Monday, November 28, 2005
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Sam Millsap Jr., the former Bexar County district attorney who made the decision to charge Cantu with capital murder, says he never should have sought the death penalty in a case based on the testimony of an eyewitness who identified Cantu only after police officers showed him Cantu's photo three separate times.
"It's so questionable. There are so many places where it could break down," said Millsap, now in private practice. "We have a system that permits people to be convicted based on evidence that could be wrong because it's mistaken or because it's corrupt."
I hope this Millsap Jr. enjoys the remainder of his life because when his time comes he's got a first class ticket to straight to hell. What a shit bag.
This witness was a 23 year-old Caucasian male (Lonnie), who had been with our client and his other friends on the night of stabbing in a parking lot. Lonnie came from a prominent and wealthy family that lived in Encino, California. For those not familiar with Encino, it’s a wealthy suburb Northwest of downtown Los Angeles just a hop, skip, and a jump from Universal Studios and all those other annoying well-known LA shit holes.
But I digress.
I was able to make contact with Lonnie’s family (his dad was a producer or something at Warner Bros. studios and his mom ran a catering business out of their home). I introduced myself and explained why I was there. The dad basically told me Lonnie wasn’t there and to not let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. I got a different vibe from the mom/wife though…they wouldn’t say if Lonnie lived there but she had a pained look on her face that only a mother that has lost someone or something could have.
I came back a couple of days later, when I knew her Asshole…er….I mean husband wouldn’t be home. She answered the door and quickly let me inside. She explained that Lonnie is a very sore subject for the family (especially the Asshole). Lonnie was her oldest son and he had gotten involved in drugs for about a year before he was kicked out of their house. He had stolen from them, physically attacked his brothers, and basically torn the family apart. She was convinced it was because of the Heroin he had been using on a daily basis.
She showed me a few photos of Lonnie before he started chasing the dragon. Lonnie looked like a handsome young guy, with dark hair and a really bright smile. He would have fit right in with those kids on MTV’s Laguna Beach (yeah, I watch it...what? You don't have secrets too?).
Lonnie’s momma said he was homeless and last she had heard he was living on the streets in Burbank….maybe. She also said that some detectives had come by weeks ago trying to talk to him and she hadn’t heard anything from them. My heart sank when she told me this. One because, I could see how torn up she was about it and two because I was sure I’d never find this kid.
She told me Lonnie called her once every couple of months to tell her he was alive. She said she would give me some pictures if I promised to call her and tell her where he was (if I found him). I explained that I would do what I could, but no promises. Lonnie was 23 years-old now and since he was an adult, I would have to respect his right to privacy and life...regardless of who he was hurting.
Before I left her house, she told me when she last talked to him she heard someone call him...
Monday, November 21, 2005
I swear this is the last time I’ll mention voicemail songs because I hate to sound like a broken record. I’m sure that this is all just a sign that I’m getting old...Ugh, I hate the idea of being a complaining, old man.
First off, I received two emails (leaving only one regular reader that did not email) questioning whether or not any of what I had written about was true or "loosely based," on something that had happened to me.
Let me just clear things up right now by saying that the entire story is 100% true. The only things I ever change in any of my stories are the names of people involved, sometimes the dates the incidents occurred, and very rarely the location. I change those three things in order to remain as anonymous as possible.
Mr. X, although a very nice, and creepy guy, was also a little bit off as those of you who don't wear shit stockings can probably attest to. I found that the people involved in the murder had also possibly hidden in his shed for a brief period of time and as I continued to work the case over the next two days I also found that there was a good chance our client did not commit the crime.
Fortunately, I found that a person that possibly was involved with the murder in one way or another was already in jail...Unfortunately, he was our client. So as any PD office would do...we conflicted off the case and all the hours and effort I put into the work went out the fucking window.
My feelings about this case are mixed and it gets me upset thinking about it too much. The frustrating truth is that PD Investigator work is hardly ever cut and dry and knowing that sometimes makes me wish things...things that I shouldn't.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
-Ali G (2004)
Buttercup ran for about 7 good years and she carried me up and down this great state of California many, many times. She was good and reliable transportation for me on more dates than I can count (although I didn't earn a lot of points as far as impressing the ladies...I did get great gas mileage!).
I think about her sometimes when I'm driving my current beater (she's no Buttercup). I miss the light smell of gasoline in the car that would never go away. I miss the way the heater I couldn't shut off would burn the shoes off of unsuspecting passengers. I miss the way that I could cram at least 5 friends into the car, I even miss the oil light that would always turn on for no reason at all.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
I’m sure the phone is just ringing off the hook at the station with possible leads. Couldn’t they have just said, “He/She mighta been a white dude(ette) and he was wearing a black hood?” Whatever.
I love being busy. Unfortunately, it’s busy to the point of where I’m feeling a weensy, tiny bit stressed. NOT full out "Tom Cruise" freaked out but I’m beginning to dream about cases and work again, which is never a good thing.
I haven’t posted anything for a while partly because I haven’t even picked up my laptop until this morning. Sure, I've check my email and kept up with my favorite blogs but I was just trying to slow my work pace down a bit I guess and I thought that if I stayed away from my laptop, I could put off some of the work I do at home after I leave the office. Yeah...not possible.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
The story in the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, Minnesota reports that before Gilchrist worked as a PD Investigator, he was one of six black officers on the Minneapolis force from 1970 to 1993. The guy has a real interesting story, you should check it out.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
(I was forwarded this little nugget from Business Opportunities Weblog...no I'm not looking for business opportunities but it was fun to use!)
Monday, November 07, 2005
I love football. I love Cheerleaders. I Love criminal defense work.
Mix the three of them together and you get THIS FANTASTIC NEWS STORY!
We never get clients like this at our courthouse...ever.
(Photos and story from Tampa Bays Channel 10)
Yes, the state we love to hate (I don't really hate it...I just wanted to say something witty...and yes, I failed) has scraped up enough funds to open a PD's office in Edinburg, Texas. Edinburg is located very close to the Southern tip of Texas, close to the border of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas for those not familiar with Texas geography.
I find it interesting that they hired a 28 year-old former district attorney from the same county to run it but, what the hell, you gotta start with someone I suppose. It looks like they are funded by a grant (if you can believe it!) for at least 4 years. I'm wishing them a whole lotta luck and now I want to figure out how we can apply for California grants like this!
(Thanks to Skelly at Arbitrary and Capricious and Scott at Grits For Breakfast)
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
It was kind of a fancy schmancy event although I left right after work and had to settle with a plain old charcoal gray suit..AND I went without a date. I don't mind going places alone but sometimes, when you're going to an event like this, it makes it easier to have someone you can talk to...but after I got there and picked up my glass of wine, I settled right in.
The truth is, I'm already interested in volunteering my time to the NCIP. I know quite a bit about the organization and I don't need any convincing. I also wasn't interested to meet any real bigwigs but I DID hear that Danny Glover was supposed to be there and there were a couple of investigators that I hadn't seen in a long time that I was looking forward to seeing again.
I had to be a little bit vague with co-workers about where I was going because I don't advertise to anyone that I volunteer for any organizations outside the office, partly because I don't want to make them feel pressured to ask questions about it or feel like they need to get involved also.
Anyhoot, the play, Barred From Life, was shown after the initial reception (and before the dessert reception) and it was great. Although I'm not a big fan of interpretive dance, the actor doing the crazy dancing came across as very...active, I guess is the word I'm looking for. Danny Glover's video cameo (woulda been better in person) as a police detective doing a high pressure interrogation was great.
At the end of the play, several people came out onto the stage and read the names of Exonerees and the time they served before they were released. They must have read about 25 names in rapid fire succession before they all became silent. There was a spotlight that appeared about two feet two my left which was aimed directly on a short, balding guy who stood up and said, "My name is John Stoll, 20 years," and about 7 others stood up, providing their names and time served (Stoll served 20 years of a 47 year sentence). Also present was Peter Rose, who served 9 years of a 27 years sentence before being exonerated. Both Stoll and Rose were exonerated in 2004.
For the finale, all the exonerees ended up on stage for a question and answer session. Now, I hate being a big wussy but it was extremely moving to hear these folks and I got a little teary eyed looking at these people, whose lives had been completely thrown into disarray and now they were just happy to be out and working to make sure it never happens to anyone else.
If any readers get a chance to catch the play or at least meet the exonerees, I highly recommend it! I was able to pick-up an advance copy of Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated and it is fascinating reading! When I'm done with it, I'd be happy to send it to whoever would be interested in reading or you can pre-order it for it's release on 11/25/2005.