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Wrongfully Convicted Cops  

The practices employed by bureaucratically corrupt police and prosecutors  to convict innocent citizens of crimes they did not commit -- coerced confessions, planting evidence, suborning perjured "snitch" testimony -- are brought to bear with a vengence on their fellow officers.  Why?  Self-promotion and career enhancement.  Bagging one police officer for crimes he did not commit -- or crimes that never happened in the first place -- can do more for a crooked cop's career than putting away 100 real criminals.  What is worse, the practices of the crooked cops have so tainted public perceptions that when they accuse a fellow officer, juries are predisposed to convict.
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FRAMED IN LIFE, DENIED EXONERATION IN DEATH

On November 20, 2010, Laurie Bembenek died, following a brief battle with liver cancer.  Her pardon application had languished before Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle's pardon advisory board for two years.  When public pressure mounted on Doyle, in the closing days of his administration, to do the right thing, Doyle's lack of a spine and a conscience became obvious.  First, he claimed that she had to appear at a pardon hearing.  Then he announced he was doing away with pardon hearings during the last six weeks of his term, only to change his mind the next day and reinstate hearings.  The next lame excuse was a claim that Laurie's pardon application was incomplete, that she had failed to notify the DA and the judge and get forms completed by them.  But Laurie's steadfast investigator, Ira Robins, had personally served notice on both the DA and the judge.  So while Florida's Gov. Charlie Crist pardoned the late Jim Morrison of the Doors for exposing himself at a concert 40 years ago, Wis. Gov. Jim Doyle grasped at one bogus excuse after another, to avoid pardoning a woman who was sacrificed to protect so many law enforcement, crime lab and legal careers.

The state's intent, of course, is to shovel the dirt covering Laurie's grave over the unconscionable crimes committed under color of law and in the name of "justice" to frame her for a murder she didn't commit.  They presume they are safe from exposure now.  They are wrong.  Ira Robins has undertaken the task of making public all the evidence of Laurie's innocence and the guilt of everyone from the trigger man who committed the crime to the crooked cops who planted evidence, the prosecutors who hid evidence of Laurie's innocence and the crime lab analysts who altered tests to back up the prosecution.  Find out what really happened.  Why?  Because it can happen to YOU.


LAWRENCIA (BAMBI) BEMBENEK

A former Milwaukee,WI police officer, Laurie Bembenek was convicted in 1982 of murdering her husand's ex-wife, Christine Schultz.  Although Laurie was cleared in the court of public opinion following her 1991 escape from prison and subsequent extradition hearings in Canada, Bambi is still running to prove her innocence with DNA tests.  (The initial tests have been inconclusive, although none of Laurie's DNA was found.)  


KEY EVIDENCE WITHHELD IN BEMBENEK CASE

Information from sworn statements by state crime lab officials shows that Laurie Bembenek did not kill Christine Schultz, who was murdered in 1981, Bembenek's lawyer said.  The lawyer, Mary Woehrer, contends that Bembenek's conviction should be overturned because, "Put together, there's no evidence left to convict this woman. The whole case was based on fabrication."

BEMBENEK APPEALS MURDER CONVICTION

The attorney for Laurie Bembenek asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn her 1982 conviction, arguing "there remains no more evidence linking her to the murder."  The appeal contends new DNA and ballistics tests show Bembenek is innocent in the 1981 slaying of her then- husband's ex-wife, Christine Schultz of Milwaukee.

BEMBENEK:  REVERSE MY MURDER CONVICTION

Can a person who pleaded no contest to a crime have her conviction overturned now that DNA and other forensic tests have exonerated her?  That's the question former Milwaukee Police Officer Lawrencia Bembenek wants the U.S. Supreme Court to answer.

EXONERATED


On Sept. 28, 2000, Kim Camm and her two children were victims of a triple murder in New Albany, Ind. They were found shot to death at home in their garage.  But just hours after the memorial service, police arrested their prime suspect, David Camm, for murdering his wife and two children. Camm, who claims his innocence, has a very good alibi. Eleven witnesses say they were with him at the time of the murder.  Nonetheless, he was convicted.  His conviction was overturned in August, 2004 -- but the charges were reissued and Camm was convicted again at retrial.
David Camm
David Camm
UPDATE - June 30, 2009 - David Camm's second conviction has been overturned.  Prosecutors say they intend to retry him.

UPDATE - October 30, 2013 -- David Camm's third trial has ended in a NOT GUILTY verdict.  His 13-year nightmare is over.  Now, at long last, he can grieve his family, and begin to rebuild his life.

Lt. Todd Chism
Okay, Lt. Chism isn't a cop.  He's a 20-year veteran fire fighter from Spokane, WA.  In Todd's case, this works much the same way being a cop has worked against the other men and women featured here.  His years of service made him a target.  When his wife's identity was stolen and used to download child pornography from the internet, what did the Washington State Police do?  Arrested Lt. Chism, of course.  He's been suspended with pay since January 29, 2008.  The WSP may not always be right, but they are never wrong.  Even though no pornography could be found on Lt. Chism's computers, WSP investigator Lt. Chris Gunderman says that "doesn't mean he isn't guilty."

UPDATE:  On May 1, 2008, the Stevens County (WA) prosecutor's office announced that Lt. Chism will not be charged with possession of child pornography.  The Washington State Patrol reaffirmed that no evidence of child pornography had been linked to Lt. Chism.  The officer who headed the investigation has been reassigned due to "performance" issues.

Former Vancouver, WA police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children say it never happened.


EVAN ZIMMERMAN

A former western Wisconsin police officer on trial for a second time in the murder of his ex-girlfriend was cleared on April 29, 2005 after a district attorney conceded he couldn't prove his guilt.  Eau Claire County District Attorney Rich White asked a judge to drop the first-degree intentional homicide charge against Evan Zimmerman, whose previous murder conviction was overturned on appeal.

UPDATE:  Evan Zimmerman died of cancer on July 1, 2007, only two years after his exoneration. 
After he won his freedom, Zimmerman sued Eau Claire, WI Police for his wrongful conviction. He lost that case in September, 2006.

TUNNEL VISION
What drove the case against Evan Zimmerman is the same phenomenon that drove the cases against Scott Hornoff, John Maloney and so many of the other innocent men and women -- those who have been cleared and those who languish in prison --  tunnel vision on the part of investigators and prosecutors.  Even when proven to be absolutely wrong, they cling to theories that keep dangerous criminals on the street and put us all at risk.


JEFFREY SCOTT HORNOFF

Former Pawtucket, RI resident Todd Barry is behind bars after suddenly confessing to the 1989 killing of Victoria Cushman, for which former Warwick police detective Jeffrey Scott Hornoff has been in prison since his conviction in 1996.  Scott had exhausted his appeals and, with the backing of the New England Innocence Project and the National Police Defense Foundation, had been seeking DNA testing in an effort to clear himself.

In His Own Words:  Scott Hornoff speaks out about his fellow officers, the media, prosecutors and more.

Scott's Autobiography:  WithPrejudice
REINSTATEDOn 1/6/04, RI Superior Court Judge Joseph Rogers wrote, "An innocent man should not have spent six years in jail for a crime he did not commit, and an innocent man should not be burdened by a wrongful conviction."  With that, Judge Rogers ordered Scott reinstated to the Warwick RI Police Department, with back pay and benefits.

CITY STILL FIGHTING REINSTATEMENT:  Two years after Scott's exoneration, the City of Warwick continues to fight Judge Rogers' order of reinstatement. 

UPDATE:  Scott and the City of Warwick have reached a settlement, but there's a catch:  Hornoff may lose bulk of settlement to ex-wife.

JAMES ANDROS, III

Returning home after an evening out, James Andros, III, a veteran Atlantic City, NJ police officer, the son of a police captain, calls 911 to say his young wife is dead. The medical examiner rules the death a homicide — asphyxia by suffocation — and the husband is charged with killing his wife, his childhood sweetheart. Facing a life sentence, he loses his job and his children, and finds himself vilified by neighbors and the news media. Brutal wife killer?  No.  Botched autopsy.

Update: Jim Andros has filed a federal civil rights claim against Atlantic County officials, alleging that they "conspired to concoct a motive" with his in-laws and distorted or misrepresented evidence.  More Than a Botched Autopsy

Update (4/20/07):  Jim Andros has settled his claims against Atlantic County for $2.3 Million.  He will continue to press his claims against Atlantic County Prosecutor Jeffrey S. Blitz, First Assistant Prosecutor Murray Talasnik, Sgt. Bruce DeShields, and Lt. Eladio Ortiz.

KENNETH CONLEY

On Jan. 25, 1995, Kenneth Conley was a young patrol officer from South Boston, MA dispatched to a shooting and foot chase.  Pursuing one of the shooting suspects on foot, Conley was so focused on his prey that he didn't see other Boston police officers beating an undercover officer.  When he testified to what he saw -- and didn't see -- the U.S. Attorney charged Conley with perjury.  His conviction was overturned twice after it was learned Asst. U.S. Attorney Theodore Merritt withheld from the defense evidence that his star witness actually couldn't remember where Conley was in relation to the location where the undercover officer was beaten.

WILDER "KEN" BERRY

In December, 1991, Ken Berry was a newly-hired officer with the University of Chicago Police Department.  But his world came crashing down when a woman with whom he had consensual sex accused him of rape.  Thanks to a defense attorney later described by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettelman as "clueless" -- he never prepared for trial and failed to call witnesses who could exonerate Berry -- Ken was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison.  In 1999, his habeas was granted and he was retried.  It took the jury less than 2 hours to acquit Ken.  He has distinguished himself as a litigation paralegal and in his pro bono (free of charge) work with the poor and elderly, but what he really wants is a pardon.

UPDATE:  Police and court records relating to the arrest and conviction of Wilder "Ken" Berry for a crime he has since been exonerated of have been ordered expunged by Cook County Chief Criminal Judge Paul Biebel.  Gov. Rod Blagojevich refused Berry's request for clemency, prompting Berry to seek a court order.  "I may never be financially compensated for losing those eight years, but my name restoration means much more," Berry said.

STEVE MANNING

A federal jury has awarded nearly $6.6 million in damages to former Chicago police Officer Steven Manning, finding two veteran FBI agents framed him for a Cook County murder that put him on Death Row.  The jury also held that one of the FBI agents also framed Manning in a Missouri kidnapping case. Manning spent 14 years in prison before both convictions were overturned and the prosecutions were dropped.

GARY ENGEL

Along with Steve Manning, Willow Springs, IL police officer Gary Engel was framed by an FBI agent and a Buffalo Grove, IL cop in the Missouri kidnapping case.  He spent 19 years in prison, was finally exonerated in April, 2010, and has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the FBI agent, the cop and the Village of Buffalo Grove.



OTHER WRONGFULLY CONVICTED COPS AREN'T AS FORTUNATE AS THESE
 -- THEY'RE STILL IN PRISON




A veteran Green Bay, WI police officer, John Maloney was convicted of murder, arson and mutilating a corpse in the 1998 death of his estranged wife, Sandra.  But the only evidence of arson was concocted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice investigators, who used forensic fraud and perjury to help a now-disgraced prosecutor get the first conviction of a Wisconsin police officer for the most serious felony under the law.  Despite compelling evidence of his innocence, Maloney remains in prison for lack of legal representation.


Captain Douglas Prade
Former Akron, Ohio police captain Douglas Prade had served nearly 15 years of a life sentence after being convicted of the 1997 shooting death of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo S. Prade. But Summit County Common Pleas Judge Judy Hunter ruled on January 29, 2013 that DNA test results exclude him as a suspect and he is “actually innocent of aggravated murder.” Hunter ordered that Prade be set free immediately.

UPDATE:  July, 2014 - After a year of freedom, Douglas Prade's exoneration was reversed and he was sent back to prison after state appellate courts ruled Judge Hunter's orders were invalid.  His attorneys are seeking a new trial for him.

James Kulbicki
Defense attorneys for James A. Kulbicki offered a string of alibi witnesses, and he flat-out said he didn't do it. He was, after all, a Baltimore police sergeant, and, he insisted, not a killer.  But a state police ballistics expert named Joseph Kopera helped convict the officer by saying that bullet fragments found in his truck and in his mistress' head could have come from his gun - testimony that is now being questioned.  Kopera recently killed himself after being confronted with evidence that he lied about his credentials.  Kulbicki's attorneys challenged Kopera's findings and assertions in court papers filed a year earlier, arguing that the firearms examiner's testimony did not match his notes. And that was before they discovered that Kopera claimed to have degrees that he never earned.

Related:
Baltimore City public defenders have identified 55 felony cases in which Kopera testified and have begun collecting the police reports, court transcripts and other documents needed to determine what role his analysis played in the defendants' convictions.  Perjury by Forensics Expert Throws Cases into Turmoil.

UPDATE:  It's easy to understand why the Baltimore DA wanted to blindside James Kulbicki and his attorneys.  They have to be steaming mad after Kulbicki's lawyers exposed the systematic forensic fraud committed by police ballistics expert Joseph Kopera.  But their reach exceeded their grasp when they did DNA tests -- without court approval or notice to Kulbicki's lawyers -- on bone fragments that were contaminated 14 years ago when they were collected.  Will One-Upsmanship Replace Law and Science? [Includes full texts of state and defense motions]

A joint project by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes reviews the conviction of James Kulbicki, in which key testimony and the science behind it has been discredited.

People around the world are learning how the U.S. legal system works based on James Kulbicki's case -- a web of lies woven around junk science and blatant prosecutorial misconduct, a politicized judiciary unwilling to correct injustice, and an apathetic public more interested in entertainment than in truth.  As
Ludwig De Braeckeleer capably demonstrates for South Korea's Oh My News, The Whole World is Watching.

UPDATE:  On August 27, 2014, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed James Kulbicki's conviction.  Baltimore prosecutors are assessing the feasibility of a new trial.


Patrick Bradford and his children
PATRICK BRADFORD

Patrick was a police officer in Evansville, IN, convicted of murder and arson in the death of his girlfriend, Tammy Lohr.  Irrefutable records including a traffic stop and bank surveillance video confirm that Patrick was nowhere near Tammy's house when she was killed.  Find out how absurd the prosecution's case was -- with no physical evidence to support it -- and ask yourself how jurors could be so gullible.  Ask yourself, too, how his appeals could fail.  




Vickie and Jim Barton
JIM BARTON

Ten years after Vickie Barton was murdered on the farm she and her husband, Lt. Jim Barton of the Springboro (OH) Police Department owned, Jim was charged and convicted of masterminding her death.  The evidence?  The word of a jailhouse snitch and notorious liar and the prosecution's interpretation of Barton's 911 call for help.  Listen to the audio -- decide for yourself whether Barton said "I gotta call for help" or "I gotta call Phelp."





Cameron & Suk-hee Todd
Cameron Todd & Son
CAMERON TODD

Cameron Todd was a police officer in Houston, MS. He stood out in the small community because his wife at the time, was an Asian-American and the couple, both from California, had no prior ties to Mississippi. Cameron stood out even more when he began asking questions about gang activities. One of the juveniles he questioned, a 13-year-old girl, alleged Cameron had sex with her. He was convicted of sexual battery and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The girl subsequently wrote to a friend, admitting she had lied, that nothing had happened between her and Cameron. A handwriting expert says the letter was signed by the victim. The state crime lab says its tests were inconclusive and asked to see more of the girl's handwriting. The Supreme Court of Mississippi has decided not to allow the letter into evidence. Cameron remains in jail.


Click HERE to visit Cameron Todd's website.


Links
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NATIONAL POLICE DEFENSE FOUNDATION DEFENSE CASES

The National Police Defense Foundation (NPDF), through its expanded legal referral service program, provides legal and medical consultation to any law enforcement officer or member in need. It is the belief of the NPDF that the defense cases posted at its website reflect alleged police injustices wherein the civil rights of dedicated law enforcement officers may have been violated.  

The Nevers and Budzyn Website
What Really Killed Malice Green?

Who is Patrick Swiney?

South Jersey Justice
"A lie has speed, but truth has endurance."
- Edgar J. Mohn



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