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Apr-17-2012 20:23printcomments

Judge Overturns Conviction and Vacates Life Sentence of Northern California Innocence Project Client

LA man’s murder and attempted robbery convictions set aside, now he files suit for compensation.

NCIP legal director Linda Starr, Obie Anthony, and NCIP supervising attorney Paige Kaneb at the evidentiary hearing September 2011.
NCIP legal director Linda Starr, Obie Anthony, and NCIP supervising attorney Paige Kaneb at the evidentiary hearing September 2011. Visit: The Innocence Project

(LOS ANGELES / SANTA CLARA) - A California man who spent 21 years behind bars on a wrongful conviction, has filed a federal civil rights suit against Los Angeles, saying the case police built against him based on an unreliable witness.

SF Gate reported today, that 44-year old Maurice Caldwell was released last year while awaiting a retrial. Charles Haines, the Superior Court Judge who overturned Caldwell's conviction in the shooting death of a man named Judy Acosta, ruled that Caldwell can not be retried, because evidence in the case had been destroyed.

"Mr. Caldwell was deprived of the one thing all innocent people deserve: freedom," said Caldwell's suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the city of San Francisco and several police officers as defendants. They have not responded to the suit in court.

Background

Last September, A Los Angeles County superior court judge today threw out the 1995 murder and attempted robbery convictions of Northern California Innocence Project (NCIP) client Obie Anthony.

Judge Kelvin Filer granted the habeas petition on the basis of the cumulative harm of prosecutorial misconduct, specifically the trial prosecutor's failure to correct the false testimony of its key witness, and the prosecution's failure to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense, specifically the fact that the prosecution’s key witness received a “sweetheart deal” in exchange for his testimony against Mr. Anthony.

Paige Kaneb with client Obie Anthony

In overturning the conviction, Judge Filer said that the prosecution’s chief witness, around whom the entire case for trial was built, “will say almost anything to avoid consequences to himself . . . in an earlier proceeding, he lied about the death of his own mother.”

Judge Filer issued the order after lawyers for NCIP at Santa Clara University School of Law, who have represented Anthony for three years, along with lawyers from Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent, presented evidence of his innocence during an 11-day evidentiary hearing earlier this month.

During the hearing Anthony’s lawyers demonstrated the prosecution’s key witness had lied repeatedly at trial and that the prosecution knew of his lies but failed to correct them for the jury. They also presented evidence that the prosecution suppressed evidence that impeached its witnesses, that Anthony is actually innocent, and that Anthony’s defense attorney at trial failed to investigate and present information that suggested Jones was the actual killer.

Mr. Anthony’s team of lawyers was comprised of NCIP lawyers Paige Kaneb, Linda Starr and Seth Flagsberg, Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent lawyers Adam Grant and Laurie Levenson, and Federal Public Defender Investigator Deborah Crawford. Law students from Santa Clara University School of Law and Loyola Law School also assisted.

“This conviction should have never happened,” said NCIP Legal Director Linda Starr. “Police purposely ignored and hid evidence that did not support their theory, and manipulated the witnesses to create evidence to support their misguided tunnel vision. The prosecution falsely denied that they granted their star witness a deal for his cooperation and failed to correct his lies at trial. And Mr. Anthony’s own attorney failed to investigate the case. For their failures, Mr. Anthony has spent 17 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit - and the actual murderer has remained free. This cannot be considered justice.”

“Obie Anthony is an innocent man who has survived this ordeal with grace and courage,” said NCIP attorney Paige Kaneb. “Even now, Mr. Anthony is not angry. Instead, he just wants to start his life as a free man, go to college, and then devote his time to helping others.”

The Crime

Anthony was convicted of the March 27, 1994 attempted robbery and murder of Felipe Gonzales primarily based on the testimony of one star witness, John Jones, a pimp with a prior manslaughter conviction.

Shortly before midnight that evening, Felipe Gonzales, Victor Trejo, and Luis Jimenez drove to a house of prostitution in Los Angeles on the corner of 49th Street and Figueroa Street. Gonzales got out to solicit the services of one of the prostitutes, while the others remained in the vehicle. Security guards employed by John Jones–who operated the house of prostitution–informed Gonzales that the woman he asked about was unavailable and that he should return the next day. As he walked back to the car, three or four men surrounded him and the car, demanding money.

According to the victims, one of the robbers opened the passenger door and began shooting at the occupants, at which point Trejo drove away. Trejo saw Gonzales running, and as the car turned the corner he heard more shots, but saw nothing more.

Gonzales’ body was found on the corner of 49th and Figueroa.

Police had no leads on the crime, until one month later, when Elliot Santana falsely claimed to have been carjacked at gunpoint by three men, and identified Anthony and two of his friends, Reggie Cole and Michael Miller, as those men. Police proceeded to put photographs of Anthony, Cole and Miller into photographic lineups and showed the lineups to witnesses to the Gonzales murder.

Of the seven people shown the photographs, only one, John Jones, positively identified Anthony and Cole. No one identified Miller. Based on Jones’ identifications, Anthony and Cole were arrested and charged with the murder of Gonzales and related offenses. Police then conducted a live lineup and again, Jones was the sole person to positively identify Anthony.

The prosecution’s case at trial rested entirely on eyewitness testimony. The fingerprints lifted from the car did not match Anthony or Cole, nor did shoeprints taken from the scene. Detectives found no murder weapon or clothing that matched the descriptions provided by witnesses. In fact, no physical evidence ever connected either man to the crime. Both Anthony and Cole presented numerous alibi witnesses who testified that the two men were home on the night of the murder. Despite this, both were convicted and received prison sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

The carjacking counts for which Anthony and Cole were originally identified, were dismissed when Santana revealed prior to his testimony—but after opening statements in which the jury heard about both crimes—that he had fabricated the allegation because he didn’t want his wife to find out he had been with a prostitute. The jury was informed only that the charges were dismissed and they were not to speculate why.

Re-investigation Uncovers Evidence of Innocence An NCIP team, along with a Loyola Law School team and Federal Public Defender Investigator Deborah Crawford, conducted an exhaustive re-investigation of the case. They uncovered new evidence that the prosecution had concealed from the defense that John Jones was rewarded for his testimony and lied about it at trial.

Jones also signed a declaration swearing that he never actually saw the perpetrators well enough to identify them. He explained at the hearing that he had obtained descriptions of the perpetrators from others and that the detectives had indicated which photographs they expected him to select, and then fed him false information that gave him confidence in his identifications of Anthony and Cole, including information that one of them had been shot.

Further, Anthony’s attorneys uncovered and presented numerous witnesses who say that Jones employed armed security to protect his building, that Jones always carried a gun and fired at people to protect his business, that Jones was on the roof that night, and that the ballistics evidence shows that the fatal shot was more likely to have come from the roof than from the ground.

In addition, Luis Jimenez, one of the surviving victims who was never interviewed by defense counsel and did not testify at trial, testified at the evidentiary hearing that the shooters were not teenagers and were at least 25-30 years old. Anthony and Cole were teenagers at the time. Jimenez also testified that he had studied the people in the six-packs and live lineups, wanting to make identification because the police said they had caught the perpetrators, but he simply did not recognize anyone.

The court ordered Anthony released on his own recognizance, pending the completion of release paperwork.

Special thanks to The Innocence Project

http://law.scu.edu/ncip/breaking-news.cfm





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Edward Ricks April 20, 2012 3:51 pm (Pacific time)

Edward Ledell Ricks
201 Silverwood Drive
Mansfield, TX 76063
ricks007@att.net
(562)619-9650



APRIL 16,2012


MR. TOM PEREZ
Attorney General's Office
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P. O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244 - 2550


RE: PIU: 68479, MR. RICKS, REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION
and SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ON BEHALF OF "TRAYVON MARTIN
MURDER"


Amendment Fourteen: "The Equal Protection Clause"
(Brady v. Maryland), 373 U.S. 83 , (Mooney v. Holohan), 294, U.S.
103 ..... From: Decembe 2,2005 to 2012 "NO ARREST"



1. From: November 2009 through October 21,2011, I, Mr. Edward

Ledell Ricks have been corresponding to the Attorney General Mr. Eric Holder

Office, U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Mrs. Kamala D.

Harris Office ... Whistleblowing: "Racial Profiling STATE Prosecutorial

Misconduct" way prior to the "Trayvon Martin Murder" in seek fundamental

fairness against blatant racism exercised by STATE prosecutors and police

detectives ... impossible to stop

Orange County STATE prosecuting office did knowingly and

willingly falsify all evidence in Attempted Murder of victim Mr. RICKS (Brady

v. Maryland), 373 U.S. 83 and (Mooney v. Holohan), 294, U.S 103. STATE

prosecutor Ms. Patty Sanchez and Detective Condon turned a blind eye to the

only evidence needed "DVD Surveillance Video Exculpatory Evidence"

with a motive to suppress the DVD exculpatory facts as the STATE did. The

STATE then created falsified self-defense ground to protect the perpetrator.

In fact, this DVD Surveillance Video sufficiently reveals the entire Attempted

Murder crime, perpetrator(s) and the weapons, with no additional evidence

needed for STATE to make a sufficient and adequate decision to file the

"Attempted Murder Charges" against perpetrator William Lee Henderson

and "Obstruction Charges" on Mr. Nyshiong Tsai Lessee/Manager of Hotel

property where attempted murder occurred.

"Racial Profiling", freely conveniently practiced by the STATE

prosecutors and Detectives (Brady v. Maryland), 373 U.S. 83 and (Mooney

v. Holohan), 294, U.S 103. According to the self incriminating testimony of

STATE prosecutor Ms. Patty Sanchez: "detective Condon coerced STATE

prosecutor Ms. Patty Sanchez to not file Attempted Murder charge against

perpetrator(s) ... with the racist motive to retaliate against victim Mr. Ricks for

being the black man with audacity to file multiple civil complaints at Orange

County Ronald Reagan Federal Building "IN PRO PER" In multiple prior

"Racial Profiling" cases against Orange County Anaheim Police Department

and STATE prosecutors office.

The Orange County STATE prosecuting office and police depart-

ments operate without concern of federal over-sight or deturrance, making an

example of victim Mr. Ricks sending a very violent, intimidating and alarming

message to all black men in the County of Orange: "any black man" who has

the audacity to stand up for your constitutional rights "IN PRO PER" like the

victim Mr. RICKS ... will get the same results ... "its like committing suicide"

forbidden in County of Orange ... probably many other jurisdictions as well.

(Brady v. Maryland), 373 U.S. 83 and (Mooney v. Holohan), 294, U.S 103

See Exhibit "A", Reproters Transcript
p. 280, line: 25-26
p. 281, line: 1-2

2. March 14,2012 after "Trayvon Martin Murder", (OPR) Office

of Professional Responsibility representatives notified victim Mr. Ricks via

mail stating: "after review U.S. Department of Justice found no allegations

within jurisdiction". "We do not have jurisdiction over STATE employees".

3. Victim Mr. Ricks request that Attorney General Mr. Eric Holder,

Special Prosecutor and U.S. Department of Justice reconsider jurisdiction

grounds in Attempted Murder of victim Mr. RICKS (behalf of Trayvon Martin)

on the basis of (Brady v. Maryland), 373 U.S. 83, (Mooney v. Holohan),

294, U.S 103 and the new coerced evidence of Detective Condon. STATE

must be held accountable in this degree of outrageous racism freely exercised

without the slightest concern of any federal deterrence. There is no adequate

federal over-sight or deterrence in place for "Racial Profiling STATE Prose-

cutorial Misconduct" ... that's "WHY" it took Trayvon Martin' "Racial Profile

Murder" to reveal and establish that after the STATE prosecutor violates the

Brady Rule it takes the entire nation to rise up to help support and demand

justice for the victim "Trayvon Martin" ... only then did the special prosecutor

properly investigate and make the right call and arrest.

The only adequate power that can provide fairness and justice

under Racial Profiling matter(s) is the U.S. Department of Justice being very

serious about "Racial Profiling", making examples out of STATE employees

that execute obvious and blatant "Racial Profiling" as in victim Mr. RICKS

Attempted Murder. Because, no lawyer will represent or fairly represent black

man in "Racial Profiling Prosecutorial Misconduct" matter(s), unless it gets

media attention, exposing racism. Only then will fairness have a chance to

prevail ... what about the 99.9% of the other black men that get no justice,

or fairness after this horrifying experiencing. It literally takes the entire Nation

to stand together protesting STATE decision in a "Racial Profiling Prose-

cutorial Misconduct Act's" ... this is totally unfair

It appears that if black man encounter an "extreme conservative

republican police officer" and associate that with "extreme conservative re-

publican STATE prosecutor", good odds the black mans Constitutional Right

to Equal Protection will be violated due to biases and racist conduct .... Just

take a look at how "extreme conservative republican" are treating our very

own black president Mr. Barack Obama . The same hate unleash at our very

own black president Mr. Barack Obama ... is the same hate unleashed a-

gainst black men by "extreme conservative republican police officers" and

"extreme conservative STATE prosecutor" within our justice system ..........

especially hard on the black man who has the audacity to stand up and de-

fend his constitutional rights against "Racial Profiling" "IN PROPER".


FACTS


SEE EXHIBIT "A", REPORTER'S TRANSCRIPT

SEE EXHIBIT "B", DVD SURVEILLANCE VIDEO EVIDENCE

SEE EXHIBIT "C", NARRATIVE DETAILS OF DVD SURVEILLANCE
VIDEO EVIDENCE

SEE EXHIBIT "D", ANAHEIM POLICE REPORT

SEE EXHIBIT "E", PROSECUTORS REPORT




MARCH 28,2012 EDWARD RICKS


_______________________

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