Many people tend to believe that our criminal justice system performs at its proper functions, and yields just results!!! But the truth of the matter is that our criminal justice system here is the U.S. is vindictively flawed, and rife with human error at every stage. This is a system that is plagued by institutionalized racism with an evident bias against poor defendants and those defendants of color. This is a system that rewards “Tough on Crime” District Attorneys who seek death penalty, even in the face of exculpatory evidence, and incompetent court appointed Defense Attorneys.
Over ninety-percent of the men and women on death row are indigent defendants and they cannot afford to hire competent, dedicated attorneys who are qualified to litigate a death penalty case, and must instead rely on the State’s Court-appointed attorneys and poorly funded over worked Public Defenders. Poor people’s inability to obtain effective representation should alone be enough reason to abolish the death penalty?!
If the accused do not have defense competent enough to challenge the prosecution’s case at trial, wrongful convictions are inevitable!!
Here is Joseph’s story and how rogue Law Enforcement and vindictive Prosecutors disrupted and basically turned upside down the life of this innocent man!!
According to the theory put forward by the State, on the early morning of July 31st 2010 in the South Park Neighborhood of Beaumont, TX. an “unknown” man dressed in all black and wearing a mask, approached a duplex home, that also operated as a “trap house”… and minutes after entering the duplex-home shots rang out, leaving (2) people dead. When the police arrived on the scene, they rounded up the people in the vicinity, and was able to secure (3) eyewitnesses.
When questioned, all (3) witnesses stated that they did not know “why” the crime occurred, or “who” was all involved?! And because of the mask, the identity of the gunman was unknown?! When a detective from the BMT Police Department arrives at the crime scene and recognizes one of the deceased as one of his street informants… he corners the “boyfriend” of the deceased, and begins a coercive – interrogation right there on the crime scene. The detective suggests (Joseph) might be responsible for the double homicide, that has just occurred.
The “boyfriend”- who is also one of the (3) original witnesses tells the detective again, that he doesn’t know anything about any investigation , he doesn’t know (Joseph) and could not identify the person that did the shooting because the perpetrator’s face was covered by the mask.
By Law, this detective had no reason to target (Joseph) in this double-homicide, and under the equal protection component of the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause, the detective has clearly violated on the grounds of suggestive-coercion, and continues his prohibited tactics.
The detective has the boyfriend / witness (a felon on parole and a drug addict) transported to the police station, where he calls another detective, and has (Joseph) included in a six-man photo array for the witness(es) to look at in an effort to identify the shooter. Again, after reviewing the six-man photo line-up with (Joseph) included all (3) of the witnesses each stated that they could not identify any of the individuals in the six-man photo line-up as the shooter.
Two of the witnesses gave brief statements about the incident, and was allowed to leave the police station. However, the third witness – The boyfriend (a felon on parole and drug addict) was cornered once again. The detectives held this witness under custodial – interrogation and at this stage they began using dirty tactics to persuade this witness to transform his eyewitness account, so that it would confirm to their suggestive aim and target (Joseph). Repeatedly, the witness continued to tell the detectives, that he could not identify any of the individuals from the six-man photo line-up, because of the mask, he never saw the shooter’s face. Despite his protest and insistence, that he could not make an eyewitness identification of the shooter the detectives insisted that this witness use index cards to cover portions of the faces in the six-man photo line-up (using the index cards as if it were the mask).
Law Enforcement are prohibited from using such impermissibly suggestive tactics, not only on the grounds of equality and fairness, but also because the use of such law enforcement practices does not improve eyewitness accuracy, and it erases the promise written in our U.S. Constitution.
Under this coercive-interrogation practice the detectives were able to persuade the witness the witness into identifying (Joseph), with claims that by using this identification procedure with the index cards… that (Joseph’s) eyes looked like the eyes of the shooter?! This entire procedure was an infringement upon the fundamental procedures (process) of this case, and violated the due process clause of the 5th Amendment. The detectives had camera-equipment, but did not attempt to make a video record?! Video taping this coercive-interrogation of the detectives with the witness would have held the detectives accountable for their actions.
However, the only account of this identification is in the detective report, and this is “how” the detectives “invented” probable cause for (Joseph’s) arrest. Rather than going through the District Attorney’s Office, the standard channel for arrest (request). The detectives wrote up a “Probable Cause” affidavit, and acquired a pocket warrant for (Joseph’s) arrest through the Justice of The Peace (Magistrate Judge), and bond was set at $2 million-dollars.
Once the detectives got the warrant for (Joseph’s) arrest, they went to the media news station, and held a press conference telling everyone (all potential jurors), that they had an arrest warrant for the man responsible for the double-homicide. The detectives did all of this from the one single statement and i.d. That they coerced and bullied the witness into making. This case was never even investigated!!
The detective came to the crime scene, suggested and accused (Joseph), then coerced and bullied this witness into identifying (Joseph) as the perpetrator for the double-homicide that he did not commit, and knew nothing about (until) after being accused for the offense! In a comparison to all (3) of the eyewitnesses statements, there is a clear indication that “no” witness could identify the gunman, and “no” description of the gunman – no scars, no hairstyles, no facial hair, no skin tone, no height, no weight, no body build… absolutely “Nothing” described (Joseph)! But (Joseph) was being plastered all over the news and named for capital murder arrest warrant.
On August 11th of 2010, after hiring a Houston Attorney to represent (him) on the allegations rendered by this witness under the coercive techniques of interrogation, (Joseph) was arested two days before his 32nd birthday, and charged with capital murder. Upon seeing (Joseph’s) arrest in the on the news, a neighbor from the crime-scene came forth with exculpatory evidence, telling the BMT Law Enforcement, that he saw the perpetrator cut through his back-yard, running from the crime-scene, and (Joseph) was not the perpetrator… They arrested the wrong man!
Another witness came forth presenting with clear evidence, details of (Joseph’s) where abouts at the time this crime was being committed, but the rogue Law Enforcement and the vindictive prosecutors let this information fall on apathetic ears!
Months after (Joseph) was arrested- the same witness came forth, and after he discharged his parole – made a sworn statement of recant… stating that the detectives had already targeted (Joseph) as their person of interest, because of a previous robbery investigation, and that they persuaded him to identify (Joseph) using the index cards. He further stated that the detectives typed a statement at the Police Station, and he just signed it without ever reading it.
Unlike the detectives, (Joseph’s) defence investigator was able to video record this same “witness” in an interview “recanting,” and exposing what Law Enforcement did. However, the “Jurors” selected to weight the facts and determine the outcome of the case, at (Joseph’s) Trial, they would never see the statement of re-cantment or the recorded “video-interview”. The trial Judge used her authority to block exculpatory evidence from the jurors at (Joseph’s) trial. Had the Jurors as (the fact finders) of the case… seen and heard this evidence, there’s a reasonable probability that the trial would have had a different outcome.
In fact, (Joseph) was “granted” a Change of Venue, and it was determined, that (Joseph) could not get a fair trial by an Impartial Jury in his county, because the outcome of the case was being instigated by influential people in the County! The Trial Judge refused to transfer the Venue of (Joseph’s) trial, and he was forced to select a Jury in a County where it had already been determined, that he couldn’t get a fair trial by an impartial jury.
A close friend of the Presiding Judge was a Juror in (Joseph’s) Trial. A friend to the family of the deceased was a Juror in (Joseph’s) trial. The sister in law of the magistrate judge who signed the arrest warrant and set a $2 million dollar bond.
Our Criminal Justice System does not yield just results, and the backbone of our democracy is being broken and easily exploited for the benefit of a few, at the expense of (Joseph) and many many others.
(Joseph’s) voice and presence has been rendered silent and invisible by this criminal justice system, which in inherently unjust. During this case and trial, (Joseph) had his voice distorted, his actions contorted… (falsely accused and convicted of capital murder)… They were regulated to an outcome determined for “him” by opponents who fabricated their own truth. Now that’s he’s on Texas Death Row, the whole story has to be seen and heard through us.
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