Friday, August 10, 2018

Oklahoma's Wretched Record on Wrongful Convictions

 Michelle Malkin

"Frontier justice" costs too many citizens of all races, creeds, and backgrounds their freedom and their lives. In the old days of the Wild West, vigilantes worked outside the judicial system to punish rivals regardless of their guilt or innocence. Today, outlaws operate inside the bureaucracy to secure criminal convictions at all costs.

Oklahoma -- the notorious home of "Hang 'Em High" executions -- stands out for its decades of trampling due process, subverting public disclosure, perpetuating forensic junk science, manufacturing false accusations and enabling official misconduct.

Since 1993, 35 wrongfully convicted Oklahomans have been officially exonerated, according to the National Registry of Exonerations; 15 inmates have been freed in the past decade. Almost half of the state's exonerees had been convicted of murder; 17 percent for sexual assault. The reign of prosecutorial terror and forensic error by the late Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy and rogue Oklahoma City police department crime lab analyst Joyce Gilchrist resulted in at least 11 wrongful convictions, according to the Innocence Project. Those victims included:

Exoneree Curtis McCarty, who was sent to death row for a stabbing and strangulation murder after Macy withheld evidence and Gilchrist falsified blood evidence and destroyed hair evidence.

Exoneree Robert Lee Miller Jr., another death row inmate falsely convicted of two rapes and two murders based on a coerced confession and atrocious forensic misconduct involving junk analysis of semen, blood, saliva, human hair and dog hair.

Exoneree Jeffrey Pierce, who was falsely convicted of rape in 1986 based on Gilchrist's misconduct and won a $4 million settlement from Oklahoma City.

Exoneree David Bryson, who was wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and rape and freed after 18 years in prison when Gilchrist's destruction of evidence was discovered and follow-up DNA testing excluded him as the attacker.

Law enforcement and legal insiders alike have shared stories with me about good ol' boys club corruption that crosses party lines in the Sooner State. Government prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys routinely cut deals. Judges bend over backwards to preserve "harmless errors" caused by flawed investigations, faulty verdicts and clerical incompetence. Police brass retaliate against whistleblowers. And, according to one veteran cop, Oklahoma City is a hopeless "nest of incestuous nepotism."

Unlike neighboring Texas, where Dallas County prosecutors founded the first conviction integrity unit in the country (sparking the creation of 30 such agencies nationwide), not a single Oklahoma district attorney's office has established an official mechanism to review tainted convictions. Nor does Oklahoma have anything like the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which investigates professional misconduct by crime labs and other entities that conduct forensic analyses used in criminal proceedings. The Texas panel was created in the wake of the infamous scandal at the Houston Police Department crime lab a decade ago and its audits led to the more recent shutdown of the Austin PD's mess of a crime lab.

Meanwhile, no systemic reform ensued after the Macy/Gilchrist disgrace in Oklahoma. In fact, one of Gilchrist's colleagues who admitted destroying rape kit evidence at her behest was kept on for nearly 15 more years until she mysteriously retired last year amid questions about her DNA testimony.

OCPD crime lab analyst Elaine Taylor's work (challenged by at least eight independent scientists internationally over the past year) was at the center of illegal secret hearings last summer in the high-profile wrongful conviction of former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw. He is serving 263 years for sexual assault allegations solicited by police, who ignored accusers' wild contradictions and discrepancies, long rap sheets and drug-addled testimony during an out-of-control media feeding frenzy before and during trial. Taylor is the mother-in-law of Det. Rocky Gregory, the co-lead detective in the botched Holtzclaw investigation -- a glaring conflict of interest undisclosed by police and prosecutors.

Kathleen Zellner, the nation's most successful exoneration lawyer defending Holtzclaw against accusers' high-dollar civil lawsuits, quipped that she was "surprised they have not put crime scene tape around (the) OKC crime lab."

While appealing his case, Holtzclaw has faced a series of Keystone Kops blunders every step of the way, with the Court of Criminal Appeals failing to follow its own rules on publicly disclosing court protective orders; a court clerk who simply "forgot" to file a public notice of the state attorney general requesting the secret hearing transcripts and exhibits; the court admitting that Holtzclaw's public defender, James Lockard, shouldn't have been barred from the unconstitutional secret hearings; the court realizing more than a year late that its clerk had never formally filed a critical state attorney general's motion under seal; and the clerk failing to properly tender Holtzclaw's amended motion for an evidentiary hearing despite it being filed with the clerk more than a month ago.

This lackadaisical attitude toward matters of life and liberty pervades Okie culture.

Take the case of the missing sealed envelope in death row inmate Julius Jones' appeal. Jones, a basketball star at the University of Oklahoma, has served 19 years in prison for a murder he steadfastly maintains he did not commit. Recent episodes of ABC's "The Last Defense" spotlighted troubling inconsistencies in the testimony of the prosecution's star witness, who took a plea deal; ineffective counsel by overwhelmed defense attorneys who called no witnesses at trial; and the glaring failure to test a central piece of evidence -- a bandana purportedly warn by the shooter.

Last December, Jones' appellate lawyers filed an application for post-conviction relief and related motions for discovery and an evidentiary hearing to consider newly discovered evidence of racial animus by a juror. Jones' lawyers included supporting exhibits, which a court clerk instructed the legal team to place in a separate envelope labeled "protected material." Through a chain of bureaucratic mishaps, the key exhibits were somehow lost until Jones' investigator, Kim Marks, personally visited the clerk's office in June and unearthed them. The court, which had rejected Jones' appeal without seeing the missing exhibits, was forced to acknowledge two weeks ago that it couldn't ignore its clerk's "mismanagement of the exhibits" and has been forced to reconsider the case.

Chilling exit fact: Despite its wretched record on wrongful convictions the past two decades, not to mention three horrific botched executions in the last three years, Oklahoma's incompetent and corrupted criminal justice system is set to resume putting people to death next year come hell or high water.

Silence over this human rights crisis is complicity.


Anne of the Rainbow Gables?

When a classic children’s book gets turned into a TV series, it’s usually a cause for celebration. Usually.

One of the most endearing and enduring books for kids is Anne of Green Gables, a 1908 novel about a Canadian orphan who is adopted by a brother and sister on Prince Edward Island.

It’s been filmed a number of times over the years. And given the non-stop campaign to normalize the LGBT lifestyle, it should come as no surprise that the most recent version introduces several homosexual characters.

The Netflix series, titled “Anne with an E,” just began its second season. The episodes are charming—until you get to episode seven, in which Anne, her friend Diana Berry, and a boy named Cole attend a gathering at the home of Diana’s great-Aunt Josephine. It turns out the party is a “queer soiree,” featuring men dressed as women, and wearing heavy makeup, and women dressed as men. They are there to honor the memory of Josephine’s departed “partner,” Gertrude.

Looking around her, Anne exclaims to Diana, “Isn’t this the most amazing group of people!” Well, I can’t help thinking that if a sheltered young girl like Anne actually encountered cross-dressing men and women in 1908, she would be shocked and probably frightened—not delighted.

In a scene that takes place in Aunt Josephine’s bedroom, Anne observes a novel on Josephine’s nightstand. Gertrude was reading it the year before. Josephine tells her the books “sit just where she left them.” Anne processes this remark, and then, enlightened, says, “That’s what you meant by, in your way, you were married,” she says.

“Yes,” Josephine replies.

Diana—who is nonplussed by her discovery of her aunt’s relationship with Gertrude, tells Anne their love affair was “unnatural.”

But the boy Cole—a character who is invented for the TV series—soon straightens her out. “If your aunt lived her life feeling … that she was broken, defective, or unnatural, and one day she met someone that made her realize that wasn’t true . . .shouldn’t we be happy for her?”

Cole later confesses to Aunt Josephine that he thinks he is “like you and Gertrude.” Josephine tells him, “You have a life of such joy before you.”

And in case you missed the gay-is-good point of the episode, the writers have Anne asking another character: “How can there be anything wrong with a life if it’s spent with a person you love?”

To answer Anne’s question: Plenty. People have suffered greatly through inappropriate “love”: For instance, a child whose father decided to love someone other than his wife, or a child who is loved, in an erotic way, by an adult.

It’s unlikely that Anne would ever have heard a sermon about homosexuality in her day and age. If she had, she would have known what scripture teaches about homosexual relationships: that they run counter to God’s plan for human flourishing.

The gay-themed episode of “Anne with an E” has led many parents to turn the channel. As one of them wrote on the Facebook page of a Christian film review site, “The gay agenda completely ruined a perfectly heartwarming and uplifting story.” Another wrote, “I just want wholesome–and no agenda.”

Amen to that. Look, the secular world understands the importance of worldview teaching just as Christians do—and often teaches through films and TV programs.

It will become harder and harder to avoid the “gay is good” message in the media. Which is why, as John Stonestreet says, we need to train our children to ask questions about the ideas and characters they encounter. Help them discern truth from error. Because the truth of how God designed human sexuality remains, no matter how LGBT-saturated entertainment gets.


Underreported: The Santa Fe School Shooting Survivors the Media Ignored

Grace, a senior at Santa Fe High School, located an hour outside of Houston, was looking forward to cruising through her last few days of high school. That day, she walked into the band room, and told a friend she was going to take a nap because she was sore from playing in the powder puff game the night before.

She woke up to commotion in the hallway, and walked into the hallway to see what was going on. “I thought there was a fight going on, and I’m nosy,” she said.

Grace opened the door to see a bunch of people screaming: “Then I heard a really loud noise, and that’s when I saw somebody go down.”

“I don’t know if it was a kid, I don’t know if it was a teacher—but somebody fell.”

Grace had witnessed yet another mass school shooting in the United States. The shooting at her high school occurred just over three months after Parkland, where a 19-year-old man allegedly gunned down students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, murdering 17 students and teachers.

The Parkland students have been credited for changing the gun debate. Students such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez took on the National Rifle Association, launched the #NeverAgain movement, and organized rallies and walkouts across the country.

At Santa Fe High School, 10 people died—eight students and two teachers. The suspected shooter, a 17-year-old male student at the school, allegedly used a stolen shotgun and revolver from his father. He also allegedly brought in explosive devices.

Grace was lucky to make it out alive. The band hall, where she and her fellow band students took cover, is located right next to the art rooms, where the shooting took place.

“We could hear all the gunshots,” she said. “We could feel it in the floor.”

After a while, the shooting stopped and law enforcement arrived to escort Grace and the remaining students out from the band room, where they were hiding in the cement air conditioning control room.

“They said, ‘Don’t look down because you’re going to see a lot,’” Grace said. “Nobody really can prepare you for that.”

Walking in a single-file line, Grace saw pools of blood and kids laying on the floor. “Dead kids,” she said.

“That was the first time that it hit me. Even though I had seen what I’d seen, it hadn’t hit me.”

“I remember accidentally stepping in some of the blood,” Grace added. “I looked down and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t even know whose this is.’”

Before she even made it out safely, Grace said she was met with a handful of reporters asking for first-hand accounts. She said they found her location on social media.

“I was being contacted while I was in shelter by news outlets trying to figure out what was going on, when I didn’t even know if I was going to make it out of there alive,” she said.

Grace, 18, said she understands that it’s their job. “But let us take some time to process the fact that 10 of our peers have just died. Let us go to these funerals and mourn, and understand that our lives are completely changed now.”

Once she did engage, Grace said she didn’t feel the media treated her or her community fairly.

“They came to our town expecting us to throw these rallies, and march for our lives, and lay on the ground with posters. That’s not what we’re doing,” she said. “We don’t want to wait around and protest for change. We want change, but we don’t want outsiders coming in and forcing it upon us.”

‘It’s Not Solely a Gun Issue’

“Santa Fe is a very country town that probably has more livestock than people,” Grace said, describing the Galveston County town that’s home to some 12,200 people. “Most of everybody here has grown up with guns, or seen a gun, or shot a gun.”

A small handful of people in Santa Fe responded to the shooting with calls for gun reform. But most, it appears, stood firm in their support for the Second Amendment.

“I think what people need to realize is that it’s not solely a gun issue,” said Grace, adding:

You can’t make stricter gun laws or stuff like that and expect it all to go away. People will break the rules if they want to. It’s illegal for a 17-year-old to have a gun. It’s illegal to kill people. It’s illegal to have a gun on campus. But people still do it.

So making stricter gun laws isn’t going to stop people from doing it. Even if you were to take guns off this entire earth, somebody could come in with a knife. Somebody could put anthrax in all the ketchup packets in school. It’s going to happen regardless if somebody has the motive.

“This boy tried making bombs,” Annabelle O’Day, 18, another survivor of the Santa Fe shooting, told The Daily Signal. “If there were bombs that had gone off, you blame the bomber. If there is a drunk-driver accident, you blame the drunk driver. You blame the person. You blame the human. But if it’s a shooter, you blame the gun. That’s what society is doing here.”

It’s because of their support for the Second Amendment that, compared to Parkland, many say the media has ignored them.

“You look at the mainstream media … after the Parkland shooting, [and] it was round-the-clock coverage of the students calling for aggressive gun control because that happens to be the political agenda of most of the media,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal in an interview in May.

“In this case, where the students aren’t calling for that, suddenly … the media isn’t interested in covering it,” he added.

“I think everyone knows that the media portrays a certain political agenda that they choose to go with—it’s that simple,” said Steve Rose, a history teacher who survived the shooting. “It’s not a political agenda that the majority of Santa Fe adheres to. I want all schools safe. That’s it. We can agree to disagree on how to go about doing it. I’m open to different solutions, but our schools have to be safe.”

“A lot of us do believe that there is a problem,” added Annabelle. “It’s just that what we believe in being the problem is not the same as media. A lot of us do want change. Most everyone’s change is just not gun reform, but nobody sticks around long enough to ask us what that is.”

‘I Think We Need to Lock Doors’

“If you take the gun issue away, we’re all fighting for the same thing,” said Grace, speaking about the Santa Fe students and the Parkland students. “We all want change.”

Instead of focusing on guns, Grace supports a national dialogue surrounding school safety.

“I think we need to lock doors. This door that [the shooter] came in was a bus entrance that was unlocked,” she said. “I think we need more police presence. We have three school cops at my high school and I see them sometimes in passing periods, but mainly I only see them at lunch.”

Beyond that, Grace supports the idea of arming teachers.

“It shouldn’t have to be an option, but unfortunately we’re at a place where it has to be an option,” she said.

Across the country, hundreds of schools already have armed teachers and staff. In Texas, some public school systems have been arming teachers and administrators for more than a decade. But in the wake of high-profile mass shootings, the idea has become a political and emotional sticking point.

For Grace, the prospect is personal. After graduating college, she hopes to become a teacher:

Protecting your students from a school shooter should never be part of the job description. It should never be your job is to teach the curriculum, and test your students, and also be willing to take a bullet for them. That should never be the case, but I’m willing to take that risk because who wouldn’t?

Rose, who began his teaching career in 1979, said he’s thought “long and hard” about arming teachers.

“I don’t think that’s the end-all by any stretch. I don’t think it’s the magic answer. But I will say this. I truly wanted that pistol in my hand [on that day].”

“Just speaking generally for me, I would do whatever training is involved,” he added. “All that would have to be done, but let’s face it, it’s another line of defense against evil.”

Annabelle, who strongly supports Second Amendment rights, worked with two friends to start a nonprofit, Hearts United for Kindness. The goal is to spread kindness and love while raising awareness for mental health.

“We believe that mental health is a big deal. We have to change people’s hearts and people’s minds, how people see each other,” Annabelle said.

‘We Are Thoughts And Prayers’

Nearly three months later, Santa Fe is still grappling with the fallout of such a massive tragedy in the rural, small town.

“You drive past the high school and you think, ‘Why us? How did this happen?’” said Annabelle. “A lot of us are Christians, so a lot of us have been leaning on God a lot during this time.”

Some now mock the role of “thoughts and prayers” in responding to school shootings. But Annabelle said that “most everyone in this town does want thoughts and prayers.”

“We are thoughts and prayers,” she said, describing the Santa Fe community.

This fall, both Annabelle and Grace will attend college.

Grace, battling PTSD from the shooting, had to quit her summer job at a restaurant because the dishes banging in the backroom reminded her of gunshots. Now, she’s unsure how she’ll pay for tuition:

It’s hard to think that that happened at our school because we’re such a tight-knit community. It’s hard to think that the fine arts wing is never going to be the same, the students in the fine arts wing are never going to be the same. We saw things that people shouldn’t ever have to see.

Although things will never be the same, Rose will return to Santa Fe this fall to teach for his 12th year.

“Santa Fe will bounce back. We will be stronger than ever because to not do so, allows evil to win. No one in our community will even consider that.”


More fake news from CNN, the fake news channel. ARE Australians racist?

He offers very flimsy evidence. One could easily cite counter-evidence for his assertions -- such as the high rate of partnering between young Chinese females and white Australian men -- or the high rate of immigration from non-European backgrounds that is regularly accepted.  Both of those are mass phenomena, not just isolated examples -- and are as such much more informative examples

AN AUSTRALIAN journalist has made waves after penning a controversial article questioning whether we are “becoming more racist” as a nation.

Ben Westcott, a digital news producer for CNN International who is based in Hong Kong, asked, “Is Australia becoming a more racist country?” in the article which was published yesterday.

In the divisive piece, he refers to the recent furore surrounding African gangs in Victoria, backlash to immigration and our growing population and a sensational interview with far-right agitator Blair Cottrell to argue his point.

Thanks to those factors, Westcott claimed “questions are emerging over whether Australia is a more racist country than it would like to believe”.

He said the fact an interview with convicted arsonist and neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell was ever aired on Sky News “has raised questions about Australia’s attitude to race”, and also quoted Australia’s outgoing Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, who recently said our “racial harmony” was under threat.

“For the most part we are a highly cohesive and harmonious society but that doesn’t deny for a moment that racism continues to be a significant social problem,” Mr Soutphommasane said.

Mr Westcott went on to cite an April study from Australian research company Essential, which revealed 64 per cent of those surveyed said immigration levels over the past decade had been “too high”.

He also claimed while there was a great deal of hysteria surrounding African gangs, “crimes involving Sudanese residents account for just 1 per cent of Victoria’s total criminal activity, with the vast majority of crimes committed by Australian-born residents”.

Unsurprisingly, many Australians were angered by Westcott’s piece, including Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor, who slammed the article as “profound, profound idiocy”.

What profound, profound idiocy. One fuckwit is interviewed on a show nobody watches & Australia turns on it’s axis? Australians are now all racist? FFS. The media’s prism is it’s own brown rear-freckle. Luckily the rest of hardworking Australia goes on it’s own decent way.

Others took to Twitter to brand the story as “absolute garbage”, with many suggesting the US-owned company should look at America’s racial problems before pointing the finger at other countries.

“You need only step outside your own nations (sic) door CNN if you want to write an expose on racism …,” one Twitter user posted, while another added: “We’ve embraced many people from all over the world. Most of them enjoy our easy going lifestyle. The minority that don’t accuse us of racism.”

But Westcott’s piece also had its fair share of [Leftist] supporters, with many claiming Australia did have a racism problem we needed to address.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 comment:

Warren said...

Bad SKY channel, in trouble?

Blair Cotrell was a member of a panel on the ABC TV program "Hack Live - Aussie Patriots" which aired more than a year ago. You can still find it on IVIEW,

Meanwhile Craig McLachlan, actor, accused sexual harasser, is now a NON-PERSON, all episodes of "Doctor Blake" taken off IVIEW, as has the episode of "Anh's Brush With Fame" in which he appeared.