The Tulsa Forum by TulsaNow

Not At My Table - Political Discussions => Local & State Politics => Topic started by: patric on October 12, 2014, 09:59:38 am



Title: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: patric on October 12, 2014, 09:59:38 am
Really good reporting about a really bad prosecution:



Messler, who retired as a judge in 2000, told the (Tulsa) World that in chambers, he asked (Prosecutor Tim) Harris if William had an attorney.

Why does he need one, Harris asked?

ďI looked at him very sternly and I said, ĎBecause thatís the murderer of this baby and everybody in the courtroom knows it except you, apparently,í Ē Messler said.




"Records show mistakes, questionable evidence in woman's overturned murder case"
http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepage2/records-show-mistakes-questionable-evidence-in-woman-s-overturned-murder/article_8be38089-bd87-53e0-8392-40c6d287bf09.html






Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Hoss on October 12, 2014, 11:45:35 am
Really good reporting about a really bad prosecution:



Messler, who retired as a judge in 2000, told the (Tulsa) World that in chambers, he asked (Prosecutor Tim) Harris if William had an attorney.

Why does he need one, Harris asked?

ďI looked at him very sternly and I said, ĎBecause thatís the murderer of this baby and everybody in the courtroom knows it except you, apparently,í Ē Messler said.




"Records show mistakes, questionable evidence in woman's overturned murder case"
http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepage2/records-show-mistakes-questionable-evidence-in-woman-s-overturned-murder/article_8be38089-bd87-53e0-8392-40c6d287bf09.html






Looking at Tim Harris makes me want to punch his face.


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 12, 2014, 07:36:52 pm
Still "doing his thing" as recently as a couple years ago.... see Mark Allen Eaton on OSCN....and how Tim Harris and Kurt Glassco worked together to refuse to take a guilty plea in his court appearance!    The guy who tried to kill a couple of teenagers while he was drunk (that's the mitigating factor, I'm betting - he can't possibly be personally responsible if he's drunk!) with an assault rifle.  And when that didn't work when he pulled the trigger, he went back inside to get his Glock to try again.  Who is this guys "contact" with the big time lawyers, DA, and Judges in Tulsa??  Bet it's family....

I'm betting his 'running dog' who is trying to get elected to replace him (Harris) is gonna be pretty much the same - since that is where he got his "training"....if you can call it that!!




Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: BKDotCom on October 12, 2014, 10:10:27 pm

ďI looked at him very sternly and I said, ĎBecause thatís the murderer of this baby and everybody in the courtroom knows it except you, apparently,í Ē Messler said.


Passing the buck... ESPECIALLY after the kid killed himself a month later.


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 12, 2014, 10:40:04 pm
Passing the buck... ESPECIALLY after the kid killed himself a month later.


I guarantee you it wasn't Messler passing the buck.  His hands were tied on that whole deal.  From the sound of it he was as disgusted with Harris as everyone else.  Just gotta wonder how we keep putting these clowns in office....oh, wait...this is Oklahoma, isn't it??  'Nuff said.   Pete was being extremely gracious when he said all involved were honorable people....some definitely were not, as we see now.  (Personally, I think he lied a little bit on that just to be politically correct...)



And we had that S & M Buddy Phallis before that.... blech!!



And yeah, I knew Pete long, long ago.  And his Dad.  Both great guys.  Dad killed in a tragic accident!



Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Conan71 on October 13, 2014, 09:05:28 am

I guarantee you it wasn't Messler passing the buck.  His hands were tied on that whole deal.  From the sound of it he was as disgusted with Harris as everyone else.  Just gotta wonder how we keep putting these clowns in office....oh, wait...this is Oklahoma, isn't it??  'Nuff said.   Pete was being extremely gracious when he said all involved were honorable people....some definitely were not, as we see now.  (Personally, I think he lied a little bit on that just to be politically correct...)



And we had that S & M Buddy Phallis before that.... blech!!



And yeah, I knew Pete long, long ago.  And his Dad.  Both great guys.  Dad killed in a tragic accident!



Messler had the ultimate authority to throw the case out or declare a mistrial for questionable evidence at any time.  If he really believed the wrong person was being tried for murder, he had a responsibility to the defendant and the community at large to stop the trial.

This case is a perfect example of one of the reasons Iím no longer a death penalty proponent.  Police and a DA have the capability to hypothesize on a suspect early on then ignore any evidence to the contrary or to marginalize it.  Iím not saying they get it wrong every time, but there is little doubt there are people sitting on death row or serving life terms for crimes they did not commit. 


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 13, 2014, 09:11:25 am
Messler had the ultimate authority to throw the case out or declare a mistrial for questionable evidence at any time.  If he really believed the wrong person was being tried for murder, he had a responsibility to the defendant and the community at large to stop the trial.

This case is a perfect example of one of the reasons Iím no longer a death penalty proponent.  Police and a DA have the capability to hypothesize on a suspect early on then ignore any evidence to the contrary or to marginalize it.  Iím not saying they get it wrong every time, but there is little doubt there are people sitting on death row or serving life terms for crimes they did not commit. 


Not as easy as that makes it sound....


Death penalty - absolute agreement.  Screwed up WAY to often in this country!! 



Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: patric on October 13, 2014, 10:05:03 am

I'm betting his 'running dog' who is trying to get elected to replace him (Harris) is gonna be pretty much the same - since that is where he got his "training"....if you can call it that!!


I dont doubt his successor(s) are cut from the same cloth.  LaFortune was the only one who seemed to live on this planet.


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Conan71 on October 13, 2014, 10:38:52 am

Not as easy as that makes it sound....


Absolutely it is.  That is why they are called the ďjudgeĒ.  They are supposed to be the impartial agent to ensure a defendant gets a fair trial and the interests of the public are represented at trial.


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 13, 2014, 01:59:22 pm
How about it lawyers...how much discretion did Pete Messler have in the 90's to dismiss that case that Tim Harris wrongfully brought against this woman?

And what recourse is there for her?  Sue for damages, maybe...??

And what recourse does the state have against Tim Harris for doing something as despicable as the handling of this case?  Is it merely an abomination, or is it also criminal...??



Inquiring minds want to know!!

Hey!  That could be the slogan for a really tawdry-bit-of-fluff sleazy newspaper!  We could call it something like the "National Want-To-Know'ers".  Build up a little circulation by appealing to the baser instincts of the human species and then sell it to Rupert Murdoch!!  It would be a major hit with the right wing extremists in this country....



Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: cynical on October 13, 2014, 03:40:11 pm
How about it lawyers...how much discretion did Pete Messler have in the 90's to dismiss that case that Tim Harris wrongfully brought against this woman?

And what recourse is there for her?  Sue for damages, maybe...??

And what recourse does the state have against Tim Harris for doing something as despicable as the handling of this case?  Is it merely an abomination, or is it also criminal...??

You asked for it. A long, boring answer full of lawyerly gobbledegook follows.

If there is evidence tending to prove each element of the offense, judges will not dismiss criminal cases just because they don't believe the evidence is credible. Credibility is an issue for the trier of fact - the jury.

Also, in Oklahoma judges operate within a political environment that mandates that they err on the side of caution, meaning that cases get tried rather than summarily disposed of by the judge. This is even true in civil cases. State court judges are much more averse to granting motions for summary judgment than federal court judges. Can you imagine the prospects for the judge's future retention if he or she became known for dismissing criminal cases, denying the state the defendant's right to trial by jury? Yes, I intended to say it that way.

One thing that might have led to a different result was the judge's admission of the expert lab testimony. Judges have always served as gatekeepers to limit opinion evidence to those who have sufficient expertise to enable the jury to understand technical evidence, but they weren't always rigorous about it. Let me put it another way. They were almost never rigorous about it. In recent years expert testimony has been subjected to much more scrutiny before being admitted at trial.

20 years ago, all that had to be shown was that the witness had training, experience, and a record of being accepted by courts as an expert. Now, the testimony has to meet a higher standard provided by the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, which requires the expert's technique or theory to be considered according to the following criteria:

1. Whether the witnesses approach or theory is testable;
2. Whether the theory had been subjected to peer review;
3. The known or potential error rate of the theory or method;
4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls; and
5. Whether the theory or technique was generally accepted in the scientific community.

Though Daubert is technically a federal standard, state courts have used a similar approach. The lab expert who testified in the Murphy case very likely would not be allowed to testify under similar circumstances today because of inadequate education and problems with applicable standards and controls.

If in fact Harris hid exculpatory evidence from the defense, he violated a clearly established constitutional standard that should give Murphy a claim under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, which provides a damages remedy when a person's civil rights have been denied by anyone acting under color of state law. Harris and the Governor (the state cannot be sued directly) would be defendants. The damages would be paid by the taxpayers. I read earlier today that the City of New York had paid half a billion dollars in damages because of police misconduct over some period of time. All of those damages were paid by the taxpayers.

Harris could also be subject to discipline by the bar association. Intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence is a violation of professional standards.


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Conan71 on October 13, 2014, 07:38:45 pm
Sorry, Iím still hung up on Messlerís own words:

Quote
ĎBecause thatís the murderer of this baby and everybody in the courtroom knows it except you, apparently,í  Messler said."

Murphy appears to have had poor defense representation, a sloppy prosecution, and a cynical judge at best.  (oops sorry, just realized who I was replying to.  Entirely an accident! ;))

You mean to tell me that the judge was apparently that convinced someone else committed the murder, based on testimony and evidence, yet he allowed that circus to continue with total impunity?  


Title: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: cynical on October 14, 2014, 01:02:54 pm
Sorry, Iím still hung up on Messlerís own words:

Murphy appears to have had poor defense representation, a sloppy prosecution, and a cynical judge at best.  (oops sorry, just realized who I was replying to.  Entirely an accident! ;))

You mean to tell me that the judge was apparently that convinced someone else committed the murder, based on testimony and evidence, yet he allowed that circus to continue with total impunity?  

If that quote is accurate, yes. If the prosecution had not offered admissible evidence tending to prove each element of the offense, the judge would have been justified in dismissing the case. If, on the other hand, the prosecution had offered admissible evidence tending to prove each element of the offense, the judge is not entitled to "invade the province of the jury" by dismissing the case based solely on his own view of the credibility of the state's witnesses. That's the way it rolls in criminal cases. In Oklahoma, the process is very jury-centric, which is why the ethical rules regarding handling of exculpatory evidence are so important.

In this case the apparent ethical lapse was Harris's. As a public prosecutor, even as an assistant DA, he is not a mere contestant. He is more than most lawyers an officer of the court and is charged with doing justice, not just winning cases. If it is true that exculpatory evidence was in his file and was not shared with the defense, he more than anyone else is responsible for the miscarriage of justice. Even 20 years ago it was a well-established rule that the state had to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense. If the evidence in his file suggested that the blood found at the scene was a different type than the defendant's, he had an absolute iron-clad obligation to share that evidence with the defense. Most defense attorneys have a set of canned motions they file in every case, including a motion for discovery of exculpatory evidence. I have no idea whether such a motion was filed in this case. If it was, doubly bad for Harris. If it wasn't, Harris still had the obligation to share it once he became aware of it.


Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: patric on October 14, 2014, 01:41:15 pm
...the City of New York had paid half a billion dollars in damages because of police misconduct over some period of time. All of those damages were paid by the taxpayers.

When someone else pays for your mistakes, there's little incentive to avoid them in the first place.

For example, Denver taxpayers are out $4.6 million just for one case:
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/10/14/jury-deputies-used-excessive-force-in-death-of-homeless-man

It should take much much more to qualify for "Qualified Immunity."


Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: cynical on October 14, 2014, 02:27:49 pm
When someone else pays for your mistakes, there's little incentive to avoid them in the first place.

For example, Denver taxpayers are out $4.6 million just for one case:
http://denver.cbslocal.com/2014/10/14/jury-deputies-used-excessive-force-in-death-of-homeless-man

It should take much much more to qualify for "Qualified Immunity."

I agree with that. Several decades ago I had several discussions with our current Chief of Police about the exclusionary rule. He thought that because defendants who were deprived of constitutional rights had a civil claim against the city, the exclusionary rule wasn't needed and only got guilty people off. He had no clue about the difficulty of winning a civil rights judgment against the city because of qualified immunity. It always turns into the lawyerly exercise of arguing that this case fits into precedent or is somehow distinguishable from the precedent. Since every case is arguably distinguishable, very few civil rights cases survive.


Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 14, 2014, 05:34:12 pm
You asked for it. A long, boring answer full of lawyerly gobbledegook follows.

If there is evidence tending to prove each element of the offense, judges will not dismiss criminal cases just because they don't believe the evidence is credible. Credibility is an issue for the trier of fact - the jury.

Also, in Oklahoma judges operate within a political environment that mandates that they err on the side of caution, meaning that cases get tried rather than summarily disposed of by the judge. This is even true in civil cases. State court judges are much more averse to granting motions for summary judgment than federal court judges. Can you imagine the prospects for the judge's future retention if he or she became known for dismissing criminal cases, denying the state the defendant's right to trial by jury? Yes, I intended to say it that way.

One thing that might have led to a different result was the judge's admission of the expert lab testimony. Judges have always served as gatekeepers to limit opinion evidence to those who have sufficient expertise to enable the jury to understand technical evidence, but they weren't always rigorous about it. Let me put it another way. They were almost never rigorous about it. In recent years expert testimony has been subjected to much more scrutiny before being admitted at trial.

20 years ago, all that had to be shown was that the witness had training, experience, and a record of being accepted by courts as an expert. Now, the testimony has to meet a higher standard provided by the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrill Dow Pharmaceuticals, which requires the expert's technique or theory to be considered according to the following criteria:

1. Whether the witnesses approach or theory is testable;
2. Whether the theory had been subjected to peer review;
3. The known or potential error rate of the theory or method;
4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls; and
5. Whether the theory or technique was generally accepted in the scientific community.

Though Daubert is technically a federal standard, state courts have used a similar approach. The lab expert who testified in the Murphy case very likely would not be allowed to testify under similar circumstances today because of inadequate education and problems with applicable standards and controls.

If in fact Harris hid exculpatory evidence from the defense, he violated a clearly established constitutional standard that should give Murphy a claim under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, which provides a damages remedy when a person's civil rights have been denied by anyone acting under color of state law. Harris and the Governor (the state cannot be sued directly) would be defendants. The damages would be paid by the taxpayers. I read earlier today that the City of New York had paid half a billion dollars in damages because of police misconduct over some period of time. All of those damages were paid by the taxpayers.

Harris could also be subject to discipline by the bar association. Intentionally withholding exculpatory evidence is a violation of professional standards.


Thanks!  Pretty much what I have been told from friends...just couldn't get traction here with someone we all know and love!

Harris has been a mess for a long, long, time....still is!




Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Vashta Nerada on October 14, 2014, 06:38:58 pm
All that power and he still doesnt have the guts to stand up to any of the police unions, so the baddest of the bad get a free ride.



Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: Conan71 on October 14, 2014, 06:58:49 pm

Thanks!  Pretty much what I have been told from friends...just couldn't get traction here with someone we all know and love!

Harris has been a mess for a long, long, time....still is!


What puzzles me beyond that discussion in chambers since the account is all parties were present, is why didnít the defense make a motion for a mistrial?  There are so many red flags on this case itís unreal, as well as later bungling and/or concealment of evidence which would have exonerated her and gotten her out of the pen close to ten years ago.

Talk about a defendant who got foobared like a tied goat.


Title: Re: Re: 20 Years Stolen: Michelle Murphy
Post by: heironymouspasparagus on October 14, 2014, 07:50:52 pm
What puzzles me beyond that discussion in chambers since the account is all parties were present, is why didnít the defense make a motion for a mistrial?  There are so many red flags on this case itís unreal, as well as later bungling and/or concealment of evidence which would have exonerated her and gotten her out of the pen close to ten years ago.

Talk about a defendant who got foobared like a tied goat.


100% absolute agreement on that one!!

Probably a public defender with an application in at the DA's office...?  Pardon my cynicism....

This is the first paragraph in Tim Harris' biography on the DA's page....

Harris has worked as a prosecutor in Tulsa County for 26 years. Protection of children has always been a focus of Harrisí career as a prosecutor. In 1995 Harris was named Tulsa Countyís first Director of Crimes Against Children.

Except when one of the "chosen ones" - Mark Allan Eaton - tries to enter a guilty verdict for his attempt to murder two children!  (Granted, they were 16 and 17, so almost adults, but that is kinda not the point.)  And now that he and his buds have an unlimited "get out of jail" card, they are still shooting up that neighborhood and really terrorizing people.  Mostly only on holidays and weekend nights when they get all drunk up.  One of the neighbors had a kid murdered, and this neighbor kinda freaks every time they have their little "shoot-fests"....  Driving over the neighbors yards.  Parking their stuff on the neighbors yards.  Last time I visited the area, a couple weeks ago, they had the street blocked so much with so many vehicles that some vehicles driving through the area had to turn around and go another way.   I know, I know,...they should just call the cops and report them for being a nuisance!!  Oh, wait....

I know Daddy's gotta be proud!!   But at least they aren't in his gated community!!


Back to Murphy;
At least they didn't execute her.  Like they would have in Texass...like they have done in Texass...executing innocent people.