Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Mistrial Declared in Criminal Trial of Dallas County Constable Derick Evans

A jury had been chosen and opening statements had been given by Marquette Wolf as Special Prosecutor and the defense for Dallas County Constable Derick Evans and on Tuesday, the trial had witnesses on the stand in the criminal trial where Constable Evans faced charges of engaging in organized crime.

There were some problems: one juror was late, another called in with an emergency and had to be replaced with an alternate, and witness Jim Foster, former Dallas County Judge, couldn't respond to his subpoena to appear and testify because he's in the hospital having just had serious lung surgery.

But nothing was as big a problem as what happened to cause the trial court to declare a mistrial in the case.  Seems that after the prosecution put on its case and Evans presented his defense, the jury was sent back to deliberate and got stuck.

Judge Tracy Holmes got a note from the jury room that the twelve jurors were "hopelessly deadlocked," and then another one, and then a third.  Deadlocked, Deadlocked, Deadlocked.  Stubborn folk on both sides of guilty versus innocent.  (The Dallas Morning News reports they were 7 to 5, guilty vs. innocent.)

So Judge Holmes declared a mistrial and Constable Evans went back to work and the prosecution told the media that they're not giving up.  Another trial is being scheduled for April 2012.

What Did Dallas County Constable Derick Evans Allegedly Do?  

Formally, Constable Evans has been accused of participating in organized crime.  Sounds very TV Law and Order, doesn't it, until you learn that he's purportedly run a raffle to get funds to run his election campaign and allegedly pressured his deputies and staff to buy and promote the $50 raffle tickets.  Under Texas law, only certain groups (like churches) are legally allowed to run raffles to raise money.  Now, it's sounding less like TV's Law and Order isn't it?

And, here's a big question -- what about the media reports about other local campaign raffles, are they going to get prosecuted as well?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Texas Judge William Adams Investigated as YouTube Video Showing Man Beating Teen Girl With Belt Goes Viral

Aransas County Judge at Law William Adams is getting an international publicity boost today, but not in a good way, as a YouTube of a man beating a teenaged girl with a belt has gone viral - and media reports are that he's the man in the video.

Watch the video on YouTube here, but be prepared - this may be disturbing so think about it before you click the link:

If you check the video out as it has been placed upon YouTube (downloaded on 10/27/2011), there is a description that relates the teenaged girl to be the judge's daughter, Hillary Adams.

Death Threats and a Criminal Investigation

KRIS-TV out of Corpus Christi is reporting that they contacted Miss Adams, and she confirmed the YouTube video
as being something that she herself placed on the web, to spotlight what had happened to her.

KRIS-TV is also reporting that the Aransas County Courthouse is being swamped with folk calling to complain about the YouTube video and what they perceive to be the actions of a sitting Texas judge. Officials are reporting that there have been death threats against the Texas judge, and a criminal investigation has been opened.

Teenager Depicted in Video Has Been Disabled Since Birth

The YouTube video was accompanied by text (read it all at Above the Law) that states the teenager shown in the video suffers from a disability, having been born with ataxic cerebral palsy.

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a rare form of cerebral palsy that results in poor physical coordination, with victims suffering from shaky movement and problems doing things like walking or writing with a pen or pencil.

Growing Media Frenzy Over YouTube Video and Judge William Adams

The disturbing video is getting not only national media attention by also the international spotlight. This morning, the International Business Times reported that Judge Adams' phone had been disconnected (discovered, apparently, when they were trying to contact him).

Local media are hot on the story, as it breaks: KZTV has online updates, which includes a recent update where Judge William Adams speaks to their reporter about the YouTube video, confirming that he is the man that is shown in it.

Also in that story, Judge Adams relates that he's in touch with the Austin Judicial Review Board. Odds are high that he's gonna be in touch with a criminal defense attorney real soon, too.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Texas DPS Officers Indicted for Manhandling Hays County Jail Inmates

Texans, for the most part, know the Texas Department of Public Safety as the state agency that handles Amber Alerts, and as the agency that oversees drivers' licenses applications and renewals. DPS offices are all over the state, most folk have visited them at one time or another.

DPS is also known for its own branch of law enforcement, the DPS Troopers (the Texas Highway Patrol), and for being the state agency that hosts the famous Texas Rangers. Drive any Texas highway or farm to market road, and sooner or later you will pass a DPS Trooper sitting on the roadside with his radar checking for speeders.

Two DPS Troopers Indicted in San Marcos

It's rare to see DPS Troopers personally make the news, and it's interesting to see the media coverage this month down in San Marcos, Texas (midway between the capital city of Austin and San Antonio, on Interstate 35). Seems that two Department of Public Safety troopers, Charlie Potter and Santiago Montez, have been indicted there.

Potter and Montez were arrested on September 22, 2011, and are facing charges of "official oppression" for events surrounding their dealings with two inmates in the Hays County jail back in March 2011.

According to media reports, the indictments describe the incidents as the two DPS Troopers "intentionally mistreated or detained a man by pulling or grabbing him" back on March 11th. Little more is known right now on exactly what happened here.

What is official oppression?

Under the Texas Penal Code (see details below), official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor that each carry a fine of up to $4,000, a sentence of up to a year in jail, or both. It is a bad act by a law enforcement official in the State of Texas that is harmful but not as serious as felony acts that include excessive force, something that we blog about quite regularly, since it is unfortunately something that happens all too often in our state.

What happens next to the Texas DPS Troopers?

Right now, Potter and Montez remain on the Texas DPS payroll although they have been suspended from work and they are free, having made bond ($10,000 for each Trooper). They are scheduled to be arraigned on October 27, 2011. Will they serve time in jail? Let's watch and see what happens.

Texas Penal Code Section 39.03

Here is the language of the Texas law on which the two DPS Troopers have been indicted:

Sec. 39.03. OFFICIAL OPPRESSION. (a) A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he:

(1) intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;

(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or

(3) intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

(b) For purposes of this section, a public servant acts under color of his office or employment if he acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of such actual or purported capacity.

(c) In this section, "sexual harassment" means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a term or condition of a person's exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Texas Rangers Investigating Another Case of Police Brutality and Excessive Force

The news started trickling out over the Labor Day Weekend that the Texas Rangers had been contacted by the family of a South Texas man who was comatose in a Corpus Christi hospital, another victim of excessive force by law enforcement.  Sure enough, the Rangers are on the job, investigating the family's belief that their loved one, Martin Garcia Ortiz, had sustained his injuries in a vicious beating by a Texas law enforcement officer.

That's right:  another case of police brutality in Texas.  And another instance where either the FBI or the Texas Rangers has had to come into the area to find out the truth of things.  It's something that happens far too often here in Texas: law enforcement using excessive force against people - something that we report about regularly

What happened in this case of alleged police brutality?  

According to news reports, 48 year old Martin Ortiz had been at a local bar in Aransas Pass.  No worries about a DWI arrest here:  Mr. Ortiz left the bar on his bicycle, to ride his way home.  It wasn't far.  He had no weapon, unless you are afraid of bicycles. 

Things took a bad turn around midnight on August 10th.  Seems Mr. Ortiz, there on the roadside on his bicycle, was stopped by an Aransas Pass police officer  -- and according to family members, the cop pushed Ortiz off the bike only to then beat Ortiz after the man was laying on the ground beside (some reports say underneath) the bicycle.

The Texas Rangers have reported that their investigation reveals three police cars zipped to the scene (that must have been a very scary bicycle) and that some of these officers are now witnesses to the incident.  They also report that Ortiz was purportedly stopped because he was weaving as he rode the bike, and his bike didn't have a headlight

Guess what?  All this may be on video.  Seems that Aransas Pass police cars are equipped with dash cams, so sooner or later, some member of the press is going to get ahold of those videos and we'll all see what happened.

Right now, we know that Martin Ortiz lies, seriously injured, in Corpus Christi's Christus Spohn Hospital where he spent ten days on life support in a coma before starting to come out of it.  It's not known at this time whether or not he will suffer permanent harm from this attack -- like traumatic brain injuries or spinal injuries.

The Texas Rangers are asking anyone who may have information about what happened to Martin Ortiz to come forward, and if you have any information about the Martin Ortiz case, you can call the Texas Rangers directly at 361-364-6239 or 512- 424-2160

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Dallas Cop Busted on Domestic Violence Charges, "Not Sober" When Arrested

Here in Dallas, it's very hot and staying that way as we endure a record-breaking heat wave.  Day after day of 100+ degree weather.  So, it's understandable that tempers are rising and that domestic violence calls are high.  It's not as easy to understand when one of those domestic violence events involves the cops: not the cops coming to the scene, but a cop smack dab in the middle of it. 

Seems that this weekend Dallas police officer Rafael Mendoza, on the force to protect and serve since December 2008, was arrested by his fellow law enforcement officers on charges of domestic violence.  Specifically, Mendoza has been charged with (1) domestic assault and (2) unlawful restraint, two Class A misdemeanors under the Texas Penal Code. 

Mendoza's also on administrative leave pending an Internal Affairs investigation (as well as the criminal investigation).  He won't face jail time, maybe he will be looking for another type of employment.  Have to wait and see on that one.

What happened for a Dallas Cop to get busted for Domestic Assault and Unlawful Restraint?

This past Sunday, according to media and police reports, Officer Mendoza was setting in a car parked near an apartment complex on San Jacinto.  It was a hot day, and apparently Mendoza was getting hot under the collar, arguing with a woman about an ex-girlfriend as they sat in the car.

It's reported that Mendoza and the woman stepped out of the vehicle - and that Mendoza then shoved the woman onto the ground, slammed plastic handcuffs on her, and telling her she was about to go to prison for 10 or 15 years. 

Scary stuff, right? 

After about an hour setting there in the parking lot, in the heat of that Dallas Sunday afternoon, Mendoza escorted the woman up to her apartment.  He un-cuffed her. 

Around 2 hours later, Officer Mendoza was busted by his colleagues.  It's reported that he was "not sober" at the time. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Liberty County Prosecutor Arrested This Week But Kept On the Job as DA in Cleveland Gang Rape Case of 11 Year Old Girl by 19 Defendants

Liberty County is in the national spotlight this summer as the place where 19 defendants (ranging in age from midteens to almost 30 years) have been charged with the gang rape of an 11 year old girl in Cleveland, Texas, mobile home - some of which was caught on video.

It's a case that is dividing the Cleveland community as well as the child's family, as the girl has been removed from her parents' care and placed in Texas foster care for the time being.

Prosecutor in Cleveland Gang Rape Case Is Arrested

Needless to say, this Cleveland Gang Rape case is important from many different perspectives and its prosecution - you would think - would be the cream of the crop putting on the best case that the State of Texas can assert. Right?

Think again. This week, one of the prosecutors on that Cleveland Gang Rape case was arrested and is facing charges as a defendant of (1) Tampering With a Witness, (2) Terroristic Threats and (3) Deadly Conduct.

That's right: the state's attorney has been accused of three pretty serious crimes while he's assigned to the big Gang Rape case. (That's his mugshot at the top.)

Liberty County Assistant District Attorney Joe Warren surrendered to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office last week, and was quickly released on a personal recognizance bond by the local judge. The Sheriff's Office is refusing to comment on the case so far, and little is known for sure about the events that led to the ADA's arrest.

It is known that the Sheriff's Office is the authority handling the investigation -- not a grand jury, not the Texas Rangers or the FBI -- and that Liberty County District Attorney Mike Little has told the media this is strange -- the ADA's case is getting special treatment (it's legal for the Sheriff's Office to run the ball in the investigation, this usually doesn't happen, though).

Joe Warren is still on the job, too: despite being a state district attorney who has been arrested on allegations of committing these crimes he has not been removed from his position and presumably is at work today (as this post is being typed), working on the Cleveland Gang Rape case.

Reports are ADA Threatened to Shoot Pit Bulls that Entered His Backyard and Killed His Pet

So what happened? There are some media reports out there and they are reporting that ADA Warren had a pet dog (a boxer-mix) who were killed by his neighbor's pit bulls after the pit bulls dug a hole under the fence to gain access into Warren's back yard so they could attack his pets.

Warren responded, according to these reports, by threatening his neighbor that he would shoot the pit bulls in order to protect his pets. Apparently, the neighbor called the cops and filed a complaint.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Texas Cops Shoot to Kill - Two Young Men in Beeville, Austin Die From Cop's Guns This Week

If you are pondering stealing something in Texas - and in this bad economy, crime is on the rise - you may be risking more than getting busted and serving some time.

You may be risking your life. (Heck, you may be doing that if you are just roaming along a city street anywhere in Texas.)

Deadly force (also known as excessive force) may be a viable legal claim -- but it's better to be alive than to have your grieving loved ones pursuing a lawsuit based on excessive force by a cop with a gun.

Beeville Shooting of Albert Ponce, 29, Yesterday

Yesterday morning, before sunrise, Anthony Albert Ponce of Three Rivers, was pulled over by Beeville police officers after they decided Ponce matched the description of a man who had ripped off a convenience store.

The Beeville cops say that Ponce got out of his car holding a pistol and waving his hands around in a threatening way. When Ponce refused to drop his gun, one of the cops shot him. That officer is on paid leave while his actions are being investigated.

Meanwhile, Ponce died at Spohn Hospital in Beeville later that day: Ponce was only 29 years old.

Austin Shooting of Byron Carter, 20, on Monday

On Monday, two bicycle cops were wheeling around downtown Austin when they spotted a car that they suspected held two car thieves - so they rode over to check things out, according to the Austin Police Chief in his statement to the press.

Apparently, the car started moving toward one of the bikes, hitting one of the cops, and the other officer fired on the occupants. The car drove off only to be found nearby with the passenger dead in the front seat. The driver was tracked down, he had a gunshot wound to his arm and was taken to Austin's Brackenridge Hospital.

Byron Carter, 20, was the passenger that died in that gunplay and a minor (16 yrs; name not released) is the wounded driver.

As for the cop that got hit by the car, he was treated and released by Brackenridge doctors for a ruptured Achilles' tendon. The cop who used his pistol to take those shots is also on a paid leave while things are investigated.

Shoot Now, Check for Guilt Later

Notice that in both events, neither decedent was proven to be a criminal - neither cop knew at the time if this target was guilty of stealing anything.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Get Ready for Statewide Click It or Ticket Campaign: May 23 - June 5, 2011

The State of Texas versus your individual right to choose how you live.  It's an ongoing fight.  There's the No Refusal Campaign, where you're forced to give your blood in a blood test or your breath at the scene anytime a cop pulls you over for suspicion of drunk driving.  

There's also the Click It or Ticket campaign, where your choice on whether or not to wear that seat belt is taken away.  Well, not taken: you're just gonna get a ticket whenever you get caught.

Civil Liberties Versus Police Power

Lots of folk believe that it is unduly intrusive for the state government to force individuals to wear seat belts. And these aren't just zanies -- they include respected safety professionals like Peter Thompson, who served as the State of New Hampshire Safety Chief, and in that official capacity was against New Hampshire's implementing forced seat belt laws back in 2005.   

The argument against these types of law is simple:  seat belt laws invade your freedom unnecessarily.  These laws are not protecting the public at large - if you fail to wear one, the risk of harm is borne by you.  Therefore, forcing citizens under the police power to wear their seat belt crosses over the line of legitimate police power.   Not that this argument has stopped these laws from being passed in Texas and other states. 

May 23 - June 5, 2011: Texas Click It or Ticket Campaign Covers the Memorial Day Holiday

Here in Texas, it has been announced that Texas law enforcement are going to be on the lookout for drivers that are operating a motor vehicle without a seat belt over the Memorial Day Weekend in the latest Click It or Ticket Campaign. 

But be careful out there -- because Click It or Ticket goes to more than just a driver not wearing a safety belt: even those folk setting in the BACK SEAT can be ticketed because they aren't buckled up.

Other ways to get a ticket during the Click It or Ticket campaign?  

Not having kids younger than 8 years old buckled into either a child safety seat or booster seat unless they've grown past the legal limit of 4 feet 9 inches in height. 

What's the cost of not obeying the law?  A ticket totaling $250 plus court costs. 

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Texas Judge Arrested and Immediately Pleads Guilty to $250,000+ in Bribes, More Arrests Coming

For seven years, Abel C. Limas presided over the 404th Judicial District Court down in Brownsville, a court where lives were often at stake in criminal matters and which also heard a variety of civil cases, including divorce proceedings.  Now, former Judge Limas has pled guilty to charges that he took over $250,000 in bribes from attorneys in payment for favorable treatment ... doing things like issuing very nice probation orders and even outright dismissal of charges in criminal matters as well as playing favorites in civil controversies. 

Lima's Career Path:  Cop to Judge to Private Practice to Inmate

You'd think Abel C. Limas would know better.  Not only because he was given the honor and privilege of sitting on a judicial bench, wearing those robes and walking into a courtroom where bailiffs had everyone rising upon his entrance.  Nope.  Limas was also a cop in days gone by.  A Brownsville policeman who rose to become a Texas Judge, presiding over that court for seven years (2001-2008), and who will now be a federal inmate.

Everything Happening Quickly Down in Brownsville: Arrest, Guilty Plea Within a Week's Time

Limas was arrested just last Thursday.  He's been charged with racketeering by soliciting, extorting and accepting bribes totalling $257,300 for favorable rulings in various matters.  No long, protracted defense here:  within hours, he was entering a guilty plea before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.  That means no trial.  Sentencing is set for July 2011.

The indictment backing up his arrest included allegations that while Limas worked as criminal district court judge, he took money from a minimum of four lawyers (their names are not released), and two of these lawyers alone forked over $235,000 for favorable treatment in some civil matters.  (Limas' defense counsel's request to keep the indictment under seal for 14 days after Limas' arrest was granted by the federal judge.)

Investigation Results: Limas Isn't The Only Bad Apple

For over two years now, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Brownsville Police Department had joined forces to investigate what Judge Limas had been up to ... and his indictment isn't going to be the only result of all that footwork.

The indictment of Abel Limas identifies five (5) other evildoers - but does not name them.  Their activities, while detailed in the Limas indictment, are described as being done by "A," "B," "C," "D," and "E."  No names, just letters. 

Other Arrests Being Made - Longoria Charged Thursday, 3+ Lawyers Still to Be Arrested

Yesterday, Jose Manuel Longoria attended his bond hearing before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio and was placed under a $100,000 bond after being arrested last Thursday and charged with wire fraud arising from a scheme to defraud and deprive the State of Texas of the right to the honest services of a state district judge.

As part of Longoria being charged and being allowed bond (challenged by the prosecution as Longoria is considered a flight risk to Mexico), he was instructed not to have any communications with three lawyers (identities not made public) and if he were to receive communication from them, he was ordered to notify authorities immediately.

Which means, the FBI is gonna be arresting some lawyers down in South Texas very soon....

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Fort Worth Cop Shoots, Kills Local Man In Front of His Three Kids

This past Monday night, a Fort Worth police officer pulled over a SUV driven by Charal Thomas, 32.
Thomas' three kids, ranging in age from 7 to 11, were all riding in the back seat.  There was another adult in the vehicle, but reports aren't clear on who that was.

It started out as a routine traffic stop. It was around seven o'clock on Monday evening, a little after dusk, on Lucas Drive in Fort Worth, Texas. 

We don't have the details on what was said, but we know that routine traffic stop didn't stay that way.  Things went awry -- and for some reason Charal Thomas pulled away, dragging the cop along for a number of blocks, as the police officer held onto the SUV. 

Perhaps the cop held onto the door handle, his feet on the SUV's foot ramps.  Maybe he grabbed onto an overhead rack.  The details still aren't clear.

What we do know is that Mr. Thomas had several outstanding warrants -- and that the Fort Worth cop chose not to let go of the vehicle.  Instead of letting go of the car, the Fort Worth officer chose to pull his gun and shoot Mr. Thomas in the head.  Killing Charal Thomas, 32, in front of his kids -- and as he was driving the vehicle that they were in.

Needless to say, the Fort Worth community is shocked by this incident. 

There was a vigil last night on East Rosedale in Fort Worth.  Candles were lit, people spoke.  People are angry.

And it's not over.  The identity of the Fort Worth officer hasn't been revealed because of a concern over his safety, and he already has a lawyer to speak on his behalf.  According to the lawyer, the cop felt he had to shoot because his own life was in danger.  No explanation yet on why he grabbed onto that SUV, filled with kids, in the first place.

This is going to be a big lawsuit. Another lawsuit against the Fort Worth Police Department for overzealous police behavior...(remember the Tazer lawsuits from last year) ....

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Texas Judge Busted By Feds for Taking KickBacks During Hurricane Ike CleanUp

Phil Fitzgerald used to be a Texas district court judge, and he used to be a free man. Things change.

The Beaumont Grand Jury issued its 25-count indictment last week of former Judge Fitzgerald along with a contractor (Fitzgerald's brother-in-law, Mark Miksch, 52, of La Vernia) and another Liberty County official (former Liberty County Commissioner Lee Groce, 62) charging the Judge with taking over $600,000 in kickbacks for awarding government clean-up contracts that dispensed federal funds to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

According to the federal indictment, Judge Fitzgerald allegedly conspired with Commissioner Groce to award $3,200,000 million in debris removal contracts over to contractor Miksch. He also allegedly scarfed up a generator for his personal use that had been paid for by federal monies (allegedly, he kept the power up at his convenience store with the generator during power outages).

Judge Fitzgerald isn't going down without a fight, however.

Fitzgerald has made his position clear by a letter published in the local press, and now routed through the national media, which states in part:

"Had the government allowed us the opportunity to present our side of the story before seeking an indictment, we are confident there would be no indictment. However, because of their refusal, we will now have to have a trial in this case, at considerable expense to Judge Fitzgerald and the taxpayers, in order for us to tell our side of the story."
Fitzgerald and Groce both lost their reelection bids last Fall, two more Democrats falling to Republican replacements.  Groce had served as Liberty County Commissioner for almost 25 years; Fitzgerald had presided over his district court bench for four years. 

This should be an interesting trial, folks. 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Cornelius Dupree Freed as Innocent Man after 30 Years in Texas Jail: The Unreliability of Eyewitness Testimony

This week, a fifty-one (51) year old man walked out of a Texas courtroom a free man, after serving over 30 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Cornelius Dupree was officially exonerated on Tuesday by Dallas County Judge Don Adams with the simple sentence from the bench, "you're free to go."

What Got Dupree Behind Bars

Mr. Dupree was arrested in 1979 on rape and abduction charges for a sexual assault involving two men that happened on IH30 near Dolphin Road, where a man and woman were forcibly taken from a liquor store and the woman later raped. Dupree and his pal, Anthony Massingill, 49, were going to a party when the cops stopped them because the police thought these two guys matched the description given in another rape case.

Both victims would later give eyewitness testimony that Dupree and his friend were the perpetrators of the crime. And yes, Mr. Dupree is African American.

What Got Dupree Released

DNA cleared Mr. Dupree. Through the efforts of the Innocence Project and with the support of local D.A. Craig Watkins, DNA testing was done on old evidence in the case, which resulted in scientific proof that Dupree was not guilty.

According to the Innocence Project, Mr. Dupree is third in line for the dubious record of having spent time behind bars before being exonerated: only 2 men in the United States spent more time in jail than he did before being proven innocent via DNA testing. In Texas, Dupree is the 41st individual to be freed based on DNA evidence since 2001.

Lesson Learned, Again: Eyewitness Testimony Isn't Reliable

Once again, we have another example of how eyewitness testimony should not be considered as quality evidence in any case -- but particular the key evidence used to put an individual behind bars.

Photo lineups and the like are not good tools toward finding the truth, regardless of how they appear on Law And Order (pick your version). People just don't remember things accurately. Emotions get in the way. Victims want to catch the perpetrator and are understandably influenced to a rush to judgment. Police officers, however innocently, can suggest who to pick in a lineup and many victims are scewed to pleasing the police, however unconcious that predisposition may be.

When are we going to learn in this country that eyewitness testimony isn't trustworthy?

One last thing: As for Mr. Dupree's friend that day back in 1979, Mr. Massingill has already been cleared in the present case via DNA testing; however, he is not free today. Massingill is still incarcerated, and serving a life sentence, based on another crime.  Let's hope that this conviction was based on more than finger-pointing.