Ukraine, the situation is well understood, as it in fact requires a series of actions aimed at destroying the military infrastructure that Ukraine and NATO can use to attack Russia; the second objective, the cleansing of Ukraine from Nazism, has not yet received a clear and comprehensive explanation.

The term “de-Nazism” itself came into use after the end of World War II and was applied to operations in Germany, Austria and other countries. It was aimed at cleansing all areas of society from Nazi ideology. With regard to Ukraine, taking into account the specifics of the state, de-Nazism acquires a slightly different tone and, in fact, means a process of democratizing the country.

Pro-Russian protesters replace Ukrainian flag with Russian flags at Donetsk Oblast State Building    March 1, 2014

Politically, this means that parties, public organizations, movements that proclaim and disseminate ideas of national exceptionalism, incite ethnic and religious hatred, and call for artificial restrictions on the linguistic, educational and scientific rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens must be banned and eliminated.

In the linguistic field, all restrictions on the use of Russian, as well as the languages of other national minorities (Hungarian, Polish, etc.), should be abolished. Ukraine is a multi-denominational country, and historically a large number of religions have lived on its territory. This area will be strictly protected from political influence and confrontation: freedom of belief for all, comprehensive and complete.

As with many other problems, Ukraine’s regions have traditionally enjoyed different foreign policy orientations. For the west of the country, there is a European orientation, and for the southeast the Eurasian orientation. At this level, the territories will have the opportunity, with the assistance of the central government, to make contact with those states and the areas of interest to them, in all aspects of life.

This article only reflects the opinion of the newspaper or the writer.

SITUATION IN DONBASS

PUTIN OUTLINED TO SCHOLZ THE APPROACHES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION IN THE MATTER OF THE OPERATION TO PROTECT THE DONBASS

Olaf Scholz/Vladimir Putin

IZVESTIA 4 march 2022, 18:50

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz explained to him the Russian fundamental approaches in the context of a special operation to protect the Donbass. This was told on March 4 in the Kremlin.

“The main danger comes from neo-Nazi military formations that commit numerous war crimes using terrorist methods, deploying strike weapons in residential areas, cynically hiding behind the civilian population. At the same time, official Kiev does not fulfill its promises to stop this barbarism: in recent days, the number of such cases has been increasing, “the report says.

Putin once again stressed that the Russian military does not fight with the civilian population, but strikes only at military facilities.

Following the talks, the Russian president called on Scholz to influence the Kiev authorities for the speedy release and safe evacuation of foreigners. Putin confirmed that Russia is open to dialogue with the Ukrainian side, as well as with all those who want peace in Ukraine, but on condition that all Russian demands are met.

The German Chancellor during the conversation called on Moscow to immediately stop the special operation to protect the Donbass. He also noted the need to ensure the access of humanitarian aid to the area of hostilities, the official representative of the Cabinet of Ministers of Germany Steffen Hebestreit told reporters.

On February 17, 2022, the situation in the region escalated. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) announced a general mobilization, the evacuation of civilians to the territory of Russia and asked for help.

Russian troops in Ukraine/Photo: Izvestia

On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR, as well as treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, which, among other things, provide for the granting of the right to build military bases on the territory of the parties and the provision of military assistance to each other.

On February 24, the Russian leader announced the launch of a special operation to protect the civilian population of Donbass. Western countries that disagree with its implementation began to introduce new anti-Russian sanctions.

For more relevant videos and details about the situation in Donbass, watch on the Izvestia TV channel. 

PUTIN URGED THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY NOT TO FOLLOW CRIMINAL ORDERS

Short link

24 February 2022, 08:32

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a televised address that all Ukrainian soldiers who refuse to follow Kiev’s criminal orders and lay down their arms will be able to leave the combat zone without hindrance.

 

 

 

 

RELATED:

UKRAINE: WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH BLACK FOLKS? BLACK AGENDA REPORT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Nazis Demand Respect – Consortium News

Neo-Nazis active in Ukraine as White House adds 3,000 troops – People’s World (peoplesworld.org)

US & Ukraine at UN Refuse to Condemn Nazism – Consortium News

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UKRAINE EXPOSES U.S./NATO WHITE SUPREMACIST FOREIGN POLICY–BLACK AGENDA REPORT

 

Image – Carlos Latuff 

White supremacy is at the heart of US war propaganda. The exhortation to “stand with Ukraine” is no exception to this rule.

US-NATO destroyed the nation of Libya, attempted to do the same in Syria, occupied Afghanistan

NATO wages war across African countries with US, French and British troops deployed across the continent

“Instead of standing with Ukraine, Americans should stand with humanity across the world.

Margaret Kimberley, BAR Executive Editor and Senior Columnist

March 2, 2022

By now everyone knows that Ukraine’s flag is blue and yellow. It is impossible to miss as the Empire State Building in New York, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris have all been bathed in those colors. Nearly every city and town across the United States has followed suit and politicians ranging from local legislators to members of congress shout “Stand with Ukraine!” at every opportunity.

Eiffel Tower

Yet it must be pointed out that those blue and yellow motifs and pleas for solidarity are all about white supremacy. Ukraine is upheld as a bastion of “civilization” which is supposed to put it off limits for war and suffering. The quiet part is now being spoken out loud. We are told that Ukrainians are more deserving of concern because they are Europeans.

Ukraine’s deputy chief prosecutor said as much in a BBC interview. “It is very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed…” He wasn’t alone in his assessment.

An NBC reporter was asked why Poland was willing to admit Ukrainians even as it turned away other refugees. “Just to put it bluntly, these are not refugees from Syria, these are refugees from neighboring Ukraine. That, quite frankly, is part of it. These are Christians, they are white, they’re … um… very similar to the people that live in Poland.”

CBS followed suit, “This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan who has seen conflict rage for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully – city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it was going to happen.”

The narrative that only white people deserve peace and security is all the more shameful because the global south suffers from war and privation as a direct result of US/NATO actions.

U.S.-NATO bombs over Tripoli, Libya in 2011. The invasion destroyed most of Libya’s infrastructure including world-class water and energy facilities.

It is NATO that destroyed the nation of Libya, NATO which attempted to do the same in Syria, NATO that occupied Afghanistan, NATO which wages war across African countries with US, French and British troops deployed across the continent. The white world causes suffering and then says that the people of the global south are “uncivilized” with no rights that need to be respected.

A Watson Institute of Brown University study showed that more than 37 million people in North Africa, Western and Central Asia, and the Horn of Africa have been displaced by the US and its allies since 2001. The humanitarian disasters begun years ago are ongoing, as refugees use the Mediterranean and even the US border with Mexico as points of escape.

After experiencing wars of aggression these nations are then subjected to punishment as the United States steals Afghanistan’s assets and keeps Syria under the thumb of Caesar Sanctions. These thefts cause more suffering and even death as nations are robbed of the ability to care for their people. Who is civilized and who is not?

Nazi-supported 2014 coup in Ukraine included bombing of government headquarters in Kiev.

Ukraine has been pushed to the forefront of American thought in order to defend the imperialist foreign policy which led to the current conflict with Russia. If the blue-eyed nation is suffering it is because of US and NATO arrogance and aggression.

Ukraine’s current situation is a direct result of the 2014 coup engineered by the US and its EU partners. An elected president was dispatched and a civil war began that has killed some 14,000 people. Ukraine is a US colony with a puppet government now under military attack. Ukrainians are themselves refugees as they flee to neighboring Poland, Romania, Slovakia and other countries. It is the supposedly advanced, democratic, and supposedly civilized who have created their problems.

Black student in Ukraine tells NBC that Blacks are last to get out; Ukrainian, Polish governments have had anti-immigration policies for a long time.

Yet once again bare-faced racism is evident. African migrants and students in Ukraine were prohibited from boarding trains and buses that could take them to safety. A group of Jamaican students was forced to walk 20 kilometers when they were forced off of a bus enroute to Poland. Africans and Jamaicans live and study all over the world because the US and Europe under-develop their nations through a variety of means. Yet Ukrainians and Poles didn’t see people in need of help. They determined that the non-blondes were not deserving of assistance.

Ironically, it is the white supremacist underpinnings of US/NATO foreign policy which have created all of Ukraine’s suffering. The need to dominate, to “contain” Russia and its ally China is not playing out the way they had hoped but the Ukrainians be damned. The Minsk II agreement which was unanimously approved in the United Nations Security Council was a roadmap to peace. Ukraine should be a neutral nation but that is the exact opposite of what its lords and masters in Washington want. The good faith negotiations that could resolve the crisis are a non-starter because NATO is a very dishonest broker.

The corporate media have joined the state in an extraordinary effort to create war propaganda. They deliberately tug at heartstrings and demand solidarity with Ukraine because the truth is very unpalatable. Instead of standing with Ukraine, Americans should stand with humanity across the world. If they did they would be better able to understand why there are wars in Europe or anywhere else.

Margaret Kimberley’is the author of Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents. Her work can be found at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley can be reached via email at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

RELATED:

UKRAINE: WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH BLACK FOLKS? BLACK AGENDA REPORT | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Why are fleeing Ukrainians being talked about with such sympathy? They are white. (msn.com)

Ukraine issue must be settled by implementing Minsk II agreement – CGTN

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MICH. CANNABIS FREEDOM COALITION HELPED FREE MICHAEL THOMPSON, WORKING TO FREE MANY MORE

Michael Thompson (l), with Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist. (Photo courtesy Mike McCurdy)

Michael Thompson released from prison at age 70 after serving 25 yrs. of 42 to 60-year sentence on marijuana-related charges

Last Prisoner Project and MDP Cannabis Caucus jointly formed Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition

With them, Michael Thompson founded the Michael Thompson Clemency Project

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Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell, VOD Field Editor

February 25, 2022

In 2021, the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition (MCFC), secured their first major victory, helping free Michael Thompson, a convicted cannabis offender who was sentenced in 1996 to serve 42–60 years on marijuana related charges out of Genesee County, MI.

Mary Bailey of Last Prisoner Project; Mike McCurdy Cannabis Project/Michigan Dems

Thompson, 70, was released one year ago on January 28th, 2021, after being granted a commutation by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Thompson, deemed a model prisoner by Attorney General Dana Nessel, had only incurred one misconduct report in his entire 25 years of incarceration.

“It was truly inspiring to watch Michael walk out of those doors and immediately issue a powerful statement to the press about the inhumane conditions of Michigan’s prisons and to promise to fight for those he left behind,” said Mike McCurdy, Chair of the Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party. Cannabis Caucus of the MDP (michigandemscannabis.com)

McCurdy, working in conjunction with Last Prisoner Project (LPP) managing director Mary Bailey, co-founded the MCFC. The two were able to see their work manifest itself when Thompson walked out of a prison in Jackson. Last Prisoner Project – Cannabis Reform Nonprofit

Michael Thompson speaks to media on his release from prison, surrounded by family members. Photo/ J. Scott Park MLive.com

It was 4:30AM on a brutally cold winter morning when Thompson walked out of the prison gates in Jackson, Michigan to an awaiting crowd of press, family and supporters.

“Twenty-five years is a long time,” Thompson said, struggling to control his emotions.

“Hopefully those left behind can be helped, guys who shouldn’t be there, like guys still in for marijuana, they shouldn’t be in there. I just hope somebody can hear me, especially those dealing with prison reform. There are a lot of things that need to be done. Those guys are human beings and the way they treat them is not good. It’s not just about me, it’s about thousands of guys that need help and we need to quit talking and start doing something about it.”

Since that fateful morning, Bailey, McCurdy and their coalition have strongly advocated for the release of all cannabis prisoners including Rudi Gammo, another convicted cannabis offender serving time in a Michigan prison who’s currently being considered for release.

Rudi Gammo and family

In 2021, Gammo, with the help of McCurdy and Bailey, pushed on the outside to have his application for commutation looked at by the Michigan Parole Board.

Gammo was charged under a RICO statute for operating grow houses in Detroit and received five and 1/2 years. His earliest release date isn’t until 2023. It is ironic that just a few months after he was shipped off to prison, Michigan passed legislation making it legal for citizens to possess recreational marijuana.

Michael Thompson, with McCurdy, founded the “Michael Thompson Clemency Project” (MTCP), which recommends review and consideration for possible commutation by Gov. Whitmer, in the cases of other incarcerated individuals many of whom Thompson served time with.

Among those who Thompson and McCurdy are pushing for, is the late Robert Cannon Jr., a co-organizer that worked with Thompson to put together the George Floyd ‘Celebration of Life’ while housed at the Muskegon Correctional Facility. This incredible act of resistance was recently a featured story on the National Public Radio Snap Judgment. The show was dedicated to Cannon’s memory. Sadly, Cannon died in prison although his name was being considered for release. Advocates like McCurdy and Thompson have vowed to remember him and fight hard at gaining the release of others in recognition of Cannon. https://snapjudgment.org/episode/the-feast/

Robert Michael Cannon, Jr.

“…For me personally, to watch daily the diversity of all the beautiful hearts come together to say in one voice, they have had enough, gives some of us hope that one day those same people will bring to light the great injustice Michael Thompson received…” – Robert Michael Cannon Jr. (from an article by Sarah Gersten of Last Prisoner Project).

Ironically, Cannon was speaking Thompson’s freedom into existence, and his spirit shall live on through those of us who can feel his energy flowing within the universe. The work of McCurdy, Thompson and others must be applauded, as their efforts include bringing a sharp focus on unfair sentencing practices and over-incarceration. These factors have undoubtedly contributed to the build-up of 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S., with some 40,000 behind bars for cannabis offenses.

Video interview of Michael Thompson by FOX WILX Jan. 29, 2021

MTCP is currently advocating for dozens of people to be released. Among those with clemencies already, or soon to be on Governor Whitmer’s desk awaiting her signature are: Donald Williams, Horace Peterson, Rudi Gammo, Corey McCullough, Keith Stinson and LeRoy Washington. MTCP is urging the governor to sign the petitions immediately, invoking the adage that “Justice delayed is Justice denied.”

Let us all embrace the same hope that Robert Cannon expressed, when he advocated from the inside for Thompson’s freedom. The work of the Michael Thompson Clemency Project and the Michigan Cannabis Freedom Coalition is moving forward and making a real difference in reforming this broken system.

MICHAEL THOMPSON CLEMENCY PROJECT: 

https://www.mtclemency.com/

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LIFER PAUL DAVIS: FRAMED BY DETROIT COPS, APA WHO SENT CHILDREN TO CPS, JAIL TO GET FALSE TESTIMONY

Paul Davis, serving life without parole for 2004 murder, says he is innocent, framed by crooked cops including LaNesha Jones (video above), prosecutors

A mother recanted her ID of Davis in 2017, saying police threatened her and five juveniles ages 12 to 16 to get false IDs of Davis

Lanesha Jones, Officer in Charge, fired by DPD trial board in 2009 after being charged with felony aggravated assault off-duty 

David Pauch, ballistics tech for Detroit Crime Lab, shuttered in 2008, testified at trial, but no physical evidence presented

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For a print version of this article, go to: http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/LIFER-PAUL-DAVIS_-FRAMED-BY-DETROIT-COPS-APA-WHO-SENT-CHILDREN-TO-CPS-JAIL-TO-GET-FALSE-TESTIMONY-_-VOICE-OF-DETROIT_-The-citys-independent-newspaper-unbossed-and-unbought.pdf

Ricardo Ferrell

By Ricardo Ferrell

VOD Field Editor

With Diane Bukowski, Editor

DETROIT — Despite there being no physical evidence linking him to a 2004 homicide, and the use of juvenile witnesses taken from their mother to force their false testimony, Paul Davis, now 40 years old, still languishes behind bars for the 2004 murder of Larry Snipes, Jr. on Spokane Avenue in Detroit.  He has always unequivocally denied he committed that crime.

PAUL DAVIS

“My husband has been suffering in prison for almost two decades for something he did not do,” Shannon Davis told VOD about her husband. “The justice system failed him terribly. The officers involved were corrupt, his attorney was grossly ineffective, and the evidence was inconsistent. With all this, he couldn’t have received a fair trial.”

Attorney Robert Goldman of Dickstein & Lewis, PLLC, wrote a detailed nine-page letter to Valerie Newman, head of the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit, urgently asking her to accept Davis’ case. He had reviewed available court files and other documentation.

He noted first that Davis was in Taylor, Michigan at the time of the murder.

“Tamika Holmes gave a witness statement to Detective J. Wolff indicating that she, along with [three other adults] and their children, were at her home in the Pond Village Apartments in Taylor, Michigan with Paul Davis at or around the time of the alleged murder,” Goldman wrote.

Holmes testified at trial, but the others were never called by Davis’ defense attorney George Davos. (See complete letter from Goldman at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Paul-Davis-memorandum-to-CIU.pdf.)

Instead, DPD Detective Sgt. Lanesha Jones, who was the Chief Investigative Officer (CIO) on the case, DPD Officer Kurtiss Staples, and Asst. Wayne Co. Prosecutor Suzette Samuels elicited statements from a mother and five juveniles ages 12 to 16, who were staying or visiting at the Spokane address. The prosecution’s entire case was later based on the children’s testimonies, despite gross inconsistencies and failures to identify Davis at in-person line-ups and in court testimony.

(L to r) AP Suzette Samuels, DPD Sgt. LaNesha Jones, Judge Craig Strong–kidnappers??

Court records show that these “public servants” threatened to have Child Protective Services (CPS) take the children if they didn’t cooperate. Even though the children signed typed witness statements for Sgt. Jones, they were abruptly taken from their mother and placed in foster homes. It is not known if they were ever able to return.

Wayne Co. 3rd Circuit Court Judge Craig Strong ordered the 13-year-old child incarcerated at the Wayne Co. Juvenile Detention Center to ensure his testimony, after he ran away from his foster home. Strong signed petitions from AP Samuels to have the other children held under bond to force them to testify.

Judge, AP sent child to Wayne Co. Juvenile home to ensure testimony.

Atty. Aaron Z. Gordon Jr., who interviewed the 13-year-old, said the child asked that the prosecution protect him from the defendants’ family when he testified. Several of the other children didn’t show up at trial. To bolster the remaining children’s testimony, Sgt. Jones testified FOR them at length, reporting what she claimed they told her and addressing issues like their demeanor at the time of their conversations with her.

Denise Henry, the mother of most of the juveniles, did not testify at trial. In 2017, Henry signed a notarized statement stating that she and her children were coerced and pressured by authorities to provide false statements and testimonies against Davis. Henry stated she only did this because Officers LaNesha Jones and Kurtiss Staples threatened to have Child Protective Services take her children away. She included a handwritten letter to Davis begging his forgiveness and recalling the intense distress to her family caused by the officers’ actions. 

OTHER CHARGES AGAINST DAVIS CASE COPS, TECHS

LANESHA JONES —The DPD fired Sgt. Lanesha Jones in 2009 after a trial board unanimously recommended her dismissal (see WXYZ video at top of story). She had been charged with felony aggravated assault while off-duty, causing severe wounds to a woman’s forehead at Flood’s Bar in downtown Detroit. The charges were later reduced to misdemeanors. She was later hired at the Highland Park Police Department and became Deputy Chief, despite WXYZ’s expose′, but she was laid-off in 2012 according to published reports.

Jones was among DPD defendants cited in the 2006 frame-up and wrongful incarceration of Elroy “Lucky” Jones, which resulted in the City of Detroit’s $1.5 million settlement of a civil lawsuit.

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM March 16, 2016: $1.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH ELROY LUCKY JONES; Defendants included Lanesha Jones.

Elroy Lucky Jones is listed on the National Registry of Exonerations.

The lawsuit cited defendants including Lanesha Jones. It alleged long-time DPD Detective WIlliam Anderson targeted Elroy Jones because he believed, falsely, that the man killed his nephew, then recruited other officers to systematically frame him.

After Elroy Jones’ conviction, the Detroit Violent Crimes Task Force (VCTF), including DPD and the U.S. Department of Justice, discovered and charged the (alleged) real killer during the VCTF investigation of the “7 Mile Bloods” gang. (See video above.)

Family of Jarrhod Williams, whose case led to shut-down of crime lab, at Detroit People’s Task Force march in 2011. VOD/DB photo

DAVID PAUCH — Pauch worked in the Detroit Crime Lab as a ballistics examiner. The lab was shut down in 2008 after discoveries by Michigan State Police (MSP) that it had more than a 10 percent error rate, likely caused by faulty and/or falsified work.  

Wayne Co. Prosecutor Kym Worthy, with the State Appellate Defenders Office, reviewed Crime Lab evidence collected over the decades before the discoveries.

But Worthy decided to focus only on convictions from 2003 to 2008. At least 1200 prisoners victimized by faulty crime lab evidence remain incarcerated in the Mich. Dept. of Corrections.

Pauch himself has been found to have falsified and/or tampered with evidence in multiple cases. Other crime lab techs including Claude Houseworth have been cited in many cases that have managed to make it to the level of exoneration.

Desmond Ricks and Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy each were affected by faulty and/or falsified testimony from Pauch.

Desmond Ricks was exonerated in 2018 after spending 25 years in prison, with the help of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, including director Dave Moran who vigorously fought to get his client freed. Ricks was wrongly convicted in 1992 of 2nd-degree murder based on reports from Pauch and another crime lab tech. They reported that bullets from the victim’s body came from a gun Ricks possessed, but the Innocence Clinic investigation found that was not the case, after the prosecutor’s office sent them photos of the fatal bullets fired from a different gun. Ricks won a $1 million wrongful conviction claim from the state.

Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy–Pauch was also involved in the case of Thelonious ‘Shawn’ Searcy. Searcy was released to home confinement last year after 17 years in prison, under a definitive Michigan Court of Appeals ruling that was highly critical of the roles Chief Judge Timothy Kenny and AP Patrick Muscat played at the original trial and an evidentiary hearing.  The COA cited the duo’s claim that bullets from the victim’s body were “unrecognizable.”

During an evidentiary hearing, it was revealed that a .40 caliber bullet taken from the victim’s body had been concealed in an evidence envelope labeled “9 mm. casing.” The prosecution had claimed the murder weapon was a .45 caliber gun and that the bullets were “too deformed” to identify.

Darrell Siggers–One of the earliest exonerations due to crime lab errors was that of Darrell Siggers, who had been serving life without parole since 1984 before his exoneration in 2018. Siggers and his attorney Wolfgang Mueller filed a $150 million lawsuit against former Detroit police detective Joseph Alex, and the estate of Detroit Crime Lab technician Claude Houseworth. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Goldsmith just denied a motion by Alex asking for dismissal of the case. Goldsmith’s ruling gives extensive information relating to Siggers’ exoneration.

See:  http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Microsoft-Word-19-12521-Siggers-v.-Alex-et-al-op-denying-mot-for-reconsideration-abf-v6-cc.docx.pdf

Houseworth had testified that a bullet fragment was found near Siggers’ apartment, but a police report said no evidence was found there. Bullet casings were found at the crime scene location instead. Houseworth also testified that the bullet taken from the victim matched a bullet taken from a gun that was recovered, but there was never a match.

PAUL DAVIS/Family photo

PAUL DAVISLewis-Dickstein attorney Goldman wrote, “Physical evidence was never presented at trial; APA Suzette Samuels only admitted Pauch’s statements into evidence to corroborate her witness testimony that the deceased was shot with a .45 caliber weapon. Moreover, due to ineffective counsel at the time of trial, no experts on ballistics or trajectory were questioned with respect to the questionable collection and analysis of the evidence asserted by Mr. [David] Pauch.

Goldman cited Pauch’s testimony on paper laboratory records introduced as People’s  Exhibits 5-8, citing one .38 caliber lead bullet, a .45 caliber metal-jacketed hollow point bullet, and a microscopic comparison of two .45 caliber spent casings supposedly showing they came from the same gun. All the evidence was sent to the property section “pending recovery of a suspected weapon,” which was not produced at trial.

Goldman wrote further, “People’s Exhibit 8 indicates the two spent shell casings tested by Pauch in Exhibit 7 contained no readable prints found. These results are extremely relevant in light of facts now known regarding David Pauch and his history of falsifying and/or otherwise tampering with evidence in question in homicide investigations, such as the case of Mr. Desmond Ricks.”

DPD HOMICIDE FILE ‘DOES NOT EXIST OR CANNOT BE LOCATED.’

“It should be noted . . . that the Detroit Police Department’s homicide file relative to this matter does not exist or cannot be located,” Goldman notes. “The information as provided below is a result of years of efforts to collect what documents are available; with an impression a great deal more was removed or destroyed by their absence and/or inability to be produced. . . ”

Scott Lewis being interviewed by Fox 2 News reporter.

“Of extreme concern in this matter is the finding of the record or file being entirely void of any valid warrant, autopsy photos, pictures of the victim, victim clothing photos, blood samples, photos of shell casings and other investigatory evidence which would customarily be found in a homicide investigation file and prosecution.”

Davis hired noted private investigator Scott Lewis to obtain his homicide file and Child Protective Services records. Lewis’ FOIA request was denied, other than receiving two police incident reports which contained minimal information. An appeal was filed and again the request was denied.

Davis himself wrote to VOD about his CIU Application:

Valerie Newman, head of CIU, at rally for Davontae Sanford, exonerated in 2016. VOD/DB photo

“1. On or around April 6, 2021, I received a letter from Valerie Newman indicating that I needed to file an application with the CIU soon or my file would be closed. Thereafter, I quickly filed an application with the CIU.

2. On April 27, 2021, one of my attorneys Robert Goldman emailed Ms. Newman asking to prepare an application on my behalf. She responded back stating that she preferred to have a memorandum of law filed by attorneys.

3. On June 25, 2021, my attorney Mr. Goldman filed a memorandum with the CIU on my behalf. Valerie Newman accepted my memorandum and said my case was pending.

4. On July 17, 2021, my attorney sent Valerie Newman alibi witness affidavits and FOIA request and denial responses. She responded back that same day stating that the materials will be added to my file.

5. Since then I’ve been having my attorney check-in with the CIU once a month. I also had Claudia Whitman call the CIU on my behalf last month regarding my case and hiring experts. Valerie said to wait on the experts and be patient because it’s a process.”

One supporter says, “Paul Davis, and many others like him have been wrongfully convicted and those convictions must be overturned in an expeditious fashion, so they can be reunited with their families, where they so rightfully belong. Anything other than exonerating Davis and the hundreds or thousands more would be a blatant disregard of both the State and U.S. Constitutions, and the meaning of justice Under the Color of Law.”

Related:

MICH. SUPREME COURT NIXES WORTHY’S APPEAL OF STRONG COA RULING IN THELONIOUS SEARCY CASE | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

Man exonerated in ’84 slaying sues ex-Detroit cop, lab tech’s estate (detroitnews.com)

LIFER KENNETH COOPER FIGHTS 2001 CONVICTION; NO PHYSICAL, EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE; BRADY VIOLATIONS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

TASK FORCE CONTINUES BATTLE TO EXPOSE CRIME LAB CRIMES; WANTS ALL AT COUNCIL MEETING JULY 19 WHEN WORTHY ASKS FOR RENEWAL OF FUNDS | VOICE OF DETROIT: The city’s independent newspaper, unbossed and unbought

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DEFUND THE POLICE SO CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNITS CAN SAVE THE LIVES STOLEN BY CROOKED COPS

Detroit’s police department will make up almost 29% of the city’s general fund expenditures this year. . .total police spending in 2022 @ $341 M.

Police misconduct involved in most wrongful convictions–fund Conviction Integrity Units to free them all!

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Editorial

By Robert T. Hinds

Robert T. Hinds is one of Wayne County’s juvenile lifers still incarcerated TEN YEARS after the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed mandatory juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). He is also fighting for exoneration based on his innocence claim, having submitted an application to the County’s Conviction Integrity Unit in 2020.

Every year, police misconduct in Michigan steals the lives of countless innocent individuals who become lifelong victims of a corrupt and shameless justice system.

Robert T. Hinds

Hundreds of innocent people like me sit helplessly in prison while the police who have victimized us are not only free but are still being paid by the state or federal government with funds that could be being used to shed light on their misconduct that led to us being unjustly placed in prison in the first place.

In July 2020, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy released a list of 34 police officers and one sheriff’s deputy whose credibility is so weakened by their own crimes or misconduct that it must be disclosed to jurors if they testify. (See current list published in Dec. 2020 at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Wayne-County-Prosecutor-GIGLIO-BRADY-LIST-12-7-2020-2-1.pdf.)

My question is: WHY ARE THEY STILL WORKING IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AT ALL? 

Currently, I have an open exoneration claim at the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU). I submitted my application in April of 2020, with more than an actual claim of innocence. I provided iron-clad proof of police misconduct, including an entire miscellaneous file from the Detroit Police Department that was withheld from my trial attorney over 20 years ago. The file contained:

  • Fingerprints that didn’t belong to me. The detective lied on the witness stand and said there were not any usable fingerprints.
  • A hair follicle with root end attached that was never disclosed/tested as DNA evidence.
  • Police reports of a previous home invasion involving the victim where the perpetrators threatened to kill him.
  • A tip sheet saying the victim’s children’s mother’s new boyfriend threatened to kill him.
  • Police report regarding where guns were found that impeached the prosecution’s key witness’ testimony.
  • Tip sheet implicating the last person with the victim as a suspect.

This file combined with credible affidavits from witnesses who saw the prosecution’s witness in the vehicle linked to the crime only hours before the murder and who heard him brag about being involved in the crime and having people come to court to falsely accuse me was a clear game changer. I was sure that my case was a no-brainer.

So why am I still rotting away in a prison cell in Kincheloe, MI over two years later? Because the CIU has 1,800 applications, 1,000 open cases, and 30 active investigations. Mine is one of the 1,000 open cases that they say they haven’t had the resources to investigate because they are underfunded and understaffed.

It takes money to hire attorneys and investigators. Most recently, the CIU reported only having four staff attorneys and two investigators. That’s 250 cases per attorney and 500 cases per investigator. That’s an overwhelming caseload. Optimistically, if 100 cases were reviewed yearly, it could take 10 years to go through these cases.

Meanwhile in Detroit, the police department will make up almost 29% of the city’s general fund expenditures this year and the total police spending in the 2022 budget is $341 million. Defunding the police and reallocating those funds would help the CIU clean up the mess that was made by the police in a lot of cases. Police misconduct accounts for most of the exonerations in Wayne County. So why should we continue to fund criminals instead of funding the heroes who are exonerating the innocent?

If money is not made available to hire more CIU staff, the police who are actually guilty of committing misconduct will not be identified until it’s too late. Police are human beings, which means that they are creatures of habit. Police misconduct doesn’t happen by chance. Their actions are deliberate and consistent. My case is a clear example of extreme police misconduct.

I am happy for the few who have already been exonerated due to the CIU, but just think about the other hundreds of lives that could be saved if we valued justice over politics. How much does freedom really cost? This is the question that I ask myself every morning when I wake up still in prison…waiting. More information about my case can be found at www.change.org/freeroberthinds.

Contact @ Jpay.com Robert Hinds #410196 (Michigan)  

Chippewa Correctional Facility

Kincheloe, MI

rtsecondchance@gmail.com 

Robert Hinds’ struggle for his exoneration and freedom is fully supported by A Life for a Life Urban Initiative (ALALUI), a nonprofit grassroots organization in Michigan founded in 2013. Their mission is to advocate for social justice by creating greater awareness about the wrongfully convicted and to share their stories of innocence and humanityA Life for A Life Urban Initiative

http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Robert-Hinds-Life-for-a-Life-Urban-Initiative.pdf

ALSO READ:

Government_Misconduct_and_Convicting_the_Innocent.pdf (umich.edu)

Some Wayne County wrongful convictions — Tweeted by Maggie Freleng

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