Outraged Judge Reverses Murder Convictions
by Melissa Bailey | Mar 18, 2010 12:48 pm
Posted to: Legal Writes
Declaring that two convicted murderers suffered a “manifest injustice,” a judge ordered two New Haven men set free after serving 16 years —but prosecutors have blocked their release, for now.
George Gould and Ronald Taylor (pictured left and right) are currently serving 80-year sentences for the murder of Fair Haven bodega owner Eugenio DeLeon Vega on July 4, 1993. After two key state witnesses came forward and admitted they were coerced by police to give false testimony, Taylor and Gould have been fighting for their freedom through a habeas corpus suit.
In a blistering, 58-page decision Wednesday—labeled “unprecedented” by one longtime criminal defense attorney—Superior Court Judge Stanley Fuger, Jr. took their side. He ordered the men be released from prison immediately, that their convictions and sentences be tossed out, and that the finding of probable cause and even the arrest warrants all be vacated.
“It is now an inescapable conclusion that a manifest injustice has been done to these two men,” Judge Fuger wrote.
George Gould and Ronald Taylor served 16 years in prison “for a crime that, based upon all of the available evidence, they did not commit,” he found.
Click here to read Fuger’s decision.
If upheld, the decision means Gould and Taylor would be set free, and the state would have to start from scratch if it wanted to bring a new trial.
Peter Tsimbidaros of Fairfield, Taylor’s attorney, said he visited both men in person Wednesday to deliver the news. Taylor, who has been diagnosed with cancer, lay handcuffed to a hospital bed at the UConn medical center. Gould is at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield. He is represented by attorney Joseph Visone of Mendon, Mass.
Tsimbidaros said it was hard to explain the great relief these men expressed after working so hard for their freedom. “They were both very emotional and appreciative,” he said.
However, the bells of freedom were interrupted by an intervention from the state.
On the heels of Fuger’s decision Wednesday, Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michael O’Hare filed an “emergency motion for stay of execution” with the state appellate court. O’Hare asked the court to put the case on hold to give the state time to review the decision. O’Hare said the judge only faxed his office the final page of the 58-page decision, which orders the prisoners’ immediate release without an automatic waiting period for appeals.
Fuger’s orders would mean “the immediate release of two individuals who have been convicted of a brutal homicide,” without giving the state time for an “orderly” appeal, O’Hare protested. Click here to read his motion.
The Appellate Court’s Chief Judge Joseph P. Flynn granted the motion Wednesday, effectively delaying Judge Fuger’s orders, and the prisoners’ release until Monday at 2 p.m.
... And So Shall This Case Fall
Fuger’s decision uses passionate language in parts, and at times reads more like magazine feature than a court document.
“A senseless, cold-blooded, execution style murder was committed in the early morning hours of July 4th, 1993,” Fuger begins. Eugenio Deleon Vega went to his small Fair Haven bodega, La Casa Green, to open shop at 5:08 a.m. “Before the hour of six AM, before he could even arrange the morning newspapers, he was dead. He had been executed, shot once in the left temple with a projectile from a .38 caliber semiautomatic pistol. These are indisputable facts.”
Fuger sets the scene for his sharp reproof with a blazing sub-header on Page One.
“This case rises and falls on the testimony of Doreen Stiles,” the sub-header reads, quoting New Haven’s Senior Assistant State Attorney James Clark’s words during Taylor and Gould’s 1995 Superior Court trial.
“No truer statement has ever been spoken,” Fuger wrote.
Stiles, a drug-addicted police informant, was the only supposed eyewitness who placed the defendants at the murder scene. DNA evidence found at the murder scene did not match Gould or Taylor. The state’s case rested on Stiles’ testimony, as Clark openly admitted during the trial. Stiles came forward and recanted her statement in 2006, allowing the defendants to open a joint habeas corpus claim of actual innocence, based on new evidence.
It is “crystal clear,” wrote Fuger, “that the sole piece of evidence, the only thread that links George Gould and Ronald Taylor to this senseless murder is the testimony of Doreen Stiles. If this tether breaks, then there is absolutely nothing that implicates these two men.”
“At the trial of the case in 1995, the case rose because Doreen Stiles made that linkage; at the trial of the habeas petition in 2009, the case must fall, once again, based upon the testimony of Doreen Stiles,” Fuger wrote.
Stiles originally testified under oath that she saw Gould enter the store, heard a gunshot, and saw Gould and Taylor leave the murder scene. During a habeas trial in 2009, Judge Fuger got what he called a unique chance to hear fresh testimony from a witness, and compare it with testimony from a prior trial. Stiles, now drug-free and confined to a wheelchair, confessed during the habeas trial that she had lied under oath and was never at the murder scene at all. A second state witness, Mary Boyd, also recanted her statements during the habeas trial.
Fuger said his habeas case came down to a question of credibility—Is Stiles lying now about her recantation? Or was she lying then? The answer lay in her demeanor, he said.
“In a nutshell, this Court finds that the demeanor of Doreen Stiles on the witness stand in the habeas trial is far more conducive to finding her to be credible when she recanted her earlier testimony than when she initially delivered that earlier testimony.” In the first trial, the witness looked “drawn, haggard, and was clearly annoyed at the whole proceeding.” She was “hostile” and not polite. In the second trial, her whole demeanor changed, and she no longer had a “combatant, impatient” air about her, the judge found. “She was polite, thoughtful, in no way evasive and presented clear and uncompromised testimony.”
Why did Stiles lie during the first trial?
“Simply put, Ms. Stiles, in 1993, was a deeply troubled woman, addicted to heroin (10 bags a day), and engaging in prostitution to fuel her habit,” Fuger wrote. She was “dopesick” on heroin when cops picked her up on a prostitution charge later that July. Detectives, “in particular, Det. Brian Sullivan,” told her “if she did not tell them what they needed to hear, that she would be taken downstairs and booked on the charge of prostitution,” Fuger’s decision reads.
Detective Sullivan told her that he would help her buy heroin “if she told them what happened.” Only then did Stiles, guided by “not-so-subtle hints” from detectives, pick out Gould and Taylor from a photo lineup and—“in response to the suggestive questions of the police”—come up with a story about witnessing the murder.
Two detectives then gave her $60, and drove her to a house on Wolcott Street so she could buy heroin. Detectives later took her out for a dinner of stuffed shrimp, and took her out to buy more heroin, Stiles testified. Police denied giving Stiles money to buy drugs.
Fuger went on to poke holes in the state’s case, which he said “is that the petitioners were two crack addicts who had been committing several small street robberies to obtain money with which to buy crack cocaine.” He ran down several details of the state’s case that did not match up.
In a scathing closing, Fuger said the case completely falls apart without Stiles’ testimony.
“In short, the finding that Doreen Stiles was not telling the truth in 1993-1995 not only renders the ultimate conviction unreliable, it wholly vitiates all of the proceedings against George Gould and Ronald Taylor. These cases, in fact, go way beyond ‘actual innocence.’ The criminal cases never should have been initiated in the first place! These men deserve immediate relief.”
“Wow. Wow,” said longtime New Haven civil rights lawyer Norm Pattis upon hearing the news Thursday.
He called the decision “breathtaking” and “unprecedented in my mind.”
Habeas corpus relief is rarely granted, and if a judge overturns a conviction, it’s most often because new DNA analysis comes into play and invalidates a conclusion that was made in good faith. The judge in this case made a much more far-reaching conclusion, Pattis noted.
“Fuger went an extra step and said, based on what was known at this time, this should never have happened,” Pattis noted. “This is more than an honest mistake.”
Pattis called the decision “incredibly encouraging.”
“It gives hope to others who are wrongfully convicted,” he said.
“What’s chilling,” Pattis said, is there are other people in prison based on mistakes and sloppy police work. “It’s no mystery, a lot of these cases involve men of color, who remain a dispensable class” in modern society.
Pattis said the state now faces a tough question: “What do you do when you’ve stolen someone’s life with a lie?”
The legislature should act quickly and ask the state to pony up to repay these men for their suffering, he said.
“Restitution is a small word,” he said. “I don’t think enough can be done for these men.”
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Its about time the light showed. My uncle was imprisoned since i was 7 yrs old. Thank God for DNA
shame on the State of Connecticut. In one moment they free my husband in the next they take it away.
Who said the justice system does’t work.A little slow.May these two men be released to their families and may god bless them.
Un-freaking-believable!!! What a disgusting, abominable, humiliating, and hurtful chain of events. This is not just about getting the wrong dudes, or making a human mistake.
This is more about officers of the court and the law blatantly disrespecting and cheating the criminal justice system in the most unspeakable manner; recklessly using their professional power and privilege to do nothing but ruin the lives of innocent people and their families. What a disgrace!!
...Do you know how hard it is to convict a person of murder? The detectives don’t have that much power to do it alone. I know it makes a great story, but it is not easy to do. In order to do it, the police, witness, states attorney, judge and jury have to be on the same page. Run the inmates rap sheet before you start celebrating and saying these men were wronged. ... This judge should be ashamed of himself and remember the victim, oh how we always forget the victim.
Before you go putting halos on both these men’s heads, look at their prior records and lifestyles.
Nobody is celebrating these dudes!! But there is NEVER justification for officers of the law and the court to FRAUDULENTLY use their power to put two people behind bars for crimes they did not commit. Cops and state attorneys are not supposed to be CHEATERS!! They are supposed to uphold the LAW!! Not say, we didn’t get you on this so we will ILLEGALLY get you on something else? CHEATERS!!
Here’s an interesting twist. In a murder case, the state often focuses on that and not on any other crimes a defendant committed, and usually folds them over into the sentencing. Taylor admittedly committed numerous street robberies, for which he should have been put away for 20 years anyway. So vacate the murder sentence and resentence him for all the crimes he committed and you net out zero anyway. And this judge referring to Taylor’s street robberies as “small” and insignificant shows this judge is a bit of a loonybird.
Time and time again we keep seeing the total failure of our justice system, of our police officers. We need to tear it all down and start over.
The end NEVER justifies the means. Remember the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? These 2 guys may be guilty but they were framed. I’m glad they are getting out. I now know where the next 30 years of parking meter reciepts will go. It will compensate these poor souls for there loss of 15 plus years of there lifes. I think they deserve it. I expect our mayor to blame the failings of his police department on Governor Rell as usual.
Even if the two defendants hold prior histories of petty crime, you can still only convict them on this crime if you have the evidence. It would seem quite clearly that the police and prosecution did not have adequate evidence, only the ‘hearsay’ testimony of two witnesses, both of whom later recanted their statements.
These two defendants may have been destined for a life in and out of jail because of their lifestyle, but this does not give either the police or the prosecution the right to circumnavigate the justice procedure. If the two defendants did not commit this crime, then they shouldn’t be behind bars.
The police and prosecution involved in this case have brought disrepute and disrespect upon themselves, their colleagues, and their city. They have also opened the way up to be sued by these men for wrongful conviction, and possibly leading to criminal prosecution for perjury and falsifying evidence in order to gain a conviction. Not to mention the trampling of the two defendent’s social rights.
The means to conviction do not justify the gaining of the conviction.
Sharon, you are mistaken my husband Ronald Taylor was never arrested before this case and if you truly believe that the police and the state attorney don’t have that much power read this case. Yes I remember the victim maybe his son Carlos Deleon should have remembered that before he shot his father in the head after stealing over $50,000 from his father’s business bank account and executed after Mr. Vega found at it’s all in the court records
for all those people that want to continue to believe in the justice system I will remember you all in my prayers and hope the New Haven Police Department never puts, you or anyone in your family in their crosshairs. And as far as Ronaled Taylor’s lifestyle. I dare anyone who made such a comment to throw the first stone. There but for the grace of God.
When any city official does something this malicious the city shouldn’t have to handle the entire burden of the coming lawsuits, the city official should have to come out of their own pocket ,too, because they think they can do whatever they want to people and sowhat if they get sued, the city taxpayers will pick up the tab..IE Sullivan, Destefano, And Hibson.
posted by: John J. Pecchio on March 19, 2010 7:46am
The Real World of Prison, Crime and Justice
“A Story That Needs To Be Told”
By Author - John J. Pecchio
This article will inform the mind and startle the soul. You will read how crime and punishment in this country is out of control.
My books “Hell Behind Prison Walls” and “The Devil’s Den of Prison and Justice” are true compelling and gripping stories taken from my personal thoughts and experiences of working in a prison system for almost three-decades.
My Website http://www.johnpecchio.com is a good informational tool on prisons and justice. You can click on my miscellaneous icon that will take you into my books, newspaper articles and guestbook entries on what people say about my regional best-selling books, and our justice system.
Do not overlook the audio video commercial to the rights of my Website that will show the type of criminals I worked with and how they act and look in today’s prisons…
If you are interested in scheduling this author for a Book Signings, Personal Interviews and Prison Presentations, my e-mail address and phone numbers is also, available on my Website. http://www.johnpecchio.com
When prisons were in command prisoners could look forward to being productive in life.
But after several decades of prison bureaucrats experimenting with new reform methods they ended up taking a well run prison system and turned it into a Nightmare of Hell and a Playground for Criminal’s Rights.
There is no prison reform methods left that will cure the lack of administrative and prisoner discipline, or stop how prisons have become so contaminated with flaws, imbedded with unthinking unknowing or corrupted officials and political bureaucrats?
it send chills up and down your spine, when you are forced to move daily between freedom and captivity while walking a delicate line between administrative politics and the threat of inmate violence.
The lockup system in these new high-tech all solitary confinement prisons, have turned most convicts into psychopathic monsters, acting like prehistoric man existing all over again…
My prison career was coming to an end and I was looking forward to my retirement when what I always expected would happen did happen. One morning in my shop, without security present, I was brutally attacked by a serial killer serving two life terms for several senseless killings. He showed no remorse in society nor did he in prison. He should have received the death penalty, but lawmakers and prison officials choose to protect this criminal’s rights at taxpayers’ expense…
Gang wars are taking over our society like butter melting over a hot stove. Approximately eighty-percent of thugs and gangsters control prison compounds and are career criminals, which come from the ghettos of our society.
Eventually, the old gang members from the streets will be incarcerated for new crimes, and meet up with old gang members already imprisoned. Together they will bond once again, to continue dealing in contraband and committing more crimes in prisons.
Taxpayers are living in hard times to support their families and keep their jobs. But this merry-go-round of political justice to protect criminal’s rights while they keep violated the rights of other is un-constitutional…
In today’s society we have too many repeat-felons being released from prisons without being fully disciplined or rehabilitated. That is why repeat felons along with illegal-immigrants are committing most of the crimes in the United States.
Lawmakers for years cannot locate approximately twelve-million illegal immigrants crossing the borders into this country. The new programs they are offering is to trick illegal immigrant out of hiding, by providing full amnesty, and give them entry permit into this country, along with healthcare benefits, at taxpayers’ expense. This is not going to help reduce the deficit and crime rates in this country.
Federal Lawmakers recognize that prison spending is out of control. They keep pressuring the local government and prison officials, to set up a program that will reduce prison overcrowding and release thousands of criminals that have not completed their sentences or been fully reformed.
For example, in California they have approximately 33-prisons that are filled with about 153-thousand criminals, and most of them are murderers, rapist, pedophiles, and drug-pushers and mentally unstable inmates living off the taxpayers.
But why are lawmakers demanding that 55-thousand criminals from the California Correctional Facilities, be released within 3-years. When most of them are career criminals and will return back to prisons committing the same crimes?
Taxpayers’ will be paying over $5,000 dollars a years to keep one-criminal on parole. Not to mention, the cost of law-enforcement officers putting their lives on the line again, chasing down the same felon(s) to be put back through our Judicial System at taxpayers’ expense.
The present California Governor is now trying to make lawmakers reconsider their options of releasing prisoners because of the recidivism rate, which is more then seventy-nine percent returning in one to three-years.
The three major problems that criminals have when incarcerated is to get revenge, continue dealing in contraband and demoralize and attack correctional officers because they remind them of the police officers on the streets.
Prison Officials; know that repeat felons get more violent and evil-minded because they are surrounded, daily, by the same type of criminals they have become.
You cannot reform criminals without re-socializing them first. And that’s why rehabilitation and prison reform have become just words to keep the taxpayer’s money flowing into these institutions.
In Mexico, the crime rates are high, and that breeds a lot of corruption in their society, including law-enforcement officials. They now have the highest kidnapping rate in the world. When these Mexicans and millions of other illegal immigrants keep pouring over the boarders into our county, crime rates keep increasing. Phoenix Arizona now has the second highest kidnapping rate in the world.
The federal panel of lawmakers within our government has created a stimulus package to help the American taxpayers that are out of work and many have to foreclose on their homes.
The sad situation within our government, is how they are taking chances with taxpayers’ money to create stimulus packages, while supporting the highest deficit in the history of this country?
How can our children and grandchildren that will be paying for all this, and continue to pay for government experiments and their political adventures without jobs?
Prison spending is out of control. And the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
When I hear how local governors, of each state, keeps on playing politics with the federal government in hopes they can reduce prison spending by reducing prison population, closing prisons, and reducing prison staff. This type of thinking is hypercritical and appalling to the security of prisons and society.
Hello out there my fellow American, don’t walk to the employment office run, before some lawmakers pass a new law to allow illegal immigrants to collect unemployment…
Prison officials cannot afford or keep releasing dangerous prisoners frivolously. Our criminal justice system was developed by lawmakers to pass laws to put these criminals behind bars and keep society safe.
You can now read how federal and state prisons have deteriorated to their worst condition in the history of these institutions. They have changed from being run with dignity and strong security into a hellish nightmare where corruption is the norm.
With the loss of positive leadership in our prisons came the increase of prisoner’s power, primarily caused by their ability to hide behind highly-defended “Civil Rights”, which has now taken precedence above all else. These rights allowed them to live without fear of strong retribution for their actions, thereby leading to a breakdown in inmate behavior and resulting in riots, fights, and physical and verbal abuse of prison workers.
John J. Pecchio, Author
lease print this press release thank you
Despite the criminal justice system’s massive failure in convicting these men originally, the case is now a triumph of justice. I know the old saw about justice delayed being justice denied, and that these men can’t get 16 years back, but the truth came out and set them free.
I have been waiting for years for George Gould’s success in overturning his conviction. I have known George and his family for over 12 years, and I knew from the start that he was not guilty of this murder. I visited him many times, read the whole transcript, discussed the case with him, and did some work to help him pursue justice. Finally he and Ron Taylor got an outstanding investigator who uncovered a lot of new evidence, and Judge Fuger really listened to all the testimony and studied the case carefully. As he said in his decision, this case should never have even been brought to trial. Why are the prosecutors still trying to deny that police obstructed justice by falsely coercing witnesses, leaving the real murderer out in our community? Doesn’t this make you wonder how many others have been wrongly convicted in CT? I personally know several individuals wrongly identified by witnesses and convicted because of it. Thank God that the truth finally came out about Gould & Taylor. I look forward to George’s success in his future career as a talented artist.
Hello people…It is awesome to finally see someone of Superior stick of for convicted ppl.
True when they state that it is alot of innocent people sitting behind bars for NOTHING..NOTHING at all,I know there are some folks saying ohh most of them committed the crime but the truth of the matter is no most of the time some of these folks don’t ccommitthe crime but because their aAfricanaAmericansor consider a minority ppl have no choice but to take what the state offer them without a paid lawyer…Its all about money, when you have the money to pay your way out your are all good.But when you don’t have the money to fight your right you are cornered to take what ever deal is best… I think it is time for them to go through alot of ppls records and reconsider a fair punishment or if any.. We have alot of folks out here that can’t even make it becuase of the system. These men may be free per the judge but theres one man who is dieing form cancer yes that is right DIEING from cancer and altalthough is a relief to be out of priprisono will repay this man of 16yrs lost for nothing for some crocrockedp or decdetective lie on him (prey is what I like to call it) they preyed on the weak the less unfortunate people they knew couldn’t pay for attorney fees. And now look whos to say that they didn’t kill this man. I pray to God for these men sake that if they really didn’t do this and if those detectives did it….I hope the get the same kind of treatment life in prision or the death penalty…They took these men lives away, money can’t repay all the things they have missed in 16 yrs children weddings grandchildren parents homegoihome-goings is trully truly
No shock for me.Welcome to Connecticut Justice. Welcome to American justice. And someone had the nerve to say that justice prevailed because they are released after half of their life was spent serving time for something they didn’t do. Should they be grateful? Wow!!!!
I am grateful that Judge Fuger, Jr. is a part of our judicial system. I have a few questions for “Shady” It is an appropriate pseudonym for one who exhibits such ignorance. Does having a rap sheet as a petty thief and drug addict makes you a hit man? How do we know that the very police officers who reportedly went to such lengths to set up these two men were not themselves involved in the crime?
And to Ohwait: If we were to treat everyone, including some police officers, and even you, according to your past deeds many of them and you would likely be locked away too. And some police officers should have been. Not all prior records and lifestyles make one a cold-blooded killer. How about what was said about Mr. DeLeon’s son in the records? Who were his friends? Why were the police so quick to pay a vulnerable drug addict to lie against these two men? Why would the judiciary system take the word of this one person and lock away these men for life? Could it be that because they are black, and because they are not valued by society?
When we think of all the unsolved murders in New Haven, what was so special about this one why (according to their own witness) they had to plot to frame these two men? Do you know how many affluent students get through law & medical school by abusing many substances that help them to stay awake? Many also commit illegal acts! Drug addiction is really common.
Those of you who think like Shady and Ohwait should remember the famous NY Police case of officers Frank Serpico and David Durk. While working as a plainclothes police officer in 1967, Serpico reported “credible evidence of widespread, systematic police corruption”.[cite this quote] However, bureaucracy slowed down his efforts, until he connected with another officer, David Durk, who helped him in his anti-corruption efforts.
Serpico was shot in the face at point blank range with a .22 LR handgun. The bullet penetrated his cheek just below the eye and lodged at the top of his jaw; he lost balance, fell to the floor, and began to bleed profusely. Serpico’s colleagues failed to place a “10-13”, a dispatch to police headquarters indicating that an officer has been shot. Instead, Serpico was saved by an elderly Hispanic man who lived in an apartment adjacent to the one being used by the suspects; the man called emergency services and reported that a man had been shot, and then stayed with Serpico to help keep him alive until an ambulance arrived. A police squad car arrived prior to the ambulance, however, and the officers, unaware of the bloodied Serpico’s identity, took him to Greenpoint Hospital.”
Why did this happen? Because Serpico was set up by his so-called partners who wanted him dead for reporting on their criminal activities. Police corruption wherever it is reported is nothing new. The only surprise is when someone has the courage to report on it.
Serpico was deafened in his left ear by the gunshot, which severed an auditory nerve, and has suffered chronic pain from fragments lodged in his brain. Although he was visited the day after the shooting by Mayor John V. Lindsay and Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, while he lay recovering in bed from his wounds, the police department harassed him with hourly bed checks. He survived, and ultimately testified in front of the Knapp Commission.
“The circumstances surrounding Serpico’s shooting quickly came into question. Serpico, who was armed during the drug raid, had only been shot after briefly turning away from the suspect when he realized that the two officers who had accompanied him to the scene were not following him into the apartment, raising the question whether Serpico had actually been brought to the apartment by his colleagues to be executed.”
“On May 3, 1971, New York Metro Magazine published an article about Serpico titled “Portrait of an Honest Cop”. On May 10, 1971, Serpico testified at the departmental trial of an NYPD lieutenant who was accused of taking bribes from gamblers. On May 14, 1971, Serpico was awarded a gold shield by the police commissioner and promoted to detective.”
In October, and again in December 1971, Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission:
“ Through my appearance here today… I hope that police officers in the future will not experience the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to for the past five years at the hands of my superiors because of my attempt to report corruption… We create an atmosphere in which the honest officer fears the dishonest officer, and not the other way around… The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist in which honest police officers can act without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. ”
Frank Serpico was the first police officer in the history of the New York Police Department to step forward to report and subsequently testify openly about widespread, systemic corruption payoffs amounting to millions of dollars. (Isn’t this a SAD commentary on the police dept? And it is true of dozens of them. There are police depts in the country where there are reported to be “closed shops” of renegade cops and no one challenges them!
Serpico still speaks out against police corruption and brutality. He continues to speak out against both the weakening of civil liberties and corrupt practices in law enforcement, such as the alleged cover-up following the Amadou Diallo shooting in 1999.
He provides support for “individuals who seek truth and justice even in the face of great personal risk”. He calls them “lamp lighters”, a term he prefers to the more common “whistleblowers”, which refers to alerting the public to danger, just as Paul Revere was responsible for having lamps lit in the Old North Church to warn the public in Charlestown, Massachusetts, of the British Regulars movements during the American Revolutionary War.
Judge Fuger, Jr. is New Haven’s Serpico. Thanks to the NHI for bringing us this story. We the people need to think more analytically and critically. Check our biases and instead think about the principles involved. Many of us detest drug abuse and thievery, but police lies and corruption, and the framing innocent people are every bit as bad and should be exposed every time.
Mr. Taylor and Mr. Gould:
Here is a prime example where housing assistance if needed should absolutely should be offered to them.
There is a family reunification program that is in effect in New Haven and it would behoove the Round-table to offer this program to them.
Gentlemen, and I say it with much respect, I hope that those who did not do their job and placed you in this unbelievable predicament get their “comeuppance.
It is not a case of a few bad apples it is a bad orchard. A crime has been committed. The police pick up the usual suspects. To them it makes no difference who did it only that their skin be of a matching color or that the speak a language other than English.
In fifty years of revolution the United States cannot point to a single case where some one was shot to death on Cuban Streets. Unlike the Empire. No one has disappeared. Unlike Columbia where a secret mass grave of more that 2000 was discovered. No one has been tortured on Cuban soil except at the US Guantanamo Naval Base. The Cuban people paid with 20,000 lives for their revolution. We need one here.
Unfortunately, there are many such cases of innocent people behind bars, the great majority of whom will never be released.
That’s a tragedy. Imagine being put away for 16 years for a horrible crime you didn’t commit. Think about the horrors inflicted on the body and psyche while in prison, the ties of family and friendship on the outside that do not survive, the fact that even with expunged records these men are indelibly marked by their experience and will be hard-pressed to find the opportunities many of us take for granted.
Hre’s what’s really disgusting to me: the things that went wrong in this case are not just of the “mistakes happen” variety. Yes, mistakes do happen, unavoidably. But what do we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt? We KNOW that even eye witnesses who are not drug-addled OFTEN get it wrong. No one should be given an 80-year sentence of the basis of testimony from one eye-witness alone. Period. That person will get it wrong all too often.
This witness was a police informant?! Are you KIDDING me? Why not just straight-out pay the man/woman to say what you (often police) want to hear? Common sense alone confirms that people like the woman in this case w/all kinds of obvious incentive to lie will often do just that. To take her word for it and send two men to jail for what turns out to be 16 years is absolutely criminal.
Speaking of which, where’s the accountability for prosecutors here? Can they just do whatever the h*ll they want? So she’s credible enough to cause the conviction of two men on the basis of nothing but her testimony, but suddenly becomes not-credible when she recants? And ti should absolutely make your stomach turn to read that this judge’s actions are “unprecedented”—because this general set of circumstances is FAR from unprecedented. What’s truly “breathtaking” is the ridiculous latitude given to “law and order”—from police to prosecutors—who themselves have every incentive to lock people up regardless of guilt or innocence and WAY too little check on their power. On the other side you have too many men of color (whose communities are profiled) who too often don’t know their rights, too often don’t have the resources to hire the best talent, and are typically paired with overburdened public defenders. It’s awful and pathetic.
And, finally, anyone interested to know what these two innocent men will get from the state for 16 years of false imprisonment? Not just false imprisonment, mind you. AVOIDABLY false imprisonment! Again, on the basis of what was known at the time, these men should NEVER HAVE GONE TO PRISON IN THE FIRST PLACE. You can be damn well sure that the prosecutor’s kid under the same circumstances would never have been arrested to begin with.
So what will they get? What wold be fair compensation to you if it were you, your father, your sibling, your kid? And, okay, the state is holding up these men’s release because they don’t want to look bad, admit their hideous mistake. Ok. How about further compensating these men for the additional lost time, since I guarantee you this isn’t going to be a one-day or even one-week delay.
So George Gould and Ronald Taylor were held “accountable” for something they didn’t do. 16 years of wrongful acocuntability. How about Michael O’Hare and especially James Clark, the Asst. State’s Attorneys responsible for this awfulness? How about the cops who coerced the original testimony from the obviously tainted witness? Or the judge who let it all slide?
I’d REALLY like to read THAT newspaper article.
posted by: N'Zinga Shani on March 26, 2010 11:26am
There is a COST to all of us as a society when justice is subverted. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” MLK
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Bishop Desmond Tutu
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” Elie Wiesel
Some of us just cannot help ourselves when it comes to issues of injustice. Yes, there are far too many of our citizens who engage in criminal behavior. As a society we are better off without them, but the reality is—they are a part of us, and too often some of their behavior is a consequence of their societal imposed circumstance.
Unfortunately, there are those who benefit greatly from an expanding prison industrial complex and who have a vested interest in growing the criminal population. There is also ample evidence that certain groups have been targeted to feed the prison industrial complex.
Additionally, in far too many aspects of our society we are very short-sighted. Too many politicians, and some who have taken on the mantle of community leadership do not see or appreciate the benefits of early investments in education, positive image and skill building, and self-improvements strategies for our young, and in particular those who are born into deprived circumstances. We need to look at the BIG picture from day one. As a society we are only as strong as our weakest links. It is a great investment to educate all and to create circumstances that encourage and make it possible for all citizens to be the best that they can be.
On the issue of criminal justice, the question is: when the police and prosecutors maliciously put someone away for 16 years, and then refuse to correct their mistake just because they are too arrogant to do so, what are the benefits to society? Isn’t crime and punishment supposed to benefit the larger society? Or is it? How does society benefit when we wrongly imprison people?
When the behaviors of law enforcement only serve to further the animosity which already exists in our society, who exactly benefits? What is gained? How often do we see white men, or those with adequate financial resources locked away for decades for crimes they did not commit, but also for being sentenced without any real evidence? How long after the errors/? have been discovered does it usually take to remedy those errors?
Like most law-abiding citizens, I detest criminal behavior. However, my greatest scorn is reserved for those in our judiciary system who are supposed to uphold the law, and who consciously and deliberately subvert justice either out of shear malice and bigotry, or only to further their careers. The American system of justice is not served, and as a society we are all damaged by it. How can we teach our children to be respectful of the law when those who are charged with upholding it and setting positive examples are so flagrant in their disregard for justice? Every day that these men remain in prison the law is being further subverted.