Added: Angus Lipson - Date: 26.05.2022 21:24 - Views: 32433 - Clicks: 4200
Category: Sex Crimes Uncategorized. Most human tragedies are produced by random acts of Nature run amok. But far too often human tragedies are man-made, particularly in our criminal justice system. Before we get into the core facts of this legal nightmare, let us set the cast of characters who have made it all possible: Judge Jack Skeen, Jr. Three of the defendantsMayo, Pittman and Kelly, were convicted in while a fourth defendant, Dennis Pittmanwas convicted last month.
And, finally, there are the five alleged child sexual abuse victims whose testimony alone—without any physical evidence or adult witness corroboration—produced the four convictions in this case. Wood County Assistant D. Case closed, right?
Cantrell was determined to transform what many in the local criminal defense bar have come to believe were child sexual fantasies transformed into reality. He was so generous during his videotaped interviews of the alleged child victims that he let Cantrell sit in on the sessions. As a matter of fact, the Ranger developed such a close working relationship with the foster mom that, according to Michael Hall, he let Cantrell take over the interview sessions with her own questions.
Other times she asked variations of the same questions over and over or actually suggested answers to the kids, answers they then repeated. Eventually, Sheryl, Harlan and Callie began talking about a sex kindergarten and club involving various family members and their families. The first two defendants to face trial were Shauntel Mayo and Jamie Pittman. The State called Sergeant Kemp, Margie Cantrell, and CPS workers to bolster the testimony of the four girls and one boy who said they had been sexually abused by Swingers in sugar land members and friends.
Defense attorneys sought to show that Kemp, Cantrell, and the CPS workers had manipulated and coached the children into giving the fabricated testimony presented to the jury. It took the jury just four minutes to find the couple guilty, despite the fact that all of the alleged child victims gave inconsistent and contradictory testimony which was not corroborated by any other evidence. The third defendant, Patrick Kelly, at least created a little more doubt with his jury. It took his jurors less than two hours to convict him.
It seemed like smooth sailing for DA Bingham and Judge Skeen until defense attorneys involved in the case learned that Texas CPS officials had withheld documents showing numerous complaints of abuse and neglect filed against the Cantrells. The case began to unravel. Swingers in sugar land attorney Jason Cassel who represents Dennis Pittman had the advantage of watching the first three trials unfold, and the benefit of the appeals court ruling rebuking the legendary trial judge, before his client had to face trial. He had a firm defense strategy in mind: he was going after Margie Cantrell.
Even more ificantly, Cassel established that Kemp lied during the first trials about two interviews he had conducted with two children on August 17, At the pretrial hearing Cassel, said Hall, held up the notes and asked Kemp if it was his writing. Kemp responded it was. Cassel then informed the court that the notes referenced the August interviews.
Hall reported that DA Bingham had enough. He tried to throw in the towel on the case. Longtime and highly respected Tyler defense attorney Bobby Mims told Hall that the DA informed the Judge Skeen in the wake of the Cassel revelations that he wanted to recuse his office because of ethical implications involved with the withholding of favorable evidence. Lindberg is an expert in the study of how false memories can be suggested to young children. The judge refused to let Lindberg testify. It proved to be an easy sale to the jury. They all resided in a local trailer park, most had criminal histories, and all had been accused of some form of meth or drug use.
Hall reported the jury foreman was wiping away tears when the little boy testified and other jurors were brought to tears when one of the girl witnesses cried as she described being forced to play doctor with her brother. This is their day for justice. Does Swingers in sugar land make sense? It apparently made sense in East Texas where political and social conservatism dominate everyday life in counties like Smith County.
Judge Skeen then instructed them to return to deliberate the punishment. Hall reported that Margie and John Cantrell, along with their eight foster children, were in the courtroom to celebrate the moment of victory. Not very much. Cassel was prevented from doing that. Judge Skeen is a great guy. I love him. They were never in that swingers club. In this type of case they make them on their hearts or fear.
Still, they should have all the evidence. I believe these people are innocent.
We also believe in the same justice system that Judge Skeen praised to jurors in the Dennis Pittman case. Thankfully the appeals court system exists to protect criminal defendants from judges who get so emotionally and personally involved in cases that they deny those defendants the fundamental opportunity to present a defense.
DA Bingham faces not only two more untried defendants but must decide whether to retry Mayo and Pittman—and before all is said and done, he will face decisions about whether to retry Patrick Kelly and Dennis Pittman as well because their convictions will also be reversed. Judge Skeen has guaranteed as much.
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