socialaction2014 is important and plays a key role by equipping our communities with the knowledge of the mishaps and social injustices in the country (USA) and around the world. By providing this exclusive complimentary service to communities everywhere, our mission is to keep our people connected by encouraging the discussion of these topics.
Nearly four decades after an Illinois man was initially convicted of the murders of a brother and sister in their home, a judge ruled that several pieces of evidence could undergo DNA testing, reported the Journal Star.
Johnnie Lee Savory spent 30 years behind bars before being released in 2006. Five years later, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn commuted his sentence and ended his parole.
In Tuesday’s ruling, Peoria County Circuit Judge Steve Kouri said that the order doesn’t allow for a new trial and that DNA testing could be conducted at Savory’s own expense.
“This means hope for Johnnie,” said Joshua Tepfer, an attorney with the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. “He has wanted this and fought for this and a team of advocates and friends have fought for this for more than 20 years, or since this technology became available.”
Savory, who has maintained his innocence, was tried twice. He was found guilty in the stabbing deaths of Connie Cooper, 19, and her brother, James Robinson, 14, in June 1977. His first conviction was overturned when the Third District Illinois Appellate Court ruled Savory’s alleged confession involuntary. He was retried in 1981 and found guilty again. Two years later, two of the witnesses recanted their testimony.
Among the pieces of evidence being tested are items the investigators deemed relevant to the case back in 1977. They include the purported murder weapon, a knife taken from Savory’s pants, the pants Savory was wearing, fingernail clippings from Copper and Robinson as well as a bloody light switch plate.
Kouri noted in his order that the blood evidence used against Savory was only able to identify the group type, which is far less probative than DNA.
“Type O blood type is found in approximately one in two people and Type A is in approximately one in three people,” Kouri wrote. “Can it be imagined that such rudimentary ‘scientific’ evidence would be presented and argued to a jury in a courtroom today, particularly in a double-homicide trial?”
The Center on Wrongful Convictions already has a Texas-based DNA testing firm lined up, and Tepfer is optimistic about the results.
We first told you earlier this week that Marissa Alexander’s attorney intended seek another “Stand Your Ground” immunity hearing ahead of her trial- and we’ve now obtained the documents backing that up.
Thousands of innocent people are released from incarceration every year. Most of them are released because they served their sentences. Between 5k and 10k people are wrongfully convicted each year. The Univ. of Mich. Law School Innocence Clinic says most wrongful convictions are caused by: Eyewitness Misidentification Junk Science False Confessions Government Misconduct Snitches Bad Lawyering The U.S. Supreme Court has not determined that actually innocent people have a right to have their post-conviction evidence considered by courts. We will consider it on this show and make a human rights demand.
A Just Cause investigation reveals that Federal Appellate Judge Hartz completed review of IRP6 case and Tenth Circuit received case files in May 2013; why has Appellant Attorney not been notified and Pacer not updated, questions A Just Cause
Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) March 12, 2014
As part of an ongoing investigation of the IRP6 case, this week A Just Cause discovered that at least one appellate court judge reviewing the case returned case files to the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado in May 2013. Court records show that the Appellate Court panel for the IRP6 case includes the Honorable Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock, the Honorable Judge Harris L. Hartz, and the Honorable Judge Jerome A. Holmes (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA; Appellate Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492).
The IRP6 case concerns an African-American company (IRP Solutions Corporation) in Colorado that developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) criminal investigations software for federal, state, and local law enforcement. The IRP6 (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A Stewart, David A Zirpolo and David A Banks) were convicted in 2011 after being accused of mail and wire fraud. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA). The IRP6 have been incarcerated for 20 months in federal prison in Florence, Colorado while their case is under appeal.
“As part of our inquiry into the status of the appeal of the IRP6 case, two weeks ago I contacted the chambers of Judge Hartz (New Mexico) to which I later received a phone message from Judge Hartz acknowledging my call and instructing me to call back with additional information,” states Ethel Lopez, A Just Cause. “I spoke with the Judicial Assistant to Judge Hartz (Claudette – only first name provided), who informed me that, ‘Those cases (referring to IRP6) are sent back to Denver when they’re done,’” added Lopez. “In a response to my inquiry, Judge Hartz’s judicial assistant confirmed, ‘We (the appellate judge’s office) don’t keep any information on (cases) here in this office,” continued Lopez. “Judge Hartz’s judicial assistant provided me with the phone number to the Tenth Circuit in Denver where I could check the status of the appeal. According to the clerk’s office in Denver the case was still with the Appellate Court and that the case had not been decided,” Lopez recalls. “Another status from the court clerk was that the case was with the ‘writing judge.’”
“A Just Cause questioned the inconsistent feedback from the various court employees,” states Lopez. “If the Judicial Assistant to one of the Appellate Judges is stating that they are done with the case, but the court clerk is saying that it has not been decided, and yet another states that the case is with the ‘writing judge’, wouldn’t that raise a red flag,” ponders Lopez. “This week A Just Cause reached out again to Judge Hartz’s judicial assistant to inquire as to when the case files were returned to Denver and was again referred back to the Denver office,” explains Lopez. “Chief Clerk Doug Cressler, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals - Denver, stated that the IRP6 case files were returned to the clerk’s office by Judge Hartz’s office in May 2013,” explains Lopez.
According to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the PACER service (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is used which provides on-line access to U.S. Appellate, District, and Bankruptcy court records and documents nationwide (http://www.pacer.gov). Links to Appellate Court opinions are also posted on the Tenth Circuit website (https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/). A Just Cause research found that neither the website for the Tenth Circuit, nor PACER showed that a court of appeals opinion had been issued in the IRP6 case.
“A Just Cause has intensified its call on the Department of Justice to investigate the matters of the IRP6 case,” exclaims Lopez. “There are too many shifts in the story related to the status of this appeal,” asserts Lopez. “Either the case is done or it is not, but in either situation, if a judge completed his review and the Chief Clerk in Denver shows that the clerk has had the files since May of 2013, doesn’t that beg the question of why is there a 10-month delay in issuing the opinion of the court,” asks Lopez. “One must question if there are grounds for an investigation based on misconduct. At the end of the day, there are six men who have been sitting in federal prison for 20 months, while their appellant files have been in Denver since May 2013,” Lopez concludes.
Court records show that the IRP6 case is currently under appeal based on Fifth Amendment Prohibition of Compulsory Testimony, Sixth Amendment Right to Present a Defense and Speedy Trial Act Violation. Records also show that Attorneys for A Just Cause are petitioning the courts for release of over 200 pages of transcripts that were omitted from court records of the IRP6 trial. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA; Case Nos: NO. 11-1487, Case Nos. 11-1488, 11-1489, 11-1490, 11-1491 and 11-1492)
For more information about the story of the IRP6 or for copies of the legal filings go to http://www.freetheirp6.org. Appellate Court panel includes the Honorable Senior Judge Bobby R. Baldock, Honorable Judge Harris L. Hartz, and Honorable Judge Jerome A. Holmes