Monday, July 12, 2010

The Georgia Court of Appeals Upholds Bradley Wade's Conviction

As readers of this blog know, Tonya Craft was not the only person that the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit tried to railroad into prison on false child molestation charges. Before Tonya Craft, there was Brad Wade, who was convicted three years ago in Dade County of child molestation charges.

Len "The Man" Gregor prosecuted the case, and Stacy Long of the rogue Children's Advocacy Center was the main prosecution "expert" witness. The trial lasted for three days, and in the end, the jury dutifully convicted Mr. Wade, and now he is in prison to serve a 10-year-term for something he clearly did not do.

Mr. Wade appealed his conviction, and this past week, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed it, and I must admit that even someone as hardened to state injustice as I am still was shocked by the justices' willful blindness. The court took all of the arguments, and then played the game of "let's pretend that the trial was fair."

Mr. Wade's appeal was based upon three points: (1) His counsel was not competent and clearly not prepared for the trial; (2) The prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence; and (3) The line of questioning that Long asked in her interviews of the children was dishonest and suggestive. In all three situation, the justices turned a blind eye.

The "incompetent counsel" is always difficult for justices to understand, as they operate on the premise of: If you are charged with a crime, it is your duty and responsibility to get good counsel. However, there are a number of problems with that mindset.

First, most law-abiding people never come in contact with the courts, unless it is traffic court. Furthermore, people like Mr. Wade, who never had been in trouble with the law, operate upon the assumption that judges are impartial and prosecutors are honest and never would try to frame him or anyone else. Thus, Mr. Wade, like many criminal defendants, never understood what was happening.

Second, and more important, most of us simply have no idea who is competent to provide representation. We know of the "big name" criminal lawyers, but in order to even secure their services, one must have hundreds of thousands of dollars of spare change up front. The justices certainly know this, and they know that even false charges, like those that Ms. Craft faced, still are going to cost a defendant upwards of a million dollars.

(In the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, the families of the accused Duke University students had to pay more than $1 million apiece and that case did not even come to trial. The charges were ludicrous, but that did not matter.)

Now, if the justices are proud of the fact that they are presiding over this kind of unjust system, I wish they would come right out and say it, as opposed to making claims that it is fair and just. Instead, the judges hold criminal defendants to very high standards ("You should have known he was a bad lawyer"), but actual attorneys to low standards ("There, there, you are not a bad lawyer"), and then hold prosecutors and other judges to even lower standards.

On the point that the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence, the justices seem to be saying in their opinion that since (to them, at least) the evidence was not a "magic bullet," then whether or not the prosecution lied and withheld it is irrelevant. I am of the belief that prosecutors should be held to the highest possible standards of honesty and integrity, but apparently, the powers that be are in disagreement on that point.

The last point -- that the evidence the prosecution was horribly tainted because of Long's manipulative interviews -- was crucial in my view. Furthermore, with Ms. Craft being acquitted (and Long having been one of the prosecution witnesses), the justices should have had their radar at full power.

Mr. Wade's expert witness, Amy Morton, presented a devastating critique of the interviewing techniques that Long used. I was struck not only with Ms. Morton's criticism of the process, but also the way that she systematically explained WHY proper interviewing techniques are so important when children are involved.

There is one point I believe that needs to be made that the justices seem to ignore: The original charges came out of a custody dispute in which his ex-wife used the charges to gain legal leverage. ALL justices should be wary of charges that come from a source that has everything to gain by making them.

Judges have a strong incentive to protect their fellow players, and many judges have come from the ranks of prosecutors. I don't know the background of the Georgia justices that made this decision, but it is clear as I read through the document that they have refused to see the obvious.

Ms. Morton's document was excellent both in its attempt to educate the justices on real problems that come about in child interviews for sexual molestation, but also demonstrating that Long violated about every rule in the book. The absolute cavalier way in which the justices dismissed her words is disturbing but not surprising.

In my thinking, there are a number of reasons why the justices are afraid to deal with the fact that Long is a dishonest and unqualified interviewer. First, Long has testified in a number of other such cases, and if the court deems her to be unreliable here, then the justices could open a number of other convictions for scrutiny.

In this April 17 post, I point out that when popular prosecution witnesses are discredited, then ALL verdicts in which those witnesses had a hand are tainted. (The post deals with rogue prosecution favorites like Steven Hayne and Michael West in Mississippi, as well as the infamous Joyce Gilchrist of Oklahoma.) Appeals judges worship the term "finality," and the prospect of overturning a guilty verdict because a prosecution "expert" witness coaxed outright whoppers from children no doubt worries the justices who would rather that wrongfully-convicted people just shut up and enjoy their stretch in prison. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that actual innocence really is no defense at all. Justices are much more comfortable with the notion that everyone charged and convicted MUST be guilty.

One of the most difficult things to fathom is that appeals judges operate on the assumption that trials are fair, impartial, that prosecutors never lie, and that witnesses for the prosecution always tell the truth. That "judge" Brian Outhouse, and "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man-Narcissist-Misogynist" are considered by the courts to be the soul of integrity and honesty should give us pause as to what our "justice" system has become.

No doubt, Len "The Man" Gregor is pointing to this "victory" as "proof" that he presented a "compelling" case against Tonya Craft. That is nonsense. Instead, we see once again that the State of Georgia and the LMJC honor and reward dishonest people and grind honest and good people into the dirt.

The decision by the appeals court not only is devastating to Mr. Wade, but also to his mother and sister, who have faithfully maintained Mr. Wade's innocence. We know they will pick up the pieces and make further appeals in the hope that sooner or later, someone in a position of authority will listen to them. Like Mordecai of the Book of Esther, who waited outside the king's gates crying for justice, mother and sister wait for someone in authority to do the right thing.

43 comments:

Narcissist07 said...

You know, this case and all the others have made me into a jaded man. I used to believe that there was no better country on this earth than the United States, but injustices like have been perpetrated on Mrs. Craft, as well as Mr. Wade, and so many other numerous people make me fearful of even living here. Especially in the LMJC where the prosecutors and judge are in control of so much power over the lives of others. I see innocent people being railroaded out of their only true basic right of freedom, and realize all too well how easy it could be me or anyone else standing in fear of losing their freedom. I joined the Marines right out of high school. I fought and shed blood for this country and the belief that is supposed to be the principle foundation of what this country stands for, only to have the blinders ripped off, and the carpet yanked out from under my feet by such a travesties of justice. I believe in God, and know that judgment will come to those that make false accusations knowingly, and deny liberty to those that deserve it, but just now, I want to sell everything, and leave this country, and move to Israel. At least there you know who is the enemy and have the means to fight back.
My prayers are with you TC and BW, as well as Brad's sister and mother. Angie, we all know the truth, and Brad is innocent. I believe that as much as I believed Tonya was innocent. It is my ferverent prayer that someday your brother is exonerated of these lies.

KC Sprayberry said...

I agree with narcissist07. This country's legal system has become so bogged down with those in charge of upholding the law more interested in future political careers that they've lost sight of the reason they're in their job in the first place. A high conviction rate rings alarms bells. Either you have a massive crime wave or you have corrupt men and women attempting, nay, sending innocent men and women to prison. The proof of that statement is in the number of people released from prisons in the last decade because of incorrect evidence, changed testimonies of prosecution witnesses, or the justices could no longer ignore the blatant prosecutorial misconduct. It's too bad the people whose lives were destroyed and their families are forced to bankrupt themselves in order to bring this travesty to light. A while back, Bill (I think) suggested the solution to this problem lay in not having prosecutors/defense attorneys, but rather a pool of lawyers assigned to either defend or prosecute cases each month. Sure makes sense to me now, so long as you include the public defenders, too. While this won't cure those determined to make a buck off the sweat of honest Americans, it will keep them more on their toes since they'll never know if they'll have to sit on one side of the courtroom or the other, or if they'll garner a massive fee or what the state pays.
Angie, my prayers are with you that you and your family don't quit at this setback. Keep going to the next level, and the next, until you reach the Supreme Court. Keep yelling loud enough to attract the attention of all those talking heads, and they see the light.

Anonymous said...

My prayers are with this family. I can't begin to imagine the devastation that this decision brings. What have we come to when the truth doesn't matter anymore?

RBrock

Trish said...

I am just shocked by their denial of an appeal. They must truly be blind, especially in light of the Tonya Craft case to not see this as another railroad job. This just makes me sick to my stomach.

Trish said...

This again makes me realize how fortunate we were that the charges were dropped against my son.

KC Sprayberry said...

One would have to wonder if there was an appeal based on the fact the judge had not paid her full bar association dues at the time of that trial for a couple of years. Therefore, according to the information in the papers at the time it was revealed, Kristin Cook Connely Graham wasn't allowed to judge cases. Long shot, I know, but any port in a storm. After all, if she wasn't really a judge, despite the 'we'll keep her daddy' happy decision by the bar association, she didn't have the right to hear cases and shouldn't have been there. Just thinking out loud.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Luke 18:1-8 (New International Version)

Luke 18
The Parable of the Persistent Widow
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'

4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "

6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

JD said...

What I have learned that Gregor and Arnt know that if they get a conviction it is difficult to get the conviction overturned. I one time heard that an appeals court wouldn't overturn a conviction, even though there was proof of perjured testimony from a prosecution. It wasn't overturned for the same reason Mr. Anderson mentioned. There was no "silver bullet". The justices in this case didn't feel that it would have made a difference. I have always maintained that if there is ANY perjured testimony on the side of the prosecution it should automatically be overturned.

Anonymous said...

I'm terribly disappointed. My prayers are with Brad Wade and his family.

Alinusara10

Lame said...

This just another example of why ever time there's an election and they have the question on the ballot whether or not to keep this judge or that, I ALWAYS vote to throw the bum out.

Hopefully, the state supreme court will overturn the verdict. They have a history of doing that, even when the person is clearly guilty--like Melissa Chase, who had sex with one of her female students, they let go and completely threw out the law that put her in prison. Here in Utah we had a case where a woman named Arielle Beck was convicted of seducing a 14 year old girl she coached softball. The Utah Supreme Court overturned the verdict because, get this, the judge actually asked Beck questions while she was on the witness stand. The state was going to have a new trial, but they offered her a plea bargain for probation and she took it. Why did they plea bargain her when there was a slam dunk case? Because after the supreme court let Beck out of prison, rather than face her molester again, the girl took her own life. If your state supreme court doesn't overturn the Wade verdict after some of these other cases they've overturned, then there really is no justice.

kbp said...

Very disappointing outcome so far.

Don't give up hope Angie!

Anonymous said...

KC, I wondered the same thing. Since Graham hadn't paid her dues and legally should not have been hearing cases, to me all her cases should have been thrown out and retried. Guess that just makes sense to the common person and not in the legal world!!

Anonymous said...

Of course the Ga Court of Appeals doesn't want to overturn it, that would open the flood gates for all the people convicted to be looked at. And God forbid any of them be overturned and set free. That would just go to show more corrupt officials and how crooked the LMJC really is. Can't have that black mark in North GA. Well let me tell you, everyone knows this part of North GA is corrupt, come election time they will see it. Too many people are fed up with it, young an d old. These corrupt people have no soul, they are empty evil bodies. They think they are all that now but when their day comes and they have to stand in front of God, justice will be served. I don't know how these people sleep at night and even feel good about going to church, they are all hypocrits. We all know there are innocent people sitting in prison because of these corrupt people and just because they don't want the negative attention brought to their system they are more than willing to let those people miss out on their lives. They are worst than any murderer. How can they not do the right thing I will never understand. They are heartless!!!!

Trish White said...

If there are any lawyers who read this blog and you care more about justice, than money, we sure could use some help getting my son's visitation rights restored in Catoosa County. His x-wife and her current husband are engaged in parental alienation and we can't get any help in this county.

My son never lost the rights to his children, but did have bond conditions because of false charges brought against him by the same corrupt people who charged Tonya Craft. He fell with his step-daughter and was charged in her death. Three years and nine months later all charges were dropped, but he is still not able to see his kids, thanks to a corrupt system that lets his former wife get away with parental alienation and being in contempt of court per their divorce decree.

Narcissist07 said...

Well Angie, just when you fell all hope is lost, what the bloggers here are speaking of does happen...
A murder conviction of a man who shot and killed his brother while hunting was just thrown out by the Ga Supreme court after losing on appeal.

http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-top-court-throws-568776.html?cxtype=ynews_rss

All hope is not lost, and I am praying that justice for Wade will be forth coming.

Angie Granger said...

I just want to say a huge thank you to you all. We appreciate the prayers and the info as well. We are of course, devastated. But we will not quit fighting. We will go as far as we possibly can. And we have thought about trying to do the thing with Judge Connelly Graham, but we do think it is a long shot. Our prayer is that the Supreme Court sees all and makes it right. We will fight on. Does anyone know the time limit on ruling on cases in the Supreme Court? If there is one. My brother is a strong man. I spoke to him on sat. evening and told him the news. Although he was very disappointed, he still says that God is in control and there must a reason. He continues to pray and to keep his faith. He says a big thank you to all of you who are supporting him. Our hopes are high for the Supreme Court to overturn this verdict. Despite the judge and her daddy.

justiceseeker51 said...

Lame, as a sister to a man, whom was KILLED by a police officer, in his Mother's home ,right in front of her at 81 years old, he used to say,
"There is NO justice, *IT JUST IS*"... Judges and Social Service(Child Protective Services) workers THINK they are God. They hold a LOT of power over OUR Lives. They are as CORRUPT as the day is long. Not all but some, and that *some* is too many. They have destroyed Soooooo many lives.
Angie, I FEEL your pain. Prayers to you.

justiceseeker51 said...

I want to apologise for the way I ranted, I was so angry and hurt when I read all this:-(

liberranter said...

I cannot help but wonder: What would have happened to this panel of criminal stooges who dare call themselves "appellate judges" if they had issued such an unconscionable verdict two hundred years ago, when the nation was young and its population had a firm concept of and respect for due process of law and real justice? (And this assumes that the fact that Brad Wade was even CHARGED WITH A CRIME IN THE FIRST PLACE, let alone put on trial, was an aberration not likely to ever be repeated!) Hint: It would have involved rope, tar, feathers, and torches. But that's when this nation was civilized.

Lame said...

Liberranter, I can tell you exactly what would have happened to them. They would have continued doing exactly what they're doing, and nobody would have been able to stop them. Corruption is not a recent invention. Aaron Burr, third Vice President of the USA put the vice in the name by having a 12 year old mistress. He then shot a man (Alexander Hamilton) and got away with it. Grover Cleveland married his god-daughter whom he helped raise after her parents died. She was just 17 when they got engaged, and he was President of the USA at the time. Thomas Jefferson had chldren with a 3/4 white slave girl named Sally Hemmings, the relationship beginning when she was about 15 or 16. Although scandalized, he was elected president AFTER newspapers published reports about the affair. And, as for judicial misconduct itself, at one point John Marshall was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and at the same time US Secretary of State (so much for separation of powers). The decision he handed down of Marbury v Madison was actually a case that he had himself bungled when he was, as Sec of State temporarily working as Attorney General, and shifted blame for his mistake onto Congress--that's right folks, the concept of judicial review stemms from the Chief trying to worm his way out of the blame for a situation of his own making. So, yeah, when it comes to crimes against children and the ruling elite in this country, it has been "do as I say, not as I do" since the very beginning; and the legal system has never worked the way it should.

justiceseeker51 said...

I have read of this wild party from a website before, and it was totally DISGUSTING what went on there. I think it was Teresa Watson's website. She is "Totally" trying to clean up the corruption in LMJC, but a lot of people do not believe in her.
I DO...Someone has 'hacked' her site for the time being tho. She has one heck of a lot of info on Judge Kris Connelly, the one that had not paid her DUES, that was on Brad Wades case.

Anonymous said...

Not so sure we were all that civilized back then either!!

justiceseeker51 said...

We all had better Morals tho.

justiceseeker51 said...

With ALL that is happening ALL over the World, you can see people have lost their 'empathy' for their fellow man.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Anderson, for a great job. you have a way with word's, I want to thank everyone for all your comments, My heart is broke but I have to pick up the pieces and keep fighting, I will never give up as long as I am breathing,
Thanks to all Brad's Mom.

Kathy said...

To Brad's Mom and Angie,

Prayer is powerful and a lot of people are praying for your family. I know you already know that but I just wanted to add my support.

Trish said...

Brad's mom, I feel your pain. Even though my son was only in jail for 64 days, it felt like an eternity, so I can only imagine how horrible this is for you. Unless someone has walked in your shoes, they can't begin to understand the pain of your child not only being falsely accused, but of being behind bars. My heart goes out to you and your family and I will keep all of you in my prayers. I heard this often during our ordeal and sometimes, I didn't want to, but God does have a plan. Hang onto your faith and know that there are many who support your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kathy. Brad's Mom.

kbp said...

"...two hundred years ago"

When only a few could afford or desired to read the newspapers then.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to your thoughts regarding the West Memphis Three, Mr. Anderson.

justiceseeker51 said...

In November 2007 I was "thrown out" of a Public Courtroom" by a County deputy and a State Police Officer.

I was there to see how my friend's daughter came out on a 'Cold Check' charge, and a DUI on another defendant I was prepared to pay the restitution, to keep this mother from going to jail and was 'very interested' to see if the DUI was convicted. Wanted it to be!!

I was sitting there, not doing anything but watching the process when the Deputy came up to me and asked 'Why' I was there.(What reason did she do that?)... I told her. She talked to the person whose daughter was there(Cold check)came back to me, grabbed me by the arm, and made me leave.

I was angry, no doubt, and asked her 'Why', then the State Police Officer was there, grabbed(Man-handled)me, (shoved me into the elevator doors) down the elevator, out the front door(Past the Security Guards and the Public) to the sidewalk!...

That's what they do in Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky....

justiceseeker51 said...

There is a LOT more to this story, but it would take a 'Book' to tell it all. In the meantime a ten and one-half child, were and still are the "Victims" in this misconduct.

justiceseeker51 said...

Sorry:-( That should have been 'a ten and one-half child year old child and I' were victims.

justiceseeker51 said...

Sorry...I get so 'wrapped up in it' thinking about it, that I just cannot function well.

Last comment on it.

JD said...

Has anyone thought about contacting the Dept of Social Work at Univ of Georgia or Emory University to do research on "victims" who recanted their stories later and how this affected them, i.e. guilt of wrongfully sending someone to prison. That would be a better starting point to argue for better interviewing guidelines. I know Northwestern Law School does something similiar to this, however I believe they take only death penalty cases that are suspect.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anderson should study the murder of Tracey Biletnikoff, the daughter of pro football hall of famer Fred Biletnikoff. In that case the murderer admitted his guilt and was convicted.

The California 9th Circuit overturned the conviction on the grounds of "not enough blacks on the jury." It will have to be tried again.

Q.A said...

It seems to me that in both his original trial, and in this appeal, Brad Wade received ineffective assistance of counsel.

The Georgia Appellate Opinion states, for example :

"...Wade complains generally about "the interviewer making statements which are not statements made by [his son]." He does not, however, point to any specific comments made by the interviewer to support his claim that he suffered prejudice....... Wade "bears the burden of proving error affirmatively by the record." ....... "[I]t is not the function of this court to cull the record on behalf of a party in search of instances of error...."”

The Appellate Court’s point seems valid to me; such failure of Brad’s Appellate Lawyers to specify the errors they claim, is itself “ineffective assistance”.

What we have here is a dilemma- I wish I knew the solution, but I don’t.

The Georgia Innocence Project “investigates criminal cases where DNA evidence not tested at the time of trial might still exist and might prove actual innocence”, but apparently does not involve itself in pleading actual innocence where guilt is wrongly assigned through ineffective assistance of counsel, at both Trial and Appellate levels.

Maybe the Georgia Supreme Court, if appealed-to in an effective way, could resolve this dilemma, but I don’t know what way could be effective.

Anonymous said...

There has got to be someone that read's this Blog that Know what to do in Wade's case, Just let us know and we will do it...

Lame said...

I wouldn't put it past the 9th to overturn that case. They're the most outrageous group of individuals in the country. if you ever see a president nominate someone from there, you know they'll be pro-everything you hate and anti-everything you love.

Anonymous said...

@ anon - july 12th 6:38, we weren't all civilized back then???? um, they have this party every year & also have one at new year's. i am invited to all of them (for free), but choose not to go because of the one experience. i also have pics & videos from other friends who do go. this isn't something that went on years ago, this is present time & he always does it to benefit the CAC. so, you might want to rethink that statement. :-)

UGA Mom

Anonymous said...

Anon 4;24pm. Would you share any of your info..

Anonymous said...

Lame 11;33am. What is the 9th. Can you explain..

Anonymous said...

anon 1:51, I'm not at liberty to show the pics or videos. They were taken by friends who go to the events every year & it wouldn't be proper for me to show their images. I wouldn't want to get tangled up in anything. Let's just say, a LOT goes on, especially at Wild in the Woods. The cops don't touch it & if they did, they could bust some of the biggest cocaine dealers in the area. Some of my friends love to go, but I also don't agree with their lifestyles. To each his own, but I choose not to participate in it.

UGA Mom