Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted

 

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Welcome to Volume Two Issue Seven of Justice Denied

Table of Contents:

From The Editor
Directly from the desk of Clara Thomas Boggs Compassion for Injustice in a Time of Terrorism and JD Hard Copy

Vincent Padgett -- ONE MOTHER'S STORY Very few of our JD Team members came to us through a personal injustice, but Pamela Eller (Story Review Manager), in dealing with her son's wrongful conviction, typifies the frustration that eventually leads to motivation to help others.

The Harold E. Staten Story Late one night a house burns and the dying declaration of the victim is withheld by the prosecutor and results in an innocent man being sent to prison.

Identification by legally blind woman leads to homicide conviction The Michael Wayne Crump Story

Thomas Burton had a solid alibi, but he was still convicted of murder. Can a man be found guilty of shooting someone but not guilty of using the firearm that was used to kill him? Reasonable doubt abounds in this case, and the judge's friendship with Betty Carter's family is highly suspect.

Jerry Townsend, Innocent Man Imprisoned for 22 Years as a Serial Killer

Updates in this issue: Keith Doolin Update


Feature Articles:

The Truth About Polygraph By Theodore Ponticelli

Film Star Clara Bow's Personal Secretary Was Wrongly Convicted of Grand Theft By Hans Sherrer

Actual Innocence Book review by Hans Sherrer.

A Flawed and Imperfect System By Rhonda Riglesberger

Phone Restrictions Are Out of Hand By Stormy Thoming-Gale

Stolen Lives: Twenty Years In A Desert Jail. Book review by Hans Sherrer

Half-Moon Empty Stars Book Review by Hans Sherrer

Justice Denied By Anthony Mungin

Doolin's Defense Doesn't Rest By Anne M. Stickel

SnapShots

Snapshots --The Wrongly Convicted in the News. This month in Snapshots:
Victor Ortiz Awarded $530,638 for 12 Years Of Wrongful Imprisonment

Sad Update on Kenneth Waters

Case Dismissed Three Years After Man's Release From 16 Years Of Wrongful Imprisonment




Compassion for Injustice in a Time of Terrorism and JD Hard Copy

Scarcely any life has been left unaffected by the horrendous attack against this country just scant weeks ago. That includes us at JD. Two of our people are in New York. One missed being in the heart of the action because he was late to work that morning, and the other was in a downtown building where everyone was evacuated and confined to his apartment while watching the city begin recovery efforts.

No one will soon forget those terrorist guerrilla attacks of September 11, 2001, in many more ways than one worse than Pearl Harbor. However, as the president has said, the sooner we return to normalcy, the better for this nation.

Normalcy at JD is continuing to advocate for the wrongly convicted. As are the poor, the wronged are always with us. The continued suffering of the wrongly imprisoned is not the acute situation of those who suffer heartbreak all at once, but is a chronic, numbing state of despair that runs in cycles from hope to lost hope. In many cases, that hope ends in death, for however we work for the freedom of some of those on death row, some unfortunately are put to death, even though they have cases of provable innocence.

We hope that you will not forget the injustices we visit upon our own people, just as we are outraged by the injustice that has been brought to this country, victimizing the innocent in the terrorist plane attacks.

FINALLY, THE HARD COPY!

With this latest edition of JD, we are pleased to announce that our hard copy is at the printer and we will soon be distributing it to JD members nationwide for wider distribution. Made possible by a generous grant (and the patience) of the G. J. Aigner Foundation, located in Chicago, Illinois, this hard copy will be given free to selected people and organizations. With the announcement of this special issue of JD, also comes the news of a price hike so that JD has a price more in line with other magazines. We will still offer a special price to those who sponsor indigent prisoners, and may also consider a special price break to those who buy several subscriptions at once. In the future, if advertising brings down the cost of publishing, we will reduce the cost of JD. There for a while, we were beginning to operate at a loss, making up the difference from our donations, but that's unsustainable. We trust that our decisions will be understood and appreciated by our readers. The online edition will continue to be free to everyone.

The JD Team is completely grateful to you all who have been with us since the beginning, encouraging, cheering us on, and helping us with donations, subscriptions, and many other kinds of input. It is YOU who may take a bow for our continued success. Stay with us -- exciting things are bound to happen.

The entire JD Team extends its sympathy to the victims of the terrorists who attacked innocent people. Our compassion is boundless, our desire is, as always, for Justice.

Clara A. Thomas Boggs,

In behalf of the Justice: Denied Team Members


Victor Ortiz Awarded $530 for 12 Years Of Wrongful Imprisonment

By Hans Sherrer

Summary: Wrongly convicted of rape and imprisoned for 12 years, Victor Ortiz was awarded $530,638 in damages four years after his release.

Victor Ortiz was 25 years old when he was convicted in January 1984 of a rape he steadfastly claimed he didn't commit. Sentenced to 12 to 25 years' imprisonment, he was released from a New York prison in October 1996 when newly discovered DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Mr. Ortiz subsequently filed a suit under the New York Court of Claims Act 8-b that provides for the awarding of monetary damages to people innocent of the crime of which they were convicted.

After a civil trial, the Court of Claims ruled Mr. Ortiz had met the Act's requirement for the awarding of damages: he had shown by clear and convincing evidence that he had been imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit. During the trial to determine his damages that followed, Mr. Ortiz asserted his more than 12 years of wrongful imprisonment in maximum security conditions for a sex crime caused him to suffer depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and that he'd been deprived of the money he would have made working during that time. A psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Riccioli, and an economist, Dr. Anna Dutka, testified in support of his claims.

In May 2000, almost four years after his release from prison, the Court of Claims awarded Mr. Ortiz $530, 658 for his lost earnings and non-pecuniary losses. Although that amounted to $44,000 for each year he was imprisoned, it was scant compensation for the 12-year life-shattering ordeal he endured.

Sources: The New York Jury Verdict reporters, Volume X VIII, Issue 5, as reported in Prison Legal News, August 2001, Vol. 12, No. 8, p. 15.


Sad Update on Kenneth Waters

Kenneth Waters, who'd just won his release from prison in March, died on September 6 after falling from a 15-foot wall taking a shortcut to his brother's house after having dinner with his mother. He fractured his skull.

Kenneth's sister, Betty Ann Waters, a high school dropout, put herself through law school so she could help free her brother, and finally found evidence to free him earlier this year. Ms. Waters is a true heroine in the eyes of the wrongly convicted for the battle she waged in behalf of her brother. We hope she will go on after this tragedy to help others still suffering the tragedy of wrongful convictions.

She stayed at her brother's side at Rhode Island Hospital since he was found bleeding and unconscious.

Kenneth Waters had been convicted of murder and armed robbery and sentenced to life in prison in 1983 in the slaying of Katharina Brow of Ayer, Massachusetts.

His sister worked on his case for years and eventually learned that a box of evidence with her brother's name on it was sitting in a courthouse basement. The box contained the knife used in the killing and pieces of cloth with blood samples on them.

After DNA tests of the evidence cast doubt on his conviction, prosecutors decided not to pursue a new trial and Mr. Waters was released in March of this year.

Mr. Waters did say he battled anxiety attacks after his prison ordeal, but the pain didn't diminish his joy at being home. He said, "I feel blessed," and, "I was one of the lucky ones."

Ms. Betty Ann Waters said he was adjusting to life on the outside fairly well, noting that he particularly liked his new cell phone. His sister went on to say, "Kenny's had a lot of tragedy in his life. He was very happy to be free."

Kenneth and Ms. Waters have seven brothers and sisters and many nieces and nephews who also spent time with Waters in the hospital.

One can only speculate at what could have been different in Kenneth Waters' life if he had not been unjustly imprisoned. That he tasted a small bit of freedom before he died is good, but it would have been so much better if we had a legal system that could be more careful. Another stolen life.

Editor in Chief, Clara A. Thomas Boggs


Case Dismissed Three Years After Man's Release From 16 Years Of Wrongful Imprisonment

By Hans Sherrer

Summary: Nineteen years after being wrongly convicted of murder, Dwight Love finally has charges dismissed.

After 16 years in prison insisting he was innocent, Dwight Love was freed in 1998 after a judge in Detroit, Michigan threw out his first-degree murder conviction. His exoneration was due to a detective who came forward and disclosed that the police had concealed evidence during his prosecution that would have exonerated him of the September 1981 shooting of James Connelly.

In spite of an absence of evidence, the prosecutor, however, delayed in bringing him to trial. After several motions by Mr. Love's lawyers for a speedy trial, Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Means rebuffed the prosecutor's stall tactics by dismissing the charges against Mr. Love in February 2001. The removal of that cloud ended the prosecutor's vindictiveness in prolonging Dwight Love's almost 20-year nightmare.

Source: USA Today


Innocent Man Imprisoned for 22 Years as a Serial Killer

By Hans Sherrer

Summary: In June 2001, Jerry Frank Townsend was released after 22 years imprisonment when DNA evidence proved he was wrongly convicted of six murders.

Convicted of six murders and one rape, Jerry Frank Townsend was branded for over two decades as one of Florida's most prolific serial killers.

Although he claimed he was innocent, Mr. Townsend was unable to effectively assist in his defense since he is believed to have the mental capacity of an 8-year-old. While he was serving concurrent life sentences at Florida's Polk Correctional Institution, DNA tests unavailable at the time of his convictions were conducted on physical evidence from the crimes that had been preserved. The tests established his innocence, and he was finally released in June 2001.

Now 49-years-old, Jerry Townsend spent 22 years imprisoned for heinous crimes he did not commit.

Source: LA Times


Keith Doolin Update

By Donna Larsen, Keith Doolin's mother.

(Editor's note: Keith Doolin's story first appeared in Volume 1, Issue 3 of JD)

Keith has been assigned three excellent attorneys, Robert Derham, Cliff Gardner and Cynthia Lie. We are using some investigators from Fresno, others from out of town to cut down the political knowledge.

The new status of Rudy Petilla (described below) is going to help with the appeals in that Rudy spent the trial money for gambling, and not on Keith's trial for investigation or motion of discovery, nor any experts.

Rudy Petilla, Keith's trial attorney, has just been harshly sanctioned by California State Bar to the tune of suspension, must take the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, and must pass the test. At some time when he is reinstated, he will be on probation for 2 years and have to report to the State Bar every 4 months. "Petilla must abstain from all gambling," and must pay back the bankruptcy court for false filing, and pay the unforgiven debts for gambling.

Our first filing will be March 17, 2002, and we are scared, and flowing with all the emotions that goes with saving one's life, and gaining Keith's freedom.


Justice Denied

by Anthony Mungin

The earth shadow enlarges -
signifying the moon's approach;
The wind carries the knowledge of death -
as father time takes notes.
The setting of the people's sun -
buries the corpse of the day,
As cherubs come to console
the rueful souls that pray.
Learn o souls that life's a gift -
and the heart is pilot of the eyes,
The law is best when patient than swift,
but the sense of partiality proliferate lies...
...justice denied!

Anthony Mungin
288322
Union Correctional Institution
P6225S
PO Box 221
Raiford, FL 32083


DOOLIN'S DEFENSE DOESN'T REST!

By Anne M. Stickel

Injustice has been done, and someday heads will roll.
To save one mother's son Fresno, first save your soul.
Judge, lawyers, and jury (that ought to be ashamed)
Were in such a hurry they had the wrong man blamed!
Evidence went amiss, defense in DNA,
Prosecution's promise, justice gambled away
By a lawyer often late, a judge who fell asleep,
Where prejudice and hate searched neither long nor deep.
Six shot! Yet truth denied! One juror, a killer!
Shrill taunts of "Suicide!" haunted Doolin's mother,
Illegally homebound and gagged against her will,
When police seized her ground and planted it to kill.
There's the place on Grace Street. That's where it all began,
With them trying to cheat (frame an innocent man).
Could Keith look like a cop who had done something wrong?
Seven Eleven Shop, are you part of this song?
"No prior convictions! No smoking or drinking!
No drug addictions!" Lord, what were they thinking?
But they made the motion sending Keith to Death Row,
Gave Cooper promotion to reward his sham show,
Paid off crook informants and lawyer's gambling debts,
Disturbing Keith's parents with continuous threats.
Satan still stalks Fresno, dealing dope, dropping deals,
Turning tricks, stealing dough, and denying appeals.
Reporters who leak truths may often get fired,
And bums back in black booths may think God has retired.
But He's just a Watcher, and is doing hard time,
Waiting to uncover the true source of the crime.

By Anne M. Stickel, 12.16.'99, revised (2x) 07.30.00
1st Revision to San Quentin's Warden; 2nd to Santa Cruz Sentinel (07.31)

Justice Denied

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