The incidents of wrongful conviction of those actually innocent exists as too frequent an occurrence in the United States judicial system. Time after time, the dedicated efforts of civil rights advocates, and investigative journalists alike, succeed in uncovering disturbing cases of the wrongful conviction of those actually innocent.
This disturbing trend of wrongful convictions has become so systemic within the United States judicial culture that it has resulted in the evolution of an actual innocence industry. Brought to the public forefront by advocates promoting actual innocence activism and dedicated to the reformation of judicial injustice, civil rights activists, colleges and univerities, and even former prosecutors have established nonprofit actual innocence projects across the U.S. at an unprecedented rate.
Serving in the capacity of advocates for the poor and destitute – the general profile of the wrongfully convicted – actual innocence projects now have their hands full in seeking true justice for the literal plethora of those actual innocents rotting away in U.S. prisons today. Sadly, many of the actual innocents, sentenced to the death penalty for a crime they had never committed, had their innocence proved posthumously. Having sworn by their innocence throughout each respective phase of the failed criminal appeal proceeding, their pleas of innocence were ultimately silenced by lethal injection.
The wrongful convicton of the actual innocent usually proceeds from an abuse of justice meted out by the unscrupulous criminal prosecution for crimes they simply did not commit. Such vindictive criminal prosecutions resulting in wrongful convictions generally include identifiable malicious acts of judicial impropriety, like the intentional suppression of evidence favorable toward establishing the innocence of the wrongfully accused. For example, the Cincinnati, Ohio Police Department is presently being sued for willfully and maliciously burying DNA evidence that resutled in an innocent man being unlawfully imprisoned on murder charges. (See: http://www.gbfirm.com/cincinnati-police-ssued-for-burying-dna-evidence-that-kept-an-innocent-man-in-jail-on-murder-charges/) Amazingly, William Hilbert, the Cincinnati police detective involved in wrongfully framing Joshua Maxton for a murder Mr. Maxton simply did not commit, was the lead detective in the wrongful conviction of Chaz Minor.
An additional tactic endemic to any existing prosecutorial or police abuse of justice culture of gaining a criminal conviction no matter what the cost, is the process of employing individuals with pending felony charges – usually drug dealers and drug addicts, career criminal felony offenders, jailhouse snitches, and others so desperate – as the charlatan government witness. In State criminal prosecutions, this individual is generally referred to as a “State witness.”
Beleaguered by the looming prospect of facing prison time, the primary dubious role of the charlatan government witness is to falsely implicate the one actually innocent of the crime as a means to conceal or deflect the charlatan’s own personal culpability and guilt. The irony of this reality is that the quintessential informant or jailhouse snitch – more often than not that career criminal possessed of a literal laundry list of past felony convictions and visits to the pen – is the actual perpetrator, or in some manner a conspirator, of the crime! Is it nothing short of sheer incredulity that this enigma of a broken judicial system is supported, time and time again, by the exact same underlying elements of governmental foul play that mirrors so many actual innocence cases?
The Case of the Actual Innocence of Chaz Minor
As a result of the self-serving testimony and declarations of self-avowed drug dealers and desperate drug addicts, Chaz Minor was wrongfully implicated, and ultimately wrongfully convicted, of the April 1, 2005 shooting death of Kevin “Fresh” Berry.
Upon seeking federal habeas relief from the wrongful cnviction of Chaz Minor, the United States District Court outlined the factual findings provided by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals (Hamilton County, Ohio). The Ohio First District basically upheld the highly questionable evidence presented by the State at the joint jury trial of Chaz Minor and Minor’s co-defendant Larry Lewis, Jr., inclusive of the self-serving testimony of the Hamilton County, Ohio Prosecutor’s key charlatan witnesses for the State: self-avowed drug dealers and drug addicts. (See: Minor v. Warden, 2014 U.S. Dist. 41456, quoting State v. Minor, 2007-Ohio-312)
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NOTE: Yusuf Bilaal is an acclaimed legal research consultant. Yusuf has successfully researched and briefed cases for various actual innocence projects, inclusive of the Actual Innocence Project of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Yusuf may be contacted at: Yusuf B. McKinney, P..O. Box 4501 (A468437), Lima, OH 45802-4501, or at inmateblogger.com – McKinney, A468437.