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Dallas County prosecutors will not charge police in teenager’s tasing death

Dallas County prosecutors will not charge police in teenager’s tasing death

Police officers in Mesquite committed a crime when they tased a teenager in 2013 who would later die. But because it took the office of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson so long to come to that conclusion, the officers cannot face criminal charges.

Graham Dyer, 18, was shocked with a Taser on his testicles while he was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser. Dyer was on a bad LSD trip at the time he was tased and was throwing his body around the back of the police car.

The medical examiner concluded that he’d died from injuring himself.

But video from that night showed that Dyer had been repeatedly tased. One officer had threatened to kill him and police had not properly restrained him in the back of the car.

It took years for Dyer’s parents to get the full details of what happened to him with the Mesquite police department refusing to turn over records and video of that night. It wasn’t until they asked the FBI for help and then asked for the records that the federal agency had collected that the Dyer’s finally found out what happened.

According to the Austin American-Statesman “There was the image of Graham in the backseat of the police cruiser, his hands and feet bound — yet also unseatbelted or otherwise restricted — in obvious distress, hurling himself about the car. And then the ghostly image of a police officer’s hand with a Taser stun gun appearing in the camera frame, shocking Graham on the leg.

“And then, pushing him on his back and shocking him again — this time directly, and apparently deliberately, in his testicles. And Graham screaming silently as the electric shock to his genitals appeared to be repeated.”

Michael Snipes, the first assistant district attorney, said he wished he could file criminally negligent homicide charges against the officers but the three year statute of limitations has expired. Snipes could charge the police officers with manslaughter, which does not have a statute of limitations, but Snipes said the evidence didn’t justify that charge because the police behavior did not meet the required legal standard.

But it’s worth noting that Johnson and her predecessor, Susan Hawk, showed no interest in this case until Dyer’s parents found out what happened and the media reported on it. None of the officers who were involved in Dyer’s death have been disciplined.

A civil suit filed by Dyer’s parents is still pending.

Ohio prosecutor seeks to deny DNA testing for man facing execution

Ohio prosecutor seeks to deny DNA testing for man facing execution

In criminal cases, prosecutors are supposed to turn over favorable evidence to the defense. But Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci has a different idea of what he actually needs to hand over, and it’s now up to the Ohio Supreme Court to decide whether he’s violating the rules of evidence.

How the court rules may end up determining whether Tyrone Noling gets a new trial. Noling, who’s been on Ohio’s Death Row since the early 90’s, was convicted of killing Cora and Bearnhardt Hartig, both 81, in a robbery attempt. Noling claims he is innocent, and that DNA testing will exonerate him.

Last year Noling got access to the state’s DNA report on a cigarette butt found at the scene of the crime. But Vigluicci argues that the says the one-page summary of the report from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is all that he has to provide.

Attorney Brian Howe, who represents Noling, disagrees, and said other prosecutors have handed over complete DNA reports, and not just summaries. And there is at least one other case, where an innocent man would still be locked up if the defense hadn’t gotten all the material that was asked for.

That was the case of Clarence Elkins, who was exonerated based on DNA evidence for the murder of his mother-in-law after spending eight years in prison. Another man was later arrested and convicted of that crime.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, “Noling’s attorneys are asking the high court for access to the complete results of DNA testing already done, for shell casings to be run through a federal database to see if the murder weapon was used in any other crimes, and for a reputable lab to do DNA testing using the latest technology for shell casings and ring boxes from the crime scene.”

Vigluicci is opposed to all of this, arguing that it’s a delaying tactic and the case needs to end at some point. He also claims the one page summary is all he’s required to turn over according to the law.

But there are enormous concerns with this case. No fingerprints or other physical evidence existed proving Noling was at the scene of the crime. He was convicted because his co-defendants testified against him. Those co-defendants have since recanted, and the Ohio Innocence Project has taken on Noling’s case.

The possibility that an innocent man could be executed should concern everyone, especially prosecutors who are tasked with ensuring justice. Yet Vigluicci seems determined to execute Noling, despite a very real possibility he is innocent.

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Honolulu prosecutor subject of criminal probe

Honolulu prosecutor subject of criminal probe

Keith Kaneshiro, the city prosecutor in Honolulu, has become a suspect in a widening federal public corruption investigation that has already snared one of Kaneshiro’s top prosecutors and her husband, the city’s former police chief.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has already resigned due to the far reaching inquiry. His wife, deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, is also under investigation for conspiracy and public corruption due to both ticket fixing allegations and charges that she may have attempted to frame her uncle for a mailbox theft.

Kaneshiro appears to be under investigation for how he reacted after the ticket fixing allegations surfaced, with the FBI looking into whether he used his office to help cover for the wrongdoing of his deputy prosecutor.

In 2014, Kealoha’s electrician got a ticket. The deputy prosecutor told him she would take care of it, showing up at his traffic court hearing and asking the judge to dismiss the charge.

Keoloha told the judge the electrician wasn’t driving the car, a career criminal who’d stolen his identity was. The FBI began looking into this apparent lie in 2015.

Kaneshiro was asked to assist in the investigation by providing evidence into the speeding ticket, and declined to cooperate. He fought subpoenas to turn over material to federal authorities, but lost in court.

Hawaii News Now also reported that Kaneshiro later suggested that the speeding ticket was written illegally by the police officer to get overtime for court appearances. Kaneshiro’s office later said the officer was not under investigation. Kaneshiro then claimed the dismissal of the speeding ticket was part of a larger plea bargain, something that also appears to be untrue and is being investigated by the FBI.

The scandal that led to Louis Kealoha resigning as police chief is different, but appears to be linked through his wife to the investigation of the city prosecutors.

The investigation into Louis Kealoha began after one of his subordinates, Niall Silva, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to frame a relative of Katherine Kealoha in the theft of the mailbox from the Kealohas’ home. Court records suggest that Katherine Kealoha attempted to frame her uncle. Kealoha had a financial dispute with that uncle that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars. Silva is likely to testify against her if she’s arrested.

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