Petition update

MR. CLAIR HAS NEW COUNSEL; CNN DOCUMENTARY; YOUR LETTER’S AND SUPPORT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE!

C. J. Ford
Anaheim, CA

Jun 1, 2016 — First of all, I want to apologize for a long needed update on our petition. Hopefully, I can bring you current on all of events of our historical journey, and continue our dialogue regarding the justice system.

There was a very pivotal hearing on May 13, 2016. I filed an Amicus application and declaration in behalf of everyone who has signed this petition, noting the district attorney's illegal actions in the Kenneth Clair case. I will be posting this declaration and an update this week. The Amicus was supposed to be heard at 9:00 AM on May 13, 2016. My plans were to address the court if necessary, and to see if my application and declaration would be received by Judge Goethals.

Also, on May 13, 2016, I was scheduled for a surgery procedure at 12:00 PM, so it was very important that this matter be heard at 9:00 AM. I showed up timely, and I met with the press which was ABC news, Reason TV, and several local newspapers. I also had a chance to meet and talk with Celina Gladden, Kenneth Clair's mother, who had come all the way from Louisiana to see her son's trial, and to visit with him for the first time in 20 years. Ms. Gladden also bought some other family relatives with her. The first thing that I asked the bailiff was if Kenneth’s mother could hug him because she had not seen him for over 20 years. My request was denied, but the bailiff agreed to let them talk, but no contact.

Additionally at the hearing, I ran into Denise Gragg who I had known for about 10 years, who is the Director of the Associate Defenders in Orange County. She had been pursuing Mr. Clair’s case weeks before the hearing, and she wanted to represent Mr. Clair, since he fired his other counsel. The 9:00 AM session was moved to 2:00 PM. I had to undergo my surgery and report to the hospital at 12:00 PM, so I missed the 2:00 PM session. After I was released from the hospital the next day, given a 3 week recovery period, I desperately tried to find out what happened at 2:00 PM, the day before.

I found out that the time was moved to the afternoon because Kenneth Clair’s former counsel was going to fly down from San Francisco because the court wanted to finalize, or get some information as to why Mr. Clair fired him, and how they were going to move on without the former counsel. The court officially removed Mr. Clair's former counsel, and appointed Denise Gragg to represent Mr. Clair in future Orange County matters. I did have a chance to talk to Ms. Gragg before I left the courtroom, but at that point in time I was not sure what was going to happen later on in the 2:00 PM session.

During my recovery, which was supposed to be 3 weeks, I had to be readmitted to the emergency room because of an infection that occurred during surgery. So I had been getting all of this information in bits and pieces, and I did not feel able to give the supporters of this petition and update, without knowing all of the facts. I then got an opportunity to speak to the press, Kenneth Clair, and others who had participated in a hearing. The Amicus, and all of the letters that we have provided the court with, were put into a sealed envelope, and Judge Goethals only intends on reading them, if it is agreeable by the defense counsel and the district attorney's office. So we have made an impact, and I would like to thank everyone who wrote letters because the court did address these letters and issues involved in the petition.

Judge Goethals gave Denise Gragg about 3 months to get caught up to speed on the Clair case. The judge also strongly indicated to the court that there was not a motion in front of him for a new trial for Mr. Clair. I believe that this was a hint to the court, that the defense will most likely be filing a motion for a new trial. I talked to Mr. Clair about this motion, and Mr. Clair was very upset because his former counsel told him that this motion could not have been filed, and pursued the penalty phase issues of re-sentencing. After talking with Mr. Clair, Denise Gragg’s first order of business is to file the motion for a new trial. So Mr. Clair is on his way to pursue his innocence from the legal point of view. I will give you the upcoming court dates in the next update.

This is very good news for us because my investigation has been very thorough in this matter, and the district attorney does not have a case, and have been doing everything that they can to hinder Mr. Clair’s counsel for filing this motion. So we need to step back and give ourselves a standing ovation, because the petition change the whole entire course and scope of this case. This is good news for all of the other Kenneth Clair’s out there to not compromise their “Integrity” for a glimmer of a chance of freedom in the future. As I was telling you before, the secretive deal that the DAs office and Mr. Clair’s former counsel offered only put Clair in the situation of admitting that he was guilty, and it also ended any effort that Clair could make in the future for a new trial.

Again, I thank each and every supporter for their comments during this process of the case, because now that we have taken such a strong stance, our strength was transferred to Mr. Clair who read all of the comments, and came to a decision that actually saved his life. Mr. Clair has nothing but thanks to everyone of you that actually counseled him, supported him, and saved his life.

I will be updating the petition more frequently within this next week so that I can bring everybody current on all of the events that have occurred in more detail. CNN is looking into doing a story on one of their criminal shows, so I have been negotiating with them and it looks really good. This means that we will be getting the national coverage finally that we need.

After all of the innocence projects and law colleges that seem to be interested in Mr. Clair's case, none of them responded in time to assist him. I know a lot of the supporters really feel strongly about these institutions, but they have a very slow and methodical method of accepting cases, and it's not like this case was not ever part of the these types of organizations before. There were private attorneys who wanted this case, but the pricing was way beyond being affordable. So I am happy with the outcome at this particular stage of Denise Gragg taking this matter and having the county foot the bill.

I will also be giving you updates on Elizabeth Clair who was hospitalized for a period of time, and has had serious health issues.

So with all of that said, again I thank you sincerely in my prayers, in my thoughts, for being so supportive, and giving back Kenneth Clair a new avenue to freedom that could not have been obtained without your support.


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