Free an Innocent Man Falsely Convicted by Police Misconduct in Georgia
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How to Convict an Innocent Man - the Scott Davis story It could happen to You! We need your help to get the truth and rally support! Is it ok for police to destroy evidence, commit perjury, and alter evidence to convict someone ten years after a crime has occurred? It happened to Scott Davis. Summary The story involves what I strongly believe is the wrongful conviction of Scott Davis for the 1996 murder of David Coffin in Atlanta, Georgia in a 2006 trial largely based on what has later been discovered to be gross police and law enforcement misconduct and perjury. The case is ongoing on appeal and has a lot of still moving parts based on newly uncovered evidence of police misconduct captured on a recording made by a third party criminal justice student in Arkansas fighting to prove Scott's innocence. Scott Davis was arrested in 1996 for the murder of David Coffin. Coffin was found in his burning home with a gunshot wound to the head. Coffin had been one of the men Davis's wife had been dating during a back and forth divorce proceeding. Davis had been assaulted the same night Coffin was found dead which drew attention to him. Davis was interviewed by Atlanta Police homicide detectives for a lengthy period early the next morning and stated that he did not “shoot” the victim our burn his house down. Detectives did not allegedly know that the victim had been shot at this time due to the burned condition of the body. This immediately made Davis their suspect. Davis denied any involvement. He stated that his wife had called him and told him this. She then denied this early that morning and stated she did not know how he died. Davis was later arrested. Davis was an unlikely suspect. He had never been in trouble. He was well educated and comes from a prominent Buckhead family. There was no evidence of violence ever in his history. He had a lot of supporters who believed out more likely the wife was involved. Davis spent 90 days in jail but the case fell apart. Fingerprints at a crime scene were not Davis's. Witnesses came forward and stated the Davis's wife had in fact called them our stated that Coffin had been “shot in the head” which was discovered to be true. Also Davis had an alibi for at least one of the crimes. No one saw Davis at a crime scene and no forensic evidence tied him to any crime. Cocaine was found in the victim's blood and his BAC was .22. Charges were all eventually dropped. Davis was a software executive and consultant and moved to California. In 2003, Davis ran for governor of California in the race against Schwarzenegger. Over the years, the Coffin family offered a reward for a conviction that stated at $100,000 and was eventually raised to $300,000. Over that timeframe, the investigation continues in spurts including a 2005 wiretap of Davis that produced only evidence of drug crimes of an assistant district attorney in Fulton County involved in the case and wiretap. More importantly though over the years and as Davis's eventual indictment occurred in November of 2005, critical evidence vanished including the crime scene fingerprints that law enforcement had never bothered to run thru AFIS. In total over 70 pieces of evidence vanished including the alleged murder weapon, gas cans, weapons, bullets, fire evidence, blood and more. Conveniently, any evidence that could prove Davis's innocence was gone while evidence deemed useful to the prosecutors remained or had been allegedly tested fully. Law enforcement could not explain any of it and essentially claimed ignorance or negligence. As well testimony of witnesses changed dramatically as the reward was raised. Davis went to trial and lost a very close trial based on completely circumstantial evidence, false testimony by police and what we know now was a doctored and altered police interview tape. The trial was covered by 48 Hours (Ghost of David Coffin) and Court TV. The real story is what had happened since trial. The recent book by Dennis Ross called How to Convict an innocent Man highlights the case. The evidence of police misconduct has been enormous. Three audio experts determined that the audio tape used against Davis at trial was altered and in fact a second tape (secret and undisclosed by police) could be heard. A transcript found had “tape #2” on it. Davis had claimed to his attorneys since 1996 that he was illegally threatened and not given MIRANDA properly while the tape recorder was repeatedly stopped and started. He never saw a second recorder but since one of the tapes was a microcassette, it was easily hidden. The experts showed clearly the edits and deletions that exactly explained Davis's claims. The tape was very damaging against Davis because of the edits and omissions that prosecutors used repeatedly against Davis. They painted him as a liar and that he withheld information which was particularly egregious based on the fact the tape was altered. The evidence clerk from Atlanta Fire (they lost 35 pieces of crucial evidence) Linda Tolbert testified she lied on affidavit about evidence at trial. She denied she had received evidence from GBI but a UPS delivery receipt was turned over after trial had her signature on it. She admitted she lied on the affidavit and that the Fulton County investigator asked her to write the affidavit because the missing evidence included the alleged murder weapon. After her receipt, all of this crucial evidence vanished along with all the records. The GBI firearm examiner in the case Bernadette Davy who testified at trial was fired for faking evidence reports. Her testimony concerning the ballistic evidence in the case was questionable and unchallengeable because of course all the ballistic evidence had disappeared. The exculpatory crime scene fingerprints that were determined by the GBI not to be Davis's had allegedly according to prosecutors disappeared in the late 90’s. After trial new documents were found that proved law enforcement had the prints at least up until January of 2005. The new documents showed that the Fulton County DA along with the GBI were essentially trying to match the prints to the victim ostensibly to make them worthless to Davis. The GBI latent print examiner Al Pryor admitted he in fact destroyed the prints because they were old? This of course makes no sense. They made no back ups and the latent print file was gone. He said he didn't do anything with the prints like run them thru AFIS because they didn't match their suspect. He ha recently stated that if prints didn't match the suspect detectives "knew" committed a crime, they might tell the examiner not to run unknown crime scene prints. Likely happened here. This was all against SOP and common sense. Beyond that, it is bad faith if not simply very suspicious. There is much more. Over 350 SOP violations on the part of five separate law enforcement agencies in a high profile murder case. (The legal pleadings are available). On appeal, the State essentially denied any intent and put one of the homicide detectives on the stand for the fourth time who denied any misconduct despite all the evidence otherwise. Clearly he lied. The case appeal was denied in state court largely because of an incorrect procedural ruling but is pending now in federal court in the Northern district of Georgia before judge Amy Totenberg. In November a third party criminal justice student who had been trying to help Davis for years called up the second Atlanta Police homicide detective involved in the case. This detective had on the past towed the party line and denied a second recording of Davis's interview. For whatever reason on this recorded call, he repeatedly and clearly admits there were two recorders, two tapes and they were turned over to prosecutors. It was a blockbuster admission. It clearly impeached the homicide detective in charge of the case and implicates both him and the prosecutors for withholding exculpatory evidence and lying about it. It Impeaches the whole investigation. Davis's attorneys filed a motion in the ongoing appeal to have a hearing on the new evidence which clearly proved all the allegations of misconduct, Brady violations and impeached the detective who repeatedly committed perjury in five hearings. Davis awaits the judge's response. The book can be downloaded on Amazon for free or at www.johnrichards.us John Richards www.johnrichards.us John@johnrichards.us
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