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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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: Lewis-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. . . ”
“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:
“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.”
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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