Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Anatomy of a Snitch Scandal

May 19th, 2016

Alexandra Natapoff, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and the nation’s leading expert on the use of snitches, said the fact that Orange County officials engaged in unconstitutional behavior similar to what made headlines years earlier in Los Angeles County reveals the “entrenched” nature of the practice of using snitches in questionable ways. “We see it from the outside as a scandal that should not be repeated. But apparently Orange County officials didn’t see it that way,” she said. “They saw it as business as usual.”

Read the article in The Intercept by Jordan Smith.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

From A Prisoner Seeking Pen Pals

May 11th, 2016

I received the following message from a prisoner:

My name is Jennifer. I am 36 years old and I have experienced Parental Alienation Syndrome in soul crushing depth. As a result, I am now and have been a childless mother, sentenced to prison going on five years now. For years I have fought to be heard, and now that my children have come forth with the truth, I find it devastating that nothing has changed. My life’s passion is to use this situation to hopefully prevent other children from being brainwashed, used and cast aside like my children were.

I offer my full and honest disclosure as well as access to my case file containing brutal accusations followed by my children’s recantation (which I am trying to get transcripted) and my recent polygraph (which I passed and am trying to get a copy from the prison).

I am asking for help getting my voice heard and for finding a way to help my family as well as the families of others.

***

Jennifer wants people to correspond with. If you would like to write to her, email me at bobchatelle@gmail.com and I will give you her full name and address.

Thanks,
Bob

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

The Tragic Case of Gunther Fiek, a Forgotten Innocent Man

May 2nd, 2016

“The doors to Gunther’s classroom were solid, but windows were installed so that people in the hallway could see into the room. The doors were never locked, and were often propped open. There were mirrors on three of the classroom walls. Children and parents came and went in and out of the classroom while classes were going on. Some parents watched while sitting on chairs inside the room. Others would watch through the windows.

“On May 20, 2000 Gunther Fiek got married. Life was good. But six months later, a panic-driven witchhunt would devastate his promising young life and the lives of those he loves.”

Of the many cases I’ve been involved with, few have bothered me as much as that of Gunther Fiek. Gunther was a popular and successful Taekwondo instructor who worked with over 2,000 kids. His life was destroyed late in 2000 by a false accusation of sexual abuse, followed by a panic in which more accusations were manufactured by improper interviewing techniques. In October 2001, he was sentenced to 90 years without the possibility of parole.

For more information, follow this link.

Gunther’s family is not wealthy and they are unable to pay for the kind of legal help he needs. The Georgia Innocence Project only handles DNA cases and I have been unable to find another Innocence Project to look into this. I know a first-rate private investigator who will work for an affordable fee, but if he uncovers new evidence there will be no way to pursue it unless a good lawyer can be hired.

If anyone out there has any idea of how we might proceed by contacting me via the NCRJ: http://ncrj.org/feedback-form/. Perhaps a journalist could look into this case. To my knowledge, nothing decent has ever been written about it.

-Bob Chatelle

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

What It’s Like to Be Falsely Branded a Satanic Child Molester

April 25th, 2016

“In the file of worst possible things that could happen to you, being falsely accused of sexually abusing young children, and then convicted and imprisoned for over a decade, is probably close to the top of the pile.

“This is the hell that was dealt out to a few dozen Americans in the great Satanic sexual abuse panic that burned its way across the nation in the 1980s and 90s. Rumors and media fervor, followed by wild and often impossible accusations from little children, methodically coaxed out by bogus experts, sent childcare employees and others to prison all over the United States. From the McMartin family’s preschool in Los Angeles—the longest criminal trial in US history at the time, which ended with nearly all charges dropped—to the saga of the Amirault family’s day-care center in Malden, Massachusetts, where prosecutors said about 40 kids were “tied to trees, sexually penetrated with knives, and tortured by a ‘bad clown’ in a “secret room,'” it was a dark time.”

Read the article by Chase Madar in Vice.

Readers can contact Bexar County Criminal District Attorney Nico LaHood at 210 335 2311 to politely but firmly request a full exoneration.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Act Now to Help Exonerate the San Antonio Four

April 20th, 2016

Here are some things you can do right now to help them find justice.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

A Different Kind of Horror Film

April 16th, 2016

“What makes Southwest of Salem even more extraordinary is that it is Esquenazi’s first feature film. The Austin resident uses a sure hand to guide the viewer through a complicated narrative, laying out the facts while still deftly conveying the intense emotion behind a story in which many lives were damaged. It’s a tale that at times feels all too familiar to people who follow the twists of the Texas justice system—just how easily a case can spiral out of control when people get crazy ideas in their heads and the law plays along.”

Read the article by Michael Hall in Texas Monthly.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Are Sex Offenders White?

April 12th, 2016

“Yes, this group is more racially proportionate to the general population than, say, drug offenders. But like every other criminal population, people convicted and punished for sex crimes are disproportionately African-American.”

Read the article by Judith Levine and Erica Meiners in Counterpunch.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Anderson’s ‘dying wish’ revisits controversial case

April 12th, 2016

According to Amirault, Baker spoke to him in 2014 while he was campaigning for governor in the North End in Boston. “He made a commitment to me in front of my whole family that once he was elected one of the first things on his list would be to take care of my situation,” Amirault said.

Read the article by Paul Leighton in the Salem News.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Convicted of a Crime That Never Happened

April 9th, 2016

“Today, there are few true believers left who vocally insist upon this history. To many in the criminal justice system, it is now a source of embarrassment that there was ever a time when police and prosecutors were convinced that bands of Satanists had infiltrated the nation’s day care centers in order to abuse young children. Yet in the Kellers’ case, which I investigated for the Austin Chronicle back in 2009, I was startled to hear both a veteran cop and prosecutor say they still believed in even the most absurd of the children’s allegations against the Kellers.

Read the article by Jordan Smith in The Intercept.

Friends of Justice is a personal blog. Here I speak only for myself.

Don’t Just Get Kids Off the Sex Offender Registry. Abolish It

April 8th, 2016

Exclusive focus on the young offender—rather than a rejection of the entire sex offender regime—avoids the larger, less politically popular truth. “Sex offender registries are harmful to kids and to adults,” says Emily Horowitz, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, and a board member of the National Center for Reason & Justice, which works for sensible child-protective policies and against unjust sex laws. “No evidence exists that they prevent sex crimes either by juvenile offenders or adult offenders.”

Read the Counterpunch article by Judith Levine (NCRJ Board Member) and Erica Meiners.