Justice: Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted




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Archived Issue 7

Table of contents:

From The Editor -- American Gulag: Guilty or Innocent, This is a Dumb Way to Handle Crime

Leslie Whaley: Silenced for over a decade by a woman's false claim. Leslie Whaley has spent eleven years in prison for something he didn't do. Is he guilty or yet another example of a criminal justice system stubbornly refusing to admit it's made horrible mistakes?

Thomas Arthur -- In His Own Words
"Unless a private attorney who cares about justice is willing to step up and take on the fight now, Alabama is going to kill me. That's all there is to it, period."

Exactly what is the State of Texas so worried about? As Darlie Routier moves closer to a lethal injection, Texas faces moral and ethical questions that determine the future in many ways, and not just for Texas.

Sentenced to die because his name is Bobby?  Bobby Ray Hopkins was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Jennifer Weston and Sandy Marbut in spite of the existence of other possible suspects (one of whom was also named Bobby), missing vials of blood, a missing bloody handprint, an unknown person's skin under one of the victim's fingernails, an alibi, no motive and no fingerprints.

Dulaney says he's innocent because he was in another state when John Desmond was killed. James Dulaney's case is one more of those where the one prosecuted was miles away when the murder happened, yet a jury inexplicably convicted. See how this happened in Dulaney's case.

Analysis of The Mumia Abu-Jamal Case. What are the motives of both the anti- and pro-Mumia factions? Do they both have agendas? Amnesty International's Billy Kreuter's calm analysis of the current "Mumia Flap" counters the hot-tempered rhetoric on both sides of Abu-Jamal's case. Gain an understanding of the case if you haven't followed it closely enough to know the issues

Guest Editorial by Hans Sherrer.Truth is Power, but you can't just "tell the truth" -- you must tell the truth effectively. Hearing the truth can have a special resonance within people.Well-known defense lawyer Gerry Spence refers to this phenomena as the ring of truth. For nearly 50 years he has used it as an impenetrable barrier to protect those who have been wronged. The power of the truth can also be the most effective means available to expose the injustices inflicted on people by the criminal prosecution system.

The Darlie Mail. The interview with Darlie Routier last month inspired some responses.


Justice Denied is dedicated to my daughter and to all the innocent people in prison she represents.

American Gulag: Guilty or Innocent, This is a Dumb Way to Handle Crime

Anyone who becomes interested in one wrong against people in our legal system sooner or later finds the Pandora's box phenomenon is upon him. You begin with the idea of helping innocent people, but discover that since the innocents live as the guilty, you've inherited all the concerns that various groups campaign against. The death penalty, unwholesome food, terrible "medical care," prisons substituting for mental health wards, police and guard brutality, violence inside the prisons, lying witnesses, corrupt courts -- pry open one issue, and there are all the others.

How is it that we Americans can do so many things wrongly in a system that depends so completely on doing things the right way? In the great rush to reduce crime, we're actually causing it to rise by locking up so many people and negatively impacting more and more lives every year. A recent study in Tallahassee, Florida, finds there may be the point of diminishing returns when so many of its able citizens are locked up for relatively minor crimes. Absent parents who are in prison, children grow up with even less guidance, and look forward to a bleak future of prison for themselves.

Who's winning here? Certainly not our country. California has built one university, but twenty new prisons in the last ten years. No one seems to understand that this means the prisons will be the teachers. Money is going to prisons, and not to hospitals, education, environment, or any other program to increase the well being of our citizenry. The amounts of money going into prisons are immense. How long will it be before our economy is so dependent on prisons that we can't back out without economic disaster?

It is difficult to believe that our legislators, politicians, and others "in charge" are so very shortsighted and even ignorant about the damage the criminal justice system is creating in all our lives. Thanks to major reports by newspapers and the Internet, as well as the alternative press, many people are coming to understand that our fears are being used to exploit us, without giving us any real benefits in exchange for the freedoms we relinquish to gain protection.

We are being brutalized, and we must resist it. You can't solve crime by acting criminally toward criminals. Our criminal justice system could take over our entire country unless we call a halt to it. The game seems to be to get bodies in prison. Outrageously, sometimes any "body" will do. When a crime occurs, the rush is on to get a culprit -- any culprit. The point is often to make an arrest and bring a case to closure as soon as possible. One laughs at actions like this when reading a comedic detective novel, for the hero will show up the power-mad grandstanders, and the heroine will be his. In real life, the grandstanders are taken seriously, and another batch of human lives is tossed into the maw of the hungry system. In an ideal world, the policeman and prosecutor would lie awake nights wondering if they'd done the right thing by getting someone convicted ... their dreams tormented by the man being dragged off screaming that he is innocent. In real life, people hate to admit it when they're wrong.

To err is human. The problem is that the system's folks like to think they make no errors. Even when their errors are known and waved in their faces, they'll often make no concession. It's not that we expect no mistakes. It's that mistakes are so pervasive that they almost define the system. Disastrous errors, life-robbing errors ... avoidable errors! At a time when we know more than ever about the high possibility of convicting the innocent, and could cure these problems, our prosecutors and police seem to be in a time-warp, and not even as competent as the old Scotland Yard detectives. Bogus confessions, tainted evidence, mistaken eyewitness testimony, the joke of "scientific" hair and fiber analysis so heavily used in criminal cases, jailhouse snitches lying to get free, are only some of the problem. It's the stubbornness that should bother us: prosecutors hate to let go of a conviction.

Those in charge of keeping the law are increasingly becoming the lawbreakers. After Janet Reno made it a priority to rout out corruption, 756 former law enforcement officers have been convicted on federal corruption, brutality and other charges during her reign.* However, when there's a stench of corruption as there was in Wenatchee, and in other places throughout the country, we marvel at the fact that Reno's investigators can find that no harm or wrong was done in the face of facts to the contrary.

Don't we all admire the noble person who says, "I was wrong!"? Maybe not. After all, didn't everyone snicker in class when teacher said, "No, Johnny, that's not the answer"? Is the aversion to admitting wrong locked up in our very culture? If it is, can we escape it? We're paying a dear price for not being humble. The price is lives. That's whether they're guilty or innocent, mind you. The system is not only imprisoning innocent people, but it's also busy creating the criminals of the future with its shortsightedness and lack of healthy introspection and willingness to change. The innocent, by the way, come out of the system very damaged by what they've experienced. We've had the good fortune to know some of the innocents who were finally released. They suffer. Sometimes they wonder if they should turn to lives of crime.

Do we really want to get "tougher on crime"? We're already so tough that we lock up more people than any other industrialized nation, kill (execute is the preferred term) people at younger ages, imprison instead of trying to rehabilitate petty drug offenders, and send people away for life if they make three mistakes in any given 60-year period. America, the Gulag -- is that what we want?

I can only speculate about how I might react if I had been the one to be locked away for years for a crime I didn't commit. Activist by nature, I think I would spend a lot of time in "the hole." When I got out, I would certainly think about getting even. If I were locked away because I'd been guilty, I'd probably be worse. Then again, maybe I'd be a better person because of all that gratuitous punishment.

Pray for my "carnal" nature, will you?

Clara Alicia Thomas Boggs

*Source: Richard Willing and Kevin Johnson, "More Law Enforcers Becoming Lawbreakers," USA Today, July 29, 1999.



We invite submission of writings about the justice system in relation to the wrongly convicted. Although a writer appears here by invitation, his or her views on any matter do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editor or staff of Justice Denied in any particular matter outside of the injustice of convicting innocent people.

The Staff of Justice: Denied

Truth is Power, but you can't just "tell the truth" -- you must tell the truth effectively.

The Ring of Truth

Editorial By Hans Sherrer, Guest Writer

Defense lawyer Gerry Spence has accomplished something that is as remarkable as it is obscure. In a career spanning nearly 50 years, he has never lost a criminal case. [1]

Mr. Spence duly recognizes that hard work, meticulous preparation and his commanding presence have contributed to his success. However, he mainly credits a secret weapon that prosecutors haven't found a way to stop: he tells the truth to jurors as plainly and openly as he can. Why is telling the truth so effective? He believes it is because people are desperately hungry to hear the truth. In our modern hectic world,  the truth is frequently drowned out by the endless lies of sponsors, politicians, public relations spokespeople, and many others.

In spite of the morass of falsehoods in which we live, Gerry Spence has an almost mystical faith in the ability of "common" people to discern the truth of a situation when it is effectively presented to them. He relies on the protective shield provided by the irresistible power of the truth to resonate within jurors. He calls this phenomenon the ring of truth. [2]

Mr. Spence puts his money where his mouth is by staking the lives of the people he defends on his belief in the built-in truth detector of jurors. The hundreds of times he has won by relying on the ability of jurors to determine the truth of his clients case shows that his faith in them isn't misplaced.

However, a disturbing paradox is raised by Gerry Spence's winning case after case, year after year, in state and federal courts across America by forthrightly presenting the truth to jurors. It means the government and its prosecutors, who are his opponents consistently try to win by using deceptive tactics. We have all had a chance to see this process at work thanks to national reporting on the activities of special prosecutor Ken Starr and the career prosecutors who have assisted him for the last five years. It has given all Americans a birds-eye view of the devious and amoral tactics that Mr. Spence has successfully countered for decades by relying on his skill to present the truth in court.

The cat was recently let out of the bag that prosecutors are well aware of their unethical and even criminal conduct. Whatever doubts anyone may have about this were dispelled by their reaction to an appeals court ruling in U. S. v. Singleton (1998). [3] Unlike Caesar's wife, prosecutors have no interest in preserving even the appearance that they are above suspicion.

To briefly summarize her case, Sonya Singleton was prosecuted in federal court on drug-related charges. Federal prosecutors promised three separate benefits to her codefendant if he would testify against her in court. There is a law that makes it a federal crime for anyone to directly or indirectly, give, offer or promise anything of value to any person in exchange for testimony in a judicial proceeding. [4] The activity described in this statute as illegal is known as bribery. This statute codifies what has been known for thousands of years: bribing people to provide testimony has a corrupting influence on what they say. [5] The payer is rewarded, and rewards the payee, for tailoring what is said.

Ms. Singleton's lawyers made a motion to prohibit her codefendant from testifying against her. They argued that his prospective testimony was tainted by his acceptance of the prosecution's inducements that were tantamount to a bribe. The prosecutors countered this argument by claiming they were exempt from the bribery statute. The trial judge sided with the government and declined to grant the defense motion. Her codefendant was allowed to testify against her and she was convicted. In her appeal, Ms. Singleton raised the issue that the trial court's denial of her motion was a substantial error that might have affected the outcome of her trial.

A three-judge panel for the federal 10th Circuit unanimously agreed with her. They declared that prosecutors are not immune from the federal criminal statute prohibiting the bribery of witnesses. [6] Their decision was a recognition that offering a prosecution witness immunity, a more lenient sentence, or special treatment in exchange for favorable testimony, is a form of bribery that is an open invitation to perjury and the conviction of defendants who aren't guilty.

Instead of accepting that at a minimum they should be bound by the same high standards of conduct expected of everyone else in American society, the U. S. Department of Justice appealed the decision. By opposing the decision of the three-judge panel, prosecutors revealed that in their quest to win at all costs they are knowingly engaging in such indefensible activities as obstruction of justice, witness tampering, subornation of perjury, bribery, and openly condoning perjury by prosecution witnesses. [7] This attitude of being above the ethical rules of society was perhaps most prominently displayed for all of us to see in the O. J. Simpson case. Policeman Mark Fuhrman was one of the government's star witnesses. He was prosecuted and convicted after he committed perjury numerous times on the witness stand before a worldwide television audience. However, he didn't act in isolation. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Chris Darden went unpunished, even though they were aware of his perjured testimony and they did nothing to stop it.

After Singleton's case was reviewed by all the judges in the 10th Circuit, the majority voted to reverse the three-judge panel's decision. Using a judicial sidestep, they ignored the ethical and legal issue that bribing prosecution witnesses has an inevitably corrupting influence on their testimony. Instead, the appellate judges essentially relied on the logic that it is common for prosecutors to offer bribes in exchange for favorable testimony, and it wasn't up to them to change a practice of such long standing. [8] Prosecutors were thus granted an exemption to openly engage in a criminal activity that is prohibited to everyone else in the U.S., precisely because it is known to corrupt the integrity of the judicial process.

Singleton's lawyers appealed the 10th Circuit's decision to the U. S. Supreme Court. On June 21, 1999, the Court let the ruling stand by refusing to hear her appeal. Prosecutors all over the U. S. breathed a sigh of relief that they could continue bribing witnesses to commit perjury in court whenever a defendant's lack of guilt might get in the way of their conviction. An important cog in the prosecutorial assembly line that processes defendants like widgets in a factory was permitted to continue running smoothly.[9]

The Supreme Court's decision is a blow to those interested in prosecutors being held to some semblance of honesty in the presentation of their cases. However, it is indicative of why Gerry Spence's reliance on the truth has so much power. When a lone individual's freedom is endangered by an assault against them by the awesome might of the state, the ring of truth can be the most effective defense.

Acting as a witness to the truth is also a powerful way to publicize the plight of those who have suffered egregiously at the hands of the "justice" system. This is now being done in the pages of Justice Denied and other print and online publications.

The saying that "the darkness of night cannot conceal the light of a single candle" helps explain why revealing the truth doesn't necessarily rely on the number of people who do it. Only one person, or a few, can effectively do so. This is the enduring lesson of The Emperor's New Clothes. Although a children's fable, it expresses the important principle that one person publicly revealing a long-hidden secret can have an impact on the way large numbers of people see something.

To the Emperor, the little boy who blew the whistle on his lack of clothing was a traitor.To those who had lived with the lie of having to pretend that reality was different from what they saw it to be, he was a hero.

Justice Denied and other publications are acting like the little boy in the fable. They are systematically exposing to the light of day the dirty hidden secret that wrongful convictions are not a rare occurrence, but almost the norm. Private sources, as well as studies by agencies of the federal government are revealing that upwards of 25% of convictions may be erroneous. This is a national scandal.

Readers of Justice Denied have an opportunity to hear the ring of truth in the stories it relates of people harmed by one of the most horrible injustices imaginable -- being wrongly branded as a criminal. As the Singleton case emphasizes, this is often accomplished by prosecutors who cultivate witnesses to commit perjury.

Fax machines, e-mail, cell phones and the Internet eliminate the need to have a multimillion dollar budget and a large staff of people to share ideas with millions of people. Modern means of communication are contributing to leveling the playing field of information distribution.

Look at Matt Drudge. Starting as one man with a computer working out of his apartment bedroom, he had the courage to expose the Monica Lewinsky story to the ring of truth. History will record that he played a key role in President Clinton's impeachment. In the same way, Zack Exley is one man with a computer who is proving to be a thorn in the side of presidential hopeful George W. Bush. [10]

Similarly, the spotlight being directed by Justice Denied on the justice system's preying on innocent people isn't going unnoticed. The correspondence between Publisher Clara Boggs and the New Orleans District Attorney's office shows how sensitive prosecutors are to light when they are used to working unobserved in the darkness of shadows. [11] Likewise, Ms. Boggs has received a report that the U. S. Department of  Justice is aware of Justice Denied's publishing activities. Given the unobstructed way they have been able to act for decades, it isn't surprising that a powerful and feared agency in the federal government is taking an interest in a small group of people putting out a fledgling magazine dedicated to presenting the truth about the injustices that agency perpetrates daily against helpless people.

This is the power of the ring of truth. It is the one thing purveyors of prosecutorial injustice fear. As the true life tales in Justice Denied show over and over, prosecutors in particular are masters at trying to undermine the truth with lies, innuendo, smearing, intimidation, neglect of exculpatory evidence, and assuming a false posture of righteousness.

Even though they can be daunting obstacles, devious and underhanded prosecutorial tactics can be overcome. The ring of truth is one of the few things that can effectively break through the wall of lies constructed by prosecutors so that jurors can make an intelligent decision about the fate of an accused man or woman. While it is difficult to do in a courtroom environment, competent defense attorneys rely on skill and wile to expose the web of illusory guilt woven by the prosecution around a defendant.

Out of the courtroom, the same dedication to seeking ways to present the truth is an antidote to the plague of false convictions being foisted on America by a criminal prosecution system running amuck and unchecked.

End notes:

[1] See: "The Making of a Country Lawyer," Gerry Spence, St. Martin's Press, NY, 1996; and, "With Justice For None: Destroying An American Myth," Gerry Spence, Times Books, N. Y., 1989. [back to story]

[2] "How To Argue and Win Every Time, at home, at work, in court, everywhere, everyday," Gerry Spence, St. Martins Press, New York, 1996. An abridged version is available on audio cassette: "How to Argue and Win Every Time," by Gerry Spence, Audio Renaissance, 1995. [back to story]

[3] U. S. v. Singleton (144 F.3d 1343 (10th Cir. 1998). [back to story]

[4] 18 U.S.C. § 201(c)(2)) reads in part: "Whoever . . . directly or indirectly, gives, offers or promises anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court . . . authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony . . . shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both."

[5] A couple examples of this are: "Do not prevent justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the yes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous." Deuteronomy 16:19. and, "Bribery undermines a basic foundation of human existence: that there is one humanity and that all humans have the right to stand as equals before the law. It pulls the rug out from under the widow, the orphan, and all other defenseless and poor people. Bribery, although transacted in secret, is a flagrant violation of the world entrusted to us." It should read: (Quote from: "Torah This Week," Rabbi Pinchas H. Peli, Washington Jewish Week, August 18, 1988.) [back to story]

It is notable that both of these quotes are in a book that explores how special interest lobbyists influence (a polite word for bribe) the way congressmen and senators vote (a form of testimony) on public issues. See: "Stealth PACS: Lobbying Congress for Control of U. S. Middle East Policy," Richard H. Curtis, American Educational Trust, Washington D. C., 1996, p. 15.

[6] *U. S. v. Singleton*, 144 F.3d 1343 (10th Cir. 1998).[back to story]

[7] The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) published a letter by the author about the abhorrent prosecutorial practice of bribing witnesses to tailor their testimony in court. See: The Oregonian, November 7, 1998, opinion page. [back to story]

[8] U. S. v. Singleton, No. 97-3178 (10th Cir. 01/08/1999). [back to story]

[9] See e.g., "D. A.: Prosecutors in Their Own Words," Mark Baker, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1999. In this book, a prosecutor compares the justice system to an assembly line that processes people. Although someone is legally presumed to be innocent when placed on the conveyor belt that enters the justice system factory, a successful prosecutor ensures that when they get to the end of the line and  process, they have duly been stamped as guilty. (see p. 49) [back to story]

[10] "In cyberspace, citizen Exley on par with G. W. Bush: One man's criticism a national event after Bush irked by site," Joan Lowy (Scripps Howard News Service), Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 19, 1999, p. A8.

Quoting this in part: "If it weren't for the Internet, Zack Exley would be just another voiceless citizen disenchanted with the state of politics." [back to story]

[11] See: "New Orleans DA takes issue with Justice Denied Magazine," Clara Boggs, Justice Denied, July 1999, Vol. 1, No. 6. [back to story]

Hans Sherrer: ipse@teleport.com


Analysis of Mumia Abu-Jamal Case. What are the motives of both the anti- and pro-Mumia factions? Do they both have agendas?

Editor's Note: Justice Denied is pleased to bring you an interesting analysis of the current "Mumia Flap." Tempers run high on both sides of Abu-Jamal's case. Regardless of how you see it, you may appreciate this even-handed treatment of the latest "admission" Mumia is said to have made. Here you will also gain an understanding of the case if you haven't followed it closely enough to know the issues. As is true of all the cases we profile, Justice Denied takes no collective stand on any person's guilt or innocence.

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL -- A Look at the Issues

by William Kreuter, Guest Writer for Justice Denied

Mumia Abu-Jamal is back in the news. This spring a nationwide controversy erupted when students at a small liberal-arts college in Washington state, Evergreen, requested that the well-known journalist on Pennsylvania's death row be a speaker at the college's June 11 graduation ceremony. Then in July another purported confession was published and received considerable publicity.

In April, demonstrations totaling tens of thousands of people were held in Philadelphia, San Francisco and several European cities in Abu-Jamal's support. Further demonstrations are planned for this fall.

Abu-Jamal has been well-known in recent years for, among other media appearances, taping a series of commentaries for National Public Radio which the network backed out of broadcasting. NPR's reversal was in response to pressure from police unions and their powerful allies that have vociferously called for Abu-Jamal's execution since 1982. Then-presidential candidate and Senate Republican leader Bob Dole also weighed in by threatening to cut off NPR's federal funding.

NPR, not even acknowledging the right-wing pressure prompting its capitulation, was widely perceived as cowardly. This episode resulted in a recently-dismissed lawsuit by Abu-Jamal against NPR, the airing of the commentaries by the Pacifica Radio network's "Democracy Now" program, and Temple University's sudden cancellation of its contract with Pacifica so Temple could avoid transmitting the commentaries on the university radio station. That would have been their only broadcast in the Philadelphia area.

The graduation remarks were presented as a fourteen-minute speech taped from prison. Washington Governor Gary Locke also initially agreed to be a graduation speaker. When he first learned Abu-Jamal would speak, Locke agreed to remain part of the ceremony, but several days later he cancelled to maintain his reputation as a death-penalty backer and friend of the state troopers' union.

Maureen Faulkner, widow of the Philadelphia policeman Abu-Jamal is convicted of murdering in 1981, attended the Evergreen State graduation in protest, holding a picture of her slain husband and denouncing Abu-Jamal to the media, along with many representatives of several police unions.

A student committee at the liberal-arts college near the state capital of Olympia selected Abu-Jamal. The college, known for progressive politics in the student body, has made controversial choices before; some years ago the imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier was invited to tape a graduation speech. This year's choice appeared to receive the support of the large majority of ceremony attendees. Small numbers demonstrated both for and against Abu-Jamal, including a handful who supported Faulkner by turning their backs or walking out.

Although Evergreen's president made special note at the ceremony of the presence and suffering of Maureen Faulkner, some politicians leaped on the opportunity to criticize Evergreen's refusal to override the students' choice. US House Republican Whip Tom Delay of Texas called Evergreen faculty "twisted radicals." However, Evergreen's President Jervis reminded the audience of the importance of not only listening to those with whom one agrees.

The theme of the fourteen-minute commencement address was "A Life Lived, Deliberately." Abu-Jamal praised historic and modern revolutionaries such as John Brown, Malcolm X, Huey Newton and members of Philadelphia's MOVE organization with which he is affiliated. Saying, "For any oppressed people, revolution, according to the Declaration of Independence, is a right," he asked the graduating students to "live lives of opposition to the deadening status quo." As is his custom in his public statements, Abu-Jamal did not speak of the particulars of his case.

Abu-Jamal helped found the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia in his teens, serving as its minister of information. His political activities caused the FBI to maintain surveillance of him since he was 16 years old. The FBI has acknowledged accumulating hundreds of pages of reports on his activities, but none reflected criminal activity.

Abu-Jamal is a controversial figure even among death-penalty abolitionists. Several feel that his supporters have not helped the cause of abolition. He was well-known in Philadelphia and detested by city police and leaders in the 1970s because he lambasted official racism and corruption on his radio program. He received awards for his reporting on police misconduct, abuse of authority, racial discrimination, education and housing in Philadelphia.

On December 9, 1981, while moonlighting as a taxi driver, Abu-Jamal happened to come upon a policeman arresting his brother. Beyond that basic, almost all other facts are in dispute. Little has since been heard from the brother. Both Mumia Abu-Jamal and the policeman, Daniel Faulkner, were critically wounded; Faulkner died shortly afterwards. The gun Abu-Jamal was licensed to carry because he had been robbed on his taxi shifts was found nearby. Whether the bullets taken from Faulkner's body were matched to this gun is disputed. Abu-Jamal's supporters say Faulkner was killed by a .38, while Abu-Jamal's gun is a .44. They say police failed to perform, or covered up the results of, tests that could have excluded Abu-Jamal's gun. His hands weren't tested for powder; his detractors say this is because circumstances made that technically impossible. Since 1982, a number of witnesses -- some who say they were threatened not to so testify at the trial -- have stated that an unknown person killed Faulkner and fled the scene. If the shooter fled, it couldn't have been Abu-Jamal who was felled four feet away by Faulkner's gunshot.

Abu-Jamal says he was beaten by more police arriving that December night. He was beaten again at the hospital. When he regained consciousness in excruciating pain, he says that a smirking policeman was standing on a plastic bag at the foot of his bed, forcing urine back into his body.

Prosecutors realized they had the well-known radical journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. He was not allowed to adequately direct his own defense, and (because of his rants and outbursts, according to his detractors) he was even barred from the courtroom for part of his own trial. His incompetent attorney was later disbarred.

The sentencing phase of the trial was blatantly political. Prosecutors argued for the death penalty by reciting Mumia's history in the Black Panthers and quoting his political writings out of context. However, even a reading of the evidence most charitable to the state cannot support a conviction of greater than second-degree murder. Abu-Jamal did not decide in advance to go out and kill a cop. Rather, he was working his shift and chanced upon his brother allegedly being beaten by Faulkner. The prosecution essentially argued that all one-time Black Panthers were, by one interpretation of their rhetoric, in favor of killing policemen, therefore their political views constitute premeditation.

In one of several rulings uniquely directed against Abu-Jamal, the US Supreme Court rejected one of Abu-Jamal's grounds for appeal, which was that an earlier Supreme Court ruling held that the political associations of a white supremacist could not be used to argue for the death penalty. Although the court rejected Abu-Jamal's appeal to use this reasoning to overturn his sentence, the court ruled favorably for later appellants who raised the same issue.

Renowned attorney Leonard Weinglass presented evidence at a hearing in 1995 that police fabricated evidence, intimidated witnesses and that another person may have killed Officer Faulkner. At that hearing and since then, new witnesses came forward and one 1982 witness recanted her testimony, saying she was coerced by the police. The 1982 trial judge, Albert Sabo, also presided over the 1995 hearing; Sabo has presided over more trials resulting in death sentences -- almost all against Blacks -- than almost any judge in America. Sabo, a member of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, acknowledges being biased towards the prosecution and recently was dismissed for being abusive in court. In an unrelated proceeding, six former Philadelphia district attorneys swore that no accused person could receive a fair trial in Sabo's court.

A key witness in 1982, Cynthia White, was someone no other witness even reported seeing at the site. Weinglass says that in return for her testimony that Jamal shot Faulkner, White was allowed to continue to work the streets as a prostitute for years, apparently with police protection. In a 1997 hearing, another former prostitute, Pamela Jenkins, a friend of White at the time, testified that White was acting as a police informant, a fact not given to the defense, and that White had testified only after police threatened her life. Judge Sabo, claiming she was dead on the basis of a death certificate that the defense said wasn't White's, refused to allow Cynthia White to be produced for a hearing.

The 1982 trial was so heavily biased that one cannot say Abu-Jamal was fairly convicted on the evidence, even if one believes the totality of the evidence is in the state's favor. For example, almost all Blacks were stricken from the jury. As was true in the 1995 hearing, defense objections were mostly overruled, while the prosecution's objections were routinely granted. The judge dripped with contempt for the defense team even more in 1995, to the extent that the rather conservative trade publication American Lawyer wrote in December, 1995 that Judge Sabo was exceptionally biased and the trial badly flawed. At times during the later hearing Sabo had a defense witness arrested for coming forward, and he threatened one of Abu-Jamal's attorneys with arrest.


Stuart Taylor, author of the American Lawyer article, is a neo-conservative who was the first prominent journalist to take Paula Jones' allegations against President Clinton seriously. Taylor wrote, "Jamal was prejudiced by police misconduct and probably rampant police perjury ...; inappropriate prosecution arguments to the jury; [and] egregiously bad judging by the notoriously biased, pro-prosecution Albert Sabo of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas."

Abu-Jamal's case needs to be seen in the context of astounding corruption in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Over 300 convictions in Philadelphia were thrown out in the past few years due to frame-ups and the use of fraudulent evidence, and at least 137 prisoners have been freed. The present district attorney, Lynne Abraham, who relishes being described by the New York Times as America's "Queen of Capital Punishment," has responded with damage control rather than with any honest effort to find other cases of questionable convictions or to root out the problem.

Two examples are instructive in their similarities to how Abu-Jamal may have been treated. Wilfredo Santiago spent six years in prison after he was convicted of killing a Philadelphia police officer. Due to misconduct by police and the prosecutor, he was granted a new trial in 1991 and released on bail. In 1992 a second judge found that prosecutors had concealed evidence and witnesses from the defense that could have helped acquit Santiago, and he ordered the charges against Santiago dismissed. The DA's office got a higher court to order a retrial of Santiago.

In December, 1996, Raymond Carter walked out of prison after ten years behind bars. A Philadelphia judge ruled that Carter's murder conviction had been obtained by paying a prostitute $500 to testify against him. The judge ruled that Carter probably would have been acquitted if police and prosecutors had not withheld key information about the prostitute witness. The testimony that sent Carter to prison was arranged by Officer Thomas Ryan, who himself is in prison now. Ryan, who was "dating" the prostitute at the time, paid her $500 to give the "evidence."

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is unusually partisan and predisposed to prejudge cases such as Abu-Jamal's. Its seven judges are elected on party tickets and receive endorsements from police unions. One, Ronald Castille, refused to recuse himself from Abu-Jamal's case even though at one time he was the district attorney for Philadelphia, responsible for the state's response to Abu-Jamal's appeals. In his ruling refusing recusal, Castille stated that five of the seven judges were endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the same union calling for Abu-Jamal's execution.

Exclusion of Blacks from jury service, one of the issues in the Abu-Jamal case, has been a favored tactic of Philadelphia prosecutors. Ronald Castille, in fact, was DA when a training video was made to instruct new prosecutors in techniques for keeping Black people off juries.

This author is not convinced as to who killed or did not kill Daniel Faulkner. Maureen Faulkner's supporters make the valid point that  much of the evidence presented by Abu-Jamal's defenders has not been subject to cross-examination or the rules of evidence, but that is exactly why Abu-Jamal's legal team says the truth cannot be known without a retrial. The legal proceedings have been blatantly unfair, at times farcical. As another victim of a dishonest and corrupt system, Maureen Faulkner has my absolute sympathy, especially given the substantial possibility that her husband's killer is still at large.

The "Justice for Daniel Faulkner" web site claims, "Mumia Abu-Jamal is a twisted sort of hero to some. He's become the latest poster boy for the anti-death penalty movement. The groups supporting him care little of his guilt. Rather they are intent on using him and his case as tools to chip away at the Death Penalty in the United States."

This author feels that some of Abu-Jamal's supporters have used the case for political ends with wanton disregard of other death-row prisoners -- but similarly, Abu-Jamal's antagonists appear most concerned to further the cause of state killings and see through the execution of a political dissident. The "poster boy" language is insulting to Abu-Jamal and to such respected human-rights organizations as Amnesty International, for they both unconditionally advocate the end of the death penalty as well as point out flaws in this specific case.

Abu-Jamal's antagonists, but some death-penalty abolitionists as well, are dismayed by his supporters' organizing and fundraising. The abolitionists see these efforts as detracting from many other very pressing cases. When Pennsylvania executed Leon Moser a few years ago, no one in town demonstrating at the same time for Abu-Jamal, then years away from execution, could be enlisted to give any support for the man about to die at the state's hands. For its part, "Justice for Daniel Faulkner" makes close to libelous insinuations that Abu-Jamal or his attorneys or both have pocketed money from the efforts in his behalf. In fact, his defense efforts always have been dwarfed by the unlimited money and access to the media of the forces seeking his execution.

"Justice for Daniel Faulkner" purports to rebut fourteen "myths" maintained by Abu-Jamal's supporters. Some information is useful to put various arguments into context, while other statements hardly make much of a case. For example, the site makes the straw-man argument that it was Abu-Jamal who insisted on bringing up his political affiliations. However, the site spin-doctors the fact that the prosecution could only gain a death sentence by reciting his affiliations and statements as a Black Panther at the age of 16. This occurred when the prosecution, with the judge's connivance and in complete violation of proper trial procedure, forced Abu-Jamal to yield his federal constitutional rights and be subject to cross-examination. In any case, no matter who initiated any political rhetoric at trial, it was improper in the extreme for the state to claim that criminal culpability is increased when one opposes the government, a claim repeated by the Faulkner site.

Similarly, the Faulkner site claims variously that Blacks weren't really excluded from the jury, and also that it was Abu-Jamal who caused the exclusion. In this instance as well as several others, the site offers as evidence selected trial transcripts and remarks of the judge -- although there is much reason not to assume, as the Faulkner site does, the impartiality of either. Even if there were any truth to the claim that Abu-Jamal has some culpability for the under-representation of Blacks, it wouldn't change the fact that in such a racially charged case the jury makeup fit well with the DA's now-revealed policy of minimizing Black participation to help ensure a pro-prosecution jury.

In other examples, such as trying to demonstrate that Judge Sabo was fair and impartial, "Justice for Daniel Faulkner" heavily glosses and ignores the record. The site fails even to address some defense contentions, such as that Abu-Jamal's trial attorney was later disbarred or that the prosecution theory of how Abu-Jamal shot Faulkner was   medically impossible.

Another of the Faulkner site's supposed "myth" debunkings, concerning an early alleged confession, is related to a news item widely disseminated in July. The August issue of Vanity Fair magazine contains a lengthy article attacking Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters. It repeats the claims of the Fraternal Order of Police, but then reports that a new witness has come forward to say he heard Mumia confess to the killing.

The new witness is Philip Bloch, who told Vanity Fair that as a prison volunteer during the early 1990s, he and Abu-Jamal discussed subjects from prison life to philosophy. Once, Bloch said, while discussing whether violence was acceptable in the name of one's beliefs, he unintentionally asked Abu-Jamal whether he regretted killing Faulkner and received a one-word reply, "Yes."

"There was a long pause," Bloch told Vanity Fair. "I think we probably realized what he had just done."

On July 9, Abu-Jamal issued a statement saying, "Once again we hear about a so-called confession, but instead of two months later this comes over a decade later. We don't hear it from a priest, from a lawyer, or from a personal friend but from an official Visitor of the Pennsylvania Prison Society over ten years later. A lie is a lie, whether made today or ten years later. ... I find it remarkable that this rumor-turned lie was never brought to my attention by the author, by Mr. Bloch himself or by Vanity Fair magazine, which never contacted me. Welcome to snuff journalism."

Bloch claims the incident was seven years ago, not more than ten, and that he did not reveal it previously because he opposes Abu-Jamal's execution. In numerous press appearances in mid-July, Bloch said he and Abu-Jamal had been close personal friends in 1991 and 1992, that he felt he'd had much in common with Abu-Jamal, and that Bloch was and remains a pacifist opposed to the death penalty.

Abu-Jamal's antagonists have never had any problem getting their message into the media, whether to manipulate a cowardly National Public Radio, getting Temple University to cancel its Pacifica Radio contract minutes before Temple's radio station was to broadcast the commentary refused by NPR, or having ABC's Sam Donaldson broadcast the state's version of the whole affair on the December 9, 1998 "20/20." On July 11, Donaldson used the Vanity Fair piece to attack Abu-Jamal again.

There are some problems with the magazine's report. For one thing, its author, Buzz Bissinger, is a long-time publicist for Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell. Bissinger published A Prayer for the City, a book of lyric praise of Rendell, and was allowed unlimited access to Rendell while writing it. Rendell, now preparing to run for higher office, has a strong incentive to discredit Abu-Jamal. He was the district attorney of Philadelphia in charge of prosecuting Abu-Jamal in 1982. As mayor, Rendell continues to loudly call for the execution to proceed.

On Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" program of July 13, the head of the Pennsylvania Prison Society stated that Bloch was kicked out of the organization several years ago after violating several rules. Bloch disputes the circumstances of the dismissal. The Society specializes in conflict resolution in prisons, has over 300 volunteers and was founded more than 210 years ago. Its head also told Pacifica that Bloch's revealing the conversation with Abu-Jamal was an unprecedented violation of a confidentiality pledge. During the July 13 "Democracy Now" program (the sound file can be found in the archives of http://www.webactive.com), Weinglass inquired if -- given that Bloch didn't remember exactly what he asked Abu-Jamal -- the wording might actually have been whether he regretted that Faulkner was killed, not whether Abu-Jamal killed Faulkner; Bloch rejected that possibility.

It also seems that every time there's a bit of pro-Jamal publicity -- the Millions for Mumia campaign, or the Evergreen College affair and the reaction to the heavy-handed response to it -- or there seems to be a chance that Abu-Jamal may move into slightly more favorable territory in federal court (as could be the case with his present US Supreme Court appeal or its legal aftermath), his enemies suddenly discover some new "evidence" such as a previously unreported confession. As Abu-Jamal asks, why now, the better part of a decade later?

Vanity Fair's claims have the same ring to them as a supposed confession which helped convict Abu-Jamal in 1982. The claim then was that Abu-Jamal, brought into the hospital on December 9, 1981, nearly unconscious and near death from his gunshot wound, screamed that he had shot the m---f--- and hoped he died. Most hospital staff denied that Jamal said that, or said anything at all, and it appears that nobody said anything about a confession until months later. According to Leonard Weinglass' appeal papers:

"Although Dr. Cudemo did not hear Mr. Jamal say anything, and Dr. Coletta found Mr. Jamal to be barely conscious, two Commonwealth witnesses claimed over two months afterwards that Mr. Jamal was struggling violently and shouted out a confession. These two witnesses were Officer Garry Bell, Officer Faulkner's partner and 'best friend,' and a hospital security guard, Priscilla Durham, who first denied knowing Officer Faulkner, then admitted talking to him on a number of occasions, sometimes over coffee. . . .

"Although Officer Bell made a log report that night and volunteered a statement to homicide detectives the following week, and Ms. Durham had continuous contact with police, neither one reported hearing the supposed 'confession' until months later when they were interviewed by detectives from Internal Affairs who were investigating a complaint initiated by Mr. Jamal for having been abused by the police in the hospital. [This refers to the urine-bag incident mentioned earlier.] Bell's interview occurred on February 25, 1982, and Priscilla Durham's sometime in March, 1982.

"All the witnesses agreed that Mr. Jamal was too feeble to walk into the hospital on his own power. Officers were with him without interruption from the moment he entered the hospital. One of those officers, Gary Wakshul, stayed with Mr. Jamal from the time he was driven from Locust Street until the doctors started treating him in the hospital. Wakshul wrote a police report immediately after the episode in which he described being with Mr. Jamal throughout this period, noting '[d]uring this time the Negro male made no statements.' The jury, however, never heard from Wakshul because the police made him unavailable by sending him 'on vacation.'"

The timing of Priscilla Durham's statements and whether Officer Wakshul's vacation at the time of the trial might have been a corrupt ploy by the prosecution are disputed by the "Justice for Daniel Faulkner" web site. Yet the pattern of "discovering" these previously unknown "confessions" is quite consistent with the habits of Pennsylvania police operations that have already been demonstrated to fabricate evidence on a massive scale.

That doesn't prove anything about Abu-Jamal's alleged confessions in 1982 or 1991, but on top of their curious timing, it certainly makes one suspect them.

Abu-Jamal's current appeal is before the US Supreme Court, which most likely will rule during its term starting this fall. If its ruling is adverse, he will be entitled to pursue certain other federal appeals, but these will be severely hampered by the 1995 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Meanwhile, Abu-Jamal's health has deteriorated because of the typical lack of medical care on death row and due to his extended periods in solitary confinement.

"Justice for Daniel Faulkner" is at http://www.justice4danielfaulkner.com, and one of the many web sites maintained by Mumia supporters is that of Refuse and Resist at http://mojo.calyx.net/~refuse/mumia

{William Kreuter is Washington State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator for Amnesty International, and he serves on the steering committee of the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Views in this article are the author's and not necessarily positions of Amnesty International, WCADP or Justice: Denied Magazine.}

(Thomas Arthur, as is true with many innocent prisoners, is convinced that if only he can reach the media with his story and people can look at the facts for themselves, they will be rescued from their cells or from impending death. Until the last year or so, most innocents have believed their cases are unique -- that the system incredibly malfunctioned for them, but that if people were to know the truth of their stories, their compassion would move them to DO something. Justice Denied shares that simple view to some extent, or we would not present these cases each month. So it is that Mr. Arthur asks other countries to get involved to press the American criminal system to do the right thing. He might be right. Who knows? Maybe you can take Thomas Arthur's story to the media in another country. If you do, tell them we have hundreds and hundreds of people crying out for the same kind of help Mr. Arthur wants. Thomas speaks with raw emotion as he asks for someone to care and listen.)

Thomas Arthur -- In His Own Words

(Note from Editor: This direct plea from Thomas Arthur is a compilation of three separate writings by Thomas. The first part of the story combines a letter Mr. Arthur wrote to a long-time friend with a plea he has sent out to any and all who might help him. He offers all the information he has to any interested parties. After his case account, read Alabama the Beautiful, and see the life Thomas has lived, as an innocent man, for fifteen years. Please look into your heart and see if you can help Thomas or know anyone who can.)

Unless a private attorney who cares about justice is willing to step up and take on the fight now, Alabama is going to kill me. That's all there is to it, period.

Thomas D. Arthur

In His Own Words....

Case Account by Thomas Arthur

Edited by Stormy Thoming-Gale



I am purposely keeping this short. There is much more connected to my case. It would be impossible to state it all here. I will, of course, be glad to furnish any and all information and answer any questions if you choose to get involved.

I will try to illustrate how critically dangerous my present personal situation is and my absolute need to get an attorney who's willing to fight for me, investigate, and follow up on information I have. An attorney has to start soon before the appeals process grinds on to the point where the courts will not let me accept help. All I ask for is a fair trial. Alabama's court appointed attorneys don't get paid enough to care.

After fifteen calendar years of being on Death Row in an 8 x 5 ft. cage, my cries of frustration and desperation for not being allowed access to legal representation and investigative support that the law says I'm entitled to, keep falling on deaf ears.

How on earth can it be possible to reach a point where a Court of Law will refuse to hear, see, and evaluate even the slightest possibility that a person is actually innocent and has not had a fair trial? How can that happen?

I stress the vital importance of getting press/media/television in other countries to get involved on my behalf. American press/media/television simply does not care but will if other countries do it first.

So-called death penalty fighters and groups supposed to help on appeals will not raise the necessary hell with the Government because their organization's grant-funding comes from the Government. It's an unwritten agreement. The groups won't expose the Government's illegal, irresponsible abuse of Human Rights and killing of people for political gain and promotion of Judges, District Attorneys, and political funds. The groups won't step on toes and Government politicians quietly OK funding for the groups. It's a damned shame.

Poor people simply cannot afford the same justice the wealthy can buy in the United States of America, especially in Alabama.

Alabama law allows payments to court appointed attorneys in death penalty cases. Court appointed defense attorneys in capital cases are paid $1000 -- yes, that's only one thousand dollars, plus $40 -- yes, that's only forty dollars an hour when in court.

Attorneys are not allowed the time needed to prepare for a case unless they do it pro bono because there is a cap on funds, a total limit of  $3000. Yes, that's only three thousand dollars to defend a person's life. Alabama is quick to point out that they appoint two attorneys in a death penalty case, two attorneys with a total of $6000. Six thousand dollars together equals next to nothing.

Take this into consideration: the recent high-profile case in the media in America, Oklahoma bomber Tim McVeigh's federal case appointed attorneys were allowed over $10,000,000. Yes -- over ten million dollars for the defense in his death penalty case.

My God in Heaven, how can this imbalance be possible under any set of circumstances, tell me how it can be possible?

Why is a moratorium not put in place to simply stop all executions in America until the Justice Department can investigate cases like mine where I say I am totally innocent and can provide irrefutable evidence that's never been checked, witnesses that have never been talked to? Show physical evidence that's never been tested in a laboratory?

The only three Alabama death row inmate's cases that were investigated and thoroughly examined were due to media attention. All three were found to be totally innocent: Johnny Harris, Bo Cockran and Walter McMillan.

How many of those executed -- fried alive in Alabama's electric chair -- were possibly innocent? Who knows, who cares?

My trial was anything but fair. Please read the following list of irrefutable facts and violation of law and trampling of my rights to have competent, capable, legal representation.

I was literally forced to act as my own attorney in my trial, I can prove this and provide documents to support the proof.

I was denied a pretrial hearing by the trial Judge where I could have shown irrefutable proof that the court appointed attorneys had not prepared my defense. One even wrote me a letter saying he knew nothing about my defense and to contact the other attorney. The other attorney refused to accept telephone calls. I made over fifty attempted calls. The attorney also refused to answer certified letters. I sent over ten letters.

I have never had access to an investigator who could locate and talk to eyewitnesses who would prove I was seventy-five miles away from the crime scene at the exact time the crime was committed. The investigator could talk to people with direct knowledge of plans by the victim's wife and her sister to kill the victim. I never had an investigator to talk to the victim's neighbors who saw strange cars at the victim's home only minutes before law enforcement was called at the scene. Literally dozens of other critical issues were never investigated in my behalf.

There is not one single shred of physical evidence, no hair, no fingerprints no nothing. There is zero evidence that connects me to the crime scene. Yet hair samples can connect a prime suspect (whose name is known to investigators, but who was never even questioned). No hair sample was ever taken from me to compare. The blood at the scene of the crime was not mine and was never compared to the suspect's.

The only witness against me who openly said I did it, admits lying in statements to law enforcement, lied under oath in his own jury trial, and lied in written statements. Yet, some 3-5 years later, after being sentenced with a life in prison, he suddenly appeared in Court against me to say I did the crime. The State of Alabama helped him get out of prison as payment for his testimony against me, and now he swears it's the truth.

Another witness clearly lied about a time he was supposed to have seen me --  a difference of over three hours. The reason for the difference is that the State told him to change the time. It's on the Court's transcripts. Another witness gave the correct time but suddenly died.

This testimony is on record for all to see. There are literally dozens of other facts that show my innocence and lack of a fair trial. They are too numerous to list in this document.

Last, but very important and damaging to my appeals, is that the 1995-1996 Alabama State Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, was running for election to become a United States Senator. He was behind in voter polls in the area where I'm from and other areas of the state as well.

In order to boost his public image, Mr. Sessions wrote a personal letter to the Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals and to the Alabama Supreme Court (State Court).

In that letter Mr. Sessions specifically named six death row inmates from the area where he was falling behind in voter polls in his bid for election to the Senate. I was one of the six he specifically named. In his letter, he demanded that the death sentence appeals of those six men be accelerated and pushed through the system. This is a direct Civil Rights violation. News of this letter demanding the acceleration of appeals of six death row inmates was leaked to several leading newspapers in areas where he was behind in the voter polls.

This was a hit-list -- an order to kill six men for the express purpose of influencing voters on his stand against crime. In other words "I will kill for votes!"

He broke the law himself in an effort to get elected to the United States Senate.

Mr. Sessions' letter prejudiced Appeals Court clerks, Judges, State Court Judges and their clerks. They must have thought, "Here's a letter from a man going to be a United States Senator demanding that we push six death row appeals through the appeal process." They did exactly that. The Criminal Court of Appeals ignored the clear issues in my case that automatically demand a new trial.

Criminal Court of Appeals Judge "Buckey" said, in his response, that I had been to Court on several occasions to act as my own attorney. Judge Buckey obeyed the letter from the man who was going to be the next United States Senator for Alabama. Judge Buckey was also running for re-election to his seat on the Appeals Court.

United States Senators have the power to help appoint State Court clerks (actually young attorneys) and State Judges. Senators have the power and influence to help appoint Federal Court Judgeships. Federal retirements benefits are good in America.

Alabama Supreme Court Judge Harold Gee did exactly same thing, he agreed with lower court Judge Buckey's opinion, ignoring glaring issues warranting a new trial in my case. Other Judges, the Appeals Court and the State Supreme Court fell in step with Buckey and set out to please the future Senator of the corrupt State of Alabama.

I desperately need a private attorney to help me immediately.

Many Thanks

Please respond to:

Thomas D. Arthur,
Z 427 Death Row 6 D 11
Holman Prison 3700
Atmore, Alabama
36503-3700 U.S.A.

I look forward to your letter!

Alabama the Beautiful

Those who believe they are free do not understand that with the current rogue (Gestapo) American government in place, they could be the next to be behind bars.

Living conditions on Holman Prison Death Row:

My cell is only 8 feet long and 5 feet wide. It has a two and a half foot wide bunk and an eight foot long toilet assembly, so actual space to move around is two and a half feet wide and six feet long -- about thirteen and a half square feet. The law says we are supposed to have about sixty square feet.

Inmates are only allowed out of the small cell 45 minutes to one hour a day. If people have a visit they get to go to visitor's area, plus one day a week they are allowed to visit the law library if the inmate knows how to read or work on his case.

Food is cold nine out of ten meals. Some food is dangerous if cold. No milk ever, none for years. No fresh fruit, no apples, no oranges, no bananas, no pears ever. No fresh vegetables such as salad ever. Food is put into the cells through the same hole in the cell door that filthy mops, brooms, and toilet brushes come through. The hole is only four and a half inches high and only eleven inches wide. All meat parts are pressed Soya mix. The only fresh meat is chicken and it is always leg portions and usually half cooked, usually always cold.

No one is allowed to shower except every two days. Inmates are forced to keep their hair short, above the ear. No mustaches, beards allowed. Publications, magazines, newspapers must be bought by death row inmates; no outside party can purchase subscriptions outside or have them sent by any publishers. Except for religious books.

Only eight people allowed to visit. That's only eight allowed to each  inmate's visitors list. Only eight people are allowed on each inmate's phone call list, including attorney(s) if any. No overseas calls allowed, period. Inmates can only receive money orders from a list of only eight people. Mailroom intercepts all incoming mail, and nobody knows what is taken there. Items allowed in cells are limited to four books. The administration harasses by taking things from us for no reason, not a security risk at all.

In Alabama prisons, the guards actually tell people who want to help by sending in books or teaching/learning videos, "We don't want dem folks in here to learn how to do for themselves."

When there's an execution at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama, the warden actually gets all dressed up and celebrates his "duty" with a sick pleasure that would turn your stomach. There's hardly ever any news on Alabama executions because no one cares. Those people in Alabama have dead hearts, minds and souls, while they go to church and profess to be Christians!

The world needs to know how it is on "Planet" Alabama, for it is nothing like any other state in this country and so far they've been able to keep it a guarded secret from everyone. There's only one thing worse than a thief (which Alabama is) and that's a liar (which IS Alabama). Please call or write the prison directly to let them know that its treatment of inmates is unconstitutional:

Holman Prison, 1240 Ross Rd #3700, Atmore, AL 36502-4263
USA Phone: 334-368-8173.

Please contact Mr. Arthur at:

Thomas D. Arthur,
Z 427 Death Row 6 D 11
Holman Prison 3700
Atmore, Alabama
36503-3700 U.S.A.

You may also e-mail his friend Fred Kolkman at: f.kolkman@betuwe.net, or his friend, Mrs. Sherry Swinney, at: taoss@worldnet.att.net


Leslie Whaley: Silenced for over a decade by a Woman's False Claim

Leslie Arthur Whaley has spent eleven years in the Oregon State Penitentiary for a crime that didn't happen. He was wrongfully convicted and falsely imprisoned for several head-scratching reasons: lack of an attorney, perjury in his trial, and prosecutorial misconduct. However, his accuser's monetary gain from a victims' compensation program demonstrates some of what may be her real motives and could begin a careful reader's journey to the truth behind an injustice.

Whaley was convicted in 1988 of rape 1 and kidnapping 1 for which he received a 30-year prison sentence with a 10-year minimum. An 18-year-old woman with a significant history of drug abuse and prostitution as well as a previous theft conviction on her record accused him of these charges of which he was falsely convicted.

The two met in May 1988 at a nonalcoholic dance club one Friday night. Whaley encountered the woman again at the same club the following night and, when the dance was over, she asked him for a ride home. His car was full of people and he told her that he would take them home and come back in thirty minutes to give her a ride home if she had not found a ride with someone else. When Whaley came back, the woman was still waiting for him. She suggested going out for coffee at an all-night restaurant, which they did. During the course of their two-hour conversation, she told him she was leaving in three days to enter a drug treatment program in Minnesota and was nervous about being there by herself. Whaley suggested they keep in touch and, appropriately, wrote his name, address, and telephone number on the corner of a place mat, cut if off with a small pocketknife he kept in his coat pocket, and handed her the piece of paper with information on where and how to contact him. He told her he had friends back in Minnesota who would look out for her. They left the restaurant, getting in his car together, and Whaley drove the woman to her home.

The subsequent events are difficult to determine when relying on Whaley's accuser's timeline. Her testimony at trial and the three different police reports she made in the months preceding the trial are replete with inconsistencies, contradictions, and documented lies. However, key bits and pieces, that bolster her story's credibility and are most incriminating to him, follow.

After pulling up in front of her home and parking, Whaley leaned over to kiss her goodnight. The woman politely kissed him back. As she pulled away to leave, his demeanor suddenly and inexplicably changed; his voice became angry as he got physically aggressive. Reclining her seat, Whaley grabbed the woman's wrists, pinned her down, and forcibly raped her. The only verbal protestation she uttered was to just tell him "don't." She remembered the knife that was in his coat pocket in the back seat of the car and was afraid to put up a fight. She claimed that at one point during the sexual intercourse he made a gesture towards it by reaching into the back seat, although she alleged that no threat was ever made and no weapon produced.

When he was finished, he got back into his own seat. Depending on which of her various accounts is considered, Whaley either reached over and slammed her door shut after she opened it in an attempt to leave and then started the car, or held her down in the seat with one hand while he started the car with the other hand. Whaley then sped off, telling her he could take her anywhere he wanted and that no one knew she was with him. Stopping by an apartment complex to pick up some friends of his, the woman claimed Whaley kept an eye on her while walking a few feet away to a ground-level window and knocking on it. He got back into the car and drove her back to the nightclub they had left only a few hours earlier. Once they were inside the club and in the presence of other people, she found the courage to break away from him. "Decorators," which she later changed to "construction workers," came to her rescue.

Whaley's version of events is much simpler and has remained unchanged since the time of his arrest. After pulling up in front of her house, he yawned and gazed out at the street, waiting for her to get out of the car. When he turned to look at her to see why she was not getting out, he suddenly felt her tongue in his mouth and her arms around his neck. She was so eager to have sex that she would not even allow him time to reach into his glove compartment to get a condom when he attempted to do so, telling him not to worry about her getting pregnant. She told him to make love to her and assisted with the initiation of the sexual act, placing his penis in her vagina.

When they were finished, the woman suggested continuing their encounter in the bedroom of her parents' house or getting a motel room. Knowing that he still had some friend to pick up and take back to the nightclub, Whaley instead asked her if she wanted to accompany them. She agreed.

Arriving at the apartment complex to pick up his friends, Whaley got out of the car, entered the building, and went up a flight of stairs to the second floor and down the hallway to the unit at the back of the building,  giving his accuser every opportunity to get out of the vehicle and walk away. No one was home, so Whaley went back to the car, got in, and drove with the woman back to the club. Once inside and seated, the woman became angry and began to accuse him of having used her. She then accused Whaley of raping her. Bewildered by the sudden change in her behavior, he tried to reason with her as she stormed out. Meanwhile, a cab had just arrived for two other women. Now in tears, Whaley's accuser got into the front seat of the cab and the driver took her home. That was the last Whaley heard from, or of, his accuser until he was arrested a week later.

The truthfulness of the woman's allegations become questionable immediately. After returning home in the cab on the night of the alleged incident, the woman had gone to the hospital with her parents and filled out a police report. She gave a second police report later that same night to a different officer which contained different and slightly more incriminating details. Neither of the two reports, however, contained the elements necessary for a crime and no arrest was made.

Whaley was on parole for a previous conviction of a statutory offense involving a 15-year-old girl. The incident was, however, an entirely nonviolent, unforced episode, whereas the Rape 1/ Kidnapping 1 conviction was based on the alleged use of force. Mr. Whaley's wife testified at trial that the 15-year-old continued to telephone Mr. Whaley's home for weeks after their sexual encounter trying to going out with him a second time. It was only after receiving a definitive rebuff from Mr. Whaley that the 15-year-old girl turned him in. The statutory conviction did leave him vulnerable to the accuser's accusation; however, it is arguable that Whaley's accuser did not know about it. The prosecutor used it to paint Mr. Whaley as something he is not -- a "serial rapist."  It's worth considering that a statutory offense is in an entirely different category of crime from a forcible rape -- the latter involves a man who wants to violate and humiliate women to degrade them and get even with them.Mr. Whaley claims not to feel this way about woman, and a violent and humiliating sexual encounter is not what occurred with the 15-year-old. Also, alcohol was involved at the time of this event, so the matter arguably becomes perhaps an extremely bad error in judgment rather than an indicator of Whaley's true character.

One week later, at the instigation of Whaley's probation officer, the police finally arrested Whaley. The judge presiding over the hearing ruled three times, over objections from the prosecution, that the state did not have a case. Whaley was released.

After returning from her drug treatment program in Minnesota, Whaley's accuser gave a third police report that again differed. This report used stronger language than the first two, and now added a kidnapping charge. Whaley was again arrested and, this time, held over for trial.

Considering how weak the state's case was from the outset, it is reasonable to speculate on why Whaley was eventually convicted on both charges. An answer is frighteningly understandable when, upon examination, one confronts Whaley's trial's fundamental unfairness.

Robert Swider, the defense attorney assigned to represent Whaley, failed to locate witnesses who were available less than half a mile from the courthouse. He failed to investigate the issues involving the nightclub. Swider also failed to investigate the medical issues surrounding the alleged rape. One defense witness, available but bizarrely never called to testify, was, in fact, a previous and legitimate rape victim from another crime. This witness would have impeached significant aspects of the accuser's testimony, namely the fact that the accuser approached Whaley asking for a ride; that Whaley had to go deep into the apartment complex, thereby giving the accuser the chance to escape; and that there were no workers of any kind at the nightclub when Whaley and his accuser return. However, Swider chose not to call this potentially helpful witness for the defense.

Presumably with the hope of having Whaley incarcerated for up to five years to avoid having a potential malpractice complaint lodged against him, Swider threatened to have his client found incompetent to stand trial, a motion so lacking in merit that the judge refused to even consider it. The court went on to violate Whaley's constitutional right to a speedy trial. Now on his 62nd day of incarceration, his wife and newborn baby struggling to survive, and Whaley frankly believing he would better off representing himself, Defense Counsel Swider was dismissed.

Whaley then confronted David Peters, an experienced, aggressive, and highly effective prosecutor. Unfortunately, Peters felt no obligation to play by the rules in the trial, stopping at nothing to win a conviction. With no attorney to represent him, Whaley was legally doomed.

The most egregious example of prosecutorial misconduct in Whaley's case was the false testimony given by the accuser about her medical condition. She falsely asserted that Whaley gave her gonorrhea, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease requiring a series of expensive operations. Peters did not correct her false statements at trial.  Moreover, Peters withheld exculpatory evidence that contradicted her testimony: the medical records and laboratory reports reveal that Whaley's accuser never had gonorrhea or PID. The one operation she had between the time of the alleged rape and the time of the trial was for a ruptured ovarian cyst that had nothing to do with her encounter with Whaley, and her tubes and ovaries were found to be entirely normal at the time of surgery.  PID takes years to develop, as it is a physiological process, not a medical event.

Peters' prosecutorial misconduct, however, was not limited to relying on and failing to correct known false testimony. He also introduced false evidence -- some underwear with torn seams. Allegedly worn by the accuser on the night in question, the garment had been in the accuser's possession prior to trial, sitting next to her on a bench in an open lunch sack. Peters also brought in the defendant's ex-wife as a surprise hostile witness who gave false and inflammatory testimony regarding Whaley's character and their former marriage. No evidence existed to support Whaley's former wife's distasteful accusations, although it stands to reason some would exist if these allegations had any truth to them. This particular witness had a personal interest in seeing Whaley go to prison as she was two weeks away from losing custody of their minor child to him due to her ongoing substance abuse, a fact  never brought to light during the trial.

Fraud at taxpayers' expense compels a reexamination of Whaley's conviction.  His accuser attempted to profit from the Victims' Compensation Program by falsifying information on the forms she filled out, suggesting a financial motive for fabricating a rape charge. In claiming to have needed an operation for pelvic inflammatory disease brought on by gonorrhea acquired during an alleged rape, she sought to get $2,396.91 through the program. This money, it was later revealed, was actually going to be used to cover medical bills incurred as a result of the ruptured ovarian cyst operation. As mentioned above, medical records withheld by the prosecutor during the trial reveal that she had neither gonorrhea nor PID and that her anatomy was entirely normal and free from infection at the time of surgery.

Many other factors related to Whaley's prosecution and conviction raise strong doubts as to whether or not a crime occurred. Some common sense questions to ask:

If Whaley had intended to commit rape, why would he give his accuser his name, address, and telephone number just minutes before the assault? Why would he choose to rape his accuser, of all places, in front of her parents' home at 3 o'clock in the morning where help could be expected if she fought or cried out? If he had just sexually assaulted her, why would he not have taken back his name, address, and telephone number from his accuser during the ride back to the nightclub?

If Whaley were kidnapping her, why would he stop at an apartment complex to pick up friends? Affidavits from witnesses who were not called to testify reveal that Whaley would have needed to go deeply into the building to find his friends. Why did the woman not use that opportunity to escape? Why would he drive back to a nightclub where help would be readily available to his victim and the police could easily apprehend him?

If, as the prosecution maintained, Whaley is a man who hates women so much that he is driven to forcibly rape and kidnap them, why is it that at the age of 33 he has no prior record of ever having used force against a woman?

Compelling reasons exist to believe that Whaley is innocent of the crime for which he has been in prison for just over a decade. Unfortunately, those in power have apparently willfully ignored them.  Nearly all of his appeals have been exhausted and parole was recently denied him on the grounds that he continues to represent a "danger to the community."

Whaley, and many who have studied his case, disagree. It's too bad that there is no definitive evidence, such as DNA, to prove that Mr. Whaley did not rape the accuser. This is usually the case with false allegations of rape and false allegations of child abuse and molestation. Instead, and incredibly, no evidence to prove that this crime occurred exists at all. Mr. Whaley was convicted on accusation alone. When a conviction rests solely on the testimony of the complaining witness, credibility is of paramount importance. The accuser is a proven liar, and she has a motive to lie. Conversely, Mr. Whaley does not have one documented lie or inconsistency on his record.

What is available, however, is a very long list of reasons to believe that he did not commit this rape, and that he at least deserves a new and fair trial to find out if he did or not.

For more information regarding Leslie Whaley's injustice, please contact:

Carolyn Flores

Leslie Whaley can be reached at:

Leslie Whaley SID#5360765
777 Stanton Blvd.
Ontario, Oregon 97914

Sentenced to die because his name is Bobby?

Case Account by the CCADP (Canadian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty) and Bobby Hopkins

Edited by Stormy Thoming-Gale

The murder of Jennifer Weston and Sandy Marbut happened in the small town of Grandview, Texas. Did town history play a part in the suspicion falling on Bobby Hopkins?

In 1940, Bobby Hopkins' great uncle, Tommie Harris, was convicted of raping and killing a pregnant woman on the outskirts of Grandview. Fifty two years after Harris died in the electric chair, word of the family connection spread through the same Texas town when Bobby Hopkins was charged with 1993's double murder.

"I've known about it all my life," a lifelong Grandview resident said of the killing that occurred the same year she was born. "The story has always been passed around and when this [the murders of Jennifer Weston and Sandy Marbut] happened, it brought everything back to many people."

But Hopkins isn't the only one with ancestral ties to the crime. Sandy Marbut's (one of the victims) grandfather was a distant relative of Edna Earl Allen, the woman murdered in 1940.*

Bobby Hopkins' mother, Dixie Wrighter, testified that Bobby was home most of Friday evening. Because she sleeps on a hide-a-bed next to the front door, she would have heard Bobby if he tried to leave. In addition, Bobby was in his room when she headed to work at a Grandview restaurant at 7:00 a.m. that morning. Ms. Wrighter said she went into Bobby's room and tickled her son's feet.

She said he was in that bed. He never left. Early on the night of July 30th or July 31st, 1993, two young women were found dead in their apartment. Jennifer Weston, 19, and Sandy Marbut, 18. Though the prosecution tried to base its case on robbery, there was no proof of forced entry.

Within an hour of the discovery, local law enforcement agent and Texas Ranger, George Turner, went to Bobby Hopkins' mother's house looking for Bobby. It was later found out at Bobby's trial that law enforcement agents had gotten his name from a man who had gathered with the crowd to see what was going on. That individual was Mr. Kelly Tarver, the exboyfriend of Ms. Weston.

After his August 4, 1993 arrest, Bobby asked Ranger Turner how he came across Bobby's name. Mr. Turner said that he was talking to the crowd and a person told him that a guy named "Bobby" had some troubles with the girls. The person who gave them the name "Bobby" was Kelly Tarver, Ms. Weston's exboyfriend. It was known that Kelly Tarver had broken off their relationship just days before Jennifer Weston's death.

In Grandview, Texas, population 2,500, Bobby's investigator found three other "Bobby's" who had come in contact with both women.

"Bobby Number One " had just recently moved from the same apartment where the women lived -- he could have still had a key.

"Bobby Number Two" (Bobby Farmer) lived right next door to the women in the adjoining apartment when the women were murdered. Bobby Hopkins' investigator discovered that from a room in that apartment, a person could climb up in the ceiling and jump down into the women's apartment. Bobby Farmer has a wife who was at home the night of the murders. She said she saw and heard nothing. She also testified that Bobby Farmer was in another town, eight miles away.

"Bobby Number Three" (Bobby Crawford) lived with his mother in the apartments on the next street, about 25 yards away.

When law enforcement agents came to Bobby Hopkins' mother's house looking for a "Bobby," they could not put a last name with the first name. The reason law enforcement agents came to Bobby Hopkins was that he was somewhat well-known in Grandview by the townspeople and by the chief of police because he worked at the only bank and at one of the major gas stations.

At Bobby's mother's house, Bobby's younger sister answered the door. Bobby was not there. She told them she thought he was across town. He was actually across the street from his grandmother's house. His mother was at his grandmother's house and ran across the street to tell Bobby she had just received a call from Bobby's sister telling her that law enforcement agents had been there looking for him.

The first thing out of Bobby's mother's mouth was, "Let's call them and see what's going on."

At that exact moment, Texas Ranger George Turner drove by with two other law enforcement agents. While Bobby was standing in his grandmother's front yard talking to his mother, he noticed Ranger Turner's unmarked police car. Bobby ran to the street and flagged down Ranger Turner. After the car passed, Turner saw Bobby in the rearview mirror and put the car in reverse. Bobby went to the car and said, "I heard you was looking for me." All of this took place just minutes after the discovery of the women.

Ranger Turner asked for Bobby's name. When Bobby told him, Mr. Turner told Bobby to get in the car without any hesitation. There was one officer in the front and another in the back, so Bobby got into the back seat, not knowing why. Ranger Turner drove a little way down the street and stopped. Ranger Turner asked all the questions. He started by asking Bobby where he was last night and with whom. Bobby told Mr. Turner that he had been at his mother's house from around 10:30 PM. until the next morning. About 9:00 AM, Bobby's niece awakened him and told him that his older sister wanted him to put a table together for her.

Ranger Turner then asked Bobby if he knew the two women. Bobby told Mr. Turner that he had met them both about two months before and that he had come in contact with one of them twice after Bobby had met her, and the other one time after they met. 

Mr. Turner then examined Bobby's hands and arms to see if there were any cuts or scratches on them. There were none. Bobby was cooperating to the fullest, still not knowing what was going on and why they were talking to him.

After a few more questions, Ranger Turner suddenly asked Bobby why he killed those women and other disturbing questions. Bobby said he did not kill anyone and never would. Bobby could tell Mr. Turner seemed to be upset. The other two officers had not said a word when Turner decided Bobby should be taken to the station for further questioning. Ranger Turner drove back to the scene of the crime and dropped the other two officers off at their cars so they could follow to the main station. Bobby went from the back seat to the front seat on his own. Not searched, not handcuffed, and not read his Miranda warnings.

At the Sheriff's Department, Bobby told them more of what he knew of the women. He had met both of the young women on the same day at their apartment. Bobby said that from what he knew about Jennifer and Sandy, they had a lot of friends because they threw a lot of parties. People came and went as they pleased at their apartment, even when they were not home. All that was testified to by close friends.

Bobby was asked if he could remember all that he touched while he was at the victim's apartment. Bobby remembered that he had gone to the bathroom and that he had changed about four CDs in the Compact Disk Player. Bobby then told them that he had not been back to the apartment again since the time he met the women, two months before the tragedy.

Bobby was asked to remove his shirt so they could examine his body to see if there were any scratches, there was one scratch that Bobby got from working on a car. They told him to take off his boots so they could look at the bottoms. They asked Bobby to give blood and fingernail scrapings from under his fingernails. Bobby could feel the tension building around the questions. Bobby acutely felt that they thought he committed the crime or that they were going to make it look as if he did.

The tension was uncomfortable. Bobby asked them if he was under arrest. The reply was, "No." Bobby said, "You mean, I can get up out of this chair and leave?" The reply was, "No."

They were still demanding samples of blood, fingernail scrapings, and fingerprints. Bobby asked if he could call home and talk to his mother to let her know what was going on. They said No. For the next few hours everybody was just looking at each other wondering what to do. 

When Bobby was finally allowed to call his mother, he told her they were questioning him about two murders that happened, he also told her that they wanted to take blood samples, fingernail scrapings and fingerprints from him. She asked Bobby if he had anything to hide and if he had done anything. He said no. She said she didn't see any reason for him not to submit to the tests. Bobby did not know they were going to frame him for a crime he did not commit.

After Chief Doug Allen looked at Bobby's boots, he gave them back and Bobby put them back on. At 4:00 a.m. they called a nurse to come and draw blood and to take the fingernail scrapings. While waiting for the nurse, Ranger Turner came into the room and told Bobby to take the boots back off because he saw blood on them. Bobby voluntarily cooperated with them because at that time he was not under arrest.

The nurse came and took the four vials of Bobby's blood they requested. Only two of the vials of blood were spoken for at court. When Bobby's attorney asked Chief Doug Allen of the Grandview Police Department what happened to the other two vials of blood, he said that only two vials were taken from Bobby. The paperwork says differently.

The nurse took fingernail scrapings from under Bobby's fingernails. The results of that test were not used at Bobby's trial because one of the women had pieces of skin under her nails that did not belong to Bobby. Bobby was then taken up front and fingerprinted.

After nine hours of interrogation without a lawyer, Bobby was taken home at 5:30 a.m. Chief Allen drove Bobby home alone. By that time, Chief Allen had Bobby's boots, the four vials of blood, and the fingernail scrapings in his possession.

After driving Bobby home, Chief Allen and Sergeant Joe McCready searched Bobby's room. They looked in and at the clothes in his closet, under the bed, in the dresser drawers, at the window and the window sills -- a thorough search. When they were finished, Bobby asked what they expected to find. They asked Bobby who else did his laundry. Bobby told them he takes his jeans and shirts to the cleaners down the road and that he had just taken three pairs of jeans there "yesterday." Later in Bobby's trial it was revealed that Chief Allen had gone to the cleaners and retrieved the three pairs of jeans.

Since nothing was found in Bobby's room, they asked him a few other questions, said nothing about Bobby being under investigation for capital murder, and left.

On August 4th 1993, just as Bobby thought things were getting back to normal and he had passed that night off as harassment, Chief Allen and Joe McCready were at Bobby's front door with a warrant for his arrest for Motion to Revoke Probation. Bobby told them they couldn't have a warrant because he had been reporting.

Bobby was arrested anyway. Bobby stayed in the county jail for three months with his rights violated before being charged with the double murder. For two of those months Bobby did not have an attorney to advise him. That gave the prosecutors all the free time they wanted to gruel him with their tongue-twisting questions -- most of them he had already heard and answered time and time again. They said there was blood on his boots, his blood.

They said the blood had been wiped off, and also said they had found blood that belonged to Bobby in several spots in the women's apartment. They told him how they thought he did it and why. They said that the jeans they picked up from the cleaners had blood on them. Those jeans were never introduced as evidence because there was no blood on them. If there had been, it would have been used against Bobby at his trial. They also said there was a boot-print of blood that matched and was the same size as Bobby's.

Two pieces of sheet rock were taken from the stairwell soon after the murders. One of those pieces, visible in the crime scene photos, contained a bloody handprint that was never entered into evidence.  When Bobby's attorney asked if it matched Bobby's prints, law enforcement agents said they did not.

When Bobby's attorney asked why the jeans taken from the cleaners were not presented as evidence, both pathologists from Dallas Gene Screen and the Fort Worth Crime Lab said that all tests were inconclusive.

Bobby's arrest and charge of capital murder was based on what they said: the boots having blood on them, the jeans taken from the cleaners with blood, and a bloody boot-print that supposedly matched Bobby's. 

The testimony was that the blood taken from the crime scene that supposedly matched Bobby's blood was inconsistent with Bobby's. When Bobby's attorney asked, "Just what do you mean when you use the word inconsistent?" both scientists said they really couldn't tell you if it was Bobby's blood, your blood, or anybody's blood -- just inconsistent.

On the night or early morning of the double murder, Jennifer and Sandy had a big party. About 30-35 people were there. Law enforcement agents asked if Bobby had gone to the party. Bobby said he did not even know about the party. The testimony was that Bobby was not there and that Michael Meeks, Sandy's ex-boyfriend, had come to the party and argued with her, tore up her room and told her he would kill her if she did not get back with him.

People who were at the party gave reports to the Chief of Police about that incident, but he ignored them. All of this testimony is on the record. Michael Meeks was going around bragging that he killed the women. Chief of Police Doug Allen went to Meeks' house and told him if he did not shut his mouth that he would be in big trouble because he did not know what he was talking about.

When Chief Allen was questioned by Bobby's defense attorney and asked why he didn't investigate Michael Meeks, he replied that he felt there was not a need for him to do that. When asked if he went to Mr. Meeks' house to tell him to shut his mouth about killing the women, Chief Allen said that he did go to Mr. Meeks house and told him to shut up or he would be in big trouble. When asked why would he do that when he is investigating a double murder, Chief Allen replied that he felt like Mr. Meeks did not know what he was talking about, all of which is on record.

When Bobby's attorney asked Chief Allen why he didn't attempt to investigate anyone else, Allen said he felt there was no need to investigate anyone else.

Witnesses who had seen things and who were at the party on the night or early morning of the murders told Chief Allen about Bobby Farmer, who lived right next door to the women at the time of their death. They said he would borrow money from them and would not pay it back, and said he would also mooch off of the people who came to visit the  women.

Bobby Farmer moved out the morning after the murders and disappeared from Grandview. He had a prior aggravated kidnapping  conviction and history of cocaine addiction, according to the defense attorney.

Hopkins' fingerprints were never discovered at the scene.

Quote from father of victim Jennifer Weston: "I still have my doubts about his innocence or being guilty. All I have is just doubt and thaT doubt can be totally unfounded. I can be skeptical over something that is an absolute....Yet you always have that what if they have the wrong guy?" --James Weston

For further information write to Bobby directly:

Bobby Ray Hopkins # 999101
Ellis One Unit
Huntsville, Texas - 77343 USA

* The above information is from the Hobbs New Mexico Newspaper which originally ran a seven-part series on the Bobby Ray Hopkins story. The story was written by Starla Jones of the Hobbs News-Sun.
[back to story]


Dulaney says he's innocent because he was in another state when John Desmond was killed.

By Alana Mahafee

(Editor's notes: James C. Dulaney is incarcerated in Arkansas' toughest prison, Tucker Maximum Security Unit in Tucker, Arkansas. The following account he gives outlines the trial faults he believes led to his wrongful conviction in the murder of John Desmond. Desmond was killed, decapitated and his hands were severed from his body on either Dec. 16th or 17th of 1992. During these two days, James Dulaney was on a bus traveling to Fordyce, Arkansas. Phone records indicate that he called his home in California on Dec. 14th -- two to three days before Desmond's murder. Dulaney's alibis include the phone calls he made to his ex-girlfriend, a meeting with his grandmother in Arkansas on December 16th, and the alibi given by his daughter, who received a postcard from Arkansas postmarked the 18th of December.

Dulaney contends that a previous conviction for murder, which he argues was self-defense, biased his jury. This jury was known to have spoken about the ongoing trial outside of the courtroom, but no mistrial was declared, not even after two jurors approached the bench to admit that they worked with both the victim and the victim's family. To make his unfair case worse, Dulaney maintains that his court-appointed attorney and investigators did not follow up on information he provided them. Dulaney's attorney tried to discourage him from obtaining a "Motion of Discovery" which he requested to "see what (he) was up against." -- Alana Mahafee, Justice Denied Editor)

A Murder and Extradition

I am an inmate serving life without parole in the Arkansas Department of  Corrections "Tucker Maximum Security Unit."

I was convicted in Fordyce, Arkansas (Dallas County) with a crime partner by the name of Merlene Matlock nicknamed "Sell Out" imprisoned for capital felony murder since 1993. Matlock received 40 years for turning state's evidence.

In July 1998, on the 16th, I was extradited to San Diego, CA. A grand jury in the El Cajon Judicial District indicted me and my brother, Rozell Edward Dulaney Jr., for the following: Count One, Attempted Murder of Samuel Kimbrough and, Count Two, Murder of James Desmond (this was in 1992, and was unrelated). The public defender offices in El Cajon didn't want to represent the Dulaney Brothers vs. The People of the State of California, Case No. SCD137017 DA NO P7498, so the judge ordered that we be given private attorneys.

Ms. Sandra Resnick was my attorney and my brother Rozell was represented by  Attorney Frank X. Negeotte, both of California.

"I Felt Very Shaky About Her Representing Me"

At my first attorney visit with Ms. Resnick at the San Diego County Jail, she introduced herself, and I introduced myself. Before I began, I requested a copy of a "Motion of Discovery" so I could see exactly what I was up against. From that point, I had doubts about Ms. Resnick because she began trying to talk me out of the request. I felt very shaky about her representing me.

Next, Ms. Resnick and I went over the two counts against me. I told her that, in Count One, I did shoot, but did not attempt to murder, a street pimp hustler named Samuel Kimbrough. I shot Kimbrough in self-defense on March 15, 1992, during a fight he picked. Before actually fighting, Rozell and I tried to end the fight peacefully by phone, but during the conversation he cursed and threatened to kill my brother, Rozell. I felt very afraid for my brother, who was living one hell of a life serving crack cocaine and running a hooker named Delania Brown. I strongly felt that our problem with Kimbrough could be resolved peacefully if everyone could just stop disrespecting each other and  talk face-to-face.

I didn't want to risk going back to Compton where I lived, and I later heard that Kimbrough killed my brother. I asked Rozell to take me over to meet Kimbrough, who was staying at the Eazy 8 Motel in the La Mesa Area. Every day, I carried a gun as a part of my regular attire. I never left home without it because in Compton, where I lived, too many people end up getting robbed and killed. Protection was number one for me and I never had been put in any situation where I had to use it on anyone, until I met Kimbrough.

At the Eazy 8 Motel, I knocked on Kimbrough's door, intending to talk out the problem he and Rozell were having. When Kimbrough came to the door, I told him who I was, using my street name, "Spice." I told him I was Rozell's older brother, and that I came peacefully and wanted to try to settle the dispute they were having.

Kimbrough observed me for a while and saw I was not a threat. Next, he asked to speak to Rozell. Rozell, who was physically afraid of Kimbrough, was sitting downstairs in his car. After I called Rozell up, he and Kimbrough began talking fine, but they came to a disagreement and that's when Kimbrough started cussing my brother and looking at me with hate. Kimbrough outweighed me and my brother, since he was built up like a professional weight lifter.

Enraged, Kimbrough lunged at me and my brother, but I swung back at Kimbrough and we began fighting. I screamed for my brother to pull Kimbrough off of me. Rozell punched Kimbrough, knocking him by the bed. I immediately saw Kimbrough digging under the bed for something. During this fight, Kimbrough reached under his bed for his gun; I reached for my gun and shot him twice below the waist. Before I left Kimbrough was still breathing, indicating that I had not killed him and I wasn't going to. If I had gone there to murder Kimbrough, I would have taken that opportunity to finish the job. I grabbed Rozell and told him, "Let's go."

I told Rozell he should not go to San Diego for a while until we got some attorneys, that the police would be asking us questions. Despite my advice, the next day, March 16, 1992, Rozell packed up his car and looked as if he was headed home. I begged and argued for him not to leave unless he wanted to go to jail, but he left anyway. I called his wife, Dora, in San Diego, later. She said the police stormed into their home waving guns on everyone, including two small children. Dora cussed me out, and gave the police my name, telling them I shot Kimbrough.

This incident at the motel with Kimbrough was isolated from count 2. I told my attorney, Ms. Resnick, all about this incident and didn't withhold anything. I also told her that my shooting Kimbrough was self-defense.

"The Charges Were Dropped! I Was Told The Case Would Be Dismissed!"

Prosecution dropped the charges in 1992 in the matter of Samuel Kimbrough and Rozell was released from jail. Both Rozell and I had jobs and not once in 1992 did police or prosecution decide to recharge us for "assault with a firearm and burglary" and "attempted murder without premeditation."

Ms. Resnick told me that the Sam Kimbrough case should have been tried years before I was arrested for James Desmond's murder, especially since prosecutors knew where I was. Since they had no intention of prosecuting me until 1998, after the Count Two murder of James Desmond, it violated the Statute of Limitations Law and Speedy Trial Rights. Ms. Resnick told me that the Kimbrough case was going to be dismissed.

Next, Ms. Resnick asked me about Count Two -- the murder of James Desmond which happened on or about Dec. 17, 1992. A Compton PD Follow Up Investigation report states that James Desmond was killed December 17.

I told Ms. Resnick that the first time I heard James Desmond's name was on June 25, 1992, from Detective D. Smith of the Compton Police Dept. Smith called the Travis County Jail in Austin, TX. He left his name and number for me to call. I returned his call and the conversation was tape-recorded.

(Later at my trial, it was said that this recording and a plastic bag from the murder scene, which would have been evidence in my defense, were both "lost").

I told Detective Smith that I went to Fordyce, AR, because I had been shot twice by Mexican gang members in Compton on Nov. 4, 1992 and that they lived only one street over from me. I didn't want to jeopardize my family under any circumstance with these gang members. I also didn't want the Compton Police Dept. to ask me questions about the Mexican gang members, further jeopardizing my family.

I told the detective that before I left California to come to Arkansas my brother Rozell picked me up in a black sports car and drove me to topless club where we had a few wine coolers. I was dizzy from the alcohol mixing with pain medication I was taking for my bullet wounds and was sluggish. Rozell left and came back with a friend of his who spoke a little Spanish and appeared to be of Latin descent. Rozell left with this man who I figured was just a dope smoker coming to buy something. Rozell returned in a black sports car that the guy was renting to him for dope. Detective Smith kept asking me the same questions over and over so I ended the phone conversation with him.

"Testify Or Things Could Get Hard."

The next time I heard James Desmond's name, I was being read my rights by Mike Howard, District Attorney Investigator for the Gang Prosecution Unit and Detective Willis from La Mesa PD here at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit. I was shown a photograph of James Desmond. Then they asked me when I came to Arkansas and with whom I lived. I told them I came in December of 1992 and lived with my Aunt Virgie Lee Riggins-Dulaney in Fordyce. I told them I rode the Greyhound bus from the Compton station to Arkansas, but at my trial, this interview which had been taped was also "lost" so I had more defense evidence "lost."

During my interview with Detectives Howard and Willis, I was asked "off the record" how much time I was serving. I told them life without parole.Howard said they knew my brother Rozell had killed James Desmond and they wanted me to testify against him. If I testified against my brother, the charges against me would "disappear." He told me things could be bad on me here at Tucker Max. (He was right. To this day I'm having problems in this prison with jobs, contacts, visitation, mail and money.)

On July 16, 1998, Detective Mike Howard and a companion came to Arkansas to fly me to San Diego. While placing waist chains with handcuffs on me, Det. Howard stated in a threatening tone, "I'm going to be right up front with you. If you attempt to escape I'm going to kill you." I looked in his eyes and thought to myself, "I hope this man Howard isn't a dirty cop."

I asked my attorney, Ms. Resnick, how I ended up getting charged for murder in Count Two of someone I didn't even know? She said that Merlene Matlock and my father's first cousin, Henry Lee Brazil, testified before a grand jury that I told them I killed a white man in California. These two "witnesses" were both in prison and wanted out of prison early. They were willing to lie for the prosecution, as evidenced by a letter Ms. Matlock wrote to Detective Howard in 1998. In it, Matlock writes, "You (Det. Howard) said that you would write a letter in my behalf concerning the board...letting the board know all that I have done to help you in San Diego." Deputy District Attorney in San Diego, Jon Oliphant, signed a letter in behalf of Matlock for her "cooperation" in the case against me. Sheriff Donny Ford of Dallas County, AR, also wrote and signed a letter in behalf of Ms. Matlock for her "cooperation."

How could Brazil and Matlock have come up with all this "testimony?" "Facts" of the case were discussed informally at the Varner Unit where even a teacher there, Lola Irwin, had been told about the case by Warden Rick Tony. This story circulated through the A.D.C. and I believe Brazil and Matlock were coached along so they could help the prosecution.

I provided physical proof as to where I was during the murder of James Desmond. Since count 2 murder only had circumstantial evidence and was basically hearsay, Mike Howard, District Attorney Investigator (gang prosecution unit) and Detective Willis with the La Mesa Police Dept. decided I should be tried as well since I wouldn't testify against my brother.

A Timeline Full Of Alibis

November 14, 1992: I was shot twice by Mexican gang members in the area. If my attorney and her investigator had subpoenaed my medical records from two different hospitals as requested, maybe it would have showed the courts my disabled left arm and hand, as well as my disabled right hand. This was in Compton, CA. I had limitations using my hands.

December 12, 1992: I was at the Compton Christmas Parade. A witness testified to Compton Police Detective Smith. That witness was Shar-Micha Glenn, soon-to-be mother of my child. Shar-Micha also told Detective Smith I left California the following day, December 13, 1992, and headed to Arkansas.

Dec. 14, 1992: I presented "proof" that I was at a phone booth at a Greyhound Bus Station in El Paso, TX. At 8:05 a.m., Greyhound made a 17-minute stop, and I called Micha in Compton, CA. The operator wanted more change. I didn't have it, so I gave Micha the number to the phone booth and told her to call me at (915) 546-9672. This number was recorded on my home phone bill in Compton and was provided to the court as evidence. (Calls are no longer accepted at this pay phone.) A Greyhound employee gave statements to the court that a security officer checked every phone at the El Paso, Texas, station and said that the pay phone number, (915) 546-9672, outside the station did exist.

December 16, 1992: I arrived in Arkansas but didn't have proof of it, except for numerous calls made to Compton.

December 18, 1992: I presented an "Arkansas Postcard" that was post-marked on Dec. 18, 1992, at 8 p.m. or a.m. That was sent to Micha in California by me.

On the telephone bill for Dec. 16 1992, 1:43 p.m., Dec. 16 1992, 2:17 p.m., Dec. 16 1992, 7:19 p.m., Dec 17, 1992 1:44 a.m, Dec. 17, 1992 4:56 a.m, and Dec. 17, 1992 3:22 p.m. These were calls I made from my aunt Virgie Lee's home in Fordyce, AR, trying to reach Micha in Compton. On Dec. 16, 1992, 7:19 p.m., I spoke to Micha for 33 minutes. It's also on my phone bill.

Dec. 18, 1992:  My aunt Virgie Lee went to a doctor and took me with her. She provided copies of her medical records that proved Dec. 18, 1992 was the correct date..

I asked Ms. Resnick to subpoena these phone records, but she sat in front of my face and told me it would be easier to get them through the D.A.'s office. She said it would be too hard for her to get them. To this day, neither the phone records, nor my medical records were ever obtained to use in my defense. With these records, the jury could have seen my innocence. Each time Ms. Resnick visited I asked her to get this evidence, but she did not. I even threatened to sign a Lopez Waiver so I could represent myself. She told me that her investigator (John Lane)  would be going to California to get everything and told me not to worry -- that she'd have everything before trial.

"The Trial Started But All My Evidence Had Disappeared"

I had no records at the start of the trial. Worse, I couldn't file to have my attorney thrown from the case. When Ms. Resnick asked who could testify that I got on the Greyhound bus, I told her my good friend Ira Scott saw me get on the bus and leave the station on that bus. Before I got on the bus, Ira drove me around to different friends and family to collect some money so I could leave that morning. Once we finished that, Ira Scott took me to the bus station.

John Lane, my attorney's investigator, said he knew Ira was now living in a dangerous part of Los Angeles and didn't want to go there. He asked me if any of my family in California could find Ira. Some investigator! This was an example of more of my evidence not being sought and found in my behalf.

Don't forget that my taped interview with Detectives Howard and Willis were "lost." My phone interview was "lost." A plastic bag which had covered a portion of the body at the murder scene and could have been checked for fingerprints was "lost." This was all too convenient for the prosecution and all too tragic for my defense.

Two Juries, One Judge and Much Bias

Nothing in my behalf was considered. Superior Judge Allen J. Preckle was selected to preside over the Dulaney Brothers case, and he ordered two separate juries -- one for each of us to be held in the same court room.

Samuel Kimbrough's case was tried first. The prosecution did a damaging presentation against the defense. (This court shouldn't have made it to a trial.) Both jury panels were boiling hot at my brother and me.

Once the prosecution stated its case, the defense didn't get a fair swing because the judge threw out the first count. Judge Preckle ordered the jurors to not judge the Dulaneys on count 1 -- to forget about all its evidence and don't use it in count 2. He said they should forget about count 1, and to only focus on count 2, the James Desmond murder. This was told to jurors who had heard the testimony of each witness and who had seen evidence, along with the bad acts already displayed against us. The jurors were still visibly upset at us -- forgetting count 1 was impossible.

In the middle of reviewing count 2, a juror from my panel was caught by an eyewitness who reported that she and a friend were caught at a supermarket discussing details of the trial, stating that, "I think the Dulaney Brothers are guilty." My attorney brought the issue before the courts (sugar-coating the event), but the judge didn't even think about a mistrial.

Prosecutor Oliphant knew he had no case against me, so he grabbed two Arkansas convicted felons. We accepted promises if they were willing to testify in the case. Merlene Matlock and my father's first cousin's (Henry Lee Brazil) statements before the grand jury wasn't the same in the trial. None of their statements brought up in the capital murder case in 1993 in Arkansas were the same either but all of a sudden in 1990, they knew of the James Desmond murder in California, claiming we Dulaneys came to Fordyce bragging about killing people in California. A few days before trial started, the prosecutor even went and got Henry Lee Brazil's brother from Fordyce to testify (lie) to support his brother.

Rozell's jury, like mine, was tainted. First, one juror asked to speak with the judge at side bar. Come to find out, way after jury selection, he claims he works at the same post office as the victim, James Desmond. Another juror did the same, stating he works on the same job with the victim's son at Home Depot, but said they only have a "Hi and Bye" relationship, and never worked in the same department.

Well, without a doubt, count 1 prejudiced count 2, which had no evidence whatsoever against me. The jury found me guilty of first degree murder.My brother's jurors found him guilty also.

Ms. Resnick spoke with me hours later after court. She said she went to the diner at the court and ran into my jurors. She asked them on what grounds they decided to find me guilty. They said it was because no one saw me ride the Greyhound bus from California to Arkansas. I could have flown or driven a car.

"My Justice Was Denied"

Prosecutors knew if I had been tried separately in the cases of Sam Kimbrough and James Dumond, no jury would have convicted me for Desmond's murder. Only when they needed a conviction in the Desmond case did they drag up the Kimbrough case, which had initially been dropped. So much evidence that could prove my innocence simply disappeared. Had I been appointed an attorney who did her job, maybe some of that evidence could have been recovered or obtained.

I believe as long as I maintain my innocence in the murder of Desmond, someone will just take a peek at some of the facts. You can see that when I refused to testify against my brother, I was dragged through the mud. I've done many things, but that's one thing I didn't do. I did not kill a man, cut him up and basically put his body in my mother's backyard. My justice was denied and I pray one day I have my fair chance to prove that to the ones who criticize me. They resorted to a win-at-any-cost tactic to solve the crime, but I'm innocent in the James Desmond murder.

For more information on inmates in Arkansas, please visit www.arkansasinmate.org

As Darlie Routier moves closer to a lethal injection, Texas faces moral and ethical questions that determine the future in many ways, and not just for Texas.


By Anne Good, Justice Denied Staff Writer

As the Dallas County Sheriff's Department scurries about in its efforts to keep sympathetic media away from their most famous inmate, Darlie Routier, I began to wonder, "What is this all about?" The state has her exactly where they want her -- on death row. They have the power and they are calling the shots -- or are they? There may be more to the actions of the Sheriff's Department than meets the eye. Perhaps the real drama has just begun.

Karla Tucker Sets the Stage

Karla Faye Tucker taught the world about personal transformation. What she taught the judicial system and the Governor's office in the state of Texas is that a high-profile image can translate into power, pressure ... and wavering voters.

Ms. Tucker's appearances on the 700 Club, Larry King Live, Geraldo, etc. gave the death penalty a human face for the very first time. She was young, pretty, remorseful, and rehabilitated. Her example of personal growth was monumental and struck a chord of forgiveness in the hearts of millions. Letters poured in from all over the world asking, demanding, and pleading for clemency or a stay of execution. Governor George W. Bush's office received thousands of phone calls, faxes, and e-mails pleading for intervention. Even Pope John Paul II counseled the Governor on the concept of mercy.

A year before, who had ever heard of Karla Faye Tucker outside of Texas? Now, a media darling, a poster girl for the death penalty, her face was everywhere. Time, Newsweek, the evening news, and every major newspaper in the nation carried her message: love and forgiveness can change all things. She was a living, breathing example.

Governor George Bush and his administration must have been caught off-guard by this media firestorm. His office desperately attempted to spin this impending execution into "equality" under the law --   advancement for women! With a straight face, Governor Bush told the country that Karla's life would not be spared "simply because she was female." The Governor's office hoped, maybe even prayed, this "spin" would fly and it did. Obviously, however, politicians learned a lesson: Never allow the death penalty to have a human face. It diminishes the "tough on crime" platform that has served so many so well, and causes voters to question the moral issues involved in state sanctioned murder. Mr. Bush must have realized that his well-guarded secret was dangerously close to being exposed -- that justice in Texas has not evolved much beyond its origins of "take em' out back and hang em' from a tree." If the truth were known, justice in Texas would be the laughingstock of the nation.

Is this what the state is so worried about?

The senseless execution of Karla Faye Tucker did weaken the belief in the Texas time-honored tradition of executing criminals. It caused some people to question the moral character of the man who personally leads the largest execution industry in the world. George W. Bush may well be indifferent to human life, a difference well worth noting.

Enter Darlie, center stage

Mr. Bush must have breathed a sigh of relief as Karla Faye Tucker quickly faded from public memory. The media frenzy died down. The Governor was back on track.

Just as he settled back in his easy-boy recliner, another name was beginning to emerge in the papers -- Darlie Routier. Ms. Routier is far more dangerous than Karla Faye Tucker. With Karla, Texas officials could always conjure up the horrific image of the pickax along with her admission of guilt to squelch public outcry, but the Routier case is different. This one could actually break open the dam that has stopped the public flow of Texas' dirty judicial waters. With Routier's steadfast proclamation of innocence, her warm smile, and a forgiving nature, the thought of her appearing on Larry King Live must instill fear in the system that put her on death row. Her name can only mean one thing -- a repeat of the Tucker frenzy and more wavering voters supporting death penalty advocates.

As Darlie Routier sits in her cell at the Lew Starrett Jail in downtown Dallas pondering her fate, so too is the Dallas County Sheriff's Department pondering its fate. The name Darlie Routier surely causes them to furrow their brows with concern.

Ms. Routier, it would seem, has become a matter for The Dallas County Sheriff's Department to be concerned about. They are concerned enough to keep her as removed from the public eye as possible. They are concerned enough to deny her the right to media access. They are concerned enough to lie to authors, journalists, and investigators who have chosen to support Ms. Routier, and they are concerned enough to break the very rules they swore to uphold.

Convicted for the 1996 slaying of her children, Darlie Routier has been on death row for almost three years. She consistently maintains her innocence, claiming the murders were the work of an intruder. Local interest in the case has remained strong, however, with new evidence to support her claim along with speculation that the prosecution may not have played by the rules, the interest is rapidly expanding to global proportions. Many people are now beginning to question the verdict and death sentence, including Charles Sanford, a juror who now regrets his vote for guilt. A lingering question has always been, "Did Darlie Routier receive a fair trial?" As more details begin to unravel about the investigation and the crime itself, many are beginning to believe she did not.

As the appeals process continues, it appears more and more likely that Ms. Routier, in the name of justice, will be granted a new trial. A new trial is likely to produce a high-profile attorney for the defense and receive national coverage on Court TV. The DA's office will have to produce substantial evidence to appease the public and leave its trademark style of character assassination and hyperbole to the tabloid press. If the first trial is any indication, this will be a daunting, if not impossible task. The removal of titillating and sensational details will leave the prosecution with little else on which to build their case. An entire nation will be watching and Darlie Routier stands an excellent chance of being found "not guilty." With exoneration comes the undeniable revelation: the system in Texas is seriously flawed. This system of justice is ready and willing to put a twenty-nine year old wife and mother to death with mere speculation and perjured testimony. Surely, mainstream America will find this shocking. It seems to be a logical conclusion

Is this what the state is so worried about?


The Final Act

With this conclusion in mind, The Dallas County Sheriff's Department appears to be making it difficult for any potentially sympathetic press to speak with Darlie. I tried it myself. The first time I went to see Darlie I spent over two hours being directed from office to office and building to building. I got the distinct impression that this was some sort of test. If I didn't give up in frustration and I jumped through enough hoops, I would be allowed in. In the end I passed the test and a receptionist told me I could see Darlie (not a Warden, a Sergeant, or a Chief -- a receptionist!). My subsequent article was what some would label "sympathetic."

After I mailed Ms. Routier a copy of the article (which took over two weeks for her to receive) my fate with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department was sealed. I didn't know at the time that all of Ms. Routier's mail is copied and read.

With a second visit planned, I called Mr. Edwin Spencer, Media Liaison for the Sheriff's Department. The wheels were set in motion for media clearance, or so I thought. I immediately sent out the necessary paperwork in the exact form Mr. Spencer requested. Two weeks later I left a voice mail asking to be contacted if anything else was necessary. When I arrived at the jail my visit was denied! I spent another two hours trying to see Darlie. After jumping through another series of meaningless hoops, I was allowed in as a "friend" for thirty minutes. This time I was told by a secretary I could have done this without clearance. Later, Mr. Spencer explained that my mail had been forwarded to Chief Knowles' office but, oddly enough, no one knew anything about it. Mr. Spencer assured me that this was a simple mix-up and new arrangements would be made. He looked me in the eye and in "good ol' boy" style, he lied to me. I knew it and he knew it. We exchanged socially correct departing clichés while simultaneously biting our tongues. The battle lines had been drawn. Mr. Spencer telephoned me on Friday afternoon and told me I could see Darlie on Monday from 1:00 to 3:00. He also told me to "wrap it up because this is the last time you will see her." The "good ol' boy" was not pretending anymore.

Over the weekend I learned of two stories similar to mine. One involved Barbara Davis, author of Precious Angels, a damaging book supporting Darlie's guilt. After reviewing new evidence, Ms. Davis courageously changed her position and went public with a statement saying she now believes Darlie is innocent. When Ms. Davis attempted to see Darlie, she was told there was an outstanding warrant for her on a DWI (driving while intoxicated) and she would not be allowed in. Never mind that Ms. Davis was never arrested for drinking and driving. Never mind that Ms. Davis barely drinks at all. Ms. Davis was now in the "undesirable" media camp, a camp that is interested in the truth. The warrant was for a woman of the same name, also a blonde, but 10 years younger, with a totally different driver's license number and different middle names. Ms. Davis was denied access to Darlie Routier five times, having driven 45 minutes each way each time. She was inconvenienced, harassed, humiliated, and pulled off the prison property by two big guards.

The second story involved Christopher Wayne Brown, author of Media Tried, Justice Denied, another "undesirable." Mr. Brown has been banned from visiting Darlie because officials say he once "entered the jail facilities illegally." This is a transparent stall tactic. Anyone who has ever visited a prison or a jail knows it is almost as hard to get in as it is to get out. Mr. Brown has been told the ban will be lifted when he fills out the proper paperwork -- the same paperwork I filled out. He   has done this at least six times and each time officials say they have not received it. To this day, he has not been permitted to see Darlie.

On Monday, I arrived for my prearranged meeting early, full of doubt and suspicion. In what has now become "standard operating procedure," the guards did not have any paperwork. My visit was once again denied. I began my now familiar trek through the Sheriff's Department and discovered that Chief Knowles had the day off, his secretary was at lunch, Mr. Spencer was not in his office, and no one else could help me. After a great deal of persistence on my part, along with obediently jumping through several more hoops, Mr. Spencer was located via his car phone. Once again, he blamed Chief Knowles' staff and apologized for the mix-up (are you counting the number of mix-ups that writers who support Darlie are experiencing?). Once again, he lied to me and we both knew it. Several more phone calls later and I was allowed to see Darlie for two hours.

If Mr. Spencer and Chief Knowles were asked "Why?" they are likely to come up with several semi-plausible, semi-ridiculous explanations. The truth would be buried beneath "official policy" rhetoric combined with a little down-home-southern charm. The term "mix-up" would surely be used several times. With just a little digging, the truth becomes apparent because it is plain and it is simple. Darlie Routier must be kept under wraps. What happened with Karla Faye Tucker must not happen again.

With a cherub-like face, big hazel eyes clouded with sadness, her hair tied back in a simple ponytail, Ms. Routier looks as if she may have just graduated from an all-girls preparatory school. When she speaks, she radiates with sincerity, warmth and intelligence. She is totally at ease with herself and at peace with the truth. This image must be threatening to the system of justice that put her on death row, for it is in direct conflict with the self-absorbed, materialistic image that was created to secure both a conviction and public support for it. It doesn't take long to realize that the prosecution blatantly lied about her.

Could this be why there are so many "mix-ups" with the media?

Let's imagine for just a moment...What if the public saw the real Darlie Routier? What if they realized she was telling the truth? What if the public was outraged by the hidden facts of her case? What if voters discovered they had been lied to by an entire system of justice ... from the police department to the DA's office and right up to the Governor's mansion?

The simple answer to each and every one of these questions is that Texas' shameful little secret would be exposed and all the local officials will lose support. The Governor just might have to face the country and explain why he is willing to allow a young suburban wife and mother to be strapped to a gurney and given a lethal injection for a crime that reeks of reasonable doubt.

Karla Faye Tucker did indeed teach the world many things. If we are to truly learn from her life and her death, we must not allow the state of Texas to keep Darlie Routier shackled, confined, and gagged in the "bell tower." She has a legal and constitutional right to speak with any media representative she chooses. If she is denied her voice, then she is denied her right to proclaim her innocence. If we sit by silently and watch, we are passively saying, "The judicial system in Texas is fair and reasonable and it works." Does anyone really believe that? Ultimately, the state of Texas and the man who governs it may well be afraid of the answer.

At the conclusion of my observations and experiences, I ask myself once again, "Exactly what IS the state of Texas so worried about?" I think the metaphorical and literal answer is: Darlie Routier and the magnitude of her "image," when the truth finally gets out.


The Darlie Mail

The articles about Darlie Routier were definitely noticed and inspired response. In the first exchange you'll read, a gentleman came at us like  a battering ram, but then surprised us by agreeing to look at cases of innocence with an open mind. We cannot help but admire that willingness to rethink a position that was obviously strong for him. Kurt Howard's reasonability gives us hope that there are other citizens like him -- perhaps offended at the horrendous crime and prejudiced by the media, but willing to listen when approached with care and respect.

One note about the references to O.J. -- We trust that our readers will understand that we are talking about the process, and not about the  trial outcome.

The Justice Denied Team participated in forming a reply to Mr. Howard.

Subj: Darlie Date: 99-07-15 From: Email address suppressed (Kurt
Howard) To: JusDenMail@aol.com

I read your story on Darlie Routier and I wanted you to forward me $4.25. That will pay for the trash can I puked in after reading it.

I can't belive you bleeding heart liberals got sucked in to the nonsense of this yahoo proclaiming her innocence and finding God. Everyone on death row finds God - that is because you know you will die soon.

Instead of starting these useless magazines and spending precious time interviewing this murderous wretch, why don't you invest some time and money to work with the victims of these types of crimes.

I am not sure if you have heard, but everyone in prison is innocent. No one is guilty - they were all tricked by the system. I was looking on your web-page to find out if you had a similar story about OJ Simpson. Because I am sure you believe he is innocent as well.

Maybe when someone kills your kids you can head over to the prison and interview them about how they are innocent and how they have found the good Lord.

Give me a break - get a life!

Subj: Re: Darlie Date: 99-07-16 From: JusDenMail@aol.com   To:
Email address suppressed (Kurt Howard)

Dear Kurt:
It seems to me you are very angry, and I don't think it has anything to do with what is on our site. If you read the stories carefully, and not through a bias against those who claim to be innocent, you would see the evidence of innocence.

There are many cases of people imprisoned for many years who later were found innocent through DNA evidence. That is irrefutable, and no one can argue about it. We profile cases of people who can offer actual evidence of innocence. That is why this site exists. If you know something about the legal system, you know there are prosecutors who will go to any length just to get a conviction, usually during a time of political gain.

Have you studied all the facts about Darlie Routier? Your letter only lambastes us for publishing what our reporter learned about her, but you do not offer any facts to counter what Christopher Brown, Anne Good, and Barbara Davis have discovered. If you want to offer some solid FACTS you know to support your contention that Darlie Routier is guilty, we will be glad to give you space in Justice Denied to make your case.

If you decide to take our offer seriously, be aware that we will not publish ad hominem attacks raging on about how useless and stupid we are. Our editorial standards will also not permit us to use low-brow terms such as "yahoo." As for "get a life," I assure you we have lives more filled with life than the average person, since ours are dedicated to righting some wrongs.

When you write letters about someone, I suggest you take the time to learn what you are talking about. You need to argue with facts, not attacks.

Our guess is that you will not take the time to rise to the challenge we give you, but that you have had a chance to vent your spleen, and that's all you wanted. We would be glad to discover that you have the character to follow through with a reasoned discourse about why Darlie Routier is guilty.

To offer you some measure of understanding, we do appreciate that when children are involved in an abuse or murder case, it arouses very strong instincts toward anyone who might have been around that child or children when the tragedy occurred. You should not let a natural sympathy run away with your ability to reason.

Were you a victim of crime, and is that why you respond to our article with such venom? If so, we have the utmost sympathy for you. Still, our mission is to profile cases of those who claim they are innocent. We do  not proclaim them innocent, for only a court of law can do that. We seek retrials for these people so they may have a chance to prove their claims in a court of law. Do you object to that?

We will look forward to hearing from you if you have anything to say.


Nancy Williams -- Mail Handler
Clara A. Boggs --Chief Editor & Producer of Justice: Denied

Kurt responded. He says he was surprised. So were we. Read on.

Subj: Re: Darlie Date: 99-07-19 From: Address suppressed (Kurt
Howard) To: JusDenMail@aol.com

Well, I must say that was a pleasant response to my rude message. You are right - I did act irresponsibly in using the "fist ram" method to get my point across! As you so eloquently stated, people tend to let their emotions get the better of them when speaking about cases like this.

I would like to respond to your challenge on a more professional level.

Please see my response below. Also, please forgive me for any spelling errors. Hotmail does not have a spell-check function and it is a bit difficult to review when you are used to that function.

To answer your question, I am quite familiar with the law. I am even more familiar with philosophy - which a great deal of our laws are based on.

Have you ever read Plato's work. Plato's theories of societal law significantly shaped our laws today. One of his most fundamental thoughts concerning societal law was that the people governed had to have an inherent belief that the system worked in order for it to be successful.

It is kind of like the OJ trial. Everyone who knows anything about the trial knows that he is guilty. However, most philosophers (with an interest in the law) will tell you that they are glad that he was found not guilty. The reason is that it reiterated to the African American community that a black person still could receive a fair trial. Without this belief, order could not be maintained.

Unfortunately, it is better to have a 99% conviction rate and send a few innocent people to jail than to not have order in society. That is just the way it has to be.

As for DAs, you paint the picture that they will stop at nothing and manipulate the system to any degree to get a conviction. DAs are sworn to uphold the law. If a grand jury has enough evidence to endict, they must pursue a conviction with unmatched vigor. At the point of endictment, they have no choice in the matter.

Personally, I have enough faith in the system that the grand jury, the DAs, the judge and the jury were not a bunch of incompetents who made the wrong decision. Were there some foul-ups in the investigation? Sure. You can not have a case of that magnitude with so many investigators and agencies working it and not have any problems. Just because someone stepped in a pool of blood, that does not mean reasonable doubt.

The jury was aware of the foul-ups in the investigation. However, the other evidence was overwhelming enough to convict.

That is all for me. Thanks, Kurt

Kurt's letter left another open door ...

Subj: Re: Darlie Date: 07/26/99 From: ChipnClara@aol.com

To: (Kurt Howard)

Dear Mr. Howard:

We will be posting our exchange with you in the next issue of Justice Denied, along with our further reply to you.

It is greatly to your credit that you acknowledged and now corrected your initial contact with us by a more reasoned approach. Thank you. The JD Staff and I respond:

Plato's statement, that the governed had to have an inherent belief that the system worked for it to be successful, is absolutely correct. That's the problem. Americans, in case you haven't noticed, have lost much faith in this system that often lets the guilty walk, but places greater burdens on the innocent. The guilty make deals and can get far less prison time. When an innocent person will not make a deal, the law deals more harshly with him or her.

As for the OJ trial reassuring the Black community that a Black could get a fair trial, the white community should have felt good about that, too, since the issue at stake was whether or not the prosecution proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The very fact that so many errors were made in the chain of custody of the evidence resulted in contaminated DNA, and the Los Angeles Police Department fumbled the case at every turn. I fail to see how any American could trust the system after watching the OJ trial. In a major case like that, we should have been able to see police and prosecutor work at its finest, but all we saw was evidence of bumbling in high places. Trust? Hardly.

Your next statement does not shock me, but it highly puts me off:

"Unfortunately, it is better to have a 99% conviction rate and send a few innocent people to jail than to not have order in society. That is just the way it has to be."

Your statement flies in the face of the most basic belief Americans have held for a long time (and the one by which our legal system is supposed to function), which is that it's better that ten guilty people go free than to wrongly convict one innocent person. This is why we have a jury system, unanimous verdicts, presumption of innocence, the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth amendments, and burden of proof upon the prosecution. This is why we originally had a grand jury system. I hope others do not feel as you do.

You should also consider that imprisoning such vast numbers of people, both guilty and innocent are having an erosive effect on the whole society. I recommend that you look into the following article: Putting More People in Prison Can Increase Crime, Study Says

"As for DAs, you paint the picture that they will stop at nothing and manipulate the system to any degree to get a conviction."

This is not the picture we paint. This picture emerges from facts chronicled by many, not least of which were the reports in the series by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PA), and in the series by the Chicago Tribune not long ago. We do not create these facts, we only report them. Granted, we have some choice words to say about the facts, but since many of us have loved ones or friends wrongfully convicted, we grant ourselves the right to be their severest critics.

The fact that DA's are sworn to uphold the law does not guarantee that they will. It is a fine code they should follow, and we have offered to print the stories of those district attorneys who make sure the innocent are not convicted. We believe there are good and conscientious attorneys for the state, but we know so few of them.

Grand juries? Are you aware of the fact that the prosecutor is the one who chooses what evidence to present to a grand jury? The defendant has virtually no standing. One of our staff tells me that grand juries are so subject to abuse that many states have abolished them. The grand jury is the prosecutor's playground.

We don't object to a DA's vigor in pursuing convictions, but we absolutely object to fabrication of evidence and suppression of it when it could exculpate a possibly innocent person. Yes, both prosecutors and police lie, and their right to lie is often protected.

"I have enough faith in the system that the grand jury, the DAs, the judge and the jury were not a bunch of incompetents who made the wrong decision."

You have faith. We do not. These are fallible people who make mistakes. It's not always a matter of incompetence (although that's often the case), but juries don't always get all the information they need to make correct decisions. Judges? Don't get me started. I know a few who shouldn't judge a dog show.

I urge you to keep reading the cases we publish in Justice Denied. Are they all lying? If they are, and you have faith in the system, then you would want to give them the chance to be retried so there is no question about their guilt, wouldn't you? Otherwise, you'd have to endure their claims of being innocent, for there'd be no closure. It's a safe bet that you can't imagine being wrongly accused of anything, right? You might try imagining it. Think back to some time when you were accused of something you didn't do, not in a legal sense, but in the course of interacting with others. Has that ever happened to you? If it hasn't, I'd be surprised. I think some people to whom it has happened might even suppress the memory so that they can feel all right about judging others.

These issues go to the heart, Mr. Howard. Keep an open mind -- that's all we ask.

Sincerely, in behalf of the Staff,

Clara A. Thomas Boggs
Editor in Chief and Producer of
Justice Denied -- The Magazine for the Wrongly Convicted

Subj: Re: Darlie Date: 99-07-27 From: Address suppressed (Kurt Howard) To: ChipnClara@aol.com

Please let me know when it is posted. I will check it out as well as read some more information with a little more open mind.



About the cover art:

"The Legion In The Battle For Dien Bienphu,Vietnam-1954"

by James Earl Ray -inmate # 65477

The above lithographs [10 of them] were donated to The PATRICK CRUSADE by:
Mike Gabriel
11718 Barington Court PMB 184
Brentwood, California 90049

Mike wanted to help PATRICK CRUSADE raise money for the cause.  All proceeds will go to The PATRICK CRUSADE - stands for "People Aligned To Replace Injustice & Cruelty with Knowledge" a national and international 501(c)(3) non-profit human rights organization www.patrickcrusade.org

About the Artist:

It remains to this day, the only print made from one of Mr. Ray's original paintings. Which says a lot for the artist and the man himself.

James Earl Ray did not use his artistic talent to try to gain financial
wealth but instead chose to paint as a way of providing gifts to his friends and loved ones.

James Earl Ray was more than a great friend ... he was like a
father to me and I miss him terribly. Those of us that knew him well were always amazed at the lack of bitterness that you would think would come from being kept in prison for 30 years for a crime that you did NOT commit.

James Earl Ray was a well read, extremely intelligent, caring, thoughtful, generous to a fault, non-bigoted man who had a great sense of humor and dispite his circumstances, he managed to maintain a quiet sense of dignity and was always there for his family and friends.
(Written by James' friend, Mike Gabriel)


© Justice Denied  

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