One foundation the American justice system was built on, is that, it is better for ten guilty men to go free, than for one innocent man to suffer.
13 Accusers, 36 Alleged Crimes,
17 Alleged Crime Scenes.
Not a single witness. Not a single piece of direct forensic evidence.
263 Years in Prison.
- 21 individuals that claimed that then Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw sexually assaulted them.
- 7 of the 21 (33%) admitted they lied (one was a man, only one was prosecuted).
- 13 of the 21 resulted in criminal charges.
- 5 of the 13 (38%) resulted in “not guilty” verdicts.
- The 8 guilty verdicts resulted in a prison sentence of 263-years, even though no direct forensic evidence of guilt, nor any independent witnesses were presented at trial.
- Daniel Holtzclaw received the longest prison sentence on the word of accuser Ellis, who said her attacker was a “short black man” and Holtzclaw’s patrol car GPS records disputed her claims.
- 13 of the accusers (93% of those that didn’t admit to lying) filed civil lawsuits seeking huge pay-outs.
- 13 of the 21 accusers (62%) either admitted to lying or were not believed by either the prosecution or the jury.
By any measure, justice was not served.
*text and image courtesy of http://www.holtzclawtrial.com/
In 2009, The Innocence Project, produced a 124-page report, titled “Lessons Not Learned”. I have highlighted, below, some key research from the report.
- In the last nine years, there has been a particularly high number of DNA exoneration in New York State. Since 2000, 18 wrongfully convicted people in New York have been exonerated with DNA evidence; eight of the 18 were wrongfully convicted of murder.
- In 10 of New York’s 24 DNA exonerations, the actual perpetrator was later identified.
- In nine of those 10 cases, the actual perpetrators of crimes for which innocent people were wrongfully convicted went on to commit additional crimes while an innocent person was in prison. According to law enforcement reports, five murders, seven rapes, two serious assaults and one robbery at gunpoint were committed by the actual perpetrators of crimes for which innocent people were convicted – and each of those crimes was committed after the wrongful arrest or conviction, so they could have been prevented if wrongful convictions had not happened.
Eyewitness misidentification played a role in 13 of the 24 wrongful convictions in New York that were overturned with DNA testing.
- In 10 of the 24 cases in New York, innocent people falsely confessed or admitted to crimes that DNA later proved they did not commit.
- Unvalidated or improper forensic science played a role in 13 of the 24 wrongful convictions in New York that were overturned through DNA evidence.
The Central Park Five
On the evening of April 19, 1989, in a case that would shock New York. Wall Street banker, Trisha Meili, who was jogging through Central Park, was attacked from behind and raped. She was hit in the back of the head with part of a thick branch from a tree, dragged into woods and violently raped, being left for dead, as the attacker had bludgeoned Trisha with a rock.
Also, in Central Park at this time, were a group of youths causing anti-social behaviour. Five of this group would soon be known, collectively, as the ‘Central Park Five’ after they were all arrested and charged with the offence:
Raymond Santana 14 years old
Kevin Richardson 14
Antron McCray 15
Yusef Salaam 15
Korey Wise 16
The police were convinced that they had the perpetrators and set about proving so! With no evidence, whatsoever, other than wrong place, wrong time and forced confessions from the unrepresented children. Four appeared on video, crying it wasn’t them and that it was one of the others the police had, thereby, implicating the whole group.
In this this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kpnPMJ5Axo, Raymond and Yusef explain that it was only a chance meeting between Korey and the guy that actually committed the rape in 1989, Matias Reyes. They had met previously, when, in ’89 Korey and Reyes were in Rikers Island together. They had actually physically fought against each over the TV. Forward 13 years to Auburn Correctional Facility and Korey spots Reyes whilst they are both ‘spinning the yard’. They spoke, and this set off a chain of events that led to the charges against: Raymond, Kevin, Antron, Yusef and Korey, formerly known as the ‘Central Park Five’, to be vacated. They say exonerated? I beg to differ.
For 16 and a half years we have been used as political scapegoats. The police told us from the start they knew we hadn’t done it.m They didn’t care who had done it.
Paddy Hill, 1991.
In another case of wrong place, wrong time, we have: Hugh Callaghan, Patrick ‘Paddy’ Joseph Hill, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker who were all sentenced in 1975, to life imprisonment, for a crime they did not commit.
In one of the bloodiest IRA attacks on the mainland, in 1974 two bombs detonated in two Birmingham city centre pubs, the Mulberry Bush and The Tavern. The blasts killed more than 20 people and over 180 were injured.
All the men except for Callaghan had left the city from New Street Station, shortly before the explosions. They were travelling to Ireland to attend the funeral of a Provisional Irish Republican Army member. While the men were in the custody of the police they were deprived of food and sleep, they were grilled sometimes for up to 12 hours without a break; threats were made against them and the beatings started. Hunter and Hill the only two not signing confessions. Following new scientific tests, it was uncovered that the statements made by the six had been altered, and evidence at the time, which suggested two of the six had handled explosives, was shown to be false and misleading, they found that the same results came from someone handling cigarettes.
After spending the last 16 years in prison, at 4.05pm on the 14th March 1991, Hugh, Paddy, Gerard, Richard, William and John walked free.
Although we’ve done nothing
The police are to blame
They’ve slandered our families
They’ve brought on us shame.
Our wives are all weeping
Our homes are in ruin
Our mothers are crying
Our sisters the same.
They’ve spat on our children
What a crying shame
The things we’ve put up with
The torture, the pain
And if they convict us
And our prayers were in vain
I’ll still pray and forgive them
In God’s Holy Name.
The success of the appeals and other miscarriages of justice caused the Home Secretary to set up a Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in 1991. The commission reported in 1993 and led to the Criminal Appeal Act 1995 which established the Criminal Cases Review Commission in 1997. Superintendent George Reade and two other police officers were charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice but were never prosecuted.
Hofstra University Rape Case
Hofstra Rape Suspects Lured Victim By Stealing Cellphone.
Nassau County police revealed harrowing details of how a Hofstra University student was apparently lured from a campus party into being gang raped by five men in a dorm (four suspects are in custody). The 18-year-old victim had been dancing at Hofstra USA early Sunday morning when Bronx resident Jesus Ortiz, 19, allegedly grabbed her cell phone after a dance. Police Detective Lt. John Allen said, “She repeatedly asked for the cell phone, but he was not responsive. He left the club. She followed him out of the club. The cell phone was taken to lure her away from the crowd.”
The victim followed Ortiz to a dorm; Allen said, “He got off on a floor she was not familiar with. Whereupon they were immediately met by a second subject [Stalin Felipe, 19, of the Bronx] … She wasn’t interested in meeting him, but the second subject began making advances to her, which she resisted.” Felipe allegedly also had a rope. Apparently the two suspects took her into the men’s bathroom, tied her up in a stall, and assaulted her. Three other men appeared; Allen said, “The victim asked them to help her, but unbeknownst to her, they were friends of the first two,” and the other three then raped her as well, “one by one.” Though the victim was screaming, no one heard her cries. The suspects did cut her from the ropes, and Allen said, “They actually had the audacity to ask her if she wanted to go with them.” Instead, the victim called campus police.
The other suspects are Kevin Taveras, 20, of Brentwood and Rondell Bedward, 21, of the Bronx, a Hofstra student who apparently “worked part-time with the campus public safety department”—he was the one who signed in Ortiz, Felipe, Taveras, and the fifth suspect (who has not been arrested) at the dorm. All four were charged with five counts of rape and held on $350,000 bail; Taveras’ stepmother told, “He’s a good kid. I’m shocked.” A student who knows Bedward said, “It’s just shocking to me. can’t see Rondell doing something like that.”
Some Hofstra students say the Hempstead school didn’t alert them immediately—one found out about the rape by looking at a friend’s Facebook status.
The above report comes from: http://gothamist.com/2009/09/16/hofstra_rape_suspects_lured_victim.php, which I accessed on 01/08/2019.
However, a few days later, Victor Daly-Rivera, lawyer for 20-year-old Kevin Taveras, was shown a copy of a cell phone video that showed the woman was not attacked. “It looks more like a porn movie. It showed just the opposite of what the allegations were. There was no tying up, there was no bruising, there was no screaming.” After prosecutors confronted her with the video, she recanted her story and admitted she had made it up. She admitted that the sex was consensual, she lied because she was embarrassed and did not want her boyfriend to think she was a “slut”. This was an extremely traumatic time for the four young men involved. It also goes to show how quick the media are in assuming guilt before the facts. Have we reached the point where reporting of the accused name is reserved for guilty pleas and finding of guilt? Although, this would not affect the damage caused in the finding of guilt from a false accusation. Further proof, is it not, there can be smoke without fire?
Whether the conviction of Daniel Holtzclaw was due to error, wrong place at the wrong time or political expediency designed to ease racial tensions, it is an unjust conviction and therefore, unsafe, which needs to be rectified forthwith. One thing that should be made apparent, is that, all the time arguments carry on about whether rape or rape accusations is the bigger problem, we will always have a problem with both.
IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE!!