Texas death row inmate Alfred Dewayne Brown was released from prison Monday. He spent 10 years on death row. A huge portion of the credit for his release goes to Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg, who won a Pulitzer for her coverage of the case.
Brown had an alibi for the crime for which he was convicted — an armed robbery that resulted in the death of a police officer. Brown said he was staying at his girlfriend’s apartment at the time of the robbery. But after a browbeating from a Houston cop who inexplicably served as foreman on the grand jury that indicted Brown, the woman changed her testimony. Grand jury transcripts would later show that during her testimony, the cop/foreman threatened to indict Brown’s girlfriend for perjury and threatened to take away her children. She was eventually jailed for seven weeks, then released when she changed her testimony to contradict Brown’s alibi. Without his girlfriend’s testimony, Brown was convicted and sentenced to death.
Seven years later, Brown’s attorneys discovered phone records confirming that Brown had called his girlfriend at her job from her apartment around the time of the murder. Not only were those records never given to Brown’s defense attorneys, the records were found in the garage of a Houston homicide detective.
As I reported here at The Watch last summer, leaked grand jury documents later showed that the same cop who threatened Brown’s girlfriend had served on at least nine other grand juries. This was thanks to a grand jury selection system known as the “key man” system, which critics say allows judges and prosecutors to stack grand juries with people most likely to do the state’s bidding. The Texas legislature has since started to reform the key man system.
According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Brown is the 12th death row exoneration since 2013, and the fourth death row inmate exonerated so far this year.”
“HOUSTON – An attorney has been named to review the actual innocence case of former death row inmate Alfred Brown, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Wednesday.
Brown was freed from prison in 2015 after the state’s highest criminal court ruled his rights were violated by prosecutors who failed to show phone records supporting his alibi in the 2003 deaths of Houston police officer Charles Clark and store clerk Alfredia Jones.
Devon Anderson, the Harris County district attorney at the time of Brown’s release, dismissed the capital murder charge against him, but declined to make a determination as to Brown’s innocence.
Since his release, Brown has filed a petition to be declared actually innocent.
Ogg said in a written statement that she has named trial lawyer John Raley, of the Houston-based firm Raley & Bowick, to review Brown’s case and present findings and recommendations to prosecutors.
“We’re going to leave no stone unturned,” Raley said in an interview with KPRC2. “We’re going to look at the state’s case at the time of trial. We’re going to look at the appellate record, we are going to talk to law enforcement officers, we’re going to talk to Mr. Brown’s counsel.”
“The question that we’re going to have to try to answer is whether a reasonable jury would convict under the facts as they are currently known,” Raley said.
But Brown’s attorney maintained the facts, as presented, speak for themselves. “I don’t think [Raley] will find anything. I believe Alfred Dewayne Brown is not guilty of this crime,” Scardino said.
Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, said Brown is the right guy and Raley’s independent investigation will prove just that.
“I think there was a very exhaustive investigation done the first time, which was why he was convicted in the first place,” Gamaldi said.
Alfred Brown said when he was freed that he didn’t commit the crime, but he knew the people who did.
Excerpted from the original here: https://www.click2houston.com/news/attorney-to-review-actual-innocence-case-of-ex-death-row-inmate-alfred-brown
UPDATE 2 :
“Report finds former death row inmate Alfred Brown ‘actually innocent”
Photo: Marie D. De Jesus, Staff / Houston Chronicle
Special prosecutor John Raley has completed a report finding ex-death row prisoner Alfred Dewayne Brown “actually innocent,”
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office was set to release the bombshell results of the monthslong investigation on Monday, but stepped back at the last minute, Hunt said. Two sources familiar with the case confirmed the union’s claims to the Houston Chronicle.
Hunt, who has long voiced his belief in Brown’s guilt for the 2003 cop killing, roundly condemned the findings.
“In my opinion this was a scam from the beginning,” he said. “Kim Ogg knew that John Raley would declare Brown actually innocent.”
The district attorney’s office referred all comment to Raley, who declined to confirm the results of his report.
“My sole role has been, and is, to investigate the truth of the Brown case,” he said. “I approached the case with no preconceived notions, and have been completely independent in my work. Every step of the way I followed the facts where they led, and am continuing to do so.”
Brown, now 36, was sentenced to die in 2005 for the killing of Houston Police officer Charles Clark during a botched check cashing store robbery. He spent a decade awaiting execution before his conviction was tossed after a police investigator turned over evidence – phone records that might have confirmed Brown’s alibi – found in his garage during spring cleaning.”
Excerpted from the original here: https://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Police-union-Report-finds-former-death-row-13566075.php