Thursday, March 27, 2008

How an Innocent Person is Convicted, Part 9: Only look at some evidence

Once the District Attorney's office decided to pursue a conviction against Todd, all interest in pursuing truth seemed to evaporate.

The real-life world of crime analysis is not like CSI. In real-life, the prosecutor directs the forensic analysis, asks for specific tests on specific items that may support the prosecution's case. Tests that the prosecution fears might undermine its case can be avoided.

For example, in Todd's case the prosecutor (Jeff Lindsey at this time) declined DNA testing the clothing Todd had worn during the confrontation on Conrad Street. Eventually, we obtained a court order to have this clothing tested at our expense. Those tests confirmed what we'd known all along regarding the blood stain on Todd's leather jacket: it was Todd's blood. None of the victim's DNA has ever been found on any of Todd's clothing.

Although Lindsey declined to test the clothing Todd had worn that night, he did order the testing of a shirt that Todd had worn the day after--a shirt that had been given to him by Brad Orgill.

Brad's choice of shirts to lend to Todd is curious. Although he had many shirts to choose from (he ran an online clothing sales business from his house), he chose to give Todd a plaid shirt with human blood stains on it.

Lindsey had the blood stains from that shirt tested, but the blood did not match anyone who was present at the stabbing.

Why had Orgill lent a shirt with blood on it to Todd? Why had Lindsey declined to test the jacket Todd had worn that night? Was it so he could simply claim that Todd had blood on his clothing--never mind whose? Patricia Van Horn in the brief she submitted on behalf of the state in Todd's appeal refers to the blood on Todd's clothing in an attempt to imply that he had contact with the bleeding victim. Of course, she fails to mention that none of the blood on Todd's clothing came from the victim, or even that the state declined to perform testing that was surely called for.

Apparently if the search for truth might get in the way of a conviction, the search is abandoned.

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