I do have a question.
We’ve been working with Ambassador Al Hoffman Jr. on a campaign to address Gun Reform with Congress.
We’ve been working with the McGruff team about updating their “take a bite out of crime campaign” to include a PSA about “Locking Up” guns around the house.
We’ve also been working with Lionel Richie and Quincy Jones about a re-release of “We Are The World NEVERAGAIN.”
We are also modeled after Dunblane CenTer and have renamed our build to Sandy Hook CenTer our of solidarity.
Would Weebly be interested in helping us build an actual professional site?
Our current Sandy Hook CenTer was meant to add further dialogue to correspondence, via phone or email.
If you check our records we operated SandyHookCenTer.org which was to officially launch the fall of 2015 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School re-opened.
These projects must all get underway if we are ever to influence our country to attain gun reform. The biggest obstacle we’ve found has been all the misconceptions that we believe are fueled by the NRA strong arming Americans for greed.
America should put people over greed, but simple basic humanity isn’t enough. We need to enlighten through essential insight.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience.
John M. Rinaldi.
Why Emmett Till’s case matters to American history and our future?
Whenever there’s an imbalance of power,
JUSTICE IS NEVER SERVED.
Brooke Shields is our
Carolyn Bryant Dohnam, a privileged white woman who lied, and destroyed lives in the process.
ITS IMPORTANT TO MENTION:
Brooke Shields wasn’t intending to destroy, in fact in testimony, Ms. Shields is quoted saying she hadn’t wanted any charges filed. She just wanted to create a record in case there was an actual problem.
Apparently, Ms. Shields has had to contend with a lot of unwanted attention. I support any vigilance! However, I do NOT appreciate her self describing hyper- vigilance.
“Hypervigilance is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect activity.
Hypervigilance may bring about a state of increased anxiety which can cause exhaustion. Other symptoms include: abnormally increased arousal, a high responsiveness to stimuli, and a constant scanning of the environment.
In hypervigilance, there is a perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviors, smells, or anything else that is reminiscent of activity, threat or trauma. The individual is placed on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near. Hypervigilance can lead to a variety of obsessive behavior patterns, as well as producing difficulties with social interaction and relationships.
Hypervigilance can be a symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various types of anxiety disorders and a paranoia.
Hypervigilance is differentiated from dysphoric hyperarousal in that the person remains cogent and aware of their surroundings. In dysphoric hyperarousal, a person with PTSD may lose contact with reality and re-experience the traumatic event verbatim. Where there have been multiple traumas, a person may become hypervigilant and suffer severe anxiety attacks intense enough to induce a delusional state where the effects of related traumas overlap.”
In Brooke’s recent biography, she self explains her own difficulties of mental illness. So much in fact that it led to her having to showering at college in a bathing suit, an uncontrollable need to control that left one child disfigured, her pulling over while driving with her babies out of fear of an intentional crash, and visions of throwing her babies out an apartment window.
We’d like to think Ms. Shields is not evil, but she is in fact untruthful.
The real problem here is justice- or the lack of!
Prosecutors are rarely held accountable which is why these last few years in New York, we’ve seen unpalatable abuse in New York’s highest two law enforcement agencies- the Attorney General, and District Attorney.
Mr. Eric Schneiderman’s abuse existed both in and out of office and had been forced to concede. We have seen the “Pay-For-Play” mentality of the Manhattan DA that caused an influx of write in candidates in the recent election. So much so that Justice Advocate Shaun King has created a national movement for prosecutor accountability. It’s safe to say that this will most definitely be Cy Vance’s last years in office terrifying New Yorkers.
I’m proud to say I joined Mr. Fliedner in his recent District Attorney election campaign that garnered such support of many Hollywood advocates like Piper Perabo. I reached out to my supporters as well and added Patricia Arquette, Rosie O’Donnel, and several others. The New York Post was also quick to narrate a “bromance” with Mr. Fliedner and myself after we publicly discussed holding Suborn Perjuring Prosecutors accountable.
The problem is not Brooke Shields- although she didn’t have to commit perjury, she has children and must remain vigilant. However, hyper-vigilance according to the CDC, is a form of mental illness.
We believe she was a pawn of an opportunist District Attorney.
I also believe she lied in court to be spiteful. I had referenced Brooke’s god-mother Lila Wisdom and implied a relationship after dating a former boss of Ms. Wisdom’s. I was told Ms. Wisdom presented Teri as her girlfriend, and somehow Brooke wasn’t pleased. Brooke also didn’t like the fact that Brooke was also corrected at her AOLBuild event. Brooke told her invited audience that her mother was insecure. I warmly told her that she wasn’t to me or my family and she was a force to be reckoned with. She worked alongside my family tirelessly that led to my childhood abuser being held accountable and eventually prosecuted.
Brooke didn’t like either.
Preparing for this case, it was uncovered that Ms. Shields pays her god mother a monthly salary. I believe it’s alimony and part of her and Teri’s separation. As I said, I dated a former boss of Ms. Wisdom’s and that was everyone’s understanding. Mrs. Shields also confided in a man who woukdckater become a very close friend.
Brooke lied in court.
That’s what I know- it’s what I’ve proved.
As I learned that I was going to be unjustly charged, I panicked. There was nothing questionable in my behavior and Sandy Hook was certainly a cause to rally behind. To secure a professional standing, I had sent a letter to a PMK Publicity in NY. Having been involved in non-profit since 1991, we had worked with PMK back in 2003. We planned an event for actress Nicole Kidman honoring her work in The Hours and both she and the film’s courage in its superb story telling addressing mental illness. The film discussed a subject that afflicts many individuals, and we honored its impact and applauded the film’s reach- a reach that would take us- if ever, a lifetime to achieve. With support of the brilliant producer Scott Rubin we planned a cocktail party to follow a screening of the film to honor Ms. Kidman and Scott Rudin’s film “The Hours.”
This is why we enlist celebrity. Celebrity we do not covet- celebrity we respect for its reach. We understand its impact and the ability to solve societal ills through story telling and exposure.
In the PMK letter, I detailed the misunderstanding. described how I was a victim of stalking, Anf that I understood its destruction and declared that I’d never be so violating.
The truth is, I have in my arsenal, leaders in all aspect of the Hollywood community, and never have imposed on any of my friends to succeed.
I talked hockey with Meryl Streep backstage while watching Sir Paul McCartney rehearse. I sat with Christy Brinkley with a 4 year old Alexa Ray on my lap while Billy Joel rehearsed We Didn’t Start The Fire, I was dancing with Gloria Estefan at the Model Cafe in NY and we all had dinner congratulating Jon Secada’s Broadway debut, I met with Shania Twain at her hotel room to then become her Billboard Award date, I discussed child advocacy with Madonna over dinner, I was also Iman’s date to a Sylvester Stallone premier of his film Oscar, years later I was also invited to Thanksgiving Dinner with Iman and David Bowie’s, I was a personal guest of Celine Dion and husband Rene to a private concert at the theater inside Madison Square Garden, I had coffee in La Canada with the Costners, Halle Berry gave me her number after we both worked on the same tv show, and talked Product Placement with Tom Cruise at his Desilu bungalow office on the Paramount lot.
I included Brooke Shields in our work at Sandy Hook, because I was grateful to her mother for her helping a broken kid. I included Brooke Shields in our work at Sandy Hook because she acknowledged to the world at AOLBuild event (seen on YouTube) that she was aware of our work and our intentions and I believed I had her support. She made every indication to the public and there is no discernible reason to have thought otherwise.
The problem is the vast corruption and improprieties of District Attorneys who are not held accountable!
The Manhattan District Attorney has come under great scrutiny for his accepting (and then returning) money from Weinstein and Trump. Many believe its for special considerations. We believe they’re bribes. We believe the alleged corruption has also been extended to Ms. Shields in the form of special “favors.” Brooke’s payment was paid in full by her publicist, Jill Fritzo. Fritzo used the “This Is Us” popularity and offered up her other client Sterling K. Brown to be used as a photo-op with Cy Vance.
After being falsely accused of harassment, and the fraudulent charges “Stacked” into stalking, ADA Anjelica Gregory offered a disorderly conduct after an altercation ensued over a parking spot that left my car vandalized. Had it actually been stalking involving children, than a slap on the wrist would be grossly irresponsible.
This is by definition malicious prosecution, and my only offense is standing up in defense.
The Manhattan DA, trumped up charges and “Stacked” them into stalking which is an irresponsible tactic and are too often used. The reasoning behind tactical “Stacking” is for a prosecutor to intimidate, bully, and force a plea of guilt. It doesn’t matter if there’s actual innocence or guilt, the threat of punishment is supposed to be so unbareable and so severe that the fear alone is enough to force a plea of guilt. 90% of Court cases brought are presented this way, which results of too many unjust guilty pleas. This means lives destroyed.
In New Tork, we have seen prosecutors that will WIN at any cost- including engaging in many unethical and often questionable acts of criminal conduct including but are not limited to “Suborn Perjury” and “Fraud of the Court.”
Ms. Gregory was the subject of a recent Suborn Perjury complaint and within two weeks of her current employer becoming aware, she was no longer employed by Kirkland & Ellis LLP- the world’s 3 largest Law Firm.
Incidentally, thanks to my contacting the firm, I am now working with Kirkland & Ellis LLP to update the non-profit status of Sandy Hook’s first supporting organization, The Sandy Hook CenTer.
This is also where this nightmare began, in Sandy Hook after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting.
In 2012, with the entire nation’s heart broken, there was a natural call to do an Act of Kindness for Sandy Hook. We came to Newtown on 21 December, 2012 after a week of gathering our resources and support.
We first met with Bill Ackman who provided us his charitable arm of Pershing Square Foundation as a resource and mentorship.
We also met with fellow neighbors:
Sarah Jessica Parker, who along with Farris Buehler himself Matthew Broderick, (Matthew is responsible for our initial philanthropic work some 25 years prior after first meeting at a house party.)
Julianne Moore, who hugs and kisses me.
Ricky Martin, who also kisses me.
Jake Gyllenhaal and his parents over lunch.
And Liv Tyler.
We came to Newtown to do an act of kindness. I knew NBC’s Ann Curry, and decided to one-up-her 1 Act, with 26 Acts.
In Newtown, we came as trauma/PTSD specialists and when we weren’t supporting the shattered family’s, or the broken firemen we could be found taking care of the memorial. Every night between 2am and 6am, we removed broken glass, burnt-out candies, and the withering flowers. With so many visitors- thousands and thousands of visitors, we wanted the mile long memorial as livery and joyful as possible to offset all the broken hearts.
As the memorial came down, the town had decided to destroy the hundreds of thousands of donated stuffed animals, rosaries, letter jackets, and gifts brought to console the many broken hearts. Our belief was there had already been too much damage, and with permission rescued dozens of stuffed animals and keep-sakes.
There was also a team that rescued and the three of us decided to “adopt” these bears out and send them to our several better known supporters.
And we did.
HENRY, originated in Sandy Hook. He was left at the Sandy Hook Memorial in the middle of Sandy Hook Village, just days after the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Henry stands about 3’ high and stood proudly in the village center that welcomed all the visitors who came with broken hearts.
Henry was the first rescue.
He’s since been animated and is being made into a book. We are currently working with an incredible artist, along with JK Rowling’s charitable arm- Lumos.
Other rescues were sent to:
Anderson Cooper. I was on his daytime television show and gave it to him personally.
Sarah Jessica Parker has one and referred us to her business rep. We then arranged for a PSA for The View.
Liv Tyler has one.
Julianne Moore was given one, but asked us to hold onto him for safe keeping. She promised to attend the forthcoming opening and her involvement going forward.
Dr. Oz has one and had presented it him personally as a guest.
Liv Tyler has one as well.
Each recipient was asked to hold onto the “rescues” while we finalized the 5 April 2016 approved plans to build the Sandy Hook CenTer. At the opening friends of Newtown were asked to then return the ‘rescues’ at the ribbon cutting.
Sandy Hook CenTer was modeled after the Dunblane Centre in Dunblane, Scotland who similarly to Newtown suffered a horrific primary school shooting. In Newtown, we met with visiting leaders of Dunblane, and have since remained in touch.
Justice Carol Edmead,
Justice Matthew Cooper, &
Justice Doris Ling-Cohan
publicly declared that Sandy Hook was not a legitimate cause.
Nor did Supreme Court Justices
Leslie E. Stein or
The problem with District Attorneys is that they are not held accountable. When they “STACK” charges to intimidate and force guilt, their findings are not valid. Despite the terrorization of “Stacking” many of the guilty are not in fact guilty. When you have an abusive acting prosecutor, seeking resolve from an appellate court is then proven unlikely.
Take the recent news events. I cannot mention the event because it’ll cloud the storyline. And whomever wishes to detract from fact will then cloud truths to again and solicit fear. Like what the Manhattan District Attorney has done.
Instead of highlighting the terror and trauma of losing a neighbor to gun violence, that I saw the horror of stalking and it being so upsetting that it caused me to not pursue a career I was formally trained in and ultimately gave up as a result. Despite that I was mentored by the powerful Michael Ovitz, or that I had presidents of studios assisting me, and had Academy Award winning actors pleading with me to remain, I still walked away.
ADA Anjelica Gregory submitted in court that a letter sent to a colleague, and not to Brooke was somehow a threat of violence, just because I mentioned an earlier trauma. Irresponsible and offensively misleading.
In recent events we saw what the result of “Stacking” does. A simple isolated incident of a disagreement is labeled harassment and quickly elevated to stalking for an efficient conviction.
The truth is that the man was harassing, and should have been disciplined accordingly. The truth was that the victim took it to law enforcement after she lost her job. Was she harassed, yes. Would she have reported him had she not lost her job, we don’t know. Was he stalking her? No. He didn’t even want her phone number to call or wished to see her. The man just wanted a friend, and was embarrassed and humiliated after she offended him.
Was he a stalker? No! Stalkers are categorized into four groups based on level of romantic interest.
The news paper however took his forced guilt and proceeded to create a biased sensationalized story meant to create “Click-Bait” to initiate revenue in a struggling medium.
***Its vital that we do not condone any act of violence, and condemn anyone that imposes upon another.
But, if we don’t identify what caused a madman to become the predator he was already labeled, I fear for the many innocents that will suffer/be lost as a result.
Prosecutors often abuse because there is no one holding them accountable. Suffice to say, there is no integrity within the Manhattan District Attorneys office, and don’t be fooled by the Conviction Integrity Unit! According to two former agents of this PR ploy. It’s essentially just a plaque on a door and utterly useless.
It’s important to realize just how broken our judicial system is, and how many lives are destroyed as a result.
Legal Aid NYC, didn’t open the case until a month prior to trial. We listened to four days of perjured testimony and never offered a defense. Judge Kevin McGrath was supposed to be on vacation that day and had metioned a quick end. We were in court Monday through Wednesday, broke for Thurday, and I hung on Friday.
We were here to extend into the following week with Monday bringing in two Sandy Hook families, a Newtown town official (who approved our proposal 21 December 2912) and a newly hired COO. I was refused by my defense attorney Jon Stonbely, and therefore denied a fair trial.
I had no defense and the four days of Perjury was left unchallenged. Which proved fatal for a proper appeal.
In 2012, with support from hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman and his Pershing Sq. Foundation, we believed we could honor Sandy Hook. We set forward to mirror Dunblane Centre and create Sandy Hook CenTer as tribute.
On Sandy Hooks first anniversary, we partnered with Hallmark and held a tree trimming event in Newtown. The problem arose when the in invites were sent out.. Ms. Shields’ believed it was a rouse to gain her attention- it wasn’t.
Apparently Ms. Shields lived just two blocks away for several years prior to my knowing. In fact, it was after a cover story of Architectural Digest and it being promoted on social media did I even know she lived just two blocks away. It was after that she was approached to assist us in Sandy Hook.
A disagreement ensued over a parking spot, and out of caution she made a report. Things only got out of hand after which I’m defense.
It’s not that Brooke is to blame for her vigilance- it’s the hypervigilance and her lying in court.
Sandy Hook is a legitimate reason for everyone to come together, we failed based on the corruption in the Manhattan DA’s office that led to Ms. Gregory’s departure within two weeks after a Suborn Perjury complaint was filed.
Why is Emmett Till timely, 55years later?
These abuses of power happen every day, and our public defenders are ill equipped to go against a prosecutor who will often engage in criminal conduct to WIN at any cost. This abuse of power cripples our entire judicial process and castrates the appellate courts in the process.
“During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the abused, and have opposed abusers.
I have fought against those who abuse their power, and I have fought for the voices silenced. I have cherished the ideal of a world of unity, and a society in which all persons will live together in harmony and in peace.
It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Official Complaint: Brent Ferguson, New York State Bar. Assistant District Attorney, City of New York
Brent Ferguson, New York State Bar.
Assistant District Attorney, City of New York
The information contained in this document and it's attachments shall be considered an official Complaint to the State Bar of New York, and provides unequivocal proof of gross prosecutorial misconduct and criminal acts committed by Brent Ferguson, State Bar #
These violations include, but are not limited to the following:
Rule 5-110 Performing the duty of a Member in Government Service
Rule 5-200 Trial Conduct
Rule 5-220 Suppression of Evidence
The State Bar is advised that this document is also provided to the New York State Grand Jury as supplemental information to the formal Public Corruption Complaint filed independently by a collaboration of Human Rights organizations, specifically naming Brent Ferguson, NY State Bar.
The State Bar is distinctly advised that the prosecutorial misconducts and criminal acts of Mr. Brent Ferguson detailed herein are not isolated incidents. They are part of a sustained pattern and course of misconduct, warrants criminal conviction, and necessitate permanent disbarment to protect the people of New York.
A substantial amount of supplemental documentation will be provided to the State Bar, the New York State Grand Jury, the Center for Prosecutorial Integrity, the Attorney General of New York, and other Human Rights Organizations investigating Brent Ferguson, New York State Bar.
BACKGROUND AND SYNOPSIS
"Contrary to defendant's contention, the "reasonable fear" and "no legitimate purpose" elements of the offense were established by the testimony of the complainant and additional eye-witnesses, who testified that defendant repeatedly appeared at and lingered around Shields' home; followed her when she left her house; ignored numerous warnings by family, security and the police to stop contacting her; parked near her home for days at a time and slept in his car; and sent her unwanted communications, including a letter with a shirtless photograph of himself and an email to her publicist in which defendant referenced an actress that had been murdered by a stalker. The court could rationally infer that defendant's conduct was designed to hound, frighten, intimidate and threaten (see People v Stuart, 100 NY2d 412, 428 )."
Mr. Ferguson not only mislead, but fabricated grossly. .
A prior complaint was made against former ADA Ms. Anjelcia Gregory for her role in the initial 2015 case. Within two weeks of the complaint presented to Kirkland & Ellis, Ms. Gregory was no longer an employed by them. .
Mr. Ferguson in the above brief, willfully and knowledgeably committed Fraud of the Courts.
"Fraud on the court occurs when the judicial machinery itself has been tainted, such as when an attorney, who is an officer of the court, is involved in the perpetration of a fraud or makes material misrepresentations to the court. Fraud upon the courtmakes void the orders and judgments of that court."
1. There was no sleeping in the car, it was awaiting street cleaning.
2. The shirtless photograph was an inch x 3/4 inch picture used as logo for a personal correspondence to Dear Friend, to support Sandy Hook, and encourage a clear mission statement.
3. Letter sent to publicist was to preserve a relationship between myself and the agency dating back to 2002. To suggest Rebecca Schaefer as a threat was utterly irresponsible. Ms. Schaefer was shot and killed just two days after I arrived from NT to Los Angeles- on the same block. It scared me, and was a significant reason I quit acting after Rob Reiner’s “A Few Good Men.”
In 2003, Mr. Chris Henchy and I met after a Broadway play. After introducing myself to him, he grabbed me , pulling me across the room and said I had to meet his wife, Brooke Shields personally. There had been a gift sent that she was said to be so in love with that she had told me point blank, 1. It was too nice to share, and 2. It would remain on her bed-room bureau. I was very pleased because throughout my life I had developed a sense of gratitude to the Shields after their stepping in and having my abuser prosecuted. Through Mrs. Shields' kindness, I was no longer of abuse, but a survivor..
After many kind words were exchanged, I gave a friendly man to man pat on his shoulder and said my good-byes.
There was no further communication since 2003 aside from my attending 3 or 4 Broadway shows..
In 2012, after my father had died things of his became more valuable to me. And in 2013 or so I stumbled upon an old gift Mrs. Teri Shields bestowed to me as a kindness.. The loss of a parent is tough, but the loss of a grandparent is especially tragic because this relationship ends when the grandchild is often quite young. Since I was given such a lavish gift of a heart shaped silver frame, I felt obliged to return it to its rightful owner, Brooke with a comment that I thought her eldest daughter would appreciate it more that I. At the time it seemed to be the right thing to do.
In 2014, I received a bulk mailing from Ms. Shields inviting me to several events to which she was to speak on behalf of a book she had previously published. During one event the mc was kind enough to ask if there were any questions, I put my hand up and we spoke of my 'paying it forward' and attributed my philanthropic work to her mother who was kind to a child a long time ago.' Brooke then asked if there was a question, and I just said no. I had only wanted to say thank you. She moved on and before I knew it I had said, yeah I do have a question after-all.. but someone had already begun to speak, and Brooke smiled at me, and I smiled back.
The next event was several hours away and was a book signing at Barnes and Noble. While I joined the line to have my book signed, I didn't solicit a conversation, but when Brooke saw me, she quickly apologized for not getting to me to ask my question. She took it upon herself to engage me, I might add.
In just a few months later, I would run into Ms. Shields in my neighborhood. For the record, Ms. Shields moved within 2blocks of me.. and to run into her in a total of 3 or 4 times over the course of many years seems expected- especially when Ms. Shields lives just two doors down from my pharmacy that I've been patronizing for over 20years.
The quantity and severity of the many criminal acts committed against me has been so expansive, so much so that it has drawn the attention of a number of Human Rights organizations, who have collaborated on a comprehensive investigation and have assisted in the filing of a formal public corruption complaint with the New York City Bar.
The evidence provided herein proves unequivocally that ADA Brent Ferguson of the Manhattan DA's office violated his oath of office, abused public trust, and made a mockery of our judicial system in her relentless pursuit of a criminal conviction.
I'd also like to add Mr. Ferguson is with no moral compass as a result of his arriving to the Manhattan District Attorneys office. Prior to his taking a position at the Manhattan DA’s office, Mr. Ferguson was a notable asset to Brennan Center for Justice, and thought to possess a great deal of integrity.
I'd like to also add that for close to two years, I was repeatedly asked to accept a disorderly conduct. With advise from Assemblyman O'Donnell, I was told not to accept if I was innocent. I was also advised that as long I was fighting a celebrity I would not win with Cy Vance as District Attorney. But, at that point the only thing that was important was the lesson I’d be instilling upon my little boy, 'perjury isn't an option even if it will afford you your freedom.'
Specifically, the facts and evidence herein establish:
Notably, Mr. Ferguson was the Attorney on record who took this case to NY Apelate Court. Throughout his brief, he constantly contradicted himself and flat out fabricated several truths. The biggest travesty was his flat out misrepresentation of facts.
Ms. Anjelica Gregory was already reported for her oath violations and within weeks of my filing was no longer employed by Kirkland & Ellis. Mr. Ferguson’s role herein was essentially his committing Fraud of the Courts.
“Fraud on the court occurs when the judicial machinery itself has been tainted, such as when an attorney, who is an officer of the court, is involved in the perpetration of a fraud or makes material misrepresentations to the court. Fraud upon the court makes void the orders and judgments of that court.”
The assumption of criminal behavior was based on the discovery from an extortion/ consumer site called Rip Off Report. This site defamed me in its accusations of being a child predator and running an illegal non profit. In 2010, thanks to Detective Paul Arroyo, these reviews were proven false. Yet, they remained because reports can not be removed. The only option was to then pay a $5,000- $100,000 service fee to have the reports 'buried.'
I could go on and on, but trust me when I say everything out of Ms Shields and Mr. Henchy's mouths were lies. To prove this any and all my actions and activities were/ are transparent on-line connected with evidentiary proof of no wrong-doing.
FACTS AND EVIDENCE.
GUN CONTROL IS COMING
I have been a gun control activist for over 10 years. Not just control. I have repeatedly advocated for the change of the Second Amendment to NOT INCLUDE Military Grade/Assault Weapons.
After every horrific tragedy in our country, especially Sandy Hook, I believed there would be change. Every time I have been disappointed.
There is something very different this time. Gun Control is going to happen thanks to the millions of High School and college students in this country. Thank you Parkland students. And they will all be voting very very soon!
It will start out slowly. First, there will be Psychiatric checks. Then, criminal background checks. Then age changes from 18 to 21. Then bumper stock restrictions. Then, General Background checks. Then, a ban on all assault weapons. Etc etc etc. It won’t happen tomorrow but I am more confident than ever that it will happen, and happen soon.
We will take your guns away. You say I’m misguided because then only the criminals would have guns and you won’t be able to protect yourself?
How realistic do you think your ability to protect yourself is? A shooter comes into your home with an assault weapon. You need to
(1) get your gun;
(2) unlock it;
(3) reach for your clip
(4) take your ammunition out of your clip
(5) load the gun
(6); pick it up;
(7) aim it;
You would be long dead long before you got to #1.
How often have you actually heard about a person successfully protecting themselves or their family with a gun, against intruders? Certainly not enough to justify widespread use of assault weapons. But we hear about family members blowing their brains out, a child discharging an armed gun, accidentally or purposely killing himself or another family member, car ride-by accidental shootings and targeted shootings, and Columbine/Sandy Hook/ Parkland type assaults and massive killings everyday.
I know you want to protect yourself but doing so with a gun is not realistic. And your right to protect yourself and your family is far outweighed by the massive killings of millions of school children. Over time, guns will dissipate, and will not be as readily available to criminals as they are now.
And hunting? Really? Where in the constitution does it say you have a right to carry an automatic assault weapon for the purpose of hunting?
I am more hopeful than ever. As of this morning’s Gallup poll, 28% of all Americans are for total repeal of the 2nd Amendment and 68% are in favor of a total ban on all assault weapons. Those are the highest poll numbers ever.
THIS TIME WE ARE COMING FOR YOUR GUNS!!
Deadpool + Celine Dion.
As a former journalist, I wrote a review on Celine Dion for Entertainment Weekly, and a Boston Magazine In Newsweekly.
“Remember the name, you’ll never forget the voice....”.
For Kathy Rinaldi Hope, we had a theme song written, we then reconnected to Ms. Dion and sent it to her. The favorable response was from Rene Angelil, Ms. Dion’s husband, and our team then became personal guests of the Angelil’s.
Ms. Celine Dion was both generous with her time and kind in spirit..
When you take on something so much greater than yourself, risk is always a possibility- but the reward is always worth it!
Unfortunately, our 20+ years of advocacy was sideline by an opportunist/ criminally acting Assistant District Attorney Ms. Anjelica Gregory who suborns perjury tactically. Luckily, heads of studios, networks, management companies, leading publicists, and celebrities like Julianne Moore, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Jackman, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Denzel Washington, Nicole Kidman, Scott Rudin, Calvin Klein and ++ know of our high profile work.. We may be down, but are relentless in our pursuit to ensure the safety of our children.
(we don’t covet celebrity, we do however appreciate the amount of influence they have on societal well-being.)
WHY YHE POLICE LOSE CREDIBILITY, AND WHY THEY ARE NOT RESPECTED.
Any trauma/PTSD survivor could/would not hear the ramblings of any abuser when intimidation/fear tactics are implemented.
In 2006, this was me.
Having called 9/11 for fear of an unconscious kid, the police showed up and beat me unconscious.
Ironically, it was also the Broward Cowards #BrowardSheriffs who’s inaction led to Parkland, Florida’s devastation.
We don’t trust the police- this is why.
#BrentFurguson plagiarized ADA Anjelica Gregory’s Suborned Perjury and is now making a joke of the honorable Leslie E. Stein by committing Fraud of the Court- supplying untruths to corrupt the court of impartiality.
obstruction of justice
: the crime or act of willfully interfering with the process of justice and law especially by influencing, threatening, harming, or impeding a witness, potential witness, juror, or judicial or legal officer or by furnishing false information in or otherwise impeding an investigation or legal process
ADA Anjelica Gregory. Suborned Perjury.
ADA Brent Ferguson lied to Honorable Leslie E. Stein.
The greatest thing anyone can ever be is kind. One act of kindness can literally make a persons life, whereas another can literally destroy it!
You can make a difference no matter how old you are.
Yes, you can! If you know who to ask...
All it takes is for one person to support an ideal, it can also just take one to destroy...
In my teen’s, I studied acting at a prestigious Beverly Hills school that put me at social events with Sugar Ray Leonard (whom I still talk to done 20+ years later..) and sat at a bar with Denzel Washington, and even attended a breakfast at the Costner’s. I went from several under 5 tv shows, to being featured, to eventually speaking- acting along side Leah Remini, Alyssa Milano, and Halle Berry. I also broached into film- a Tom Cruise/Rob Reiner film.
But, I realized I didn’t want to be center stage, nor did I want fame... and although I loved the craft, I believe acting was a necessary evil to do the most good... I wanted to speak about the many ills facing our kids, and needed the most vulnerable to hear- what better way than as an actor?
So, I joined several children’s organizations, and like Meghan I too wrote letters..
Sam Neil sent me a personalized letter of support...
Andy Garcia called me on the phone to discuss...
Annie Lennox sent me a lovely note of encouragement, as did Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Barbara Sinatra, president Bill Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, and even Michael Jackson to name a few!
Although, I was just a kid, these phone calls, and letters kept me disciplined and dedicated to then become a Sandy Hook first responder of trauma/PTSD support and it afforded my organization to build a CenTer in CT to honor the 26 lives taken, support the bereaved left behind, and help encourage gun reform as we did...
There was one hero who diffused us all, therefore forcing us to be late to our very own party. But, again we had truer heroes keeping us on point.
Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman, and Julianne Moore...
The greatest thing anyone can ever be is kind. One act of kindness can literally make a persons life, whereas another can literally destroy it!
UN WOMEN 2015
“I want to tell you a story that’ll sort of give context to my being here and my work with UN Women. When I was just eleven years old, I unknowingly and somehow accidentally became a female advocate. It was around the same time as the Beijing conference, so a little over twenty years ago, where in my hometown of Los Angeles a pivotal moment reshaped my notion of what is possible. See I had been in school watching a TV show in elementary school and, um, this commercial came on with the tag line for this dish washing liquid and the tag line said, ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’. Two boys from my class said, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong, in the kitchen’. I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt; it just wasn’t right, and something needed to be done. So I went home and told my dad what had happened, and he encouraged me to write letters, so I did, to the most powerful people I could think of.
“Now my eleven year old self worked out that if I really wanted someone to hear me, well then I should write a letter to the First Lady. So off I went, scribbling away to our First Lady at the time, Hillary Clinton. I also put pen to paper and I wrote a letter to my news source at the time, Linda Ellerbee, who hosted a kids news program, and then to powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred, because even at eleven I wanted to cover all my bases. Finally I wrote to the soap manufacturer. And a few weeks went by and to my surprise I received letters of encouragement from Hillary Clinton, from Linda Ellerbee, and from Gloria Allred. It was amazing. The kids news show, they sent a camera crew to my home to cover the story, and it was roughly a month later when the soap manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, changed the commercial for their ivory clear dish washing liquid. They changed it from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to ‘People all over America’. It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions. At the age of eleven I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.
Decided on April 17, 2018 SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, FIRST DEPARTMENT PRESENT: Ling-Cohan, J.P., Cooper, Edmead, JJ. 570473/16 The People of the State of New York, Respondent, againstJohn Rinaldi, Defendant-Appellant.
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, FIRST DEPARTMENT
PRESENT: Ling-Cohan, J.P., Cooper, Edmead, JJ.
Justice Doris Ling-Cohan
Justice Matthew Cooper
Justice Carol Edmead
Sandy Hook was and always will be "a legitimate purpose."
Julianne Moore thought so, and pledged her support just a day after Sandy Hook.
Ricky Martin thought so, and kissed me.
Sarah Jessica Parker was asked to do a PSA for ABC's The View.
THEREFORE there couldn't possibly be any
BRENT Ferguson commits fraud of the courts
People v Rinaldi (John) Annotate this Case
[*1] People v Rinaldi (John) 2018 NY Slip Op 50562(U) Decided on April 17, 2018 Appellate Term, First Department Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. This opinion is uncorrected and will not be published in the printed Official Reports.
Decided on April 17, 2018
SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE TERM, FIRST DEPARTMENT
PRESENT: Ling-Cohan, J.P., Cooper, Edmead, JJ.
The People of the State of New York, Respondent,
John Rinaldi, Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant appeals from a judgment of the Criminal Court of the City of New York, New York County (Kevin B. McGrath, J.), rendered June 17, 2016, after a nonjury trial, convicting him of stalking in the fourth degree (two counts), harassment in the first degree, and harassment in the second degree, and imposing sentence.
Judgment of conviction (Kevin B. McGrath, J.), rendered June 17, 2016, affirmed.
The verdict convicting defendant of two counts of fourth degree stalking (see Penal Law § 120.45,) was supported by legally sufficient evidence and was not against the weight of the evidence (see People v Danielson, 9 NY3d 342 ). There is no basis for disturbing the court's determinations concerning credibility. Ample evidence supported the conclusion that defendant engaged in a course of conduct from November 2013 through May 2015 that was reasonably likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health or safety of the complainant, actress Brooke Shields (see People v Polanco, 57 Misc 3d 140[A], 2017 NY Slip Op 51348[U] [App Term, 1st Dept 2017]).
Contrary to defendant's contention, the "reasonable fear" and "no legitimate purpose" elements of the offense were established by the testimony of the complainant and additional eye-witnesses, who testified that defendant repeatedly appeared at and lingered around Shields' home; followed her when she left her house; ignored numerous warnings by family, security and the police to stop contacting her; parked near her home for days at a time and slept in his car; and sent her unwanted communications, including a letter with a shirtless photograph of himself and an email to her publicist in which defendant referenced an actress that had been murdered by a stalker. The court could rationally infer that defendant's conduct was designed to hound, frighten, intimidate and threaten (see People v Stuart, 100 NY2d 412, 428 ).
There was also a valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences from which the court could have determined that defendant's guilt of harassment in the first degree (Penal Law § [*2]240.25) and harassment in the second degree (Penal Law § 240.26) was proven beyond a reasonable doubt (see People v Danielson, 9 NY3d at 349).
Defendant's remaining arguments, to the extent preserved for appellate review, have been considered and found to be unpersuasive.
THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE COURT.
I concurI concurI concur
Decision Date: April 17, 2018
My name is Melissa Howard and I operate stopsuicide.info, which supports my mission to end suicide.
As part of that mission, I'm writing articles (and a book!) on emotional wellness - in particular some of the warning signs that indicate it's time to seek help.
May I send you an emotional wellness article for your blog? I’m hoping my writing can guide others to feeling "well enough” and to understand when they need to ask for help.
Thank you for your consideration - your site looks great and I’d love the opportunity to write something for you!
Head of Prevention Outreach
But first, may I ask you a question. Last week Mark Salling, Puck from Fox TV’s Gkee, took his life. It’s understandable given the severity of his mental incapacity given his offensive predilections. However, I believe all deviants- be it pedophilia, rapists, abusers/harassers, and stalkers are all predators. Their mere being is a mortal imposition, and sadly death would be most welcomed. To harm another, be it mentally or physically defies any logic of freedom.
Having been falsely accused simply for a means of policing, the accused (wrongful accused) will always be a predator.
Why then go on??
Trauma, PTSD and the like change our chemical construct and we become engorged by cortisol. As a result, we are compelled to actually be kind and act kind to level it out.
Sadly, Brooke Shields is my Harvey. Well, actually ADA Angelica Gregory was the Suborning Perjurer, and Brooke was simply complicit.
“When you ask the police to not cause harm, nor for charges to be filed..”. There is hardly a platform of harassment let alone stalking. And to suggest an attempt to stop gun violence as anything less than an act of kindness, you must then look at the world in which you’ve created.
I am a Sandy Hook 1st Responder Who’s Hallmark sponsored event in Newtown on its 1st Anniversary was my completed objective. To win a faulty conviction, that invite was presented to the court as a ruse to attract and target Ms. Shields’ Children.
Simply put, if you say children are being targeted of any kind, you do not want to plea for a slap on the wrist. You cut their balls off and send them to the darkest hole!
Unless you’re a questionable prosecutor who has no conscious.
As far as the human condition decline.. Anxiety manifests itself into rapidly beating hearts, and heightened alerts.. resulting in a constant dreamlike escape of suicide to simply make it all end.
However, I believe one person can help heal what another has destroyed.
Manhattan District Attorney Anjelica Gregory Suborn Perjury to WIN Brooke Shields ‘Bad’ Case Against Sandy Hook First Responder.
When you release Websites, Blogs, + Social Media, YOU KNOW THE TRUTH/ Intent.
Subornation of perjury
In American law and in Scots law the subornation of perjury is the crime of persuading a person to commit perjury, the swearing of a false oath to tell the truth in a legal proceeding, whether spoken or written. The term further describes the circumstance wherein an attorney at law causes a client to lie under oath or allows another party to lie under oath.
In American federal law, Title 18 U.S.C. § 1622 provides:
Whoever procures another to commit any perjury is guilty of subornation of perjury, and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
In California law, per the State bar Code, the subornation of perjury constitutes an act of "moral turpitude" on the part of the attorney, and thus is cause for his or her disbarment, or for the suspension of his or her license to practice law.
In legal practice, the condition of suborning perjury applies to a lawyer who presents either testimony or an affidavit, or both, either to a judge or to a jury, which the attorney knows to be materially false, and not factual. In civil lawand in criminal law, the attorney’s knowledge that the testimony is materially false must rise above mere suspicion to what an attorney would reasonably have believed in the circumstances of the matter discussed in the testimony. Hence, the attorney cannot be wilfully blind to the fact that his or her witness is giving false, perjurious testimony.
Moreover, an attorney who actively encourages a witness to give false testimony is suborning perjury, which is a crime punished either with formal disciplinary action, disbarment, or jail, or a combination thereof. Likewise, a false statement by an attorney in court also is a crime similar to subornation of perjury, and is punished accordingly. Hence, in the professional conduct of an attorney at law, there is a fine delineation between assisting a witness to recall occurred events and encouraging him or her to give materially false testimony. The practice of ″horse shedding the witness″ (rehearsing testimony) is an example of such perjurious criminal conduct by an attorney, which is depicted in the true-crime novel (1958), by Robert Traver, and in the eponymous film (Otto Preminger, 1959), about a rape-and-murder case wherein are explored the ethical and legal problems inherent to the subornation of perjury.
#Philanthropy #ChildProtection #STOPGunSchoolViolence
Those that have been hurt the most, have the most to give.
To start this with such wording could very much lend itself to self pity. However, it’s anything but. The abused changes both physically, and emotionally. Understanding this makes me also aware of the altered chemical construct of the amount of cortisol internally of said abused. So, in itself having the most to give, suggests it’s also a chemical need to give.
We are not in the by business of self service, but service.
We are a grass roots effort dedicated to the betterment of others. Although a legal enterprise, we are not in the business to earn a living through efforts we believe should be immediate- meaning, Non- Profit should be volunteer. Hence the impropriety of the New York District Attorney #CyVance, who when learned of us thought us to be illegitimately. Our opposition was based on the soul saying of a reckless starlet who, by definition is a sociopath. After all, our Harvard School of Mental Health board member, and legal advisors were the first to suggest her defect, and supported it by a 1 in 25 person affliction. We must also state that we were encouraged by everyone else approached.
After all, why would such an individual pledge one’s entire life to service? There must be another reason than good!
No, Ms. Angelica Gregory, some people are just good.
That said, we are a group of individuals who choose to redefine the non profit sector by imposing a 3% fee for over-head. Which means, that everyone who assists us in championing for children dies so out of the goodness of their heart, and whom recognizes the need of people doing their part. No one receives a salary and this assured that funding will always go where it’s attended.
We are not comprised of PAC’s, begging for a dollar here and a dollar there to fight against another begged for dollar. Personally, I find it irresponsible to make legislators wealthier from the backs of the people... We seek a novel approach of being more direct- sending a message to the one needing to hear.
We are a media consort that eliminates the middle man.
Our mission is to create film, documentary, PSA, and to lecture.
To pay for this we rely on good old fashioned hard work, and enterprise.
We understand financial responsibility and with the combination of family money, inheritance, hard work, and empathy we have never imposed upon another nor have asked anything of anyone.
Sr. Account Manager consecutively of two of the largest banks in N. America, only to then seek a senior management position at a third.
SU was Having had success, I was able to then devote my entire self to my philanthropic endeavors post September 11.
As a boy, my world had been shattered- rather than letting a hardship define me, I chose to define it. This led me to create Kathy Rinaldi Hope. An abuse awareness vehicle that not only works to stop the many abuses, educates, and looks to the future health of our young.
But, post 911, the world had been shattered for all of us. And knowing first hand such devastation, I could not just stand by and not give my all.
In the recent tragedy of Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT we once again lend a hand. Having violently lost two siblings our hearts break for not only these 26 families, but the world throughout knowing the fear such a devastation would create. Innocence may have been its victim, but building strong and standing tall, innocence will then become the victor.
Current responsibilities include the privately built/funded Sandy Hook CenTer to honor and to pay tribute to those lives lost from this horrific tragedy. In the wake of the first year anniversary and to comply with Newtown's wishes, we're currently targeting ways to pay tribute within our own communities and on a delusional level-nationally.
When I'm not out saving the world from the many villains, or help establish the drug efficacy, you can find me raising both a toddler and newborn.
This world is a tough place and we should all do our part. I've seen the worst in life, so I tend to do more than most. And trying to stay humble, doing what I do helps keep me grounded to hopefully provide a good example to the children I have the privilege to be a part of.
The Innocence Deniers
When convictions are clearly wrong, these prosecutors don’t just hinder justice—they actively work against it.
January 10 2018 4:30 PM
Davontae Sanford was 14 years old when he confessed to murdering four people in a drug house on Detroit’s East Side. Left alone with detectives in a late-night interrogation, Sanford says he broke down after being told he could go home if he gave them “something.” On the advice of a lawyer whose license was later suspended for misconduct, Sanders pleaded guilty in the middle of his March 2008 trial and received a sentence of 39 to 92 years in prison.
Sixteen days after Sanford was sentenced, a hit man named Vincent Smothers told the police he had carried out 12 contract killings, including the four Sanford had pleaded guilty to committing. Smothers explained that he’d worked with an accomplice, Ernest Davis, and he provided a wealth of corroborating details to back up his account. Smothers told police where they could find one of the weapons used in the murders; the gun was recovered and ballistics matched it to the crime scene. He also told the police he had used a different gun in several of the other murders, which ballistics tests confirmed. Once Smothers’ confession was corroborated, it was clear Sanford was innocent. Smothers made this point explicitly in an 2015 affidavit, emphasizing that Sanford hadn’t been involved in the crimes “in any way.”
But Smothers and Davis were never charged. Neither was Leroy Payne, the man Smothers alleged had paid him to commit the murders. (Through his attorney, Payne has denied any involvement.) Instead, Smothers pleaded guilty to the other eight killings. Davis, who was never prosecuted, was convicted of an unrelated felony in 2013 and could be released from prison as early as July. Payne, who remains a free man, left Detroit in 2016. His whereabouts are unknown.
Davontae Sanford, meanwhile, remained behind bars, locked up for crimes he very clearly didn’t commit.
Police failed to turn over all the relevant information in Smothers’ confession to Sanford’s legal team, as the law required them to do. When that information was leaked in 2009, Sanford’s attorneys sought to reverse his conviction on the basis of actual innocence. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy fought back, opposing the motion all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court. In 2014, the court sided with Worthy, ruling that actual innocence was not a valid reason to withdraw a guilty plea. Sanford would remain in prison for another two years.
In an adversarial legal system, it’s natural to presume that prosecutors and defense attorneys are driven by the same goal: to win. They aren’t. In Berger v. United States, decided in 1935, the Supreme Court famously declared that the prosecution’s ultimate goal “is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done.” A prosecutor, the court wrote, “is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.”
Embracing this “twofold aim” is at the core of a prosecutor’s work. The government brings cases it believes are supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A victory at trial proves them right. But if new evidence is uncovered showing the conviction was error-ridden to the point of unreliability, the imperative that “justice shall be done” requires prosecutors to admit they were wrong. This responsibility exists even if a defendant may be guilty—if, for example, crucial evidence was obtained by illegal means. The moral imperative underpinning this precept, though, is brought into sharpest relief when it appears the defendant is actually innocent.
Many prosecutors accept this responsibility and, when proven wrong, ask the judge to dismiss a case or settle by way of a plea bargain. But too many do not. Indeed, there is a class of prosecutors that might fairly be called innocence deniers.
These prosecutors do not “do justice” as the Supreme Court defines it. Instead, they delay justice and in some cases actively work against it. When a prisoner is exonerated by a lower court, these prosecutors double and triple down, filing appeal after appeal. Or they indict and prosecute the exoneree all over again, sometimes under a wildly different theory at the expense of time and resources that should be used to pursue the crime’s actual perpetrator. They may also threaten endless legal challenges to wring “no contest” pleas from innocent prisoners in exchange for time-served sentences. The prisoners, desperate to be free, accept these Faustian bargains, which brand them convicts for life and allow prosecutors to proclaim their guilt and the state to deny them compensation. Some prosecutors are so committed to adhering to the original mistake that they fail to prosecute the actual perpetrators, even when there is evidence to convict them.
Innocence deniers are a diverse group: male and female, young and old, white and people of color. They are Democrats and Republicans from red, blue, and purple states. What they have in common is their insistence—in the face of all evidence to the contrary—that wrongfully convicted people are in fact guilty.
Simply opposing an exoneration effort does not make a prosecutor an innocence denier. Some exoneration claims are bogus and others are murky, requiring rigorous legal testing to be proven conclusively. Increasingly, conscientious prosecutors are working collaboratively with defense attorneys to reinvestigate innocence claims, keeping an open mind and doing the right thing in the end. Innocence-denying prosecutors are different. The cases collected here are extreme, either because the prosecutor in question has a pattern of reflexively denying innocence or because, even in a single case, the evidence of innocence is so manifest as to make the fight against it profoundly misguided.
In the past quarter-century, the work of dogged attorneys and advances in forensic science have exonerated more than 2,150 men and women, 161 of those from death row. The Innocence Project, a New York–based nonprofit founded by Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld in 1992, has freed more than 200 people and spurred the creation of numerous smaller organizations around the country devoted to the same mission. (From 2012–2015, I was the director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles.) By some estimates there are tens of thousands more wrongfully convicted prisoners languishing behind bars. Nevertheless, some prosecutors—the most powerful actors in the criminal justice system—refuse to correct life-altering errors. (You can read more about 17 such cases here.) If we are committed to fostering a justice system that is truly just, it is imperative to call out these innocence deniers and hold them to account.
Kym Worthy, a Democrat and the first black woman or man to serve as Wayne County’s lead prosecutor, first took office in 2004 and coasted to re-election for a fourth term in November 2016. The former circuit court judge has a national reputation as a trailblazing progressive—last April, Essence named her to its “Woke 100 List” to honor her efforts “to achieve equality for people of color.” Worthy’s office, however, has repeatedly refused to admit error in cases like Davontae Sanford’s, where there is compelling evidence of actual innocence.
The Michigan Supreme Court’s adverse ruling in 2014 wasn’t the end of the line for Sanford. The court ruled against him on technical grounds and noted that there was nothing to prevent his legal team from filing a post-conviction motion for relief from the judgment, rather than making a direct challenge to his guilty plea. In 2015, attorneys for Sanford, who is black, did just that, and the Michigan State Police began to re-investigate the case. One year later, the police issued a 117-page report detailing compelling evidence that Smothers and Davis were guilty; that Sanford was innocent; and that Detroit’s then deputy police chief, James Tolbert, had lied to convict Sanford. It was at that point, nine yearsinto Sanford’s incarceration, that Worthy finally agreed to his release—but only on account of Tolbert’s misconduct. She continues to insist that Sanford is guilty, pointing to his discredited confession. The state police recommended bringing perjury charges against Tolbert and murder charges against Smothers and Davis. Worthy declined in all three cases.
In July 2017 Sanford filed a civil suit under Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, and only four months later the state attorney general conceded that Sanford was innocent, had been wrongfully convicted, and was entitled to compensation, but noted that Worthy’s office “has been consulted and disagrees.” Julie Hurwitz, one of the attorneys who represents Sanford, told me she was “surprised” that the state acquiesced so readily but that given the crush of media attention the case has received, “the attorney general’s office probably knew that fighting this would be a political bombshell.” On Dec. 21, a judge awarded Sanford $408,356.16.
In reference to her office’s handling of Sanford’s case, Worthy has said, “I don’t know what we could have done differently.”
David Moran, director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, has tangled with Worthy in a half-dozen cases in which he says her office has fought his efforts to free clients. Moran, who helped lead the fight to exonerate Sanford alongside the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, also battled the Wayne County prosecutor in the case of Lamarr Monson, who was convicted in the 1996 murder of a 12-year-old girl and sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison. Monson, who like Sanford is black, claimed he’d been tricked into signing a false confession stating that he’d stabbed the victim to death.
Nearly 20 years after the murder in question, Moran and his students examined the object that the medical examiner had identified as the likely murder weapon: a ceramic toilet lid used to bludgeon the victim over the head. The lid was covered with bloody fingerprints, which had never been tested. The Michigan State Police found that all the fingerprints matched a man named Robert Lewis, who was living in the same building as the victim at the time of the murder.
During a four-month-long evidentiary hearing in late 2016, the Michigan Innocence Clinic presented the fingerprint evidence and called Lewis’ then live-in girlfriend Shellena Bentley as a witness. Bentley testified that Lewis came back to her apartment on the night of the murder “frantic” with “blood on him; it was dripping off his fingernails.” David McCreedy, the assistant prosecutor assigned by Worthy to fight the case, didn’t find this account convincing. He explained that Lewis might have wandered by the apartment while the building manager was on the phone with 911, then moved the toilet tank out of the way to help the paramedics. Moran told me that he responded: “There might be 12 gullible citizens that would buy that, but that’s why we need a new trial: to see if the state can find them.”
The judge granted Monson a new trial; he was subsequently released on bond. Worthy, who agreed to be interviewed about Monson’s case—she declined to comment on Devontae Sanford’s, citing ongoing litigation—told me her office sought to delay the retrial so it could conduct an additional investigation. Two homicide investigators were dispatched to interview Lewis, who denied committing the murder. “His statements were consistent with the evidence that was available in the case,” Worthy says, despite Lewis’ fingerprints being all over the bloody toilet lid, including around the edges, Moran says, suggesting that he gripped it. (Worthy’s deputies do not concede that the toilet tank was the murder weapon; one told me that the victim’s “head could have been slammed against the back of the bathtub,” causing the fatal injury.)
In August, a few weeks before Monson’s retrial, the prosecution dismissed the case. In a public statement, Worthy said Monson had lived with the 12-year-old victim, that he’d had sex with her, and that he’d demanded that she sell drugs for him. The decision to drop the charges against Monson, Worthy said, was not due to a belief in his innocence, but instead due to “the destruction of evidence and the possible coercive conduct of the then-homicide inspector in obtaining statements from the defendant.” Her office, she said, would not be charging Robert Lewis with the murder. Lewis is still free.
Moran says Worthy’s charge that Monson had sex with the 12-year-old victim is “false and disturbing,” adding that “it is unethical for a prosecutor, upon dismissing charges against a defendant, to then publicly defame that defendant.” His client, he says, emphatically denies that any sexual contact occurred. Asked to respond, Worthy cited Monson’s statements to the police—the same statements she has admitted were possibly coerced in a manner that “supports Monson’s defense of a false confession.”
Worthy did tell me, however, that her office is in the process of launching a standalone unit to review possible wrongful convictions. That group will be headed up by Valerie Newman, a longtime attorney at the Michigan State Appellate Defender Office, which represented Sanford before the Michigan Innocence Clinic took over his case. Worthy says that project has been in the works for some time, but became possible only after she obtained funding from the Wayne County Commission.
Moran reacted to the news with cautious optimism, saying, “I hope that the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is changing its attitude and will seriously consider these cases.” He has cases lined up to present to the unit as soon as it opens for business.
In June 2016, the California Innocence Project filed a vindictive prosecution motion, arguing that the retrial of William Richards was “unconscionable.” A month earlier, the California Supreme Court had ruled unanimously that Richards’ conviction for the 1993 murder of his wife Pamela Richards should be overturned, as it had been based on false evidence. Shortly thereafter, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos announced his office would prosecute Richards for a fifth time. “There was no way that they had any legitimate purpose in prosecuting him,” says Jan Stiglitz, co-director of the California Innocence Project. “They would have to be deluded to believe he was still guilty.”
Ramos is a prosecutor with a national profile. A Southern California Republican, he is the board chairman of the National District Attorneys Association, a powerful group of more than 4,000 prosecutors that meets regularly with the Department of Justice to offer its views on criminal justice policy. The son of Mexican immigrants, he is the first Hispanic district attorney for San Bernardino County, a jurisdiction with a population of more than 2 million people. First elected in 2002, Ramos is now campaigning for his fifth term. For the majority of his 15 years in office, he has fought the release of a man who was demonstrably innocent. Ramos isn’t known for serially denying innocence claims. The case of William Richards, however, is a shocking example of how prosecutors can pursue a single individual with no regard for logic or reason.
Pamela Richards was murdered in gruesome fashion. Although she was killed by manual strangulation, she’d also been horribly beaten. Pieces of her skull were lying beside her body, and a paving stone and cinder block found nearby were covered with blood and matted hair. Police immediately focused their suspicion on her husband. The couple was having financial problems, and Pamela, who was having an affair, had announced she was leaving him.
Nevertheless, the evidence against William Richards was weak. He had no criminal record and no history of violence. The night of the murder, he clocked out from work at 11:03 p.m., then drove 45 miles to get home. Even assuming he exceeded the speed limit by 20 miles per hour, police estimated Richards couldn’t have arrived home before 11:47 p.m. That would’ve given him 11 minutes to brutalize his wife before he called 911 at 11:58 p.m. to report she was dead.
Richards, who is white, was indicted under Ramos’ predecessor, Dennis Stout, and tried four times by a prosecutor named Michael Risley. Two juries were unable to reach a verdict, and the judge in the third case declared a mistrial. At the fourth trial, Risley introduced new expert testimony: A dentist, Norman Sperber, told the jury a bite mark photographed on Pamela’s arm was consistent with William’s teeth, and that the bite mark was so unusual as to be found in just 1 to 2 percent of the population. William Richards was sentenced to life in prison in 1997.
In 2003, Stiglitz and Justin Brooks, the co-founders of the California Innocence Project, filed a motion for DNA testing on the paving stone and cinder block found near Pamela’s body. They also sought DNA testing on a hair found underneath her nails. When the results finally came back in 2007, they excluded William. A year later, the dentist recanted his testimony, stating he had “no degree of certainty” about his earlier conclusion and adding that, with regard to William, “I have essentially ruled him out.” In 2009, a trial judge overturned William Richards’ conviction, finding that “the entire prosecution case has been undermined” with evidence that “points unerringly to innocence.” Ramos appealed the judge’s order. Another six years of legal dueling followed before the state’s highest court agreed that William Richards’ conviction should be thrown out.
Stiglitz was shocked when he learned in 2016 that Ramos intended to prosecute Richards for a fifth time. The DNA pointed to someone else, the recanted bite-mark testimony had been tossed, the timeline made no sense, and there was no other evidence. But a trial date had been set, and Ramos’ office opposed Richards’ release—he had been transferred to jail from state prison while he awaited trial—demanding a $100,000 bond. The judge declined, instead letting Richards out on his own signature.
Eight days after Stiglitz and his colleagues filed their vindictive prosecution motion, Ramos’ office finally dismissed the murder charge while maintaining that no final decision had been made. Ramos’ spokesperson, Christopher Lee, wrote in an email to the Intercept that more time was needed to look at “the defense’s new evidence.” The case has never been refiled.
Richards now lives with a former California Innocence Project attorney and her family. He developed prostate cancer while in custody that went untreated and, his lawyers say, is now incurable. Richards has filed a civil right lawsuit against the County of San Bernardino and six sheriff’s deputies, seeking unspecified damages for actions that were done “deliberately, purposefully, knowingly and/or with deliberate indifference to, or reckless disregard” for the truth. Trial is set for October 2018. The San Bernardino district attorney’s office declined to make Ramos or Risley available for comment, citing Richards’ ongoing lawsuit.
Leon Cannizzaro has been known to fight exoneration cases for years until every appellate option has been exhausted. Local prosecutors have tremendous power, and the district attorney for Louisiana’s Orleans Parish uses every tool in his arsenal to reject the innocence of exonerees, and to threaten the freedom and professional reputations of those fighting on behalf of those who say they were wrongfully convicted. Cannizzaro’s office has gone after defendants’ lawyers and investigators in court by accusing them of committing crimes to help their clients, and the office has discouraged witnesses from helping to exonerate wrongly convicted people, charging them with perjury when they recant false trial testimony. It’s not just the wrongly convicted who suffer under this regime: By spending resources rejecting exonerations instead of searching for the real perpetrators, Cannizzaro has prevented victims from getting the justice they deserve.
Consider the case of Jerome Morgan, who was 18 when he was convicted of the 1993 shooting death of a fellow teenager. The victim, Clarence Landry III, died after shots were fired at a Sweet 16 party in a hotel ballroom. Hakim Shabazz and another teenager were wounded, but survived. The gunman immediately fled the scene; he was chased unsuccessfully by Landry’s best friend, Kevin Johnson. (Morgan, Landry, and the witnesses are all black.)
Johnson ruled out Morgan when he was shown a photo array just days after the crime. Three months later, Shabazz identified Morgan as the shooter, and four months after that Landry’s mother brought Johnson back to the police station. At that point, Johnson changed his story and identified Morgan as the gunman. Based on these two identifications, Morgan was convicted of second-degree murder. In 1994, a judge sentenced Morgan “to serve his natural life at hard labor in the Department of Corrections.”
In 2013, after Shabazz and Johnson recanted their identifications of Jerome Morgan (in 2011 and 2012), Morgan’s lawyers succeeded in getting a hearing before a trial judge to determine whether Morgan’s conviction should be thrown out. At the hearing, Shabazz said he hadn’t known the identity of the gunman but that a detective told him “Jerome shot you.” Johnson described the immense pressure he felt when Landry’s mother brought him to the police station. He’d set aside Morgan’s photograph only to have the picture put back in front of him and have the detective ask again, “You sure this is not the guy?” Finally, he agreed to identify Morgan as the killer.
Morgan’s lawyers also uncovered evidence that the ballroom had been sealed within minutes of the shooting and that Morgan had been locked inside, making it impossible that he was the fleeing gunman. Prosecutors had that evidence all along, but never turned it over to the defense.
A judge overturned Morgan’s conviction in 2014. At that point, he’d served 20 years. After he was unsuccessful in opposing Morgan’s release on bail, Cannizzaro went to the intermediate appellate court seeking to reinstate his conviction. When that effort failed, he appealed again, this time to the state’s highest court. He also indicted Shabazz and Johnson for perjury, and then argued that his office should be allowed to introduce Shabazz and Johnson’s recanted trial testimonies, as neither man would agree to take the stand at Morgan’s retrial given the perjury indictments hanging over their heads. The Louisiana Supreme Court shut Cannizzaro down again, holding that “the state may not rely on these discredited and unreliable identifications.”
Cannizzaro, a white Democrat who’s been the Orleans Parish district attorney since 2008, vowed to press on. In the weeks leading up to the retrial, prosecutor Donna Andrieu accused Morgan’s attorneys, Emily Maw and Kristin Wenstrom, of coercing false recantations from Shabazz and Johnson and asked that they be removed as Morgan’s counsel so the state could call them as witnesses. The judge, incredulous that Andrieu would accuse the defense attorneys of “suborning perjury,” rebuffed her request as “outrageous.”
In May 2016, two weeks before Morgan’s retrial, Cannizzaro’s office dismissed the charges against him, saying the high court’s ruling had tied its hands. Cannizzaro professed deep sorrow for the victim’s family. “What is most disappointing to me about this entire incident,” he said, “is that, as [the victim’s mother] lays in bed dying of cancer, the justice for which she worked so hard to obtain is ripped from her fingers and she is helpless to stop it.” Maw called Cannizzaro’s statement “dishonest and preposterous.” The attorney had stayed in close touch with Landry’s parents throughout the case. “They fully supported our efforts and have no desire to see an innocent man in prison,” she told me.
Clarence Landry’s killer has never been found. Maw says that, to her knowledge, no one is looking for him. Instead, Cannizzaro, who declined to comment for this story, went ahead with the perjury prosecutions against Shabazz and Johnson. In January, a judge acquitted both men.
Worthy, Ramos, and Cannizzaro may seem extreme, but they have plenty of company. University of Michigan Law professor Samuel Gross, co-founder of the nonprofit National Registry of Exonerations, says “there are a lot of these cases.” Gross and his colleagues have tracked every known exoneration from 1989 through the present day. At Slate’s request, they provided a list of an additional 16 cases of innocence denying beyond the ones described at length in this article. “We see them all the time,” Gross says.
As Davontae Sanford’s case demonstrates, innocence denying means the real criminals go unpunished, posing a threat to public safety. According to the Innocence Project, 353 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence since 1989. The group has identified 152 actual perpetrators in those cases who went on to commit “150 additional violent crimes,” including rape and murder.
The best-known example of this phenomenon is the case of Michael Morton, a Texan who was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife in 1987. At trial, prosecutors withheld crucial exculpatory evidence. After his conviction, they fought Morton’s release tooth and nail, even though DNA evidence found on a bandana near the crime scene pointed to Mark Alan Norwood as the real killer. Norwood had gone on to rape and kill another woman in a nearly identical manner two years after Morton was sent to prison.
The lead prosecutor, Ken Anderson—who became a district court judge after securing Morton’s conviction—was criminally charged with evidence tampering and lying to the judge at Morton’s preliminary hearing, and eventually pleaded no contest to felony charges of criminal contempt. He has been barred from practicing law. But the prosecution of Anderson is an outlier. Worthy, Ramos, and Cannizzaro have never been sanctioned. Instead, they have each coasted to re-election while racking up accolades and awards.
If innocence denying rarely carries negative consequences, is the converse true? Do prosecutors who do everything in their power to free wrongfully convicted people stand to lose elected office and lose face because they’re seen as weak? In a word, no. Consider the story of Thomas Haynesworth, Michael Herring, and Ken Cuccinelli.
Haynesworth, a black teenager, was convicted in 1984 of raping three white women in Richmond. In back-to-back-to-back trials, all three women identified Haynesworth as their attacker. In 2009, Haynesworth’s attorneys got approval to test the DNA from a rape kit in one of the cases. That DNA matched a man named Leon Davis, who’d been convicted of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women. Those crimes had been committed after Haynesworth was arrested, in the same city or adjoining counties, and in a manner strikingly similar to the modus operandi attributed to Haynesworth.
Haynesworth was exonerated in that case, but he remained incarcerated for the two other rapes—and in those cases the evidence had been destroyed, leaving no possibility for DNA testing. Haynesworth’s advocates turned to Richmond City Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring for help.
Herring, who is black, was initially skeptical, but he became convinced of Haynesworth’s innocence. He then approached Cuccinelli, who was Virginia’s attorney general at the time. With his deputy, Alice Armstrong, Cuccinelli put together six-foot-high charts analyzing the evidence in the cases involving Haynesworth. They then added more charts for the multiple cases in which Davis had been convicted. It quickly became clear that this was not a question of glancing similarities: The geographic clusters, the details of the physical violence, and even the rapist’s wording of his threats to the victims formed an unmistakable pattern. Haynesworth, Cuccinelli believed, had spent nearly three decades in prison for Davis’ crimes.
In December 2010, Cuccinelli—a white Republican who is famous for his unflinchingly conservative positions—approached Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and lobbied for Haynesworth to be pardoned. The attorney general then took a highly unusual step. Rather than opposing Haynesworth’s petition for a writ of actual innocence in the Virginia Court of Appeals, he and Herring joined with Haynesworth’s lawyers in asking the justices to grant it.
During oral arguments in a packed courtroom, Cuccinelli was asked how he could sanction undoing the verdicts of two separate juries when the victims stood by their identifications. “My job is not to defend convictions, it’s to defend justice,” he explained to me.
Haynesworth ultimately prevailed by the narrowest of margins, with the court of appeals ruling 6–4 in his favor. Cuccinelli, now the president for the Senate Conservatives Fund, calls Haynesworth’s exoneration “the professional accomplishment I am most proud of.” Herring, who remains the commonwealth attorney for Richmond City, easily won re-election. In 2016, he received an award from the Virginia State Bar for his work in supporting the successful petition to pardon another man, Michael Kenneth McAlister.
When Kym Worthy says she plans to devote an entire unit to investigating post-conviction innocence claims, she is following in the footsteps of other district attorneys. Perhaps the best known of these units was run by Ken Thompson, the first black man or woman elected as the district attorney of Brooklyn, New York. Thompson, who took office in 2013, served only three years before dying of cancer in October 2016. But in that short time, he built up a remarkable record. In its first year, the conviction review unit freed 10 people. At the time of Thompson’s death, the total stood at 23. (After Thompson’s death, Eric Gonzalez became the acting district attorney. Gonzalez, who just won election for his full first term, had been endorsed by the New York Times, which noted that he “took the lead” in making the conviction review unit a success.)
Sharen Wilson, the top prosecutor for Tarrant County, Texas, is following the same model. Wilson, a white Republican who took office in January 2015, hired a widely respected defense attorney from a neighboring county to review questionable convictions. Recently, the Tarrant County Conviction Integrity Unit cooperated with the Innocence Project in reinvestigating the case of John Earl Nolley. That reinvestigation turned up a bloody palm print that did not match Nolley and evidence that the jailhouse informant who testified against Nolley had lied. After Wilson agreed the conviction was tainted, a state court judge overturned the conviction, and Nolley was released on bond in May 2016. The case is currently pending in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which will determine whether to uphold the trial court’s conclusion and Wilson’s recommendation.
On her website, Wilson describes herself as “putting victims first” with her commitment to “aggressively prosecute the most dangerous criminals.” She says vacating Nolley’s conviction and releasing him on bond was the right decision. “Faith in God leads me to believe that we have a system that is made up of people, and people make mistakes,” she told me.
There are no particular credentials that guarantee that a prosecutor will do the right thing. Prosecutors who embrace their role to “seek justice” must be willing to tell the truth no matter the consequences, and they need to have the gumption to fess up when they make a mistake. These are basic lessons that are well understood by an average fourth grader. Why is it so hard for so many of our top law enforcement officials to take them to heart?
Sandy Hook Memorial Bear,
Founder and Chief Executive Director of NYS 501c3 Kathy Rinaldi Hope/
Sandy Hook CenTer.
Brooke took offense,
|File Size:||314 kb|