Prosecutors Oppose New Trial for Melissa Calusinski in SBS Case

We’ve previously posted about the Melissa Calusinski case in Lake County, IL here. It would seem to clearly be a case of a coerced false confession, combined with bad medical “science.”

Lake County State’s Attorney, Michael Nerheim, has already declined to have his so-called “conviction integrity unit” review the case.

Now, despite the fact that the Lake County Coroner officially changed the cause of death from homicide to undetermined, and despite the fact that newly discovered X-ray evidence shows that the child had experienced previous head trauma, the prosecution is opposing a request for new trial by Calusinski’s attorney.

Why are we not surprised? See the Lake County Daily Herald story here.

11 responses to “Prosecutors Oppose New Trial for Melissa Calusinski in SBS Case

  1. As I read the new Scholarship Spotlight on the Conviction Integrity Review Units, as well as, attending the recent Conviction Integrity Symposium at Santa Clara Law School, NCIP, and heard Nerheim (Lake County, IL) speak on the prosecutors’ panel, I’m shocked, he and his CIU have turned down Melissa Calusinski’s case and her request for a new trial. What are they afraid of? The truth?

    Or is this just another federal grant “money-grab”, an empty shell of a “feel-good” unit that misleads the public into thinking real work is being done to “right the wrongs” of a clearly broken justice system? Trolling-for-dollars with feel-good names and little intention of doing meaningful serious work.

    It would now appear if the Lake County, IL CRU would refuse Melissa Calusinski’s well known wrongful conviction, then they lack sincerity and yes, it just is another “faux” money-grab for federal grants – at the expense of the taxpayers, and another empty do-nothing-shell created to “collect the $$$’s”. Misleading the public by those in a position of trust and integrity is an abomination!

  2. I’m not surprised one bit. No DNA, no innocence.

  3. “Prosecutors seek to block new trial for day care center murder convict” – Lake County News-Sun 1/5/15
    “The case has stirred enduring controversy in Lake County, a jurisdiction that has had an exceptionally serious problem with imprisoning innocent people and disregarding evidence of authorities’ mistakes. Calusinski was convicted during the 22-year tenure of former State’s Attorney Michael Waller, whose office was responsible for several wrongful convictions.
    Waller’s successor, Mike Nerheim, has cleared several men who produced evidence of their innocence since he took office in 2012, but he has resisted efforts to free Calusinski, stoking dissatisfaction among activists and critical coverage from national media.

    Citing the ongoing court battle, Nerheim declined to comment. Calusinski’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, also declined to comment beyond saying that she disagrees with prosecutors’ filing.” …

  4. After having seen many of these false confessions, and after having recently watched “Making a Murderer,” I can’t help but notice the striking similarity to the statements that were elicited from children in the “Satanic Panic” cases, most notably those that came as a result of Kee McFarlane’s continuous prodding, shaming, etc.

    “We need your help” seems to be a key phrase in many of these police interrogations that result in false confessions. The accused are honestly trying to help the interrogators. They are trying to say what their interrogators want them to say. The truth, i.e. reality, results in repeated negative feedback, “No, that’s not what happened. You’re lying to us.” Lies, i.e. make believe, receives positive feedback. “Good job! You’re doing great now! What else can you tell us?” They’re encouraging them to make up a story that follows the interrogators’ story. The accused usually doesn’t realize what is happening, that they are actually “confessing” to a crime, until later. In their minds, they are simply following the cues they are given, responding to feedback from the interrogators.

  5. Making a Murderer depicts miscarriages of justice that are not at all rare | Trevor Timm | Opinion | The Guardian 1/6/15

    “One of the most gut-wrenching scenes is when one of the characters, Brendan Dassey – Avery’s cousin, who is a shy and sad teenager with mental difficulties – is coerced into confessing to the murder that is the subject of the majority of the documentary. His public defender briefly refers to the “Reid method” of interrogation then quickly moves on without explaining what they meant. But it’s an important point.

    The New Yorker published an excellent article a couple years back reporting on the highly controversial technique, which is used by police around the country despite not being based on any actual science. It turns out the method – where interrogators suggest and push events onto those they are interrogating for hours and constantly tell the suspects they are lying – is great at getting confessions but terrible at getting the truth, and it often leads to putting innocent people behind bars.

    In another must-read article about the subject of false confessions, Judge Jed Rakoff explained in the New York Review of Books in 2014, “Research indicates that young, unintelligent, or risk-averse defendants will often provide false confessions just because they cannot ‘take the heat’ of an interrogation.” He cites an expert’s estimation that between 2 and 8% of all those who have pled guilty are actually innocent. Projected out over the United States’s two million prisoners, that is a massive number.”

  6. “THE INTERVIEW” Do police interrogation techniques produce false confessions? – The New Yorker by Douglas Starr

    …”Today, John E. Reid & Associates, Inc., trains more interrogators than any other company in the world. Reid’s clients include police forces, private security companies, the military, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., and the Secret Service—almost anyone whose job involves extracting the truth from those who are often unwilling to provide it. The company’s interview method, called the Reid Technique, has influenced nearly every aspect of modern police interrogations, from the setup of the interview room to the behavior of detectives. The company says that the people it trains get suspects to confess eighty per cent of the time.

    A growing number of scientists and legal scholars, though, have raised concerns about Reid-style interrogation. Of the three hundred and eleven people exonerated through post-conviction DNA testing, more than a quarter had given false confessions—including those convicted in such notorious cases as the Central Park Five.” …

  7. “Ninth Circuit judge Alex Kozinski wrote a seminal paper on how investigators, prosecutors and courts put defendants at an extreme and unjust disadvantage just last year. Kozinski comprehensively documented the myths many people have about the justice system’s fairness and how it is incredibly stacked in favor of the state while stifling defendants’ basic rights. While the paper was written for a law review, it is written in a matter-of-fact style that non-lawyers will find compelling, and I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more after watching Making a Murderer to read it.”
    “Criminal Law 2.0”

  8. Just watched 48 Hours and cannot believe that this girl is still in jail!!!
    I am stunned by the blatant disregard of real evidence and the complete lack of common sense.
    I sincerely hope that eventually justice will be done.

  9. Lying prosecutors and police in the Melissa Calusinski conviction will go to hell unless they repent! God’s not blind! Asshole grey haired bald fuck needs to lose his pension his fag partner needs to lose his job along with faggot prosecutor and Illinois needs to pay at least 2 million for false prosecution. God is not blind assholes and hell is forever you fucking pricks!

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