Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Keeping it Simple Part One: False and Defamatory Press Accounts -- Witness ID.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them."
-Frederick Douglass

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.
He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
-Martin Luther King 

"There is no passion to be found playing small -- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
-Nelson Mandela

The Darrell Jones Rule 30 Motion for New Trial.

Being from Cleveland Ohio I learned the significance of media at an early age, as F. Lee Bailey obtained a Supreme Court ORDER in his favor See "Media Ethics with a Life at Stake: The Sam Sheppard Murder Trial," by Marah Eakin (Ohio University 2009).
"Did their treatment of the case infringe Sheppard’s right to a free trial? Did their desire to get scoops and sales outweigh their journalistic ethics? To this writer, the members of the media covering the trial checked their ethical knowledge at the door, yielding to public outcry and possibly ruining a man’s life."
With such in mind let us turn to the stories printed on identification that affected the trial including examples of the same newspaper at once claiming:

1. "Witnesses Can't Identify Suspect in Brockton shooting" (The Enterprise, 24 September 1986)

State's Witness Terie Lynn Starks, who had been held on Prostitution charges that were subsequently dismissed immediately after Jones' conviction:

"One was a tall Cuban guy. The other guy was a little taller than I was."
Note: Starks is 5'4" -- Darrell Jones was 6' and the victim was 6'1"

Cunningham asked Ms. Starks to look around the courtroom to see if she saw the man who did the shooting.

"I can't be positive, I don't remember exactly how he looks."

2.  "Five Witnesses Unable to Identify Murder Suspect" (The Enterprise, 25 September 1986) and then --- 

3.  "Witnesses Hedge on Identification" (The Enterprise 26 September 2015)*

"Wednesday five other witnesses who purportedly saw the shooting in D'Angelo's parking lot on Montello Street refused to positively identify Jones as the man they saw gun down Rodriguez, a reputed drug dealer."

Note also for later reference in item 5:
Judge Byron told jurors they will not have to resport to the courthouse today. The Judge ordered transcripts of the police station interview with Starks and said he will spend the day determining which portion of it will be admissible.
When testimony continued Thursday, the few spectators were searched before entereing the courtroom, and then the door was locked behind them. 
*Hedge = confine, restrict, limit, waver :)

4.  Subsequently in the Year End Review -- falsely stating "Seven people said they saw [Darrell] Jones shoot him in the stomach" (The Enterprise, 31 December 1986). 

A year in review of news 1986:

Why would the paper print this information when it was never what they reported on prior occasion? What were they trying to influence?

5.  Moreover, there remains the curious and completely unproved assertion that Jones was actually having drinks with Guillermo Rodriguez: During the trial, on 27 September 1986 the Enterprise falsely reported: 

"According to previous testimony, Jones and Rodriguez were drinking together that night at Pete & Mary's bar on Montello Street."

This testimony never was spoken at trial, was never brought up by any witnesses and was never brought up by the Prosecutor or anyone at all.

What motive did the Enterprise have to make this statement, knowing it did not exist anywhere in the Record?

It was clear that Jones claimed he did not know Rodriguez and had never spoken with him.

Further, in that same article there is a quote attributed to Edna Levine in which she purportedly told Starks:  

"Diamond does crazy things. He'll kill anybody for any reason at all, just for looking at him the wrong way."

But the Court ruled that purported comment inadmissible, which raises the question as to why the newspaper would print this and the other blatantly false statements it in the first place, in a space where jurors would likely be reading the town's leading newspaper at the conclusion of each day at trial when they returned home, as they were not in seclusion.

To add insult to injury, this entire discussion happened behind closed doors: The Court was closed to the Defendant, closed to the Jury and closed to the media. The only people in the Courtroom were the Judge, the stenographer, the Defense Attorney Elias and the Prosecutor and Detective Joseph Smith, who was being questioned about the tape. If those are the only people there, the statement had to have issued from one of them. What was the paper's motivation in printing something that was not part of the public record and that they knew was completely inadmissible. 

And let's look at the purported statement itself:  Not only was it a statement that was based in fantasy, dramatics and lies, it was a statement that didn't have one grain of truth to it....... The simple fact is Mr. Jones had no adult record of violence of any nature. We know today that there were no warrants out against Mr. Jones.

In point of fact, former Chief Richard Sproules specifically stated that "I knew most of the bad guys in the City, and this guy doesn't ring a bell with me at all."

This raises the same ethical concerns cited by the Eakin article, above.

In our next installment we will follow more of the paper trail, including other actions taken by the newspaper that could have only been done with the intent of feeding false information to the public and ensuring that such information would be completely accessible to the Jury in addition to post trial damage control.

First Post: Introducing Darrell Jones.
WBUR: Reasonable Doubts

NECIR: Reasonable Doubts

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