Earley Story gets NPDF and Steve Cohen support.

Earley_Story_H&S
Earley Story

Jailer Deputy Earley Story, who is fighting in court to overturn his twenty-year-old fraudulent conviction for concocted pot sales, appeared in court today, March 21st 2019.   His motion for summary judgement was rejected.

We covered his previous court appearance at the end of this post, which detailed the arguments on this motion.

Mr. Story’s next court date is April 5th, when his motion for judge Chris Craft to recuse himself will be heard.

National Police Defense Foundation support

The NPDF, which has supported Earley Story since 1997 when he was first prosecuted, has asked Congressman Steve Cohen to request an FBI investigation, on the basis that Mr. Story’s civil rights have been violated.   Read more in Sharon Rondeau’s The Post and Email blog.   An FBI inquiry is needed.

Support Group

MemphisTruth.org is sponsoring a new group, for victims of prosecutorial misconduct.   The first meeting is scheduled for Saturday 23rd.   Contact us for details.   This is an activist group which seeks to document abuses in the criminal justice system.   These are people who know, at first hand, how corruption operates in our courts.

More on snitch retraction and Earley Story

We received additional material on Alfredo Shaw’s TV retraction of his Crimestoppers snitch.   We have a video from a local TV channel and a sworn statement made to Federal court by Alfredo Shaw outlining how he was coerced into giving false witness in Tony Carruthers death penalty case.    We have also had several phone interviews with death row inmate Tony Carruthers.

We also got two more documents in the provenance of the CI ledger which Earley Story is using in his case.  Additional documents from Tony Carruthers attorney requesting the documents, the DA’s denial and a court order demanding the ledger be produced add extra detail.   We also have a better image of the CI ledger document.  Earley Story had another appearance in Division 8 before Judge Chris Craft and we provide notes of this hearing.  The Post and Email blog reports on Mr Story’s case and we have an account of his most recent court appearance last Monday.

We had an interview last week from a confidential source whose story matches the Alfredo Shaw modus operandi, generally confirming Earley Story and Tony Carruthers’ narratives.    We can’t print any more about this at present.

First up, the Alfredo Shaw confessions.

Alfredo Shaw confesses

This document was filed on April 21st 2011 in Western District of the Federal Court.   Shaw swears that Assistant DA Jerry Harris and MPD officers Wilkinson and Roleson briefed him, on or before March 27th 1994, on the Tony Carruthers murder case, showing him the case documents.  Other than media coverage, he had no other information concerning the case and had not, as he later claimed, spoken to Carruthers about the February 1994 case.   Shaw made a false statement to police on March 17th and provided the same witness statement to the Grand Jury soon after.

Shaw on TV

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Alfredo Shaw

Around February 28th 1996, Shaw gave this interview to Channel 13.   He described how he contacted MPD Homicide, was approached by prosecutor Jerry Harris and offered $2000 and dismissal of charges to testify as instructed.  He talks about police and ADAs coaching him with “bits and pieces” for his Grand Jury testimony.  A prosecutor talks about Shaw’s other crimes, how he lied on this case and others and how Carruthers and other defendants should be protected from Shaw.   The fact that Shaw’s testimony was used again on Earley Story in his 1997 – 1999 case, and upwards of ten other defendants, tends to deflate this argument.

 

Shaw threatened by prosecutor

tony_carruthers_tennessee
Tony Carruthers

Shaw was visited and threatened in the jail by Harris, Wilkinson and Roleson just after the Channel 13 report aired, who threatened and intimidated him and said they’d go after him if he did not revert to the original, concocted story.  Later, Harris said that they would not call him as a trial witness for the prosecution, but Carruthers called him as a defense witness. Harris told Shaw before his appearance that he would prosecute Shaw for perjury unless he want back to the agreed testimony.   He did so, recounting conversations with Carruthers which never occurred.  Subsequently Harris’ promises of time served on a number of felonies were carried out.   Shaw still feared retaliation from the prosecutor’s office at the time he gave this statement.

Earley Story in Court March 4th 2019

We saw Earley Story as he started his attempt to clear his record.   Earley Story was also framed with the help of testimony from Alfredo Shaw, who withdrew his testimony in an interview with Phil Campbell of the Memphis Flyer, and was forced by prosecutors to revert to his original bogus story at court.

Here’s our notes from March 4th, Shelby Co. Criminal Court Division 8, Judge Chris Craft.   I am not a shorthander so the quotes only are literal.

09:42 AM.  Earley Story requests records from the previous hearings to be added to the file.
Judge Craft:  Are you going to call witnesses?
Earley Story: No
Judge Craft: Do you know which prosecutor is handling the case?
An unidentified prosecutor stands up.  He does not know who is handling the case.  The case records were destroyed.
The judge told Mr Story to sit down.

12:50 PM.  Earley Story says that the prosecutor’s office filed a response denying all charges.

About 3:00 PM
Earley Story is called to the mic and says he would like a default judgment per his motion.
Earley Story:  On October 29th, when I received this information concerning my innocence, I filed on time and I received no information until January 15th 2019 when I receieved a letter.
Judge Craft: From me.  Where did you get thirty days to respond?
Earley Story:  Tennessee law.
Judge Craft: There is no such limit.
Earley Story:  I believe my motion should have been heard more timely.
Judge Craft:  We have not heard a motion yet.  We need to stay focused on the topic of this motion for default judgment.   Do you understand the process?  I am asking what law says thirty days.   When I ask a question I require an answer.
Earley Story:  55.01 Tennessee Rules for Civil Procedure.  When a party fails to respond within thirty days judgment is by default.   Does that mean you are denying a hearing?
Unidentified Prosecutor:  That rule does not apply in criminal court.   The state denies all allegations.  We supplied Earley Story a copy.  This is hearsay about Alfredo Shaw.   Today we are asking for the motion for default judgment to be dismissed.
Earley Storey mentions his motion for Judge Craft to recuse himself.
Judge Craft:  We don’t change the subject.  We are not supposed to help (pro se litigants).   The state says they filed a response.
Earley Storey:  The response was not timely.   29th October to March is not timely.
Judge Craft:  I am ruling that the writ is defective because there is no certificate of service.  I wrote Earley Storey to come to court February 11th to set the attorney.   Mr Story said he would represent himself pro-se.    I am denying the motion.   Any other motion?
Earley Storey:  Motion for the judge to recuse himself.
Judge Craft: The motion to recuse is not in the jacket.   (Clerk hands him a document).   We can fix that today.
Earley Storey:  I want a response to the motion I filed in the clerk’s office.
Judge Craft: I want to make sure your rights are preserved.   I can’t set a date for a hearing until a motion is in the jacket.
Earley Storey:  I filed a motion for Judge Craft to be disqualified.   Maybe it is in the wrong jacket.
Judge Craft:  I am setting a date of March 21st for report because a motion is not filed.

—-

 

 

Earley Story: Blown Whistler

Earley_Story_H&SEarley Story AKA Earlie Story is a soft-spoken gentleman in his mid sixties with a narrative straight out of a mid-20th century crime drama.

He is a former Sheriff’s Department sergeant and jailer at 201 Poplar, who blew the whistle on abuses at the jail.  He reported a murder and a rape to the NAACP and the FBI, and the job turned on him.

Continue reading “Earley Story: Blown Whistler”

April Malone and Celitria Watson in court

Today, January 30th 2019, April Malone and Celitria Watson made an appearance in Federal court in Magistrate Judge Tu M Pham.

As we saw in our previous post,  Ms Malone and Ms Watson are the falsely-arrested women who faced manufactured wiretap data, where MPD Organized Crime Unit detectives used a Stingray device to alter texts between Ms Watson and her incarcerated brother, Kendrick Watson.   She had an automated cloud backup of all her phone activity and was able to produce the original backup of her texts to prove the police alteration of the evidence.   Their cases were dismissed and expunged, but Kendrick Watson was convicted on evidence from those same cops.

Today’s hearing was a scheduling conference where the due dates for the various activities leading up to a December 2019 jury trial.  From the docket (PDF) “Pro-Se Plaintiffs April Malone and Celitria Watson present.  John M. Jones and Emmett L. Whitwell  appearing for defendant Shelby County.  Darius Walker, Jr. appearing for the City of Memphis. Betsy McKinney making a limited appearance on behalf of defendants Thurmond Richardson, Jonathan Overly and William Acred.  The parties submitted a proposed scheduling order.  The court discussed the dates and deadlines with the parties.  Plaintiffs made an oral motion to waive the mediator fees pursuant to the Mediation Plan for pro se civil cases with parties granted IFP status.  The court granted plaintiffs oral motion and waived the fees.  Mediator will be selected by the court.

A motion or several motions for dismissal are expected from the defendants.

Here is the scheduling order that Judge Pham made today.    Disclosures will be done in the next two weeks, where the plaintiffs have to provide copies of the documentation they have and a list of damages and time off work.   The defendants also have to produce their documents and details of any expert witnesses.    The next step will be the appointment of a mediator.

Any attorney who would like to jump in here would be most welcome.   Ms Watson and Ms Malone need to know what will happen in the mediation.

Also in court today, Mr Earley Story, who also has a pro-se Federal civil rights case coming up in February.   We will be following Mr Story’s very interesting case here on MemphisTruth.com.

See the short video here. (2:30).
More information here.

(2/3/2019) April Malone and Celitria Watson have started a gofundme to fund their legal representation.

To be continued.

 

 

Me

Authorization of Agency: Initial analysis

In our most recent post, we revealed the extent of MPD’s Authorization of Agency (AoA) program, inspired by Memphis Shelby County Crime Commission (MSCCC).

We did some preliminary analysis of the data and there are updated spreadsheets (CSV, ODS, XLSX).  The update includes some address corrections and the addition of a business category field.

AOA_bar_chart
Analysis of AoAs by race

We saw the racial disparity in the initial AoA post.  The profiling nature of the scheme, with seven times (84.9% vs 12.3%) the number of Black versus white victims of AoA is confirmed.

 

 

AoA_by_year
Analysis of AoAs by year

We broke down AoAs by the year the initial AoA was signed.   2018 is low because only half a year of data was collected.   Years 211 through 2016 are incomplete because we asked in our FOIA for all AoAs between December 1st 216 and July 9th 2018.  All precincts but one simply sent all their AoA data rather than selecting the data range we asked for.   In addition, we noted many AoAs which were signed on a given date and had additional lines added over the same signature and date later.  We have not quantified this factor as of yet but we think it will skew a couple of percent of the dates earlier.

Adj_AoA_year
AoAs by year adjusted for undercount in 2016 and earlier, and for the 2018 half year

We adjusted the yearly graph by doubling up the 2018 number to estimate a full year, and we added 15% to 2016 and earlier to account for the number of AoAs missing in our sample.

The graphs look similar.  From small beginnings in 2011, the scheme grew to about 240 in 2014, then took a big jump to 665 in 2016 and plateaued out to around 600 each in 2017-2018.

We need to look for the impetus behind the 2014 and 2016 bumps.   Most likely, some form of marketing or promotional assets were assigned to the program to cause these bumps.  We’ll also submit another ORR to obtain the missing data.

AoA_by_cat

We created a new field in the spreadsheet for business category and ran this report.  The biggest category is apartment, which also includes mobile home parks, condos, retirement communities and townhouses.

The dominance of this sector may be the result of “Operation Safeway” which had a focus on apartment managers.   The majority of these had a just a few AoAs, but complexes like Greenbrier with 48 AoAs and a dozen or so with double digits stand out.    Clearly a number of apartment managements embraced the scheme enthusiastically.

The retail sector is largely a handful of AoAs in each store.   All branches of chain stores are included.   Three chains of dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree) had a total of 38 AoAs, which probably reflects the dollar stores’ well known skimping on security staff.   Other chains with large numbers includes Walgreens with 24 and Kroger with 17.   Otherwise, few retailers had more than three or four per location.

We think that, like with the apartment sector, that the heavy retail users had an internal policy to use AoA while the light users were probably recruited by police.

The food sector includes all vendors of prepared food and alcohol by the drink.   The chains with most branches are the biggest offenders, and CiCi’s Pizza in Poplar Plaza’s 17 AoAs were associated with a well-publicized disturbance at the venue.    We know that Operation Safeway targeted food establishments in certain areas, but we think that most of the rest may have been instigated by MPD, including the CiCi’s incident.

The hotel/motel sector includes hotels, motels and boarding houses, has a few stand-outs, probably related to prostitution.  The manufacturing sector, though small, is dominated by Smith and Nephew who initiated 85 of the 100 AoAs.  This is an anomaly which probably reflects a decision in management to use MPD as part of its security apparatus.

The gas sector looks very much like retail, and when you eliminate the effect of supplier chains like Shell or Exxon, not much stands out.

Public facilities include the downtown MATA terminus, with 24 AoAs and three at the Zoo.   We talked about the Zoo political blacklist in the original AoA post.  We dispute the legality of public entities barring members of the public.

Churches banned 37 people.  It sounds unchristian to us to put people in the system.   Even worse, schools had 35 AoAs, and we cannot envision a world where young people can be legally barred from education, or even where a school would involve the police in its disciplinary process.

Summary

We see some high-frequency users of AoA.  These AoAs are probably due to business policy and may have been influenced by Operation Safeway in some way.   The vast majority of AoAs have the potential of being instigated by police, including a handful where we know the case history.

We will follow up with additional analysis, including enriching the data and sampling some case histories to determine the marketing initiatives that shape the AoA usage curves.

–concluded–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Authorization of Agency: MPD invention.

We’ve been hearing about MPD’s Authorization of Agency (AoA) process.   It surfaced in the media during the A-list controversy, where the actual blacklist was on form AA 0306, the Authorization of Agency form.    We also wrote about a couple of Park Protectors who featured on AoAs at the Zoo.

What is Authorization of Agency (AoA)

Authorization of Agency is generally accepted term in real estate law, where it allows an agent to sign property documents in lieu of a principal.

Some police agencies have the concept of authorization of agency, the San Diego PD being an example.  In the case of all police agencies we could find, the authorization of agency is a blanket measure against all trespassers, so it’s similar to posting your property.

a-listMPD’s AoA is different.   It specified the property, but also has one or more individuals who are barred from the property.   This is unique to MPD’s version of AoA.

Normally, trespass does not occur, in the case of property that is not posted, until an accused person has been informed that she is trespassing, and is given time to leave the property.

The legal theory behind the AoA is that the persons listed has been informed that they will be trespassing without further notice if she enters the property again.  It supposedly authorizes the police to act as an agent of the landlord in giving notice.

AoA is also promoted by Shelby Co. DA Amy Weirich as part of Operation Safeway.   Anecdotally, we hear that it is used against the homeless, by apartment complexes and by businesses who seek to prevent “undesirables” on their premises.   The data tends to confirm this.

Our Open Records Request.

AOA_bar_chartWe submitted an open records request for all AoAs filed since December 1st 2016, and received about 200 files containing over 1800 PDF forms, many of them older than  December 2016.  Most precincts sent all their AoAs.   We think we have over 90% of AoAs.

As can be seen from the chart, there were 1697 unique AoAs in the data, and race was identified in all but 75.   84.9% of listed persons were Black and 12.3% white, with a couple of percent Latinx and a few Asians.     African Americans are over-represented by a factor of 350% compared with the demographics.  There are seven times the number of Black people over whites.

map
Purple: African American/Black, Red: Whie/Cauc, Yellow: Asian, Blue: LatinX, Green: unknown

The original map can be seen on Google Docs.
Click the “Map” tab to view the interactive map, and the “Rows” tab shows the data, with the source field clickable to go to the source PDF.

The collated data table is available on Google Docs, as a comma-separated CSV file, Excel XLSX and OpenOffice ODS files.   These files also contain the name of the barred person, a clickable link to the source .PDF and the page number to search within this PDF.  (Updated 9/11/2017: updated spreadsheet with corrections and added business category field; CSV XLSX ODS.)

The map shows a large concentration stretching through downtown, Midtown, Orange Mound, Parkway Village and Hickory hill, with some outliers in Raleigh and Frayser.    Most of these places are where the races mingle as in downtown and midtown, or in transitional areas where demographics are changing.    But the vast majority of AoA listees are African American.

How AoA is supposed to work.

orifice_dan_adams
MPD officer Dan Adams at the Zoo

The forms are filled in by hand by the property manager and are to be witnessed by a police officer.   They are maintained in the original form via scanning to .pdf.  They are apparently kept in hard copy folders by ward which are carried in police cars.   Many of the forms have a three digit ward number written near the top of the form.    The data are accessed by manually searching through the forms in the book.

As manual, hand-written forms, there are no controls on handwriting, spelling or general accuracy.  Many entries are hard to read, either because the original script is undecipherable or because the documents have been scanned, faxed or copied many times.

Many of the forms have additional data, such as sex, weight, height, and marginal notes with drivers license numbers or scanned licenses, phone numbers, addresses, behavioral notes, details of alleged offenses, car tags or descriptions.   DL numbers, Social Security numbers and photos are redacted.   Access the original documents to see additional data.

Although some property managers keep the forms on hand and initiate the application, the suggestion to file often comes from a police officer.

Problems with AoA administration.

The forms state that the complainant has notified the subject that they are not permitted on the property, but we have many instances where the subjects were not duly notified, and there is no checking or control on

  • Fergus Nolan and Maureen Spain are on an AoA at the Zoo from 31/5/2016 but were not notified, see example.
  • Hunter Demster was placed on an AoA on 9/28/2017 and not notified.
  • Up to 12 protesters at the Mayor’s house die-in from 12/19/2016 were placed on an AoA, and an additional 40+ people who were not at the die-in were also placed on the “A-list” AoA, but only Keedran Franklin was notified, and not by Mayor Strickland, the complainant, but by MPD plainclothes police.

Lack of notification of being on an AoA can expose the subject to arbitrary arrest for trespassing while unknowingly being listed on the property.

The “protection” afforded a property owner by AoA is similar to an order of protection, in that it prevents an subject from approaching a complainant while on her property, but AoA does not embody the same opportunity to legally challenge the listing.   AoA may be viewed as an attempt to bypass the safeguards embodied in the Order of Protection process.

The AoA process is not documented in MPD’s P&P manual, and has no maintenance or purge process.  Conditions attached to the AoA listing, such as limited duration of the listing, cannot be enforced.   We have examples of AoAs which were supposed to have limited one-year duration still being on file after many years.    The AoA my still be in effect after the property is transferred to another owner.

The forms are supposed to be signed by the complainant and witnessed by an MPD member.  We found numerous instances of missing signatures of both types, and signatures that were “witnessed” on a different date to the original signature.

We also found numerous instances where a duly signed and witnessed AOA form had additional names added over the original signature, which is a falsification of official records, as the purported signature and witness do not apply to the subsequent changes.   We have instances where both the original form and the updated version are on file, and also instances where later names were added in a different hand to the original list.   Forms should have unused subject lines crossed out to prevent subsequent additions.

Our example.

From personal experience, this example illustrates several of the problems with AoAs. On 5/31/2016, the day after their arrest at a Greensward protest, this AoA (PDF, see page 7) was created for Maureen Spain and Fergus Nolan, without notification.  Their drivers license numbers were provided to the Zoo by MPD for this purpose, in violation of open records laws, which requires DL numbers to be redacted before sharing with members of the public.

Fergus Nolan unknowingly visited the Zoo on at least three different occasions in 2017.  On one of these visits, he was with Hunter Demster, when both were asked to leave.   Subsequently, on the 28th, an AoA was created for Hunter Demster, who was not notified.

During the incident described in our February blog, the police were seen working on some papers.   Once again, for at least the fourth time, they failed to find the existing AoA for Fergus.   The police added him into the existing AoA for Hunter.   The two versions are shown above, where the second line was added in a different hand.

This illustrates what we think are common problems with AoAs.   They are frequently altered to add more names, making the witness signature fraudulent.   Subjects are often not informed of their inclusion on an AoA, making them subject to arrest if they re-enter the listed property unawares.  The system is ineffective.   Fergus Nolan’s 5/31/2016 AoA was not found on four separate occasions.   In addition, the police often add confidential information to the AoA including driver’s license, social security number and photos, which are required to be redacted before sharing with members of the public, and the complainant gets to see this information.

Legal Basis

I’m not a lawyer.   AoA form AA 0705 is another version of the form, and some are present in our document cache.   It cites TCA 39-3-1201, which was repealed, as the authorizing statute.   These AoA forms are still active.

TCA 39-14-405 is the successor statute to the repealed trespass measure and it does not mention AoA or describe its mechanism.   We have consulted attorneys who believe that the process is not legal, but there has not been a legal challenge to date.

Due Process Issues.

As there is no formal record keeping system for AoAs, and as there are no regulations in the P&P manual, the records are chaotic.

There is no judicial oversight, means of correcting, changing data, purging outdated records, or appeal process.

We saw AoAs as old as 2011, and children as young as eleven listed, with no mechanism for parental involvement.

We saw one situation where the same policeman hawked the same AoA against and individual to four different businesses in an area, suggesting that individual police have a lot of latitude in applying this sanction.

The quality of the system, in terms of data accuracy, legibility, efficient access and data maintenance procedures is rock bottom.

We are aware of several AoAs which have been removed fro the database.  These include the original AoA signed in January 2017 for the December 19th die-in, which formed the basis of the A-list.   Also missing is a December 31st for Malco theater which had the names of Keedran Franklin and other CCC members who gave out free theater tickets.   The deletions we know about occurred after political pressure was applied.

Summary

AoA is racist in implementation, has no legal basis, has no checks and balances, is unwieldy, capricious and ineffective, violates due process and has been used as a weapon by MPD officers against the weakest members of our community.

It is questionable if a police force can act as the agent of property owners, in violation of the State trespass law, without compromising their oath to uphold the law.

It needs judicial intervention.

–concluded–