Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dennis Fritz Responds To Lawsuit Author of Journey Toward Justice

“The problem is that Mr. Peterson convicted two innocent men, sent Ronnie and I to the penitentiary for 12 years, based upon alleged evidence that did not go beyond a reasonable doubt.”Fritz said the lawsuit is merely a power play by Peterson “to regain what he has lost because of his actions, or mis-actions.”“He cannot handle the truth that’s been brought out in both Mr. Grisham’s book as well as mine. Dennis Fritz said every word in his book is true as he remembered the events of that time.
“Factually, it’s backed up exactly by every word out of the transcript,” he said.
Fritz said that Peterson achieved their convictions through “several huge mistakes, worse than mistakes, travesties of justice.”
“He doesn’t want to face the truth, really, of what happened,” he said. “He wants to try to make everybody believe that, in fact, he has not done anything wrong.”
I just want to say every word, every part of my book, is 100 percent factual." Fritz said from his home.

District Attorney Bill Peterson and Gary Rogers, a former agent for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, have named Grisham, Fritz and several others in a lawsuit.
The two men, Peterson and Rogers were involved in the arrest and prosecution and wrongful conviction of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, in the murder of cocktail waitress Debbie Sue Carter in Ada, Okla. Williamson and Fritz were freed after 12 years in prison, exonerated by DNA evidence.
Grisham's, "The Innocent Man" and Fritz's ,"Journey Toward Justice" chronicled the history of the case and the experiences of the two men.

A movie based on Grisham's book focusing on Ron Williamson's life reportedly is in the works with George Clooney producing it.
Gary Richardson the attorney for Peterson is quoted in Tulsa World News as saying "Hopefully, they'll make more money so we'll have more to go after them on." he said laughing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

John Grisham and The Innocent Man Dennis Fritz Journey Toward Justice Lawsuit - Fritz is The Other Innocent Man in Grisham's Book The Innocent Man

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:43 PM CDT
TULSA, Okla. - Legal thriller writer John Grisham, an Arkansas native, has been named in a libel lawsuit filed over a nonfiction book he wrote about the 1982 murder of Debbie Sue Carter in Ada.
The lawsuit, filed Friday morning U.S. District Court, also names several other defendants and seeks relief of more than $75,000.

The two men originally convicted of Carter's murder, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, were later exonerated by DNA evidence and freed after 12 years in prison.

Their experiences are chronicled in two books, John Grisham's first nonfiction book, "The Innocent Man," and Fritz's "Journey Toward Justice."

Fritz is among those named as a defendant.

The plaintiffs are Pontotoc County District Attorney Bill Peterson, based in Ada, and Gary Rogers, a former agent for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

A service of the Associated Press(AP)
The Pontotoc County District Attorney Bill Peterson is the prosecutor who sent Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson, 2 innocent men to prison for 12 years with no evidence against them. The real killer was the prosecution's key witness.
I will leave my comments to myself. But,Please add your comments to my blog. Barbara's Journey Toward Justice

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tommy Ward The Confession and Comments From Family

Today I received another comment on my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice, from a family member of Tommy Ward.
Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of murdering Denice Haraway. Haraway, 24, worked part-time at McAnally’s convenience store in Ada, Oklahoma, USA.
John Grisham describes how they finally cracked the case:
After two hours of non-stop hammering, Tommy finally cracked. The pressure came from fear – Smith and Rogers (the police detectives) were angry and seemed perfectly able and willing to slap him around if not outright shoot him – but also from the horror of wasting away on death row before finally getting executed. And it was obvious to Tommy that he would not be allowed to leave until he gave the cops something. After five hours in the room, he was exhausted, confused, and almost paralyzed with fear. He made a mistake, one that would send him to death row and eventually cost him his freedom for life.

Tommy decided to play along… more..
Tommy was brain-dead and barely able to mumble. He tried to recite their tale, but kept getting the facts mixed up. Smith and Rogers would stop him, repeat their fiction, and make him start over. Finally, after four rehearsals with little improvement and their star fading fast, the cops decided to turn on the camera. “Do it now”, they said to Tommy. "Do it right, and none of that dream bullshit."

“But the story ain’t true”, Tommy said. “Just tell it anyway, the cops insisted, then we’ll help you prove it’s not true. And none of that dream bullshit.”…

At 6:58 p.m. Tommy Ward looked at the camera and stated his name. He had been interrogated for eight and a half hours, and he was physically and emotionally wasted… He told his tale. He, Karl Fontenot, and Odell Titsworth kidnapped Denice Haraway from the store, drove out to the power plant on the west side of town, raped her, killed her… Thirty-one minutes later the video was turned off.. END

The “confession” Tommy Ward made to the police wasn’t quite a confession, since the crime as he described it took place in a dream, rather than in real life. The policemen were unable to find the body where Tommy described it in his dream. Smith and Rogers used similar methods to get a confession out of Karl Fontenot.Tommy and Karl have been incarcerated about 22 years.
Tommy is serving a life sentence. Karl's sentence: life without parole.
As they serve another man's sentence, the real killer walks free.
Please read the heartbreaking comments his family made on my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice
Here is one of them:

I am one of Tommy Ward's first cousins. My cousin... I am one of Tommy Ward's first cousins. My cousin Joice is a strong woman and very vocal, she is not afraid to tell it like it is. Tommy's case had really put a rift between some of our relatives. My family and Tommy's have always stood our ground and stood beside Tommy, in believing that Tommy is innocent. Tommy was really close to my Mom and Dad. What Joice told you is true. We want our families to be healed from this anguish and hell we have been going through for the past 22 years. My cousin was unable to have adequate council in the very beginning, because my aunt and uncle could not afford it. Our families didn't have much money, but what we lacked in money, we have in our faith. My hat off to Mr. Fritz too. Thank you for helping tell the world of this injustice.

Monday, September 24, 2007

MSNBC Video Watch Full Episode Online The Accused

Hoda Kotb interviews bestselling author John Grisham about the murder case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of two men in Ada, Oklahoma, and why his first work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man, has generated controversy in law enforcement circles.
Watch the full episode online
1: Real-life Grisham tale
2: Exonerated men
3: Injustice deja vu?
4: Unreliable witness?
5:The D.A. fires back
6: The other court -- public opinion
Seven Locks Press
'Journey Toward Justice'
Read the book
Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz The other innocent man in John Grisham's book 'The Innocent Man' and featured on the show "The Accused".

Sunday, September 23, 2007

John Grisham On The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case Book Until Proven Innocent

A new book about the Duke lacrosse case has made its way on book shelves.
Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (Hardcover) by Stuart Taylor (Author) and KC Johnson (Author), a history professor at the City University of New York's Brooklyn College. Johnson, also runs a blog about the case called Durham-in-Wonderland

The following is from author John Grisham about the book, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case:
Praise for Until Proven Innocent “Brutally honest, unflinching, exhaustively researched, and compulsively readable, Until Proven Innocent excoriates those who led the stampede—the prosecutor, the cops, the media—but it also exposes the cowardice of Duke’s administration and faculty. Until Proven Innocent smothers any lingering doubts that in this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.”

Saturday, September 22, 2007

World Day Against The Death Penalty Oct.10

October 10th is to be observed as the ‘World Day against the Death Penalty’. UN members will vote on a While 130 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, 69 countries retain and use the death penalty. But, the number of countries which actually executes prisoners in any one year is much smaller. Since 1990, more than 50 countries have abolished capital punishment for all crimes.

Human rights organizations like Amnesty International express their unconditional opposition to death penalty as a violation of the right to life and the right to be not subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In fact, the death penalty has never been shown to be a more effective deterrent than other, more humane forms of punishment.
The World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP), of which organizations like Amnesty International are members, is organizing a day of local action around the world on October 10, celebrated as the World Day against the Death Penalty.
Read more

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Duke Law School New Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Innocence Project

Duke University will invest $1.25 million over the next five years for its law school to establish a center devoted to the promotion of justice in the criminal justice system and the training of lawyers to fight against wrongful convictions, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Wednesday.

Duke to Establish Justice Center
AP via SFGate ^ 9/19/7
Durham, N.C. (AP) -- In the wake of the now-debunked rape case against three lacrosse players, Duke University will establish a center devoted to justice and training lawyers to fight wrongful convictions, president Richard Brodhead said Wednesday.

Duke will invest $1.25 million over the next five years for the project at the law school, which will also expand its Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Innocence Project. The clinic and the Innocence Project investigate claims of innocence by the state's convicted felons and raise awareness of problems in the criminal justice system.
(Excerpt)

More From Campus News
Addressing problems in the North Carolina legal system highlighted by the Duke lacrosse case, the center will incorporate and expand the law school’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic and Innocence Project, which investigate credible claims of innocence made by convicted felons in North Carolina and work to raise public awareness of systemic problems in the criminal justice system that lead to wrongful convictions.

“The lacrosse case attracted a lot of publicity, but is not the only case in which innocent people have suffered harm through the state’s legal system,” said Duke Law Professor James Coleman, who led a university committee that examined the lacrosse team’s behavior apart from the case and later was prominent in criticizing the actions of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong.

Coleman and Associate Dean Theresa Newman, who co-teach the Wrongful Convictions Clinic and serve as faculty advisors to the law school’s student-led Innocence Project, are expected to play key roles in the development of the new center. They are leaders in law reform efforts surrounding the issue and serve on the North Carolina Chief Justice’s Criminal Justice Study Commission (formerly named the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission).
excerpt from
Duke University News

New Jerseyans Favor Life Without Parole Over The Death Penalty

I like to post some good news stories from each state and from around the world. Here is a news release from the state of New Jersey.
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty

The goal of
New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) is to win public and political support for the elimination of execution as a form of punishment in New Jersey. It is our conviction that the death penalty is by its nature unjust in application and immoral in principle.
Quinnipiac Poll Finds Majority of New Jerseyans Favor Life Without Parole Over The Death Penalty
Public Support continues to Trend Away from Executions

TRENTON – A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows that New Jerseyans prefer - by a 10-point margin - the punishment of life in prison without parole over the death penalty.

By a 51 to 41 % margin, the poll found that New Jerseyans believe that life in prison without parole is the more appropriate punishment for murder.

"This poll demonstrates that a majority of New Jerseyans agree with the conclusion of the distinguished Death Penalty Study Commission, which is that the death penalty in our state is a failed experiment in every respect and should be replaced with the tough punishment of life in prison without parole," said Celeste Fitzgerald, program director of New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.

The poll results reflect a continued trend away from the death penalty, with an additional 6% of voters choosing life without parole over the death penalty from the last poll conducted by Quinnipiac University in 2003.

This trend away from capital punishment is also seen nationally. Last year for the first time, the national Gallup poll reported that Americans now prefer life without parole over the death penalty. According to the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington DC, in 2006, death sentences in the U.S. dropped to their lowest annual level in 30 years

NJADP has campaigned since 1999 for an end to the death penalty. It is the core group of more than 200 New Jersey organizations and 10,000 members representing a wide variety of groups and interests.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Actual Innocence

The Actual Innocence awareness database, provides a listing of United States resources to those interested in the area of wrongful convictions. Recently launched by the Tarlton Law Library at the University of Texas School of Law.

I highly recommend this great new site for anyone contemplating a legal career, law students, attorneys and anyone else interested in the topic area of wrongful convictions in criminal law. It encompasses the categories of popular media (such as newspaper articles and segments which aired on television news magazines), journal articles, books, reports, legislation and websites.

The materials are classified into what are considered the primary causes of wrongful conviction: forensics/DNA; eyewitness identification; false confessions; jailhouse informants; police and/or prosecutorial misconduct; and ineffective representation.
Links for law review articles with text in PDF. The site is well organized by subtopics and RSS-enabled to allow users to receive automatic notices of updates.

I also highly recommend reading the book "Journey Toward Justice", author Dennis Fritz. I believe Dennis Fritz's book should be required reading for everyone involved in our justice system. Dennis Fritz is the other innocent man in John Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man.

Dennis Fritz tells his personal story of his unwarranted prosecution, and wrongful conviction in his book,"Journey Toward Justice". Dennis served 12 years for a murder he did not commit. A chilling illustration of how one prosecutor's reckless pursuit of justice shattered his life.

With the aid of Barry Scheck and The Innocence Project, devoted to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, Dennis Fritz was exonerated. The real killer, turned out to be one of the prosecution's key witness.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Celebrities and People of Notoriety Opposed to the Death Penalty Photos

Celebrities and People of Notoriety Opposed to the Death Penalty. An original art project by Scott Langley, inspired by Robert Rosenheck's "LOVE" project.
This photo project is designed to develop a collection of photographs depicting outspoken celebrities and other people of notoriety who oppose the death penalty, by tying them all together by holding the same "I Oppose the Death Penalty!" sign. A kind of "visual petition," if you will.
Musicians, actors, actresses, authors, politicians and others have a history of using their public positions to speak out on a variety of issues - including the death penalty. This is an ongoing project and will be developed over time. Click
Here to view the photos.

Artist's Biography:
Scott Langley is a free-lance photojournalist based in Boston. From 1996-2000, Scott was a Texas press photographer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. His documentary work has been widespread throughout the world in recent years - appearing in newspapers, magazines, books, encyclopedias, theater productions, calendars, films, on television, t-shirts and even in a European music video. In addition to work as a photographer, Scott has been an active grassroots organizer against the death penalty since 1999.

In 2004, he and his wife co-founded the Raleigh Catholic Worker Hospitality House where families of North Carolina death row prisoners may find free shelter, food and support. Since 2004 Scott has served as an Amnesty International USA State Death Penalty Coordinator, first in North Carolina and now in Massachusetts. He now works on an international level to end executions and to educate people about the death penalty, traveling within and outside the U.S. to speak about capital punishment, his work against executions, his work with death row families, and about his photography documentary project.

More about Scott Langley

The Ku Klux Klan rallying in support of a black man’s execution in Texas. The North Carolina death row warden wheeling a gurney into the execution chamber. Weeping family members at the moment of a loved one’s execution. These are just a few of the images captured in Scott Langley’s chilling death penalty documentary photography project, which is the most comprehensive collection of original death penalty photographs on the internet.

The documentary includes execution vigils, inside an execution chamber, the hours leading up to an execution, portraits of exonerated death row prisoners, celebrities opposed to the death penalty, marches, demonstrations and candid emotional and prayerful moments.
The Death Penalty Photography Documentary Project is an eight-year product of exploring capital punishment through the photographer's lens. It was birthed from a college art project to creatively address a human rights issue, and started with a few photos from an execution vigil in Huntsville, Texas.

The original project has since grown into an internationally shown exhibit consisting of over 800 images - making it the largest, most varied known collection of photos about the death penalty in the United States' modern era.
This work-in-progress highlights Scott Langley's efforts as a photojournalist and a human rights activist - bringing together the unique combination of art, journalism and education into one powerful project. The exhibit has been exhibited by Amnesty International in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Raleigh, Germany, Denmark, at Harvard and Cornell Universities, and in print and video media across the world

Images of the Death Penalty Photographs by Scott Langley website.
Scott Langley's Death Penalty Documentary Photography Project

International Issues and Capital Punishment Podcast

A great podcast from Dr. Michael Blankenship.
International Issues & Capital Punishment Episode 9 International Issues & Capital Punishment
The U.S. is part of a shrinking minority of countries that retain the death penalty. It has also engaged in repeated treaty violations while ignoring both the laws of other countries and international courts. This episode explores issues such extradition, consular law, and growing world opposition to the death penalty. (Length 9:46)
For more information about capital punishment, visit the
Death Penalty Information

Michael B. Blankenship is currently a professor of criminal justice at Boise State University. He served as Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs from June, 2002 until December, 2006. Prior to his arrival at BSU, he served as Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at East Tennessee State University.
Dr. Blankenship is a native of Asheville, North Carolina. He earned a B.S. degree in criminal justice and a M.P.A degree from
Western Carolina University, and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from Sam Houston State University. Prior to his graduate studies, Dr. Blankenship served as a police officer for seven years in his home town.
Dr. Blankenship has taught online courses on capital punishment, white-collar crime, policing, statistics, and introductory criminal justice and Web-enhanced courses on white-collar crime and management. He is coauthor of a
statistics text and has edited a volume on corporate criminality. His empirical research has focused on capital punishment and white-collar crime.
Dr. Blankenship served previously as editor of the American Journal of Criminal Justice, President of the Southern Criminal Justice Association, and as program chair for the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

John Grisham Playing For Pizza

For my John Grisham fans, I have news for you. John Grisham's new book "Playing For Pizza", will be released Sept.24. John Grisham has sold over 200 million books worldwide and, American football is the most popular spectator sport in the USA. Football/soccer is played fervently in Europe, Latin America and in Africa. Pizza sales are over 5 billion worldwide every year. I am sure John Grisham's novel, "Playing For Pizza" will be a Bestseller. The idea for his new novel grew out of time the author spent in Italy researching his last novel, 'The Broker,' which was set in Bologna.

"Playing For Pizza"
Rick Dockery was the third-string quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. In the AFC Championship game against Denver, to the surprise and dismay of virtually everyone, Rick actually got into the game. With a 17-point lead and just minutes to go, Rick provided what was arguably the worst single performance in the history of the NFL. Overnight, he became a national laughingstock and, of course, was immediately cut by the Browns and shunned by all other teams.
But all Rick knows is football, and he insists that his agent, Arnie, find a team that needs him. Against enormous odds Arnie finally locates just such a team and informs Rick that, miraculously, he can in fact now be a starting quarterback. Great, says Rick — for which team?
The mighty Panthers of Parma, Italy.

Read More

National Weekend of Faith in Action

October 19-21, 2007 The National Weekend of Faith in Action (NWFA) is an opportunity for faith communities, interfaith groups, human rights activists, and others to examine the death penalty from a faith-based or values-based perspective.
Set aside some time during the weekend of October 19-21 for an activity or event that focuses on the death penalty.

read more

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Innocent - An Operation of Support For The Wrongly Convicted

Innocent ! An Operation of Support For The Wrongly Convicted. Please visit their website Innocent ! HERE
This is from their site;

Our Purpose - Response One of our purposes is to respond to every request for assistance. We may not be able to actually provide that assistance, but we will do our level best to find help for any inmate, any inmates family member, or any acquaintance of an inmate, and do it promptly!
We do our best to keep abreast of all services available to inmates in every state. This includes not only legal services, such as Innocence Projects, but other services that may be provided by religious and/or support groups.
Most of this information is available at our second web site:
In addition to sending the inquirer to that site, we also check our files for any updates, and promptly respond with a personal letter.
If the letter indicates special needs, such as medical attention for an inmate, we attempt to find some one or some agency that can at least respond.

Grass-roots Support
For that inmate whose case has been accepted by a member of the national Innocence Network, we offer assistance in numerous areas, including:
serving as a liaison between the inmate and the legal team,
helping family and friends to establish an email information network, helping supporters to organize a citizens committee,providing expertise in how to work with local area media,helping to attract the attention of celebrities like Dr. Rubin Hurricane Carter,providing advice on the getting local attention with the use of
billboards,press conference,fund-raisers,government body resolutions,outdoor demonstrations,teaching how to enlist the aid of local churches and the clergy
instructions on how to organize a letter-to-the-editor campaign and even more!

Death Penalty Not Cheaper Than Life In Prison

According to New Yorkers Against The Death Penalty, The Death Penalty cost a great deal more than life in prison.
"Elimination of the death penalty [in California] would result in a net savings to the state of at least tens of millions of dollars annually, and a net savings to local governments in the millions to tens of millions of dollars on a statewide basis." (Joint Legislative Budget Committee of the California Legislature, 09/9/99)
Total cost of death penalty is 38% greater than total cost of life without parole sentences. (Indiana Criminal Law Study Commission, January 10, 2002)

Since its return to New York in 1995, $160 million has been spent. The New York Daily News estimates that before the first execution takes place, $238 million will be spent.
In addition to the funds required to try death penalty cases, the New York Department of Correctional Services spent $1.3 million to construct New York's 12-inmate death row and pays nearly $300,000 per year to guard the unit. (New York Law Journal, April 30, 2002)
NYADP advocates that the money spent on the death penalty should be spent on crime prevention programs and victims’ assistance programs, both of which are severely under-funded.

Ada Oklahoma Notable Persons

  1. Dennis Fritz - Former teacher, who along with Ron Williamson, was wrongfully convicted of murder and was the other subject of John Grisham's The Innocent Man. Author of an autobiography titled Journey Towards Justice, published by Seven Locks Press in 2006, which is the story of Dennis' life and the twelve years he spent wronfully incarcerated in the Oklahoma prison system.
  2. Ron Williamson - Former Minor League Baseball player who was wrongfully convicted of murder and was the main subject of John Grisham's The Innocent Man.
  3. Don B. Billingsley - Billingsley, who graduated from East Central University in 1993 , previously played high school football in Odessa, Texas for the Permian Panthers. He is portrayed by Garrett Hedlund in the 2004 film Friday Night Lights as tortured tailback who has to try and live up to the expectations of his father.
  4. Jeremy Castle, a country music star, was born in Blanchard, OK, and attended East Central University.
  5. Charles "Chuckie" Caufield - Professional baseball player and former outfielder for Oklahoma Sooners, Charles was born in Ada and graduated from Ada High School. He earned All-State honors in basketball as a senior
  6. Dan Cody, a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens was born in Ada.
  7. Lowell Fulson - guitarist, moved to Ada in 1938.
  8. Mark Gastineau - National Football League all-star, ECU graduate.
  9. David Jimenez - Professional comedian ECU graduate
  10. M.G. Kelly - Nationally syndicated disc jockey.
  11. Kristian Bergsnes - Professional songwriter.
  12. Robert S. Kerr - Former Oklahoma Governor and long-time US Senator, born in Ada.
  13. Jane Lawton - Delegate, Maryland General Assembly.
  14. Zac Maloy - Singer and founding member of post-grunge band The Nixons.
  15. Jody Newberry - Professional Bull Rider, 2003 PBR Rookie of the Year and 2003 PBR Finals Event Winner.
  16. Dwayne O'Brien - Singer and founding member of country band Little Texas.
  17. William Peterson - Pontotoc County district attorney .
  18. Oral Roberts - Evangelist, born in Ada.
  19. Blake Shelton – Rising country music star. Has had several top 10 hits.
  20. Jeremy Shockey – National Football League tight end, born in Ada.
  21. Leon Polk Smith - Abstract artist known for his work with geometric painting, graduate of East Central University.
  22. Harland Stonecipher - Founder and CEO of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Library Boy: 50 Years Later, Truscott Murder Conviction Deemed 'Miscarriage of Justice'

Library Boy in my opinion is one of the Best Bloggers for law news in Canada. Former news researcher/journalist and web producer, reference librarian at the Supreme Court of Canada since Sept. '05, graduate of McGill University.
He has a Great post about the Steven Truscott's case:

At age 14, Truscott was sentenced to hang in 1959 in what became one of the most famous and controversial trials in the Canadian history. His sentence was later commuted to life in prison. He was paroled after 10 years in federal penitentiary

Read more here:
Library Boy: 50 Years Later, Truscott Murder Conviction Deemed 'Miscarriage of Justice'

Monday, September 10, 2007

The State Calls Glen Gore : Journey Toward Justice Book Excerpt

"The state calls Glen Gore," Peterson declared in his calm
and bold manner.
Gore was short and stocky with a plump face and black
wavy hair. He was sworn in and sat nervously in the witness chair
as he waited for Peterson to speak.
The district attorney asked Gore to name his past felonies
for which he had received convictions.
"Objections, Your Honor. The state doesn't have the right to
impeach its own witnesses," Barney argued.
"Overruled, Mr Ward. There's an evidence code, and if he's
a hostile witness, I think it's for your own behalf. I will allow him
to proceed.
"Gore had recently been brought back from penitentiary
after he had been convicted of kidnapping, first-degree burglary,
and shooting with the intent to kill. He had a string of other felonies
but he only named the convictions he received time on. He was a
smooth talker once he got started. His answers were straightforward
and without hesitation. His dark, ominous eyes shifted from side
to side as he purported the events of December 7, 1982, the eve
of Debbie's murder.
"I went out to the Coach Light nightclub...............
page 105
Excerpted from Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz Copyright © 2006 by Seven Locks Press. Excerpted by permission of Seven Locks Press All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

I did one book excerpt on my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice and received many emails from readers ... they wanted more. I decided to start another blog just for Dennis Fritz's, Journey Toward Justice Book Excerpts. I will be adding more as time goes by.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Laws Would Help Keep Innocent Out Of Prison

Laws would help keep innocent out of prison
By Gloria Romero, Elaine Alquist and Mark Ridley-Thomas Article Launched: 09/07/2007 01:34:05 AM PDT

It's hard to imagine why someone would confess to a double murder he didn't commit. It's hard to imagine, that is, until you hear Harold Hall describe the 17 hours of intense interrogation he endured when he was 18 years old. The only way out was to tell his interrogators what they wanted to hear.

Prosecutors bolstered his false confession with false testimony by a jailhouse informant. The jury convicted him and prosecutors asked for the death penalty. Hall told the jury that he was an innocent man. They spared him from the death penalty, but sentenced him to life without parole.

Hall lost 19 years of his life before he was finally granted a new trial and the charges dismissed. This past January, Timothy Atkins was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder and robbery. In February, he walked into the arms of his family and stood on the steps of the court house with his lawyers from the California Innocence Project, a free man for the first time in 20 years. Atkins was wrongfully convicted based on mistaken eyewitness identification and the testimony of an informant who had been told by Los Angeles police, "You're not going to leave until you tell us something."

This summer, The Innocence Project in New York marked the 200th case in which DNA evidence freed an innocent person.

Most wrongful convictions result from coerced confessions, false testimony by jailhouse informants or mistaken eyewitness identifications.

Wrongful convictions lead to three significant injustices: an innocent person is incarcerated; criminal investigations end, leaving the real perpetrator free to commit more crimes; and victims' families suffer.

In addition, police or the state may be sued for wrongful incarceration leading to large financial settlements. To prevent all of these injustices, we have introduced a trio of bills to help end wrongful convictions, as recommended by the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice. Chaired by former Attorney General John Van de Kamp, the commission includes representatives of law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys and victims' advocates and has recommended these legislative reforms.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two similar bills last year. Although he praised the concept of the bills, the governor cited "drafting errors" in his vetoes. Those "errors" have since been corrected.

This week, the Legislature passed all three bills and sent them to Schwarzenegger.

In the interest of justice, we urge him to sign all three bills this month. Electronic recording of custodial interrogations would help end coerced confessions and protect both defendants and the police

SB511 (Alquist) would mandate recording of the entire interrogation,including the Miranda warning. Several other states already require recording of the full interrogation, including Iowa, New Mexico and Wisconsin. Prosecutors and law enforcement officers praise the practice in every state where it is now required.

Misidentification of perpetrators by eyewitnesses causes the most wrongful convictions.

SB 756 (Ridley-Thomas) would require the attorney general to develop voluntary guidelines for conducting lineups based on documented best practices.

The third proposed law would curb false testimony by jailhouse informants by requiring corroborating evidence for all such testimony. Jailhouse informants have strong reasons to lie because they are offered leniency in return for information.

SB 609 (Romero) would not affect a large number of cases in California, but it would provide important protections, particularly in death penalty cases. Working to free innocent people wrongly imprisoned is a long process, often taken up by volunteer attorneys and law students who can serve only a small fraction of those who need assistance. This trio of bills would curb the most common causes of wrongful convictions and protect defendants, police, victims and the state.

GLORIA ROMERO is the state Senate majority leader and represents part of Los Angeles.

ELAINE ALQUIST is a state senator representing San Jose.

MARK RIDLEY- THOMAS is a state senator representing part of Los Angeles. All Democrats, they wrote this article for the Mercury News .

Book Recommendation, "Journey Toward Justice", author Dennis Fritz.
Dennis Fritz is the other innocent man in John Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man".

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Stop Wrongful Convictions in California

The three most common causes of wrongful conviction are mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions, and false testimony by informants. Modern DNA evidence has proven that innocent people are sent to prison for crimes they did not commit far more often than we think. But we can change that.

The California State Senate created the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice to review the causes of wrongful conviction and wrongful execution in California.

The Commission has issued three interim reports recommending legislative changes to prevent the most common causes of wrongful conviction in California: mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions and the use of jailhouse informants.

Three bills have been introduced to implement the Commission's recommended reforms:

Senate Bill 511 (Alquist) will require the electronic recording of police interrogation in cases involving homicides and other serious felonies.

Senate Bill 756 (Ridley-Thomas) will require the appointment of a task force to draft guidelines for the conduct of police line-ups and photo arrays to increase the accuracy of eyewitness identifications.

Senate Bill 609 (Romero) will require the corroboration of testimony by jailhouse informants.

The California Commission on the Fair Administration a group of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, has recommended all three reforms.

These reforms will help protect the innocent and make sure the guilty are convicted.
Tell Governor Schwarzenegger to support bills aimed at eliminating wrongful conviction.
Update:Petition ended

Help End Wrongful Convictions - Support SB511, SB756, and
SB 609
The California State Senate created the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice to review the causes of wrongful conviction and wrongful execution in California. The Commission has issued three interim reports recommending legislative changes to prevent the most common causes of wrongful conviction in California: mistaken eyewitness identification, false confessions and the use of jailhouse informants.

Three bills have been introduced to implement the Commission's recommended reforms:

Senate Bill 511 (Alquist) will require the electronic recording of police interrogation in cases involving homicides and other serious felonies.

Senate Bill 756 (Ridley-Thomas) will require the appointment of a task force to draft guidelines for the conduct of police line-ups and photo arrays to increase the accuracy of eyewitness identifications.

Senate Bill 609 (Romero) will require the corroboration of testimony by jailhouse informants.

The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice'a group of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and defense attorneys, has recommended all three reforms. These reforms will help protect the innocent and make sure the guilty are convicted.

Urge the Governor to support these bills.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Video Keyes-Obama debate 2 Death Penalty and Abortion

10/21/2004: Debate on death penalty and abortion. Alan Keys and Barack Obama
You Tube Video.
Debate Organized by the League of Women Voters, Chicago Urban League and Asian American Institute

read more digg story

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Innocent Man Dennis Fritz: Journey Toward Justice Book Excerpts

January 2006, I read Dennis Fritz's book "Journey Toward Justice,
Now a bestseller on Amazon. I started a blog titled Barbara's Journey Toward Justice .
After reading "Journey Toward Justice" by Dennis Fritz, I decided to join his Journey. To bring Public awareness of issues. Such as : Wrongful Convictions - Death Penalty - The Exonerated - Faith - The Criminal Justice System and The Innocence Project.

I did one book excerpt on my blog and received many emails from readers ... they wanted more. I decided to start another blog just for Dennis Fritz's, Journey Toward Justice Book Excerpts. I will be adding more as time goes by.
I do this on my own free will, in my free time and without monetary compensation.

If I save just one man or woman from what Dennis Fritz has been through, all my hard work will be, not hard work, but a blessing.

Below is what some critics say about "Journey Toward Justice" by Dennis Fritz.

Praise From John Grisham:
Journey Toward Justice By: Dennis Fritz The story of the unwarranted prosecution and wrongful conviction of Dennis Fritz is compelling and fascinating. After serving eleven years for a murder he did not commit, Dennis was exonerated and had the strength and courage to put his life back together.- John Grisham

There have been one hundred eighty-one post-conviction DNA exonerations in America . The exonerated and their families are the heart and soul of this movement. There is no more decent and dignified a man, nor a more gentle soul, than Dennis Fritz. He has had the fortitude to tell his whole story. As always, I am in awe of his courage and humbled by his efforts. - Barry C. Scheck The Innocence Project

Overzealous prosecutors led justice astray as their lust for an unjustified conviction of two innocent men caused a bizarre nightmare to unfold and greatly affect the judicial integrity of our legal justice system. - Judge Donald McCartin Retired Superior Court Judge The Hanging judge of Orange County , CA , who sentenced nine men to death row

Within the first pages of Journey Toward Justice , Dennis Fritz grabs the reader's attention. His vivid descriptions recall memories of a time when Ada was stunned by the brutal murder of a young woman. At last, Mr. Fritz tells his side of an event that changed his life and this small community forever. - Brenda Tollett Ada Evening News

Riveting and provocative-a heartfelt journey about truth, determination and justice.-Stephanie Esposito Producer, Court TV documentary Stories of the Innocence Project: Broken Words

This heartbreaking and true story is a must-read for anyone interested in the perversion of justice. - Alexandra Pelosi HBO Documentary Films Director Former NBC Dateline producer Attended exoneration

Dennis's book is simultaneously entertaining and horrifying. Journey Toward Justice is a story of great impact and great importance.- Mark Barrett Defense Attorney

Nobody wants to believe our courts are capable of serious and tragic mistakes, let alone systemic corruption. But the evidence suggests that while most people in law enforcement operate decently, others repeatedly place conviction rates above justice. Journey Toward Justice , one innocent man's story, reads like a detective story, with numerous twists and turns, racing toward a conclusion. Not only does it offer an authentic sense of life in prison, it should serve as an admonition to anyone who serves on a jury: Take the "beyond a reasonable doubt" with deadly seriousness, and don't allow yourself to be railroaded.- Alan W. Bock Senior Editorial Writer Orange County Register Author, Waiting to Inhale

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS! Dennis Fritz's "Journey" exposes serious potholes and detours in the convoluted road toward justice. It's an emotionally breathtaking ride you'll never forget.- Don Lasseter True Crime Author

Journey Toward Justice clearly brings to fore the immense burden upon any civilized society to prove the guilt or innocence of its citizens beyond a reasonable doubt so that the framework of justice can prevail.- Judge Issac Shimoni Vice President Central Court Jerusalem , Israel

Journey Toward Justice sheds a light on the grim reality that lurks in the shadows of the American justice system. This powerful saga spins a dramatic web of intrigue that is even more chilling because it is true. Were it not for Mr. Fritz's fortitude and the watchful work of The Innocence Project, this innocent man would still be rotting in jail.- Margaret Burk Founder, Round Table West The largest book club on the West Coast

Journey Toward Justice is a classic example of how real life can be stranger and more frightening than fiction. Dennis Fritz's tale of the true life nightmare visited on him by often-times corrupt and other-times incompetent law enforcement officials will frighten the reader more than any novel can.- Joseph Badal Author, The Pythagorean Solution , Terror Cell

"Journey Toward Justice" Memoir by Dennis Fritz - Seven Locks Press, Santa Ana, Ca On Amazon Here

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Innocence Project Wrongful Conviction Workshop

For students planning course selections for the fall and beyond or for anyone thinking of attending law school — here is something worth checking out.
Wrongful Conviction Workshops.
Innocence Project

The Innocence Project at
Osgoode Hall Law School York University involves work on cases of suspected wrongful conviction. Students will be working on files under the direction of Professor Dianne Martin with supervision from local lawyers in addition to studying areas of law germane to the problem of wrongful conviction.

The Innocence Project will involve work over two terms. Students will work on a directed research project of three credit hours in the first term and a clinical program of six credit hours in the second term for a total of nine credits. Students will be selected on the basis of an interview conducted with the two Directors of the Project

The heart of the program is supervised clinical work on actual cases of possible wrongful conviction which have been pre-screened by the Directors of the Project and by the
Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted (AIDWYC). Beyond the investigative work which must be undertaken on any file, students will be required to conduct an exhaustive review of the record in the trial and appellate courts, and may be involved in obtaining new forensic or DNA testing. Students will also be responsible for a major paper on an issue relevant to the problem of wrongful conviction.

Throughout the two terms, students will be required to attend regular workshops on issues relevant to the problem of wrongful conviction. In terms of the major paper and the workshops, students in the Innocence Project will study the following subjects:
Forensic Testing
The Law of Interrogation
The Law and the Flaws of Eyewitness Identification
Analyzing Circumstantial Evidence
Professional Conduct: Crown Disclosure, Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
Exculpatory Evidence and Evidence of "Other Suspects"
Overreaching Prosecution (including evaluation of opening and closing addresses to the jury)
Change of Venue and Challenge for Cause
Jail House Confession and the Use of Informants

Clinical work will be evaluated on the basis of a pass/fail grade and a detailed evaluation prepared by the Directors of the Project. The major paper will receive a letter grade.

A Book Recommendation for all Wrongful Conviction Workshops."Journey Toward Justice" author,Dennis Fritz

Dennis Fritz's Book "Journey Toward Justice" click
On Amazon Here
International Orders Order Here "Journey Toward Justice" by Dennis Fritz From Around The World click on here
Amazon International Just type in Journey Toward Justice Author Dennis Fritz

Monday, September 3, 2007

Worlds Oldest Blogger

I have a blog called "Barbara's Journey Toward Justice". My main issues are, wrongful convictions, death penalty, the innocence project, criminal justice system and faith. This story will be filed under faith. As a baby boomer and a blogger, I found this story amazing.
Two quotes come to my mind here. They are:
"You're never too old to become young" - Mae West and
"You are never too old to read and love"- Dr. Seuss

A Spanish great-grandmother has gained an international following, gaining more than a third of a million hits on her blog. Amelia López is against nursing homes and just sitting around waiting to die. She wonders why nursing homes don't provide Internet access.
"You have to live life," the silver-haired blogger said in her most recent post. "Not sit around in an armchair waiting for death."
Among her chief hates are old people's homes, which she criticises for drugging their clients so they spend their final days snoozing quietly in front of the television
"Internet has given me a new lease of life, but I don't see any old people's homes offering their residents Internet," she said.

Here is a story from
Source: guardian
She is billed as the world's oldest blogger. At 95 years old and with a worldwide following that has seen more than 340,000 hits on her blog, Spaniard María Amelia López has achieved the kind of status that millions of younger internet chroniclers can only dream of.
López, who was introduced to the world of blogging by one of her grandchildren just eight months ago, has become such a global hit that she receives posts in languages as strange and impossible for her to understand as Russian, Japanese and Arabic.
"My name is Amelia and I was born in Muxía (A Coruña - Spain) on December the 23rd of 1911," she wrote as her first post on "Today it's my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog."
With a mix of humour, warmth, optimism, nostalgia and feisty outbursts of leftwing polemic, she has won a regular readership of people keen to find out just what this Spanish great-grandmother is going to say or do next.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Dennis Fritz "IF" There Were No Flowers

Dennis Fritz, author of "Journey Toward Justice", read the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling to the lone juror who saved him from the death penalty.
The poem was read to Bonnie Flowers at a book signing in Ada, Oklahoma. Fritz told the audience, that if Bonnie had not had the courage to stand up for him then he was sure he would have been put to death.

Dennis Fritz read the Rudyard Kipling poem “If”, to Bonnie Flowers as it had special meaning to him. The poem was given to him early in his prison sentence by his aunt who died just eight days before he was released. In his book dedication he writes-

"To the lord for giving me the emotional strength and perseverance to endure, and to my mother, Aunt Wilma, and Elizabeth for their continued strength and support" -

Here is the Poem
"IF" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;

If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,

And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Language Translator

For my international readers, I have a language translator on both my blogs Barbara's Journey Toward Justice and Journey Toward Justice Book Excerpts. Translates to French, German , Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese simplified, Korean and Arabic. Just click on the flag of your nation.
I feel the issues in my blog are important to the whole world, and I want to thank all my international readers for their visit to my blog. Some of the email I receive is interesting. Comments, stories and views in English are always welcomed.
I delete all email with forwards and all spam will be fried.
Thank you all again for your visit.