“Anti-Snitch” Bill in North Carolina ‘Dies’ in the Legislature

Making deals with snitches — just one of the more loathsome practices of prosecutors, and it happens all the time. Here’s how it works. A prison inmate (snitch) who has contact in prison with the defendant in a case comes forward, and claims that the defendant confessed to him in prison, or that the defendant bragged about the crime, or said things that implicated himself in the crime. In “exchange” for his testimony against the defendant the snitch is granted favorable treatment by the prosecutor – reduced sentence, reduced charges, early release, etc. Snitches can also be people who are not in prison, and get paid money for their testimony, or have pending charges dropped. Snitch testimony is often totally fabricated, and the snitch is lying just to get the deal from the prosecutor or to get the money. Snitches will read newspaper reports of crimes to learn just enough detail about a crime to give some credibility to their fake claims about what the defendant said to them. And when prosecutors put snitches on the witness stand, you can’t tell me they don’t know the testimony is bogus. However, it’s not uncommon for snitch testimony to be the deciding factor in a conviction.

North Carolina has been among the leaders in addressing the problem of wrongful convictions, including establishing the first state innocence commission, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, in 2002. And recently in North Carolina, the issue of perjurious snitch testimony has bubbled to the surface. A bill under consideration in the legislature would bar a conviction based solely upon incentivized (snitch) testimony. However, that bill has now essentially died in the legislature after intense lobbying from the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys.

This from the publication INDY Week: “Supporters called it one of the strongest bills in the country that would protect criminal defendants from lying jailhouse snitches. But now, the I. Beverly Lake, Jr., Fair Trial Act is on life support, blocked by N.C. House leadership after pressure from the state’s Conference of District Attorneys.”

See the INDY Week story here.

Given North Carolina’s heretofore forward thinking on wrongful convictions, I am dismayed by this; but, it’s just yet another obstacle to overcome – so upward and onward. The fact that this bill has even been under consideration is a source of encouragement, because it means that some legislators actually understand some of the problems.

 

6 responses to ““Anti-Snitch” Bill in North Carolina ‘Dies’ in the Legislature

  1. At this time when both right and left politicos have acknowledged the United States criminal justice system is broken, one would expect the DA’s/prosecutors to “right the wrongs” and start with ending the “snitch” program.

    As “ministers-of-justice”, it is their job to seek fair justice. The prosecutor-lobbyists’ power over the lawmakers is cause for concern and a public outcry. They had an opportunity to make an important contribution towards important reform, but chose to “thumb their noses” at the people/taxpayers in their “power grab”.

    With the “snitch” program intact, once again, this confirms they want to maintain their “entrenched culture of convictions-at-all-costs”, using perjury = malfeasance. Self-destructing America, our freedom and liberty with no accountability?

    How many innocent lives and families have been destroyed over the decades? And at what cost to the taxpayers wasting billions in a bloated mass industrial prison complex making the U.S. #1 Jailer in the world?

    12,000,000 per year entering America’s jails and criminal justice system. Unsustainable. Soon 50% will be have the other 50% under their “control”. And this is America, “land of the free” our soldiers have fought and died for? The hypocrisy is stunning!

    Thank you Phil Locke for shining the much-needed harsh spotlight!

  2. Quote from http://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/06260901bd.pdf

    SHEPARD, Chief Justice, dissenting.
    The system of justice seeks to provide a fair trial, but there is no entitlement to a perfect trial. I think the two reversals entered by the appellate courts in this case have unnecessarily sanitized the evidence against David Camm.

    Amidst the mountainous evidence in this trial was Camm’s declaration while in prison that his wife intended to leave him because of problems in their marriage and that he planned the
    killings on a night when the basketball game might provide an alibi.

    End Quote

    David Camm was subsequently acquitted by a jury.

  3. Check out William L Anderson’s blog. http://williamlanderson.blogspot.com/

    excerpt: “Small Government” that Spies on Citizens and Imprisons Millions

    Republicans are fond of claiming they favor “small government” while Democrats demand “big government.” They are half-correct; Democrats really do believe that we need a government that controls every aspect of our lives — except the decision of whether or not to have an abortion, and government should make all abortions free and encourage them.

    Yet, how do Republicans favor “big government”? Let me count the ways: …”

  4. Terry Goldman

    I’m writing to you today in search of legal council on behalf of a family member, Michael Marlin, who was wrongly convicted of 2nd degree murder and given a sentence totaling more than 48 years– of which he has already served 14 years. This incident occurred in the small town of Willits, CA in defense of himself and our mother, Kelly Marlin. However, the evidence supporting this fact was destroyed (intentionally and against clear policy if you read below) by the officers first to arrive at the scene who were known lifelong friends of the “decedent,” James Redenius. There is also clear misconduct on behalf of the district attorney prosecutor, Jill Ravitch, who suppressed evidence that the lead investigating officer, Jacob Donahue, had knowledge from multiple sources that decedent James Redenius attacked Kelly Marlin and fired a gun at Micheal during the incident, which would have led to the Jury not finding Michael guilty of murder. In closing arguments the prosecutor insinuated again and again that not even Michaels own mother would corroborate his version of events when the prosecutor knew the exact opposite of that to be true
    In 2020, SB 978 came into law and requires sheriff’s departments to post policy and procedure online. After reviewing Mendocino county sheriff-coroner policy and procedure associated with death investigation reports (#Coro 7-390 decedent James Redenius), we discovered that there are collectively over 115 policy and procedure violations in this case.

    In Dec 2020, we discovered that there was supposed to be a Sheriff property receipt attached to the death investigation report and that the evidence in question never made it to the evidence room (no log number exists). It appears that Captain Kendall (listed as officer on report) tampered with and destroyed evidence by giving the bloody t-shirt and pants to the decedent’s mother Mrs. Silva illegally, without a lawful request from the district attorney. All to suppress evidence that decedent shot at Michael in self-defense

    The death investigation report (page 5) states, “I released the previously seized coroner’s property to the decedent’s mother…” The report says that Miss Silva signed for the property (referring to her signing a Sheriff property receipt that also doesn’t exist).

    Silva would have also had to obtain a court order to pick up the evidence from the property room, and make a request from the evidence technician. None of the lawful orders were obtained to release the evidence and the officers would have known this. We discovered this after reading policy and procedure, which became available to the public due to SB 978, so this should be newly discovered evidence. If this evidence was tested for gunshot residue, it’s likely that the jury would have found Michael Marlin not guilty of murder.

    Michael’s defense attorney, Keith Faulder, tried to expose officers Donahue, Kendall, Verdot, Barney, Caudillo and others, for destroying the previously seized coroner’s property (“bloody black T-shirt, bloody camouflage pants, white underwear”), as well as suppressing evidence to the jury that “Redenius shot at Michae”l and had a gun. *The two pages of trial transcript attached demonstrate clear misconduct by district attorney Ravitch and Judge Nelson blatantly allowing the suppression of exculpatory evidence to the jury” (exhibit 1 below).
    Currently we are seeking legal help for exoneration of my wrongfully convicted brother. We believe the above needs official investigation by the attorney general +FBI and have also found what we believe to be new evidence sufficient for a writ of habeas corpus. Police in this case have a long history of covering up the victim’s past crimes and we have extensive evidence of this claim as well as clear evidence that policies and procedures were not followed, which led to the destruction of exculpatory evidence in Michael’s case. We have much more than this above, but need help determining the best course of action.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We look forward to hearing back from you.
    Michael Marlin’s Family,
    Nicholas Marlin (brother): 949-230-6667 (nic@nicmmarlin.com)
    Richard Marlin (father): 714-392-2286 (rickmarlin@gmail.com)

    Backstory.

    Every time defense attorney Keith Faulder tried to expose officer misconduct, for instance; during cross-examination of Officer Donahue Keith asked Donahue why he didn’t do gunshot residue test as part of his investigation? The district attorney objected and then the judge said FAULDER YOU’RE PUSHING IT. WHY DON’T WE TAKE RECESS.

    Second example of judge Nelson/DA Ravitch suppressing evidence of decedent shooting a gun and officers tampering with evidence is on transcript page 1229.

    Closing argument of defense attorney Keith Faulder:

    Faulder: If the district attorney would have done gunshot residue test, then I could say that I have evidence that Redenius shot at my client, but they didn’t!

    Judge Nelson: Hey Faulder, anytime you want to take a break!

    Judge Nelson chimed in and shut down defense before Keith could expose any more of the fraud on record.

    They went to break. Nothing else was said about the issue.

    Background on the case: Link to Federal District Court writ of habeas corpus. During this appeal Judge commented in his conclusion:
    “I’m struck by the failure of local law enforcement to find and arrest Redenius for one of his many violent attacks on citizens of the community. If the police would have acted with greater direction and resolve the tragic event in this case would probably not have happened.”
    Link to appeal: https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/2011/a123166/

    Exhibit 1 examination of lead investigator Officer Donahue:

    FAULDER: Q. Okay….now, I am a little confused on a couple of final points, since you are the lead officer of this investigation…… Did you do a gunshot residue test on Kelly Marlin?

    Officer Donahue: No.

    FAULDER: Who did a gunshot residue test on Kelly Marlin?

    Officer Donahue: I think it was detective Caudillo

    (note: according to a telephone call on 12-23-2020 with Mendocino County Sheriff Coroner evidence technician Cynthia Bartley, detective Caudillo never turned in the missing evidence (bloody t-shirt, bloody pants, white underwear) to the property room as reported on the death investigation report. Bartley admitted that there were no log numbers.)

    FAULDER: you assumed he (detective CAUDILLO) did?

    FAULDER: why did he do a gunshot residue test on Kelly Marlin?

    Officer Donahue: I wanted them to do it.

    (note: referring that Donahue wanted gunshot residue test done on Kelly Marlin as part of the investigation even though they didn’t have information she shot a gun)

    FAULDER: It’s something you would have ordered done because it’s part of your investigation……Correct?

    Donahue: correct.

    FAULDER: why would you have ordered a gunshot residue test done?

    Donahue: because she was closely related to the incident that happened.

    FAULDER: she was at the scene of a shooting?

    Donahue: correct.

    FAULDER: or at least that’s what you believed at the time?

    Donahue: At the scene connected to a possible suspect.

    FAULDER: and you personally did The gunshot residue test on Mike Marlin?

    Donahue: Yes.

    FAULDER: Did you do one on james redenius?

    Donahue: No, I did not.

    FAULDER: why not?

    Donahue: At the time I had no physical evidence that led me to believe that he possessed a firearm.

    (Note: This is a lie! Officer Donahue had three statements suggesting there was another shooter. Neighbor Rachel Oliveri told lead investigator officer Donahue that she heard two different sounding gunshots, as if fired by two different guns, and up to 9 shots. Michael had a six-shooter. Kelly Marlin gave statement to officer Donahue. She “thought Redenius had knocked her down when he shoved her” and that’s how she got her bloody knee. After (the attack) she heard “lots and lots of shots.” She stated that she thought Redenius was shooting at Michael. Neighbor Brian corzilius told officer Donahue that Kelly Marlin told him, “Michael starts shooting, Redenius fires back.”)

    FAULDER: did you have any evidence that he possessed a firearm?

    District attorney Jill Ravitch: JUDGE, I’m going to have to object. Based upon…

    (Note: Right here the prosecutor suppressed evidence to the jury of Officer Donahue having knowledge that decedent attacked Kelly Marlin, and after the attack, that’s when Michael started shooting but the decedent had a gun and was shooting too! The prosecutor and judge had knowledge that defendant Michael Marlin was not guilty of murder and was defending his mother! There was evidence of self-defense defense of another and the prosecutor and judge suppressed it. Faulder was trying to expose Captain Kendall for tampering with evidence and destroying the bloody clothing before defense could test it for GSR.)

    JUDGE NELSON: SUSTAINED

    FAULDER: Okay, even though you didn’t have any physical evidence, did you have any INFORMATION THAT WOULD HAVE LED YOU TO DO GUNSHOT RESIDUE TEST?

    Jill Ravitch: Juuuuudge

    (Note: the district attorney *longly* objected. The district attorney and judge knew that officer donahue had three exculpatory statements that would have led officer donahue to do a gunshot residue test on decedent james redenius as part of his investigation. Captain Kendall is listed on the death investigation report as the officer that tampered with evidence by destroying a bloody t-shirt, camouflage pants, and white underwear listed on the death investigation report as previously seized coroners property by allegedly giving the clothing to the decedent’s mother so gunshot residue test could not be done!)

    (Note: On page 1229 of transcripts, Judge Nelson shuts defense up when he starts to expose destruction of evidence)

    FAULDER: I’m curious to know why the prosecution didn’t do a gunshot residue test on Mr. Redenius. It would make my job a lot easier if I could show you here, here is the evidence that Redenius fired a gun.

    (note: When Faulder tried to expose the officer’s misconduct again then, the judge shut him up, again and again!)

    JUDGE: (Judge Nelson interrupted)…”FAULDER WHENEVER YOU GET TO A SPOT WHERE YOU THINK YOU CAN TAKE A BREAK.”

    Judge David Nelson then lambasted defense attorney Keith Faullder for trying to expose the misconduct.

    Judge Nelson: (scolded Faulder and yelled,) “YOU ARE PUSHING IT… FAULDER!!!”

    END

    First officer on the scene of the shooting, officer Verdot, Verdot admitted being friends with decedent for all of his life. Verdot began his trial testimony with a lie about being on duty the night of the Faulder accused this officer of fabricating decedent’s dying declaration.Verdotwas fired from the sheriff’s department for misconduct in two other cases.

    Medical examiner that made his report based off this death investigation with falsified reports, dr. Jason Trent, was fired for misconduct in a case.

    No case review has yet been done by the district attorney of Mendocino county.

    Rick Marlin 714-392-2286
    Nic Marlin 949-230-6667
    Exonerate Michael Marlin!!!

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