Monday, August 11, 2014
Voila! A smoking gun that reads like a manner-and-means section of a conspiracy indictment in federal court.
Page 1: https://www.flickr.com/photos/66500846@N05/14878116961/
(Note the September 27, 2007 fax stamp at the top of the page and the defense attorney’s Bates stamp in the bottom right-hand corner)
This is a draft of a three-page supplementary order on suppression that the prosecutor, Jim Harris, faxed to Crane’s defense attorney, Chris McNeil four months before trial on September 27, 2007. This order purportedly supplements a previous order denying the motion to suppress.
The draft order contains a set of proposed findings of fact that contradict what the 911 caller reported to the dispatcher and the sworn testimony of Deputy Eddie McGuire, the arresting officer and sole witness at the preliminary and suppression hearings and before the grand jury.
This scripted new set of facts was introduced at the trial without objection by Crane’s defense attorney who did not cross examine the 911 caller or the arresting officer about their prior inconsistent statements. The most glaring inconsistencies were:
(1) The 911 caller testified at trial that Crane asked him if he knew where she could buy heroin, but he told the 911 dispatcher that she was writing stuff down in a notebook and having a conversation with a neighbor in the neighbor’s yard which she mentioned something about tar heroin and all that stuff. He wrote out a statement the next day in which he never mentioned heroin or any other drug and said he had a conversation with Crane about where to acquire barrels to use as planter boxes.
(2) The arresting officer testified at trial that he did not pull her over; rather, he noticed her slow driving with her left-turn signal on as he approached her from behind. As he drew near, she pulled over into the emergency lane and stopped. Because her driving was suspicious, he pulled in behind her to stop and investigate. However, he testified at the suppression and preliminary hearings that her driving was okay and he pulled her over because he thought she possessed heroin. Her lawyer did not cross examine him about his previous testimony that he stopped her.
He also testified at trial that, after he arrested and transported Crane to the hospital for a blood draw, he saw a plastic baggie containing an apparent controlled substance in plain view in the seat-belt crack next to Crane, who was sitting in the back seat on the driver’s side of his police cruiser with her hands handcuffed behind her back. He said her watch was also in plain view next to the baggie. However, he had previously testified at the preliminary hearing that he found the baggie under the back seat after she told him that her watch had fallen off her wrist during the transport and slipped behind the seat. She asked him to retrieve it for her and he found her watch and the baggie after he moved the back seat. He also admitted that he could not have seen the baggie and her watch without moving the seat.
Before the arresting officer handcuffed Crane and placed her in the back seat of his cruiser, a female officer searched her and did not find the baggie containing the suspected controlled substance. She searched Crane thoroughly at the scene of the stop, including searching her pockets with her hands and visually searching her breasts and crotch in full view of passing traffic.
At the request of the prosecutor and without objection from her defense attorney, the trial judge prohibited the defense from mentioning Crane’s request to retrieve her watch. He also did not cross examine the deputy about his prior inconsistent testimony that her watch was not in plain view.
A toxicological analysis of Crane’s blood sample (drawn after she was pulled over, searched and arrested) using gas chromatology and mass spectrometry (GCMS) detected no drugs or alcohol.
Nevertheless, the jury convicted her of DUI, possession of crack cocaine and tampering with evidence. She was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
The draft supplemental order, which uncannily predicted the material changes in the 911 caller’s and the deputy’s trial testimony 4 months before trial, was filed 3 days after the trial concluded.
Chris McNeill told Crane and me that the judge issued the order sua sponte (i.e., on his own) and he had no knowledge about it until he received a copy from the clerk’s office after the order was filed.
Although I asked him many times to file a motion to set it aside for relying on the scripted trial testimony, he never did.
To this day, he continues to deny that he knew about this order before it was filed.
I described the draft of the supplemental order as similar to a manner-and-means section of a federal grand jury indictment because it showed the manner and means by which the prosecutor and her own defense attorney conspired to rig the outcome of her trial.
Her defense attorney’s role in the conspiracy was to assure a guilty verdict by not cross examining the witnesses and by his denial of any knowledge of the supplemental order until after it was filed and his refusal to file a motion to set it aside.
Chris McNeill should be disbarred and prosecuted for conspiracy to violate her civil rights.
Stay tuned. In our next post, we will take down the crime lab.
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