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Category: Video

Video of Barry Scheck Speaking to Texas Forensic Science Commission

By , July 25, 2010

Below is a video of The Innocence Project’s Barry Scheck speaking to Texas Forensic Science Commission in Houston on July 23, 2010. Video was shot by Texas Moratorium Network.

Watch the whole video to understand Barry Scheck’s objections to the Commission’s tentative findings. Click here to watch the video on YouTube or click here to watch it on TMN’s Facebook page.

The final report is not yet complete, so the Commission could still take into account Scheck’s objections.

Around the 3:35 minute is when the fireworks start after John Bradley motions to his assistant that she should tell Scheck that his time is up.

http://camerontoddwillingham.com

From the Houston Chronicle:

A commission reviewing a disputed arson finding that led to a Corsicana man’s 2004 execution for the deaths of his three young children said in a preliminary report Friday that the fire investigators used flawed science but didn’t commit negligence or misconduct.

Members of the state commission investigating a controversial Corsicana arson case in which three children died — and for which their father was executed — acknowledged on Friday that state and local arson investigators used “flawed science” in determining the blaze had been deliberately set.
But the Texas Forensic Science Commission panel heading the inquiry also found insufficient evidence to prove that state Deputy Fire Marshal Manuel Vasquez and Corsicana Assistant Fire Chief Douglas Fogg were negligent or guilty of misconduct in their arson work.
The investigators, they said, likely used standards accepted in Texas at the time of the fire, which erupted at the home of Cameron Todd Willingham in December 1991. Willingham went to his execution in 2004 proclaiming his innocence in the deaths of his 1-year-old twins and 2-year-old step daughter.
The tentative findings were announced at the commission’s quarterly meeting in Houston.

Commissioners authorized the four-member committee to write a draft report reflecting their findings to be acted on later this summer. The panel, headed by commission Chairman John Bradley, also will solicit more information regarding the state of investigation standards in 1991. It will accept written public comments until Aug. 12.

Friday’s action was the latest chapter in the contentious review of the arson investigators’ work spurred by a complaint filed by the New York-based Innocence Project. The commission is not tasked with determining whether Texas might have executed an innocent man, but whether the arson investigators followed sound scientific principles.
Other reviews critical

At least three expert reviews, including a commission-financed study by Baltimore fire expert Craig Beyler, have been critical of the arson investigations. Burn patterns, multiple points of origin and other phenomenon investigators found at the scene wrongly were interpreted as signs the fire deliberately was set, the experts concluded.

Beyler, who wrote that investigators observed neither the standards of the National Fire Prevention Association, adopted shortly after the blaze, nor standards applicable at the time of the fire, was scheduled to appear before commissioners last September.

Days before the meeting, however, Gov. Rick Perry replaced the commission chairman with Bradley, district attorney in Williamson County. The session at which Beyler was scheduled to speak was canceled, and the fire expert never appeared before the body.
Friday’s action spurred a heated exchange between Bradley and Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck, who bolted from his seat to protest. Bradley repeatedly refused to yield the floor.

Family optimistic

Scheck’s organization argues that the state fire marshal’s office should have been aware of updated arson investigation standards and – in any event – should have advised prosecutors and the court of them when they were adopted.

The new standards went into effect in early 1992.
“It’s alarming that they’ve missed the point of our allegations,” Innocence Project policy director Stephen Saloom said. “The state fire marshal’s office had a continuing duty to inform prosecutors, the court, pardons and paroles or the governor of the unreliability of the old evidence.”

While national fire experts may have known in late 1991 that new standards were in the works, investigation committee members said, it’s possible rank-and-file investigators did not.

Willingham’s mother, Eugenia Willingham, and his cousin, Patricia Cox, who were present for Friday’s session, viewed the commission’s action as a positive development.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Cox said. “We’re Todd’s voice after death. We’re going to exonerate him. We’re not going away.”

Eugenia Willingham said her son would have been pleased. “His wish was that we clear his name,” she said. “He was innocent and prosecuted for something he didn’t do. … I hope that somewhere or other he saw what happened today.”

Video of Todd Willingham’s Family at Meeting of Texas Forensic Science Commission

By , July 25, 2010

Texas Moratorium Network shot this video of Todd Willingham’s cousin Patricia Willingham Cox speaking at the meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission in Houston on July 23, 2010. Click here to watch the video on YouTube. Or click here to watch it on the TMN Facebook page.

Todd’s stepmother Eugenia Willingham is sitting beside Patricia while she speaks. Normally, when a family member speaks at a hearing, for instance at a committee hearing at the Legislature, the person chairing the hearing is very nice and thanks the person for coming and maybe even offers some words of comfort to them if they start crying. The chair often even says something like they know how difficult it is to speak in public at a hearing like this. We have seen that happen a lot at the Legislature, but John Bradley has absolutely no social skills or empathy, so he didn’t say anything after Patricia Cox spoke or after Eugenia is asked if she wants to speak, but she declines because she is weeping. What an ass John Bradley is.

A commission reviewing a disputed arson finding that led to a Corsicana man’s 2004 execution for the deaths of his three young children said in a preliminary report Friday that the fire investigators used flawed science but didn’t commit negligence or misconduct.

Patricia Cox, Todd Willingham’s cousin, told commission members that she appreciated the group’s acknowledgment that the forensic evidence used to convict her loved one was flawed.

“Even though there may not have been any malice or intent by fire investigators about not being informed on current standards, that doesn’t excuse the fact that, based on this misinformation, Cameron Todd Willingham was executed, and that can’t be corrected,” said a tearful Cox.

Willingham’s stepmother, Eugenia Willingham, was too upset to speak during the meeting’s public comment section. But during a break, she said she couldn’t believe the panel’s conclusion and vowed to continue fighting for her stepson’s exoneration.

Both Cox and Eugenia Willingham came from their hometown of Ardmore, Okla., to attend the meeting. Two other women at the meeting held signs with photographs of Willingham that read: “No More Cover Up! Todd: Innocent and Executed!” and “Put Todd Willingham on the Agenda.”

Video: Pressure Mounts on Rick Perry in Todd Willingham Case

By , October 29, 2009

Lawyers Speaking Out in Response to Todd Willingham’s Trial Attorney’s “Utterly Disgraceful” Performance on CNN

By , October 16, 2009

Early Friday morning, we posted the video from last Thursday’s CNN AC 360 program when Todd Willingham’s trial lawyer was on the program and made remarks that we thought violated his attorney-client obligations, which bind a lawyer even after his client has died this is not how experts work like.. if you need a true expert check out the boat accident lawyers houston firm . Now, some attorneys have begun posting about David Martin and some also seem to agree that Martin violated his ethical obligations as an attorney to his former client.

After reading this blog post, if you are think David Martin should be investigated, click here to download a grievance form and send it to the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel, State Bar of Texas.

Yesterday, TMN sent an email to attorney and blogger Mark Bennett with a link to the CNN video and asked if he saw an ethics violation. He replied by posting his thoughts on his blog, if you are seeking legal assistance navigate here and you may find what you need.

My position is that a) all facts the lawyer learns in the course of representation is privileged; and b) this privilege survives the end of representation and the client’s death. So, for example, the fact that the defense team did its own pseudoscientific experiment would be privileged and not something that the ex-lawyer would be free to reveal (without the client’s permission).

Todd Willingham’s appellate lawyer, Walter Reaves, has also now responded to what David Martin said on CNN,

as a lawyer you ought to have some duty to not damage your client. At the very least, Mr. Martin is damaging Todd’s reputation, and his ability to obtain some relief in through the forensic commission. The fact that he aligning himself with Gov. Perry ought to tell you something.

At least three other lawyers have now also posted their thoughts on David Martin. Here is one on her blog “Preaching to the Choir”.

I have nothing nice to say about David Martin after watching this appalling performance, so perhaps I should not say anything at all. Except, I have no duty of loyalty to David Martin. But I do feel a duty of loyalty to my profession. I happen to think that defending people is one of the most noble things you can do. I can go on quite a tear about how we defenders of the constitution are the true patriots and the most noble actors of all in the criminal justice system. I take my job seriously. Very seriously. My clients trust me with their lives, just as Todd Willingham had to trust David Martin. As much as I rail against prosecutors and cops who bend the rules or cut corners, no one offends me more than the defense attorney who does not live up to my high ideals for the profession. From what I’ve seen in this video, David Martin is the kind of defense attorney I don’t ever want to be.

Here is another, Scott Greenfield, who says

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Martin has no grossly improper motive, like he’s been promised a judgeship by Perry if he does everything in his power to undermine the evidence of Willingham’s innocence. If Martin truly believes what he’s saying to be true, his statements are the most irresponsible, unethical, improper I have ever heard from the mouth of a criminal defense lawyer. Outrageously wrong. Utterly disgraceful.

Here is a third, Jeff Gamso:

So we know that Martin was spouting bullshit. (He claimed to have just returned from “chasing cows,” so maybe there’s a reason.) We also know that at least one thing he talked about, the lighter fluid experiment, is covered by the work-product privilege. It’s a secret. He had no business telling anyone. A clear violation of his ethical obligations.

And then there’s the matter of going on the air to declare his client guilty. Why in the world would he do that? To garner business? Unlikely. That’s not the way you attract clients. For the glory of national television? Some people just can’t resist. Whatever the reason, he was wrong. Whatever he was thinking, he wasn’t thinking enough. That duty of loyalty. That obligation not to disadvantage. That lack of judgment. That putting his own interests before his client’s.

We hope many other lawyers speak up and that some of them file a complaint with the Texas Bar against David Martin.

Eileen Smith of Texas Monthly has also written about Martin, saying in her blog “In the Pink”:

Willingham’s trial lawyer David Martin is such a caricature of what people think of Texans that I was mortified watching it. Haven’t we been the posterior region of enough jokes this year, what with all the secession talk and Dancing With the Stars? And I’m not even a native Texan. So really, you guys should be extra-extra mortified.

Right from the start of the interview, you just know it’s going to be bad. For one, Martin is wearing a cowboy hat that’s about to fall off his head. And two, the guy’s drunk as a Honduran skunk.

Anderson Cooper: “David, you always believed that your client was guilty. Now after a half dozen experts have come forward to say there’s no way the fire was arson, you still say he was guilty. Why?”

Martin: “Uh, Anderson, excuse my informal attire, we’ve been out checking cows… uh… tell me your question again?”

Anderson: “About a half dozen fire experts around the country have looked at this case now, and say the evidence that was used… simply is not accurate…”

Martin: “Ohhhh, no, that’s not what I glean from these reports here…”

Sign the petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.

We plan to deliver the petition at the 10th Annual March to Abolish the Death Penalty on October 24 at 2pm in Austin at the Texas Capitol.

The Texas Bar website explains how to file a complaint.

 

What is the grievance system?
The grievance system is designed to protect the public from unethical lawyers licensed to practice law in Texas. Lawyers are held accountable to a set of rules, called the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. Lawyers who violate those rules are prosecuted under a set of rules, called the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Much like the criminal system, you, as the aggrieved, are not a party to the disciplinary action; you are a witness.

To download these two sets of rules click here, Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct (PDF) and Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure (PDF). For instructions on how to download Adobe Acrobat, click here.

Allegations of misconduct by an attorney are taken very seriously, and are reviewed and investigated carefully by the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel. If you believe that an attorney has violated the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, you may report this information in writing to the State Bar in the form of a grievance.

Some examples of Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct violations
are:

  • Conviction of a serious crime or other criminal act;
  • Engaging in fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
  • Obstructing justice;
  • Influencing improperly a government agency or official;
  • Engaging in barratry; and
  • Practicing law when the lawyer is on inactive status or has been
    suspended.

It is important to note that malpractice and attorney misconduct are not necessarily the same. An attorney can commit legal malpractice and not be in violation of the disciplinary rules, or he ir she can be in violation of the disciplinary rules without having committed legal malpractice.

 

Video with Former TFSC Chair Bassett on CNN AC360 October 13, 2009 Talking about Todd Willingham and Rick Perry’s Pressure

By , October 14, 2009

If you can not see the embedded video below, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Sign a petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.

Video of MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show on Todd Willingham and Rick Perry’s Cover Up

By , October 13, 2009

If you can not see the embedded video below, click here to watch it on YouTube.

Sign a petition to Governor Rick Perry and the State of Texas to acknowledge that the fire in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was not arson, therefore no crime was committed and on February 17, 2004, Texas executed an innocent man.

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