Ricky Rimmer’s motion for new trial/relief from judgment was filed Jan. 10, 2022 and is on the docket of 3rd CC Judge Christopher Blount
DPD Sgts. Leo Haidys and James Harris were chief architects of Rimmer’s conviction for 1975 murder of car dealer Joseph Kratz on Detroit’s east side
Haidys was tried for felonious assault during infamous Veterans Memorial Incident in 1968; white cops attacked Black youths at church event
Harris tried for murder in Rochester Street Massacre of Wayne Co. Deputy Sheriffs in 1971, later convicted, spent 20 years in prison for protecting int’l drug shipments; now on Wayne Co. Prosecutor’s Brady list
“I want Rimmer, get your stories straight” — Harris to three other Black youths at DPD HQ 1975; motion says he used them as “police agents.”
By Diane Bukowski
August 8, 2022
DETROIT — “I have done 47 years for a crime I did not commit,” Ricky Rimmer, now 68, told VOD today.
“Sgt. James Harris told me to sell drugs for him, and I refused. He used to come through our neighborhood squeezing guys, shaking guys down, pushing them up against the cars. I wasn’t going to do that for him. I was young and scared of him, everybody in the neighborh00d was scared of him, they knew he was a dirty cop, putting guys in jail who hadn’t done anything. I knew he would set me up or kill me for refusing. He did both when he put me in here for life.”
Rimmer said he told his defense attorney Warfield Moore, Jr. that he wanted to testify at his trial about Harris’ attempt to have him sell drugs, but Moore would not let him.
He said he wishes he had known then that Harris was tried f0r murder in the notorious “Rochester Street Massacre” of Wayne County Deputy Sheriffs in 1971, and that Sgt. Leo Haidys, the Chief Investigating Officer (CIO) on his case, had been tried for felonious assault during the infamous “Veterans Memorial Incident” in 1968, a mob attack on Black youths by white cops.
During Harris’ 1971 trial, the Sheriffs’ Office said Harris blatantly lied that the Sheriffs initiated the gunfire and continued firing at the DPD S.T.R.E.S.S. cops, a claim not backed up by any forensic evidence. Harris was acquitted, but was later convicted and sentenced to 30 years in 1991 for taking bribes to protect international drug deliveries in Detroit. He is now on Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s 2020 Giglio-Brady list.
In his pro se motions set for an initial hearing Aug. 10, Rimmer says his conviction must be vacated, citing the prosecution’s failure to disclose the two officers’ prior records under Brady v. Maryland and related cases, in addition to his innocence of the crime. See:
1968 Veterans Memorial Incident involving, among others, DPD Sgt. LEO HAIDYS, OIC at RICKY RIMMER trial in 1976
“How is it possible that the DPD only fired one police officer after a violent and racist mob-style mass attack on [Black] teenagers, and that only one of the dozens of white [officers] involved was prosecuted at trial? It is important to emphasize that what activists labeled ‘police brutality’ and ‘police misconduct’ also represented police illegality, criminality, and often felony wrongdoing. By creating a system in which criminality by police officers went unpunished, or at most received mild discipline as a violation of DPD ‘rules and regulations,’ the police department had become one of the largest and most well-organized, and certainly the most legally untouchable, criminal organizations in Detroit.” Veterans Memorial Incident · Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era · Omeka Beta Service (umich.edu)
1971 Rochester Street Massacre of Wayne Co. Sheriffs involving among others: Sgt. JAMES HARRIS, witness at RICKY RIMMER trial
“Why did a STRESS unit invade a private apartment with guns blazing, killing and wounding other law enforcement officers? To the growing anti-STRESS movement, the Rochester Street Massacre was either the latest example of the unit’s murderous shoot-first mentality, or an even more sinister illustration of the massive corruption at the heart of the Detroit Police Department, perhaps even tied to an internal law enforcement battle for control of the profits from the city’s illegal narcotics markets.” Rochester Street Massacre · Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era · Omeka Beta Service (umich.edu)
Two parties in the case, Rimmer’s co-defendant and a witness who police involved in the trial at 16 years old, came forward last year.
They swore out affidavits stating that Sgt. Harris conspired to have them falsely testify that Rimmer shot Joseph Kratz during a robbery at Delta Motor Sales, which he owned.
(On the morning of the trial, Sgt. Haidys took the stand and testified outside the presence of the jury, before Judge Henry Heading. He said that a third witness called him the morning of the trial and said he could not testify because he did not want to be labeled as a “rat.”
This witness did in fact appear that morning and testified outside the presence of the jury that he did not tell Sgt. Haidys that he did not want to testify. He said he called Sgt. Haidys and informed him that he lacked transportation to get to court. He further testified that he lied at Rimmer’s preliminary exam, because Sgt. Harris told him falsely that Rimmer and his co-defendant had killed his little brother, and he wanted revenge. But instead, Heading ordered his exam testimony to be read to the jury afterwards.)
In their affidavits, Rimmer’s co-defendant and the second witness swore that Harris placed them all in a room at DPD headquarters and told them to get their stories together, because he wanted them to say that Rimmer was the one who shot Kratz.
The 16-year-old witness had testified at trial. The prosecution declared him a hostile witness after he denied much of the statement he signed for Harris earlier. In his affidavit, he says, “most of the contents of that statement were Sgt. Harris’ thoughts and ideas. I agreed to it because I had been told that Ricky Rimmer killed my best friend. . .”
In his affidavit, Rimmer’s co-defendant says, “. . . . At no time during my interview with Sgt. James Harris did I tell him that I saw Ricky Rimmer chasing the car salesman while shooting at him. Ricky Rimmer was not present during the robbery of the car salesman.”
The co-defendant’s conviction was later overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court, which ruled that Judge Heading should not have told the jury that he deemed his “confession” to be voluntarily given.
When that ruling was remanded to Heading’s court, Heading dismissed not only the co-defendant’s conviction, but also Rimmer’s. An appeals court overturned the dismissal of Rimmer’s conviction, with one judge dissenting.
Judge Stewart Newblatt of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan later granted Rimmer’s writ of habeas corpus on the basis of Judge Heading’s refusal to have the third witness testify before the jury, a Sixth Amendment confrontation violation. But Judge Newblatt rescinded the grant after an objection from the prosecution.
Rimmer’s motions and brief rest on key legal grounds not often cited by mainstream attorneys and other professionals, among them:
MCL 770.1 Statutory RELIEF WHEN JUSTICE HAS NOT BEEN DONE
“MCL 770.1 stands as a substantive ground for relief independent of any provided by the Michigan Court Rules. As stated, the State of Michigan enacted MCL 770.1 to correct wrongful convictions within the State of Michigan by providing for substantive relief from the trial court when it appears to the court that “justice has not been done.” In other words, the law makers have given the trial court the exclusive authority to correct a miscarriage of justice in a criminal conviction at any time when good cause is shown. See MCL 770.2(4).”
MCR 6.502 (G)(2) amended: SIGNIFICANT POSSIBILITY OF INNOCENCE
“The Michigan Supreme Court has amended MCR. 6.502(G)(2), adding “The court may waive the provisions of this rule if it concludes that there is a significant possibility that the defendant is innocent of the crime. For motions filed under both (G)(1) and (G)(2), the court shall enter an appropriate order disposing of the motion.” MCR 6.502(G)(2) as amended September 20, 2018.”
CREDIBLE RECANTATION EVIDENCE can prove ACTUAL INNOCENCE
“Credible recantation evidence can be sufficient to prove actual innocence. To determine whether the recantation is reliable, a court should consider the context of the original statement as well as the context of the recantation. Known causes of wrongful conviction, like unreliable and coercive interrogation tactics, can explain why a witness offered false testimony at trial and why a reasonable juror applying the Schlup (Schlup Delo, 513 US 298 (1995)) standard would find a subsequent recantation more reliable.”
ACTUAL INNOCENCE is ABSENCE OF GUILT beyond reasonable doubt
“A Schlup claim is not based on affirmative proof that the defendant did not commit the crime; it is based on the absence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Schlup, at 328. A defendant is “actually innocent” under Schlup if the court finds it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in light of the newly presented evidence. Under Schlup, Mr. Rimmer is not required to eliminate all inference of guilt. House v. Bell, 547 US 518, 553-54 (2006). Mr. Rimmer is required, instead, to show the likely effect of the new evidence on a juror applying the reasonable doubt standard. House at 539.”
The video above recounts the 1991 arrests of DPD’s James Harris and Willie Volsan after they agreed to protect international drug shipments to Detroit.
I AM NOT BITTER, BUT I DO HOPE AND PRAY THAT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICE PROVE TRUE IN MY HAVING A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE ON THE OUTSIDE. Ricky Rimmer-Bey
Write Ricky Rimmer at:
Ricky Rimmer #133464
Carson City Correctional Facility
10274 Boyer Road
Carson City, MI 48811-9746
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