Friday, October 20, 2006

LaTourette Keeping Innocent Man in Jail?

Hi Everyone,

Just thought I would alert you to another post about Steve's prosecutorial misconduct. There is potentially an innocent man in jail b/c Steve wanted to go to congress and not have another case overturned. It actually was overturned the first time. You should all take a look at this post. Lew has committed to pursuing this win or lose. As a criminal law expert, he is outraged at the thought.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=172x20115#20126

Also, here is the post, but you might want to read the responses.

--Eleina

I think Mr. Katz should know about this case being an expert in criminal law.

Background
Mr. Larry Schlee was first convicted in 1993 of the 1980 murder of Mr. Frank Carroll. (Lake County Common Pleas case # 92CR517). The first conviction was overturned because Steve LaTourette committed prosecutorial misconduct--a recurring theme of his prosecutorial practices in the 1990's.

(See also the following cases: State v. Wolfe, State v. LaFreniere, and State v. Weaver.)

Latourette also jeopardized the Lundgren conviction through prosecutorial misconduct. (Lundgren is the primary case he uses for political purposes.)

Mr. Schlee's 2004 conviction stands, but as you will see below, there are reasons to doubt his guilt. His conviction rests solely on the Amy Binns Woodsby's testimony, which is inconsistent during the grand jury proceedings, the first trial and the second trial.


Perjury in the Grand Jury
The Grand Jury indicted Mr. Schlee on misleading information and perjured testimony. So, the question remains, should Mr. Schlee even have been indicted?
--The coroner's testimony provided false and misleading information to the grand jury as to the cause of death.
--LaTourette elicited testimony that he knew was false from Lt. Larry D. Greene: Greene testified that Amy Binns Woodsby passed a polygraph exam, when in fact she did not pass.
--Amy's statements at the grand jury were inconsistent with her prior and subsequent statements as well as her testimony at both trials.


LaTourette's Prosecutorial Misconduct in 1st trial:
Lost evidence:
--New York state police recovered the body and found hairs in the victim's watch band, which did not appear to match Mr. Schlee's hair or the victims.
--New York managed to keep the hair intact for 11 years until the body was identified, but months after LaTourette and the Lake County Prosecutor's office received this evidence, between the time defense counsel and their investigator saw the hair in the evidence room and the second time they asked to examine the evidence, that hair disappeared.
--LaTourette withheld a renowned coroner's autopsy report that contradicted the testimony of the coroner who testified in the first trial. The report suggested a manner of death markedly different from that testified to by Amy Binns Woodsby. Defense counsel requested to see the report during a conference in the judge's chambers. The judge denied their request, relying on his past experience with LaTourette that he would not withhold evidence helpful to the defense. Defense counsel agreed with the court, vouching for LaTourette's integrity that he would never withhold evidence, but renewed their request for the report.

Latourette said nothing. The court said unless they had cases which said he had to turn it over or the prosecutor agreed to do so, the court would not give them the report. Defense did not provide any case and Latourette did not agree to turn over the cases; therefore, this evidence was not turned over. Ultimately, the conviction was overturned based on LaTourette withholding evidence from the defense which he was required by law to provide.


Intimidation of Defense Witnesses in 2nd trial
Prosecutors intimidated potential defense witnesses warning them against talking to the defense. One witness was given an invalid subpoena and was warned about potential law suits against her. This delayed Mr. Schlee's ability to contact and talk with one of his witnesses thereby affecting his ability to properly prepare his case.

Furthermore, Amy Binns Woodsby appeared incapable of remembering details of the murder, telling conflicting versions of events that a witness to a murder is unlikely ever to forget. Her frequent responses throughout the second trial (approximately 180 times) were: I don't know, I don't remember, or I don't recall.

This includes the response to a question about whether she had asked someone shortly before Frank's death whether he would kill Frank or knew someone who would. Her response was a simple "I don't recall." Mr. Schlee's conviction rested mainly on Ms. Binns' testimony, which was inconsistent in crucial details and totally uncorroborated by any physical evidence.

Steve used his position as Lake County Prosecutor to launch a career in DC. If he needed a conviction, he got it however he could.

He abused his positon for political gain and demonstrated contempt for the rule of law.

All the above is public record but is not generally known in the 14th District.
--Eleina Thomas
Communications Director, Lewis Katz for Congress

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