Archive for October, 2009

On a More Pleasant Note

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

My partner, Jim D’entremont, has created a web album with some of his pictures of our recent vacation in Portugal.

We spoke with Bee last night and he did sound much better than he had the day before. At times, he seemed like his old self.

Some day next week David will be bringing him to our apartment in the morning so that we can take care of him for a day.


Another Bee Baran Health Update

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

Jim D’Entremont, our friend Derek, and I planned to visit Bee in the hospital last Saturday. But when we called, we were told he had been discharged.

We called David, who was in the process of driving him home. David told us that Bee was totally exhausted and was sleeping in the call. he felt that Bee wasn’t up for a visit.

On Sunday, Bee’s lawyer went out to visit him. John is very concerned that Bee is getting the best possible medical care. He plans to have Bee’s records examined by other doctors. If necessary, John will get him new doctors.

We spoke with him last night. While he sounded terrible, he assured us that he was feeling much better than he had been. He is now on 11 different medications.

Today he has an appointment with a nutritionist. And tomorrow he has two medical appointments.

Will keep you posted on any developments.

-Bob Chatelle

Important New Report on the Effectiveness of Psychotherapy

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

A great many injustices have been caused by dangerous techniques used by psychotherapists who abhor scientific method — e.g., coercive interviewing of children (and adults) and the implantation of false memories.

An important new report has been published documenting the attitudes many therapists have about science:

There have also been articles about this study in the Los Angeles Times (click here) and Newsweek (click here).


Bernard Baran's Health Problems Becoming More Serious

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

Jim D’Entremont and I arrived back from Lisbon just a few minutes ago and I am very jet lagged.

We kept in close touch with Bee while we were away. He was finally allowed to go home from the hospital on the evening of October 12th, the day we left. He seemed a bit better, but then developed a cold near the end of the week. This triggered a severe asthma attack. (Bee has suffered from asthma since childhood.) Finally, last night his partner David took him to the hospital because he was having trouble breathing. He is still there. He has been diagnosed with bronchitis and possibly pneumonia. He will probably be moved into intensive care.

We are all very worried about him.

-Bob Chatelle

Bee Baran Update

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

I just talked to him. He has had many tests — blood work, MRI, ultrasound. A CAT scan is next.

Fortunately, his blood work doesn’t look that bad. So they next want to make sure it’s not appendicitis. The CAT scan should tell that that.

We are leaving presently for the airport. My next posting will be from Portugal.


Bee Baran is in the Hospital

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

I’m sorry to report that Bee is in Winchester Hospital. He had a bad night last night and David took him in around five this morning. We just talked with him but he was taken away for tests. We will keep you updated.

Unfortunately, Jim D’entremont and I are leaving for vacation for ten days this afternoon. But we will be in contact by phone and I will post more information while we’re away.

-Bob Chatelle

State-Sanctioned Murder

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

From NCRJ President, Michael R. Snedeker.

Governor Rick Perry’s abrupt dissolution of the Texas Forensic Science Commission on the eve of its decision in the Cameron Todd Willingham case was an effort to cover up a state-sanctioned murder.  (see, Trial by Fire,” by David Grann: New Yorker, September 7, 2009)  The botched investigation of Willingham’s suspected arson recalls the sex abuse scandals that began during the same period — the early 1980s and early 1990s — and whose legacy endures to this day. People continue to be convicted of crimes that very likely never happened, based on theories that experts called scientific but which later research has shown to be nonsensical, even medieval.

As in the sexual allegations, purported crime victims in fatal, accidental home fires tend to be young children. The mere suspicion of  “harm to minors” awakens deep-seated fears that stifle common sense. Willingham’s prosecutors suggested he was a member of a Satanist cult. The evidence: his heavy-metal rock posters. Day care prosecutions featured expert assertions that the accused were sociopaths and Satanists.

Shoddy arson investigations are getting scrutiny now because Willingham was executed. False convictions of child sexual abuse do not end in capital punishment (though legislatures have tried). Instead, people who are almost certainly innocent have been sentenced to centuries of time in prison. Some–including Fran and Danny Keller in Texas and James Toward and Francisco Fuster in Florida–are still there almost a generation later. The first accused daycare teacher, Bernard Baran, in Massachusetts, was finally released after 22 years and exonerated three years later. Others are released from prison, only to end up on sex offender registries. Junk science didn’t literally kill these people, but it has stolen their lives. Their cases constitute a grave injustice, and desperately need review.

Michael Snedeker
President, National Center for Reason and Justice

The Smith-Allen Case is Over!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

This morning I received the wonderful news that the acquittals in the Smith/Allen case will stand. The case is over!

I called Joseph to congratulate him right after I heard the news, and discovered that he didn’t know about it yet. (Joseph is in Boston visiting his brother.)  When I told him what had happened, he shouted, “Thank you Jesus hallelujah!” Some Boston NCRJ folks will be getting together with him this Saturday. I hope to post more after that.

-Bob Chatelle

The Polanski Brouhaha

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Dear Friend of Justice,

The recent arrest of director Roman Polanski has fired an intense and emotional national debate. Most of the debate seems to be about whether Polanski is essentially a “good” man or a “bad man,” whether he should be forgiven, etc.

I take no stand on any of this because this debate obscures the fundmental issues.

As a criminal-justice advocate, my concern is whether or not Polanski received due process. Like freedom of speech, due process, according to our Constitution, is a right that is supposed to apply to all — bad people included.

Last night, Jim and I rented Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. I highly recommend it. The movie leaves no doubt that Polansku was denied due process because of grave judicial misconduct. And the most compelling statements supporting this come not from Polanski, his lawyers, or his supporters. They come from Roger Gunson — Polanski’s prosecutor.

This movie should be required viewing for everone participating in this debate.