Wrongful Convictions Blog looks at Open Records Policies & Justice

A disturbing case out of Texas once again puts the spotlight on Open Records policies and how critical they are to justice. The case also highlights the perils of allowing jailhouse informants’ words to replace solid evidence. Dennis Lee Allen’s and Stanley Orson Mozee’s murder convictions were overturned last week after the two served 15 years in prison. They were convicted of the 1999 murder of Rev. Jesse Borns, Jr. The convictions were based on Mozee’s unrecorded – and immediately recanted – confession (he claims he was pressured to confess) and the word of two jailhouse informants. No DNA since tested ties either man to the murder.

As Nancy Petro writes on the Wrongful Convictions Blog:
“Law enforcement and prosecutors who have not yet fully supported the practice and spirit of open records should follow the lead of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins and others. Providing transparency places them on the side of both truth and history.”

Amen to that.

Wrongful Convictions Blog

Dallas County (TX) District Judge Mark Stoltz issued findings of fact and conclusions of law last week before recommending that the murder convictions of Dennis Lee Allen and Stanley Orson Mozee be overturned. The two men were subsequently released after each had served 15 years in prison. The judge’s findings will now go before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for review. ABC News WFAA 8 reported (here) that the two are expected to be exonerated.

Allen and Mozee were convicted of the 1999 murder of Reverend Jesse Borns Jr., who was found stabbed outside his workplace, a retail store. No physical evidence linked the men to the crime. The conviction was won on the unrecorded confession of Mozee — who immediately recanted and claimed he was coerced into signing the police-written statement — and the testimony of two jailhouse informants. The informants denied under oath at trial…

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Sharp Objects Charles Manson’s “Girls” Carried In Court Just Wouldn’t Fly Today

American Lawyer magazine reviews “The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art”….a colorful taster:

“Court artists rival war correspondents as raconteurs, and grabbing details lurk on every page. Music fans may be stunned to hear that Black Panther Afeni Shakur was eight months pregnant with Tupac Shakur when acquitted of attempted murder. Anyone who has gone through the security checkpoints of today’s courthouses will be bemused to learn that the Manson family members were permitted to carry long hunting knives into court so long as they were not concealed.” Read more: http://www.americanlawyer.com/id=1202656369813/Legal-Artistry%3A-Courthouse-Drama-Drawn-in-Real-Time#ixzz33hv9Szt9


12 hours left on my goodreads giveaway…6 signed copies Lethal Intent

Still time if you’d like to enter. If you’re a Goodreads member, you’re good to go. If you love to read you should check out Goodreads…you may love it. Wall to wall book lovers. It’s a fun site. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/74782-lethal-intent


Friday Evening: Talking to Behind the Yellow Tape’s Joey Ortega

I’ll be talking Joey Ortega, host of Behind The Yellow Tape, about Aileen Wuornos and the new edition of LETHAL INTENT. Hope you can tune in! The show focuses on serial crime, cold cases, and forensic and investigative topics. It airs 7:00–9:00 p.m. PST. I expect to go on around 7.30 p.m. West Coast time live but the show will be archived afterwards… Hope you can tune in!

Braving True Crime Uncensored radio SAT DEC 7 with Burl Barer

CBS’ Erin Moriarty calls it “The Best true crime radio program on the air” but I’ve heard it can be a wild ride so wish me luck and hope you can tune in to see how I fare! Thanks.

LISTEN LIVE SATURDAY 2pm PT/5pm ET/10pm London when SUE RUSSELL joins Burl Barer, Howard Lapides and Mark Boyer on TRUE CRIME UNCENSORED on Outlaw Radio! More info: