Thursday, September 25, 2008

Johnnie Lee Savory - Falsely Accused, Unjustly Convicted: A Child's Story

Let me tell you about Johnnie's story.

In 1977, when Johnnie Lee Savory was 14, he was falsely accused and unjustly convicted for killing his best friend and his best friend's sister in their hometown of Peoria, Illinois.
With the help of Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions, he was paroled and released in late 2006, after spending 30 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Since Johnnie's release from prison, he has organized a broad coalition of support from some of the most influential and respected lawyers and legal minds in the country. Including John Grisham, - see my post - Sunday, January 27, 2008
"John Grisham Seeks Governor's Aid In DNA-Test Request For Man Convicted Of Double-Murder", click HERE .

Though a free man today, society still considers Savory an ex-felon, which is why he is asking Governor Rod Blagojevich to order DNA testing of the evidence that was used to convict him.

With nothing to personally gain, Johnnie's supporters all agree that his case from start to finish was grossly mishandled, and that the evidence used to convict him demands DNA testing.

Johnnie has started a campaign called Justice for Savory to shine a light on this injustice.

The campaign includes a blog, which you can find here:
Here's the url to Johnnie's youtube channel:

On the youtube channel, they just posted a youtube video by Rob Warden, the executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions. In the video, Mr. Warden explains why Johnnie's case demands DNA testing and addresses why Lyons is afraid of the truth. Here's the link to the video:

Monday, September 22, 2008

CASE DISMISSED Grisham - Fritz - Mayer - Scheck Lawsuit

--CASE DISMISSED--September 17, 2008
United States District Court Eastern District of Oklahoma -
In September, 2007, William N. Peterson, the District Attorney in Ada, Oklahoma, filed a complaint for civil conspiracy, libel, publicity placing a person in false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The complaint was a result of the depiction of Prosecutor Peterson in the following books:
  • The Innocent Man by John Grisham -- Doubleday Publishing
  • Journey Toward Justice by Dennis Fritz -- Seven Locks Press
  • Dreams of Ada by Robert Mayer - Broadway Books

The defendants named were:
John Grisham - Doubleday Publishing
Dennis Fritz - Seven Locks Press
Robert Mayer - Broadway Books
Barry Scheck - Random House
James C. Riordan
On September 17, 2008, Ronald A. White, United States District Judge, Eastern District of Oklahoma GRANTED the defendants motion to dismiss.

Judge White in his opinion stated:
"The conduct complained of here is not extreme and outrageous for two reasons:

(1) the statements are not defamatory because they are constitutionally and statutorily protected and;
(2) the alleged conduct is not atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.

Therefore it is not plausible that these statements about public officials concerning matters of public concern even comes close to extreme and outrageous conduct."

This is Great News !!

UPDATE - Oct. 2008
This story is just unbelievable. A libel lawsuit against Dennis Fritz, author of Journey Toward Justice and author, John Grisham headed to court of appeals.
Read More HERE

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Federal Judge Dismisses Libel Lawsuit Against John Grisham

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a libel lawsuit against best-selling author John Grisham over a nonfiction book he wrote about the 1982 killing of an Ada cocktail waitress, calling the petition's claims "not plausible.”

The lawsuit was filed last year by former Pontotoc County District Attorney William Peterson, former Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation investigator Gary Rogers and Melvin Hett, an OSBI criminologist.

The lawsuit named Grisham, his publishing company and the authors and publishing companies of two other books critical of Peterson and his prosecution of murder cases.

Also named as a defendant was Barry Scheck, founder of the New York-based Innocence Project and an attorney for one of the men falsely accused in the killing of Debbie Sue Carter.

U.S. District Judge Ronald White on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuit saying, "What two words best describe a claim for money damages by government officials against authors and publishers of books describing purported prosecutorial misconduct? Answer: Not plausible.”

Pair cleared by DNA
Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson were prosecuted by Peterson and convicted of killing Carter. They were later cleared by DNA evidence and freed after 12 years in prison. Williamson, who was sentenced to death, was just five days away from his execution when he was granted a stay.
Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man,” and Fritz's "Journey Toward Justice” both documented the killing and subsequent trials. A third book, "The Dreams of Ada” by Robert Mayer, explored the investigation and prosecution of two other men for the 1984 killing of Denice Haraway in Ada.

Judge says analysis, criticism are needed
The plaintiffs alleged in their lawsuit that the defendants conspired to commit libel, generated publicity for themselves by placing the plaintiffs in a false light and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
White rejected those claims in his ruling Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

"Where the justice system so manifestly failed and innocent people were imprisoned for 11 years (one almost put to death), it is necessary to analyze and criticize our judicial system (and the actors involved) so that past mistakes do not become future ones,” White wrote in his ruling. "The wrongful convictions of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz must be discussed openly and with great vigor.”

The original lawsuit had alleged that attorneys for Fritz and Williamson participated in the wrongful treatment. At one point in the ruling, White quoted the movie "Casablanca,” and he included a footnote with a YouTube link in his ruling as a parody of how attorneys met with experts and discussed the facts of the case, using the opinions that are most favorable to their side.

Gary Richardson, the attorney for Peterson, Rogers and Hett, said he was still reading the judge's order to determine whether he would file an appeal.

"Of course, I'm quite disappointed and a bit surprised at the ruling,” Richardson said. "I felt that we had a solid case.”

Scheck, who worked to help free Fritz and Williamson, said he was pleased with the ruling.

"This is a victory for free speech and for holding officials publicly accountable for their role in wrongful convictions,” Scheck said in statement. "The court noted that we can learn from wrongful convictions to improve the system, and we can't do that unless these cases are fully examined, even when the facts are embarrassing for public officials who were involved in these miscarriages of justice.”

My first post on story - Tuesday, October 2, 2007

DA Bill Peterson Suing The Innocent Man Dennis Fritz For Emotional Distress
Dennis Fritz, who wrote the book, "Journey Toward Justice", is named as a defendant in a libel lawsuit along with , John Grisham, author of "The Innocent Man", Robert Mayer, author of "The Dreams of Ada", and all their publishers, and New York City attorney Barry Scheck, Fritz's former lawyer who once represented Fritz and is co-director of The Innocence Project.

With the aid of Barry Scheck and irrefutable DNA evidence, Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson were exonerated in 1999. Pontotoc County District Attorney Bill Peterson and Gary Rogers, a former agent for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation filed the libel lawsuit. The lawsuit, seeks at least $75,000 compensation and demands a jury trial. Peterson and Rogers were instrumental in the conviction of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz in the murder of Debbie Sue Carter in Ada, Oklahoma in 1982.

The conviction was later overturned on DNA evidence pursued by the Innocence Project, which Scheck heads, Dennis Fritz was wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit and spent 12 years in prison. Part of the lawsuit claims the defendants conspired to commit libel against the plaintiffs, generate publicity for self interest by placing them in a false light and intentionally inflicting emotional distress upon them.

So... Prosecutor with the help of Gary Rogers sent 2 innocent men, Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson to prison for 12 years. Both Innocent men freed by DNA evaluation of crime scene evidence. Innocent man, Dennis Fritz writes book about his experiences. Prosecutor and Gary Rogers sue the innocent man they wrongfully sent to prison and Prosecutor and Rogers sue for intentionally inflicting emotional distress upon them. Only in America Folks...
Posted by Barbara's Journey Toward Justice

Dennis Fritz, "The Innocent Man" and John Grisham's Real Life, "Appeal"
This story is just unbelievable. A libel lawsuit against Dennis Fritz, author of Journey Toward Justice and author, John Grisham headed to court of appe
als. Read More HERE