Friday, May 23, 2008

Guest Shot: Open Letter to Lansing State Journal

Open Letter to Lansing State Journal
by John W. Sawyer III

Isn’t this just precious ? You start off an article about the railroading of Claude McCullom by the prosecuting attorney with several remarks and quotes about what a straight arrow the lead Assistant PA is and how his colleagues can’t believe he would make such a ‘mistake.’

The record in your area certainly points to a history of such misconduct, almost a modus operandi, on the part of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies (notably the Michigan State Police), in obtaining convictions: fiber evidence, phony “confessions,” cover up of exculpatory evidence (what, no profiler?). So a self-described “reporter” should hardly express surprise upon hearing confirmation of such misconduct. So now, according to recent St. Journal articles, the ‘community,’ Project Innocence, and certain ‘reporters” are working to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Puhleeez.

Where was all this public indignation from you “reporters” BEFORE McCollum was convicted. I’ll bet you were there when the cops lead McCollum on the de rigueur ‘perp walk.’

Another such case, of which all of the abovementioned, including you, are aware, concerns Tom Sawyer, whose conviction in Hillsdale was reversed by the U.S. Appeals Court, when it was discovered that the PA and the Michigan State Police had lied under oath when they testified that semen stains found on the victim’s underwear had not been tested for DNA, when in fact they HAD tested the stains, finding that they did not match Tom Sawyer.

Now after17 years in prison, Tom awaits a decision from Judge Manderfield in Ingham on his remaining conviction. Granted a hearing date (June 6, 2006) by the Judge, only to have the hearing permanently revoked after suffering a heart attack, Tom was informed that he will have no chance to counter the PA’s (self-serving and grossly inaccurate) rebuttal arguments to his Appeal brief. If the notoriously lazy Judge Manderfield fails to invest the hours needed to review and understand the case, and simply takes the PA’s word for it, the decision will go against him.

By Law, the judge simply cannot take the PA’s word for it because the PA says that Tom’s arguments are specious, incorrect, or lack merit (as she did in her brief). Rather the PA MUST point out with facts WHERE and HOW the arguments are specious or incorrect or lack merit. Could it be that your remarks about the good work and character of the PA and your ignoring of the pre-trial exculpatory evidence in the McCullom case are indicators that you basically agree with the Judge Manderfields, the cops, and the Prosecuting Attorneys? “If the sheriff says he’s guilty, then by God he must be guilty.”

If that is the case, please do us all a favor and stop writing articles about preventing future injustices.

The most important fundamental right enumerated in the U. S. Constitution isn’t the precious “reproductive rights” to an abortion as the Left suggests, nor of the right to capital gains tax breaks for investments as the Right demands, but rather the concept of Habeas Corpus - the right of an innocent man to be heard after being wrongfully convicted. Thomas Jefferson wrote that if you don’t have ‘Justice’, you don’t have ‘Freedom.’


John W. Sawyer III