Courtney Bisbee was a single mother and school nurse, living and working in Scottsdale, AZ in 2004 when, through a combination of false accusations, police misconduct, prosecutorial railroading, very expensive but incompetent defense, and a judge who “owed one” to the prosecution, she was convicted in a bench trial, and sent to prison for “improperly touching” a teenager. An incident that never happened. You can read our first post about Courtney’s case here. Courtney has been in prison ever since.
I have personally been following this case for almost three years. This past December, we jubilantly posted that Courtney Bisbee had been granted an evidentiary hearing. Please see that report here. AT LAST, we saw a chance for the real truth to come out. However, as you would expect, the prosecution has been fighting against this with great vigor, and it appears, that for the time being, they have succeeded. Those readers who have been following this story should know that Courtney’s evidentiary hearing has been vacated.
No hearing was held, but on February 3, 2016, Senior Federal District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver granted the prosecution’s objections, and vacated Courtney’s evidentiary hearing. You can see US Senior District Judge Roslyn O. Silver’s ruling here.
Let me take some editorial license here and state that this ruling is NOT about justice and truth and doing what’s right. This is about justice system officials desperately trying to prevent disclosure of their misdeeds. And it’s also about a justice system that has elevated “procedure” to the point of being an end unto itself, regardless of actual guilt or innocence.
The legal point at issue here was the subject of a 2011 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Cullen vs. Pinholster, commonly referred to as just ‘Pinholster.’ Prior to this decision, federal habeas courts had the ability to conduct an evidentiary hearing and do fact finding to get to the truth. The decision in Pinholster limits the habeas court to considering only evidence that was presented at trial. This has been a part of the systematic gutting by the Supreme Court over the past decade of Constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus protection. (If interested, you can download an interesting paper on the subject here.)
It must be noted that in her ruling, Judge Silver did not address the merits of the case. Consequently, there is still hope that Courtney may yet have her evidentiary hearing, and that the truth will come out. It’s just going to take longer.
Courtney has a petition on Change.org. Here is a link to that page: https://www.change.org/p/help-free-an-innocent-mom-courtney-bisbee-maricopa-county-az/u/15702845
We can thank that intellectual giant Justice Clarence Thomas for this lousy opinion.
Sorry to hear this.
This is outrageous and heartbreaking! We are fighting the same battle to expose evil and corruption in the Hernando County, Florida courthouse – shocking what the judge, prosecutor and Clerk of Court got away with in our case!! We will continue to fight for justice and pray for the innocent to be freed…
When I saw this notification in my inbox – it brought tears to my eyes. The denial of an evidentiary hearing is criminal in itself. My heart goes out to Courtney and her family.
Lisa, Thank you for your heartfelt comment. It is a true America tragedy that the justice system you thought you had to protect you, is more concerned about protecting itself and its malfeasance, which is ripe for abuse of power, false allegations against the innocent with no presumption of innocence or due process. Courtney’s case study should be a warning to all. It can happen to anyone.
Fast forward to October 2022 — Maricopa County AZ
Vote OUT AZ Supreme Court Justice Bill Montgomery for DA/Maricopa County Attorney catapulted by Gov Ducey — “behind closed doors” — to the Arizona Supreme Court with NO judicial experience! Reward for MCAO sex crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell giving Kavanaugh a “pass” during his hearing for the US Supreme Court?! Just saying. RM appointed to replace then MCAO Bill Montgomery, now running to keep her position — informed citizens will vote for JULIE GUNNIGLE to replace Rachel Mitchell.
SO unfair , when are we going to gets laws on the books to put these judges in prison. Only when they take off their black gown of immunity will justice be restored ! Boo to Judge Clarence Thomas, and Kudos to Phil Locke who is doing the right thing. SO much pain and suffering people are willing to do , instead of expose themselves !
We are truly sorry for this injustice. Let’s ban together, and do what is in our power to help. If we can sign or share the petition let’s do it. If there is some other way we can help, let’s do it. Courtney is a mom. She is losing precious mom time : (
Mormon based ideology as once revealed as fraud, it gets squashed because nobody wants to be accountable for their own stupid actions.
Pingback: Courtney Bisbee – Released . . . But Not Free. | Wrongful Convictions Blog
This is sooooo similar to the fate of many single older women across the US. I also have been harassed, property damaged & stalked by other residents of a senior park over 17 yrs. Hate crimes are sooooo- common & criminal activity not investigated by police or even a con- cern of the corporation management. Victims are placed on neighbor- hood watch or black listed for all communities & businesses to see without our rights being considered. Where are the protections?
Bev, I am so sorry for your experience. I am a targeted individual as well so I know what you are going through. If you check out my blog you will find that we are target by the same group operating in the valley. https://corruption-organizedcrime-in-arizona.com/2017/01/02/fraud-waste-and-abuse-at-the-expense-of-arizona-taxpayers/
)rganizations have been developed to educate & inform victims & the public about these criminal elements. Most victims not aware why this happens. Lived in 8 states & never knew this existed until living in a senior park. FFCHS, Pacts, & CitizensAHT formed to inform!!
We will “RISE UP” by Andra Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNKu1uNBVkU