In 2004, our daughter Courtney Bisbee, was falsely accused by one teenager, of an alleged sexual "touching" incident while in a room of teenagers. The crime never happened. The story was made up by her teenage accuser’s mom in a scheme to sue a school district for money. Her own son, and the prosecution’s star witness, would sign a sworn affidavit admitting his mother forced him to lie about this.
Days after the alleged incident, Courtney was arrested at her home with no arrest warrant in Scottsdale, AZ. There was no due process, no investigation and Courtney was held NON-bondable for 66 days. All based on a false accusation. (Note: the National Exoneration Registry, 2012 data shows 74% of the exonerees convicted of child molest were falsely accused/perjury).
On January 18, 2006, she was wrongfully convicted of child molestation of then 13-year-old Jonathan Valles at a Bench trial (no jury) in this “he said, she said” case - there was no physical evidence against her. She was sentenced to 11 years flat time, no early release, and sex offender registry upon release.
After Courtney's conviction, Nik Valles, who was the prosecution’s star witness and older brother of her accuser, (and in the room at the time of the alleged incident) came forward and admitted in a sworn affidavit that the accusation against Courtney was concocted by their mother Janette Sloan. She forced them to lie and testify against Courtney as part of a plan to sue Paradise Valley Unified School District.
Courtney was convicted and sentenced, under then Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas who refused to consider the new evidence of Nik Valles’ recantation to avoid having to admit that his office made a mistake and convicted an innocent woman. Thomas was disbarred in 2012 after being charged with 32 alleged ethics violations on another case.
Courtney has maintained her innocence from the beginning and filed her Writ of Habeas, "actual innocence" claims, in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, 2013. But Arizona’s Attorney General Tom Horne and Maricopa County Prosecutor Bill Montgomery have done nothing to help this new evidence come to light and free Courtney.
Courtney's new and exculpatory evidence exists: proof of her innocence and a scam for money came forward, which they refused to hear in an Arizona Court: (1) Courtney passed a polygraph test. (2) The prosecution’s star witness, older brother, Nik Valles recanted his trial testimony. (3) The accuser’s one-time girlfriend, came forward in a deposition to say that Jonathan told her, on numerous occasions that "nothing happened". (4) Other witnesses, acquaintances of Jonathan Valles, who did not know Courtney, came forward to say, that Courtney did not do anything wrong.
Still, prosecutors have refused to hear this new and exculpatory evidence.
In our long fight to save our daughter, we’ve sold our home, Courtney’s home, and used much of our retirement savings to pay for mounting legal expenses. We need your help.
Please sign our petition asking Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Maricopa County Prosecutor Bill Montgomery, and Governor Doug Ducey to do everything in their power to right this wrong, in this travesty of justice done to Courtney Bisbee.
The evidence that has come to light since her conviction shows her complete innocence of this alleged crime. Following is a partial list of documents proving her innocence, which are recorded in the Maricopa County Superior Court (the evidence can be viewed on her website at www.Justice4Courtney.com :
1. Affidavit from State witness Nikolas Valles, brother of the accuser and a witness to the alleged crime. Nik is recanting his testimony and stating that this crime never happened. He also writes, “Now, as an adult, away from my mother, I can no longer allow an innocent woman to remain in prison for a crime that she did not commit. I believe Courtney Bisbee [defendant] should be released from prison immediately and exonerated and the real criminals who enabled this tragedy should face criminal charges.”
2. Transcript of a video deposition taken from Sarah Babcock, friend and sometime girlfriend of the accuser, that states Jonathan Valles told her several times that he never did anything with the nurse and that his mom was making him say it for the money (Deposition page 60).
3. Affidavit from Samantha Strandhagen that states while Brittany Heehler was staying with her in Hawaii she overheard a conversation on speaker phone between Brittany Heehler and Courtney Bisbee where Brittany says that they (Donovan Kemp and Jonathan Valles, the accuser) were being stupid and she knew nothing happened. She also states in the affidavit that she overheard a conversation between Donovan Kemp and Brittany Heehler about how they had to help Courtney because they knew she didn’t do anything to Jonathan Valles.
4. Copy of a polygraph test taken by Courtney Bisbee. Banta Polygraph Inc. states that “Each of the charts were scored using the system of numerical scoring developed and validated at the University of Utah resulted in the finding of no deception indicated. It is this examiner’s opinion Ms. Bisbee was truthful when she answered the above relevant questions.” (Polygrapher approved by and used by the State).
5. Affidavit from Gene Valles, father of the accuser Jonathan Valles and State witness Nikolas Valles, that states his sons were used “as political pawns to ensure a wrongful conviction in Ms. Bisbee’s High-Profile Case.” He also goes on to state, “On February 10, 2004, five days after this alleged incident, my oldest son, Nikolas Valles, who was present when the alleged crime supposedly occurred, stated to Detective Christopher Kinder (Scottsdale Police Department), that “nothing happened” between his brother, the accuser, and Ms. Bisbee. He went on to state, that his brother would in fact lie if he feared getting in trouble. (I have reviewed the police report ¬ Bates pg. 196).”
6. Affidavit from Shannon Field who attended the trial of Ms. Bisbee. She writes of her concerns regarding Ms. Bisbee’s defense council being ineffective and unprofessional. She also states, “Joel Thompson failed to investigate and attack the State’s case and the State’s primary witnesses were highly vulnerable to impeachment, yet counsel did nothing to prepare an effective cross-examination to test their credibility. In addition he failed to interview and prepare obvious defense witnesses who would have contradicted the testimony of the State's star witnesses.” She also goes on to name a list of 16 troubling items, some of which include important points the defense counsel did not challenge, important details he did not bring up at trial, or just plain unprofessional behavior exhibited by Defense Attorney Joel Thompson.
7. Courtney Valle Bisbee’s Petition for Post Conviction Relief, filed 10/22/08 in the Superior Court, County of Maricopa in the state of Arizona, which also lists her Experts' reports.
Petition for Post Conviction Relief / Rule 32
Filed October 22, 2008 in Maricopa County Superior Court
Read Experts reports in Courtney’s Petition for Post Conviction Relief:
Dr. Richard Ofshe (interrogation) Expert in Marty Tankleff exoneration.
Dr. James Wood, U. of Texas (childrens' interviews) Expert in John Stoll exoneration.
Alan Simpson, Expert (IAC) ineffective assistance of counsel, exonerated Ray Krone, Arizona.
8. Reply to Response to Petition for Review filed Nov. 2, 2009 in the Arizona Court of Appeals:
Bisbee Reply to petition before AZSC.11.2.09.pdf
Obviously, we are concerned with how this case has been handled with all this overwhelming new evidence proving that Ms. Bisbee is innocent and wrongfully imprisoned. Quoting Ms. Bisbee’s Pro Per Motion for Release “In Arizona, a defendant is entitled to have a conviction and sentence vacated after trial upon the presentation of new evidence which ‘could not have been produced by the defendant at trial even with due diligence on his part and which is of such character as to create a probability that had such evidence been received at the trial the verdict would have been more favorable to the defendant.’”
Ms. Bisbee has been imprisoned and has not seen her young daughter in more than 5 years based on a lie, improper prosecution and ineffective defense counsel. We feel this has been too long for an innocent person to be in prison when new evidence of her innocence was made available years ago. Before her S.W.A.T. Team arrest on February 11, 2004 (No Search Warrant and No Arrest Warrant) she had no criminal record, was a 3.96 grade point average student on the verge of completing her Master’s Degree in Elementary and Special Education.
What has been done to Ms. Bisbee is a travesty of justice. She, her daughter and family are the true victims here.
This case needs to be properly investigated. Courtney Valle Bisbee is innocent and it is time for you, as well as other officials, to immediately come forward, perform your public duties, and to do the moral, ethical, and humane thing -- to give Ms. Bisbee her freedom back. We are respectfully requesting that you secure Ms. Bisbee’s release immediately, discharge this case and exonerate her name or at least allow her to present the evidence of her innocence to a jury of her peers.