Criminal

Brady Prosecutor Duty to Disclose Mitigating Exculpatory Evidence Part 3

Another, kind of boring thing to do, to spot when there’s Brady evidence is I always go and get the chain of custody documents. We don’t do that because, you know goes to weight not admissibility. Do it every time! I get the admission reports when the lab receives the evidence and I get the requisition reports to see if the lab has the equipment to do the testing they did. And you think, “My God, that’s really ridiculous. Why would you bother?” Because, I had this case back in the 90’s! The report came out March 6 of 1991. And when I got this boring little grid sheet checking in the evidence the lab received the evidence March 20th of 1991. Now unless this scientist was clear point when he wrote his report on March 6th, you know that was just ridiculous.

So, I go to do that. In another case where a woman was run over and killed by a vehicle and the fibers were, the recartey case, the fibers were gotten from the bottom of the truck and compared and matched to the coat the deceasing was wearing. I got the requisition records from the lab, and they didn’t even own the equipment to do the fiber test, that tied the coat to the fibers under the vehicle. So, I mean I’m not a scientist and not great, you know without an expert to tell me you know just that fiber analysis makes sense and does it really tie the fiber to the chemicals in those fibers, but I know how to read dates. And I know how to determine whether someone has the equipment that they say they have. And so it’s great homework to do. Another indication that you may have Brady is if there’s no case number on test results. I have this happened in two cases; in a capital murder case ya’ll remember the ‘North Texas Perry Wars’ we call them when Ralph Erdwin was just making up autopsy reports and they were the slides from the merriment’s case, DNA slides with no case numbers on them. And that’s how we got on to that case. He wasn’t even doing the autopsy. And in another case, it was out of Dallas, when the scientist determining that matter was cocaine was sniffing the samples rather than actually testing them.

So, every result was the same, you know test result showing it was cocaine. So simple things like if the case numbers not on it, chances are it’s not from your case. There’s, you know these labs are supposed to be really scientifically rigorous and careful, you know it might have been a way to spot the lab that was the proud owner of a bunch of sheep rock instead of drugs too. I mean this happens here in our hometown, in our backyards. It’s not something that, you know is wild across the country. Just check to make sure each of those results have the case number.

Another way to tell, this was also in the Willingham case. When the Jail House Witness Testimony doesn’t match objective reports. Well you know, I guess our client didn’t tell them the whole truthful story when he was spilling his guts in jail. Right? But it usually leads to something bigger. In that case “Webb” Jim Webb was saying that Willingham after crying about losing his children, being miserable about that and just one day up and confessed and then went back to crying about losing his children or being innocent. And that he allegedly made these statements in front of jail guards and other inmates but there was no one else who heard it.

And so he provided his improbable testimony and part of it was; that the children had been injured and that’s why they had to kill the children to cover up that they’d heard them. Well, the autopsy showed that there was no evidence of injury to the children. They actually did die of smoke inhalation in the fire and that’s what the autopsy provided. So that was our first clue, looking at the evidence that,” maybe this guy is not so truthful. Maybe there’s another problem” and low and behold eventually we found where he filed this motion to recant his testimony that was never provided to the defense prior to Wang Ham’s execution. Where he said he was made to lie. I mean you know who knows if he was lying then or now! But, that’s just always a good clue that you’ve got other Brady information that you’re not getting is if the story that’s being told that you’re allegedly gave by a witness just doesn’t match objective of other evidence.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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