This TwitterNovice’s first TweetChat – life and death #crimechat

Because I have light sensitive epilepsy, following a constantly-updating TweetChat got my neurons misfiring this morning, but I was able to keep up enough to participate a bit in #crimechat, with only one dumb error … replying to myself (@wobblywarrior).

The subject was deadly serious – wrongful convictions – and the conversation was directed by two whose advocacy for incarcerated innocents is far more professional than mine.
Nic Vidocq (@Vidocq_CC) does an excellent job of getting out information on upset convictions (and convictions that should be upset) as a contributing editor on the Defrosting Cold Cases website, and as the author of Zeigler, Through Vidster’s Eyes. He’s already recapped today’s #crimechat on DCC, which featured a conversation with Nancy Petro.
Ms. Petro (@nancypetro) and her husband, former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro, authored a book that I’m anxious to read, False Justice – Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent. This University of Akron link gives some background on both of them.
Should you be short on Internet surfing time, Mr. Vidocq recapped his list of Causes of Wrongful Convictions as follows:
1) The eye-witness did not see it correctly, e.g. misidentification
2) Lab goof-ups ranging from invalidated theories, not drawing conclusions (so others do) to incorrect handling of evidence
3) False confessions, please see the Richard Lapointe case on the blog
4) Snitches/Informants who will say what you want in exchange for …
5) Bad lawyer who fell asleep, did not hire their own experts, never did any background searches or even meet the witnesses
6) Prosecutorial misconduct, please see the Zeigler case on [t]his blog
Mr. Vidocq noted that “Any combination of the above 1 through 6 is possible!”
He recapped the Petro’s list of the Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent as follows:
1) Everyone in prison claims innocence.
2) Our system almost never convicts an innocent person.
3) Only the guilty confess.
4) Wrongful conviction is the result of innocent human error.
5) An eyewitness is the best testimony.
6) Conviction errors get corrected on appeal.
7) It dishonors a victim to question a conviction.
8) If the justice system has problems, the pros will fix them.
Because I’ve been advocating for innocents for nine years, I can recite more than one “for instance” for every enumerated item on those lists without borrowing any of Mr. Vidocq’s.
And I have a list, too, from my Chihuahua yipping that began with electronic correspondence directed at then Governor Jeb Bush about Gerald Stano and Wilton’s Dedge’s conjoined-by-coached-snitch convictions (Stano executed ’98; Dedge DNA exonerated ’04). Despite the length of time, there’s only one item on my I Can’t Believe I’m Still Doing This list:
1) Don’t count on the mainstream media to report on any aspect of wrongful convictions accurately, even when executions are pending; “he said, she said” stenographic babble has almost entirely replaced responsible, investigative journalism.
As with Vidocq and the Petro’s lists, I have hundreds of for instances for my short list: A died-in-the-wool Central Florida investigative reporter would be having a field day with William “Tommy” Zeigler and Gary Stanley Bennett’s conjoined-by-malicious-prosecutorial-slur convictions right now, and/or William Dillon and Gary Stanley Bennett’s conjoined-by-evidence-in-suspect-condition/same-DNA-discredited-dog-handler convictions (William was exonerated in ’08, with attempts to re-frame to date unsuccessful), and/or Juan Ramos’ ignored and buried exoneration compensation claim, despite William and Wilton both receiving compensation (again, same discredited dog handler as Gary).
Tommy has been on death row for 37 years; Gary has been in general population for 29. William was in gen pop for 27 years; Wilton was in general population for 22 years, Juan was on death row for five years. Gerald remains dead, and doesn’t rest in peace. Their convictions are now all knotted together, courtesy of the tainted transfer that put Gary’s case in Jeff Ashton’s hands. The taint is Ashton’s circuit’s use of the same discredited dog handler to convict hapless schizophrenic Linroy Bottoson, executed in ’02.
Ashton’s prosecutorial teams falsely accused Gary of homosexuality, as they had Tommy years earlier. There was a knowingly-staged photograph presented in Tommy’s case to support the slur, put forth to explain blood evidence. There was no photograph in Gary’s case, nor any purpose served.
There are tens of thousands of incarcerated innocents nationwide. The FBI discredited their Comparative Bullet Lead Analysis as well as their Hair and Fiber Analysis; all three techniques were in use for decades, and Hair and Fiber Analysis was FBI-taught to law enforcement officers nationwide. Fire and blood splatter forensics have been significantly updated. Shaken Baby Syndrome criteria has changed. Labs have been discredited. Forensic experts have been discredited. And more … like actual criminals coming forward only to have their confessions ignored.
Despite all these factors that directly affects live and death and freedoms, the media focuses on reality celebrities and royal pregnancies, ignoring, too, that an innocent inside often means more than one criminal walking free … jailhouse snitches were used against Linroy, Juan, Gary, Wilton, Gerald, William and Linroy, and as Linroy’s recanted, he likely doesn’t rest in peace any more than Gerald does.
So please start reading the alternate media, blogs, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc., and dive in … the more lists, the better, and the more professional/less wobbly the warriors, the better. A good place to start is “liking” the False Justice Facebook page.

About Susan Chandler

Now-disabled interior/exterior designer dragged into battling conviction corruption from its periphery in a third personal battle with civil public corruption.
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2 Responses to This TwitterNovice’s first TweetChat – life and death #crimechat

  1. Well Said Ms. Warrior! Keep up the good work.


    • Thank you, Ray. Such an honor to be Internet acquaintances with you and your brother, Leigh … deeply respect both of your tireless, better-directed efforts on Tommy’s behalf.


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