Convictions reaped from planted juries; Sex offender waives cut-and-paste jury trial
A May 17, 2010 article in the Tyler, TX newspaper “Friends, Family Of Suspects Motivated To Testify For Many Reasons” attempts to clarify why East Texas jury trials are stacked with relatives of opposing parties. It is concluded that family members testify against their relatives for a variety of reasons ranging from a sense of civic duty, to ingratiating themselves with law enforcement, to domestic vendettas. No mention of the limited size of untainted jury pools in these rural areas where everyone is related.
In Cherokee County courts, indigent defendants’ family members unwilling to testify are faced with the threat of bogus obstruction charges for not reciting the district attorney’s version of events. They are not as eager to falsely testify against loved ones as the article suggests, especially in the case of capital murder and when the death penalty is in play. Furthermore, the article completely ignores the fact that the District Clerk, via the district attorney’s office, plants the petit juries with relatives of law enforcement and/or alleged ‘victims.’ In Cherokee County this is taken to a whole ‘nother level of corruption by actually placing relatives of State witnesses directly in the jury box. These family jewels are willingly coached to lie during voir dire to feign ignorance of the case, to slip past opposing counsel and be seated. And let’s not forget Cherokee County’s practice of fabricating “friends” of the Defendant who deliver “anonymous” tips to local law enforcement. It’s all smoke and mirrors to cover up illegal phone tapping and perjury, if not a complete fabrication of alleged crimes.
As the Tyler news article attempts to deflect, these “relatives of the defendant” are called into court in order to express intangibly what they “felt in their hearts,” as opposed to what actually happened based upon the tangible physical evidence. This is a tried and true technique of a corrupted Cherokee County judicial system, which is to prosecute criminal cases based upon a preponderance of intangible feelings such as “the crime could have happened,” rather than using tangible evidence proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime actually took place. The Tyler News apology piece begins by citing the recent murder conviction of Jessie Smith of Jacksonville, TX in Cherokee County’s 2nd Judicial District Court.
Friends and family testified in the trial of Jessie Smith because they felt “very strongly” that a murder had occurred, Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth said. (Source: Tyler Paper, Friends, Family Of Suspects Motivated To Testify For Many Reasons, May 17, 2010)
In other words, hearsay and conjecture are accepted as completely reliable and admissible sources of testimony in Cherokee County. The intention is to get an already partialized jury to falsely convict based on the preponderance of feelings and emotions rather than on bona fide proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Cherokee County’s district attorney concludes by citing a fictitious Rusk jailhouse molestation case that never made it to the newspapers, docket or court records. No facts or fact checking required ‘round here.
Beckworth recalled a 2001 child molestation case in which a defendant was trying to make arrangements with another inmate to kill witnesses who would testify against him.
The defendant even drew a map of where he wanted the inmate to go, he said.
However, the inmate told authorities about the plot, and the defendant ended up getting a life sentence. (Source: Tyler Paper, Friends, Family Of Suspects Motivated To Testify For Many Reasons, May 17, 2010)
District Attorney Beckworth would lead the readers of the Tyler Morning Telegraph to believe that his own modesty in 2001 kept him from reporting that a [nonexistent] jailhouse informant was given leniency for helping thwart yet another [nonexistent] incarcerated child molester from “murdering” State witnesses for a case he made up on the spot. As we see time and time again, this is the way the political game is played by backwoods sycophants trying to cover up, for example, the two hundred plus Cherokee County sex offenders put on probation during Beckworth’s tenure.
Cherokee County prosecution 101: It’s a popularity contest
Elmer Beckworth and other small town prosecutors are motivated to suborn defendants’ friends, co-workers or loved ones who they think can be easily gulled to voice perjury placed in their mouths by authority figures. As the Smith County prosecutor and defense attorney suggest in the article, favored targets for suborned testimony in a rural setting are the timid, the superstitious, the jealous and the grudge holders; especially those with most favored status with the DA. Cherokee County prosecutors are equally motivated to coerce a friend, co-worker or loved one to turn against the defendant in order to boost charges that do not meet the Texas Penal Code. The Cherokee County district attorney’s office will also trump up charges on those they deem as a threat to the Big Lie, as they did to Randy Kelton and the Robert Fox defense team. They’ll collectively spend more time and taxpayer dollars smear mongering their credible opposition than reviewing the legalities of their caseload.
Cherokee County stands resolute in its tradition of stacking juries with those closest to the case. And if a “friend” or “family member” doesn’t exist to testify against the defendant, then the district attorney’s office will conjure one up. Behind closed doors in corrupt Smalltown USA, the grand jury may be presented anonymous letters from a concerned write-in citizen; accusations composed by the district attorney. However, they will not be presented for scrutiny damning evidence of official oppression or countywide petitions demanding investigations into the local corruption.
“See, even this jailbird believes the Defendant is guilty…”
Another prime example of this official misconduct can be found in the Buenka Adams and Richard Cobb capital murder case in which Beckworth and his investigator helped pardon a convicted felon arrested again for possession of a firearm simply for the incarcerated felon’s willingness to repeat the district attorney’s talking points at trial. Then with the district attorney himself lying to the Court of Criminal Appeals that a leniency offer in writing never took place for the felon’s jailhouse testimony:
Another letter was written by Beckworth on January 10, 2003. Although it was addressed “to whom it may concern,” Beckworth testified that it was sent to [the informant’s] parole officer, Roy Shamblin. The letter stated: “Please be advised that this office will not seek prosecution on [the informant] for the offense of Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon. If anything further is needed please contact this office.”
Beckworth testified that the State did not make any deal with [the informant] regarding his charge for unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. (Source: AP-74,875 Richard Aaron Cobb, Appellant vs. The State of Texas from Cause No. 15054 in the 2nd District Court Cherokee County)
It was ruled in the Richard Cobb appeal that the deal cut with the jailhouse informant was immaterial because it would not have changed the outcome of the Cobb murder trial. However, the existence of a written leniency agreement signed by District Attorney Elmer Beckworth in exchange for a State Witness’ testimony is exculpatory evidence that should have been disclosed pretrial to defense attorneys.
On May 17, 2010 Jacksonville resident Horacio Gonzalez waived his rights to a jury trial for one count of the aggravated sexual assault of a child and was expeditiously sentenced to 30 years by the 2nd Judicial District judge. Gonzalez, 33, chose to have his case heard by the judge and face the assistant district attorney. For two years Gonzalez successfully avoided Cherokee County’s cookie-cutter jury selection.
To confuse and distract further, the Tyler Paper reports Horacio Gonzalez’s residence to be in Houston, rather than his actual habitation in Cherokee County, where the incident occurred. (Source: Tyler Paper, May 25, 2010)
According to Gonzalez’s court appointed attorney,
There were two potential findings other than ‘not guilty; one was aggravated sexual assault of a child and the other was indecency with a child. (Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, May 24, 2010)
The district judge believed there wasn’t enough evidence in April 2009 to convict Gonzalez of exposing himself to the alleged victim, but a year later the district court, minus a jury trial, was convinced a crime did occur. (Source: Cherokee County, TX Criminal Docket; Case 17474 ; INDECENCY W/CHILD; THE STATE OF TEXAS vs GONZALEZ, HORACIO and Case 17369 ; AGG SEXUAL ASSAULT CHILD; THE STATE OF TEXAS vs GONZALEZ, HORACIO)
The month of May wraps up in the usual hackneyed lies, heart-felt testimony and another misleading child molestation case for the Cherokee County, Texas archives. Next month we will examine the Robert Fox civil rights reboot in the Eastern District of Texas filed on May 14, 2010 and the murder for remuneration case in Shelby County.