June 21st 2019: Shelby County District Court Division VIII, Memphis.
Judge Chris Craft, recent recipient of our Hammer Award, called Earley Story to the microphone at 09:55. Mr Story had filed a writ of Error Coram Nobis in an attempt to clear his 1998 conviction.
Tony Carruthers had been subpoenaed to attend as a witness. He is in State prison and was not transported to the courtroom to testify. Carruthers’ attorney was in the courtroom.
Carruthers is the death row prisoner who sent Earley Story the Confidential Informant ledger which showed no payments for the day he is supposed to have spent $850 to buy weed from Earley Story. Ths is evidence that was withheld from Mr Story in his original trial, in an apparent Brady violation.
Judge: If you want Tony Carruthers to attend, you need to let me know to create an order to direct TDOC to bring him.
Earley Story: I can’t proceed without Tony Carruthers.
Judge: Have you other witnesses? He rambled on in an anecdote about missing witnesses.
Judge: You need to put on whichever witness is available.
Earley Story: I am not prepared to proceed without Tony Carruthers.
Judge: This happens all the time. You can use Rule 106 to authenticate a witness later. We need to have the hearing.
At 11:10 Mr Story is called to the mic again.
Judge: Mr Carruthers is not here because he is in prison. You can call him at a later date.
Mr Story goes through the gate and sits down at the defense table.
An unidentified prosecutor stands up. At first she alleged that the State does not know when Mr Story discovered this information concerning Alfredo Shaw.
Earley Story describes how Mr Carruthers sent him the informaton in 2018 and he filed his writ timely.
The prosecutor said that this new information fails to meet the test for a court hearing. Testimony said that Sheriff Department Agent Butler made the buy, not Alfredo Shaw, and that Shaw did not testify to buying the weed.
According to the prosecutor, there is no way Alfredo Shaw’s CI ledger made an impact on the trial. Mr Story was charged with three sales. He was acquitted on two of the sales via alibi but he had no alibi for the third date. Agent Butler was the purchaser, not Confidential Informant Shaw.
Judge: We are not talking about Tony Carruthers’ evidence. Shaw is not the one who made the buy. The State is saying that Agent Butler made the buy, not Shaw. Carruthers’ evidence would not make a difference to your trial. We will hear the State’s motion to dismiss.
Mr Story: Shaw said that he gave me the $850 at the trial. Shaw was threatened. You can look on Youtube and see… Mr Story trails away as Judge Craft interrupts.
Judge: I can’t look on Youtube. Your argument is absurd. You are wasting the court’s time. Stick to the facts. Respond to the State’s argument.
Mr Story: This is a hostile setting.
Judge: Respond to the State’s motion (to dismiss).
Mr. Story: I can’t respond.
Judge: I find for the State motion to dismiss. The person who testified was not Alfredo Shaw. I am granting the State’s motion to dismiss.
The Prosecutor’s Testimony
Today’s prosecutor was not testifying as a witness to the 1997 trial, so presumably she was referring to a transcript of the original trial. Mr Story has made numerous requests to the DA’s office, during the course of his appeals, for a copy of the court transcript, which has never been produced.
The prosecutor was referring to facts not in evidence, as the transcript was not produced during this hearing. There’s one or more Brady violations here.
Aldredo Shaw did testify at Mr Early’s original trial. We blogged in February where Shaw was forced to testify, after recanting his initial statement to the Grand Jury. The judge actually made him a material witness and issued a warrant for his arrest, which Shaw resisted and was eventually sentenced to 364 days for resisting. The warrants and dockets are cited in the blog.
This prosecutor was lying.
One more thing
Judge Craft, before the prosecutor spoke, seemed pretty certain that he would not need to call Tony Carruthers. How could Judge Craft have predicted the specific lies the prosecutor later told the court, given that it would have been unethical for him to discuss the case with the prosecutor outside the courtroom?
Of course, Judge Craft, Hammer Award Winner, would never do anything unethical.
— concluded —