2ND COP IS LINKED TO DRUG DEALING
Co-defendants plead guilty, name another officer
By Todd Lighty
Tribune Staff Writer
April 20, 1999
In a widening Chicago police corruption investigation, a second policeman was linked Monday to drug dealing and accused of delivering crack cocaine for indicted Officer Joseph Miedzianowski, according to federal court documents.
The revelation came as two more of Miedzianowski's co-defendants pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges during their appearances before U.S. District Judge Blanche M. Manning.
Those co-defendants, Rico Passley and Frederick Rock, agreed to help the federal government in its investigation of drug trafficking and police corruption in exchange for shorter prison sentences.
Both faced life in prison. But prosecutors are recommending that Passley receive about 12 years and that Rock get 5 years.
In his plea agreement, Passley, a member of the Imperial Gangsters street gang, told prosecutors that Miedzianowski was unable to meet him to deliver some crack last fall so a second, unidentified officer met Passley outside the offices of the gang crimes unit and delivered the drugs.
"Subsequently, the person to whom (Passley) gave the crack cocaine told (Passley) that his customers complained about the poor quality of the cocaine," according to court documents. "(Passley) called Joseph Miedzianowski and complained about the poor quality of the crack cocaine (he) had received from Police Officer A."
Passley's accounts mark the second time that a Chicago policeman, identified so far by the government only as "Police Officer A," has been linked to drug trafficking.
During earlier court appearances, other drug dealers who have already pleaded guilty in the case, alleged that Miedzianowski led a double life as a drug kingpin and that when he met with two associates in 1996 to resolve a dispute, the second officer also was present.
Miedzianowski, who pleaded not guilty last week to drug-related charges, had been a member of the gang crimes unit since 1982. He has been suspended without pay and is in federal custody.
His partner of nearly 20 years, John F. Galligan, was reassigned Thursday from the gang crimes unit to a desk job at police headquarters.
Chicago police spokeswoman Lauri Sanders said Galligan was stripped of his police powers and asked to relinquish his badge as "part of an ongoing investigation."
Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Netols indicated in court that more arrests were likely, though he wouldn't elaborate.
As the federal government continues its investigation, lawyers familiar with both sides of the case against Miedzianowski say the FBI is taking a second look at allegations the FBI has previously discounted. They include allegations that a handful of other cops were involved in stealing drugs and guns during police raids, selling drugs and undermining investigations.
Miedzianowski and 11 co-defendants were indicted earlier this month on drug conspiracy charges, accused of operating a ring that distributed more than 220 pounds of powder and crack cocaine in Chicago from 1995 to 1998.
According to court records, Miedzianowski allegedly funneled guns to a gang in its street war with a rival gang and aided the drug ring by identifying undercover cops, describing undercover police vehicles and revealing the names of confidential informants working with law enforcement.
In Rock's plea agreement, he alleged Miedzianowski and "Police Officer A" abused their powers by falsely attributing information to him in court papers used to get judges to issue search warrants.
"(He) did this in return for Joseph Miedzianowski's promise to pay (him) money for the false affidavits," according to documents.
Rock's plea agreement, however, does not identify who was searched or whether any guns or drugs were recovered, though suspects in the past have complained that Miedzianowski and other Chicago officers stole during drug raids.
In fact, according to his plea agreement, Rock said he sold about 12 pounds of cocaine "that had been taken from drug dealers by Joseph Miedzianowski."
To date, six of Miedzianowski's co-defendants have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
One of Miedzianowski's lawyers, Ralph Meczyk, questioned the motivations of those who became government witnesses.
"You have informers who are career criminal offenders who will say anything to shorten their sentences." Meczyk said. "The only way . . . they were going to get out of prison is in a pine box. They see Mr. Miedzianowski as their 'get out of jail free' card."
By Todd Lighty
Tribune Staff Writer
April 16, 1999
A Chicago policeman accused of leading a double life as a drug kingpin allegedly interfered with a murder investigation, armed gang members with semi-automatic weapons and betrayed fellow officers working undercover, according to accounts from four co-defendants who pleaded guilty on Thursday to drug conspiracy charges.
In an appearance before U.S. District Judge Blanche Manning, the four admitted their roles in a Miami-to-Chicago drug ring that the FBI said distributed more than 220 pounds of powder and crack cocaine in Chicago from 1995 through 1998 -- a ring allegedly protected and run by Officer Joseph Miedzianowski.
The four include the ring's drug courier, two customers and its chef, who admitted to cooking about 55 pounds of powder cocaine into crack allegedly for Miedzianowski.
In their plea agreements, they supplied new details in the government's case against Miedzianowski, including how in 1995 he allegedly told a murder suspect the names of possible witnesses in the case and how two years later he supplied a dozen semi-automatic pistols and revolvers to the Imperial Gangsters in their bloody street war against the Spanish Cobras.
Further, their plea agreements also reveal accusations that a second Chicago officer was present while Miedzianowski supposedly mediated a drug dispute outside a police station.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Brian Netols declined to identify the second officer, or provide more details about the murder.
But Netols said that with the four co-defendants breaking ranks they have "obviously provided significant" information about the drug ring and police corruption.
Miedzianowski's lawyer, Phillip A. Turner, said the allegations were ludicrous, brought forth by desperate people looking to spare themselves long prison terms.
"We are going to refute every last one of those allegations," Turner said. "We will do it with witnesses of our own and documentation."
Miedzianowski, 46, a longtime officer in the gang crimes unit, has been in federal custody since his arrest last December. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday on charges of participating in a conspiracy to distribute drugs.
Lawyers for the four who pleaded guilty -- Yolanda Navarro, 26; David Ruiz, 28; Francisco Figueroa, 29; and Joseph DeLeon, 32 -- either did not return messages or declined to comment.
But according to their plea agreements, the four offer fresh, gritty details of the government's allegations that Miedzianowski ran a major drug ring while both on and off duty.
In exchange for their cooperation and their testimony against Miedzianowski and others, the four likely will receive sharp reductions in prison sentences that could have sent them away for anywhere from 17 years to life.
Some of the most highly charged accusations came from DeLeon, a high-ranking member of the Imperial Gangsters.
Miedzianowski, according to court documents, once described DeLeon as a friend, and the government alleges he was the drug ring's best customer.
According to his plea agreement, DeLeon said he bought roughly 88 pounds of crack cocaine from the drug ring from summer 1996 to 1998 -- with Miedzianowski allegedly personally delivering about 20 pounds to him. DeLeon also said he supplied some drugs to gang members who would sell smaller quantities on Chicago's streets.
DeLeon also told prosecutors about a second police officer who might be partially aware of Miedzianowski's alleged role, according to the plea agreement. The second officer, according to DeLeon, stood nearby as Miedzianowski tried to resolve a dispute over drug prices and supplies between DeLeon and Juan Martir, a convicted drug dealer who is also cooperating with prosecutors.
The second officer did not participate in the meeting, which occurred outside the Grand Central Area police headquarters, according to court documents.
DeLeon and Martir never resolved their differences that day, and DeLeon alleges that Miedzianowski stepped in and replaced Martir as his new supplier of cocaine.
DeLeon's plea also added detail to previous allegations by the government that Miedzianowski thwarted the efforts of fellow officers trying to arrest drug dealers. Whenever undercover cops were working DeLeon's neighborhood, Miedzianowski allegedly tipped him off.
He also accused Miedzianowski of supplying him with at least 12 semi-automatic pistols and revolvers and bags full of bullets.
"During the time Miedzianowski was giving (DeLeon) firearms and ammunition, the Imperial Gangsters were at war with the Spanish Cobra street gang," court documents say. "Miedzianowski knew (DeLeon) was giving most of the firearms and ammunition . . . to fellow members of the Imperial Gangsters, and that these firearms were utilized for Imperial Gangster street protection and retaliation."
Francisco Figueroa, according to his plea agreement, admitted delivering cocaine and collecting money for the drug ring and cooking powder cocaine into highly potent crack cocaine. Figueroa also told prosecutors that Miedzianowski joined with others to rob rival drug dealers and accused the officer of interfering with a murder investigation.
In 1995, according to Figueroa's plea, Nelson Padilla -- the "prince," or leader, of the Latin Lovers street gang -- "was wanted for murder" by Chicago police detectives, according to court documents.
Miedzianowski allegedly gave Padilla and others the names of witnesses to the fatal shooting, documents show. Miedzianowski never turned in Padilla, who hid in Miami for a while before quietly returning to Chicago.
Netols, the federal prosecutor, would not discuss the status of the murder investigation but said his office was working with state prosecutors and Chicago homicide detectives.
Padilla also has been indicted in connection with the current drug investigation and is in federal custody.
Figueroa told prosecutors that he taught Miedzianowski's girlfriend and co-defendant, Alina Lis, how to cook powder cocaine into crack.
"Joseph Miedzianowski was frequently at (Lis') apartment while (Figueroa) cooked the cocaine, complaining about the smell made by the cooking crack," according to Figueroa's plea agreement.
Lis' former roommate, Yolanda Navarro, also is cooperating with the government.
Navarro said Miedzianowski allegedly tipped her off about an investigation of her former boyfriend and used a building owned by his elderly mother to stash drugs.
Drug seller David Ruiz, according to court documents, said he saw Miedzianowski inside one of Martir's stash houses and that he was aware that Martir allegedly paid protection money to Miedzianowski.
By Todd Lighty
Among the 100 or so officers who make up the Chicago Police Department's elite gang crimes unit, few were considered as accomplished as Joe Miedzianowski.
Miedzianowski and his longtime partner were among the top gang crimes specialists in number of arrests made and guns confiscated. Colleagues marveled at the array of confidential informants Miedzianowski had developed in his 16 years in the gang crimes unit. His steel-trap mind stored a family tree of gang members, with street names like Cuba, Baby and Rick Dog.
Miedzianowski's friends described him as a confident, street-wise cop while others saw him as cocky and arrogant.
Because of his knowledge of gangs, particularly some of the violent Latino street gangs in the city's West Town community, and because of his roster of valuable informants, Miedzianowski was in demand by federal agents who wanted to work with him on the types of cases that would make their bosses in Washington, D.C. take notice.
But, eventually, federal agents came looking for Miedzianowski for another reason: Miedzianowski, according to an FBI investigation, had used his street contacts and his intricate knowledge of the gang underworld to sell drugs and extort money from other dealers.
A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted him and 11 individuals described as gang members and drug dealers, accusing them of distributing more than 220 pounds of powder and crack cocaine from 1995 through 1998 in Chicago.
Miedzianowski, according to the FBI, had offered protection beginning in 1995 to a Miami-to-Chicago drug ring for as much as $12,000 a month but within a year took over its local operations -- a brazen maneuver that startled law enforcement veterans.
According to the indictment, Miedzianowski worked with four different street gangs and provided security to the drug ring by identifying undercover cops, describing undercover police vehicles and revealing the names of confidential informants working with law enforcement.
The indictment further alleged that Miedzianowski supplied the ring with guns and ammunition and mediated potentially violent disputes over drug prices and drug debts.
Miedzianowski's lawyer, Phillip A. Turner, said the FBI, despite having Miedzianowski under a surveillance microscope for months, never saw him do anything wrong and was investigating old charges in an attempt to get the scalp of a Chicago cop.
"He is a 22-year veteran of the police department. . .with a completely clean record," Turner said. "I think the FBI has started with a conclusion that Joseph Miedzianowski is a completely corrupt police officer and they are running around looking for anything to support that. He is innocent.
"You know what? It's going to be a very interesting trial."
Miedzianowski, who has been held at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center since he was arrested in December and charged in a criminal complaint, did not respond to a message seeking comment.
Even before his indictment, an expanding stack of internal police files and court documents portrayed him as an aggressive cop who worked on the edge of the law. These records detail a long pattern of alleged misconduct and brutality; of settlements by the city totaling more than $100,000 paid out to those who contend he harassed and abused them; and of internal investigations that consistently cleared Miedzianowski.
Miedzianowski, according to internal police records and court documents, has for years defended himself against those charges and others: that he burst into homes without search warrants, that he stole money and drugs and that he illegally planted guns on suspects.
These are some of the most difficult charges for a police department to sort through. Not only do they require officers to investigate colleagues, but corroboration often rests on the word of less-than-reliable sources -- the gang members, drug dealers and ex-cons who complain about police conduct.
Still, while some big-city police departments across the nation have become more aggressive in their efforts to weed out crooked cops, critics have charged that Chicago police resist reform, relying instead on a disciplinary system they say can protect bad officers.
As the federal government continues its investigation, lawyers familiar with both sides of the case against Miedzianowski say that investigators are taking a fresh look at previously discounted allegations including whether other cops were involved in stealing on police raids, selling drugs and undermining investigations.
Miedzianowski, who grew up in Evanston and was a wrestler in high school, decided he wanted to be a Chicago cop after studying business at a community college and at Northern Illinois University. He was 23.
At nearly 6 feet tall and a trim 180 pounds with blond, wavy hair, Miedzianowski fit the profile of the tough, aggressive street cop.
He had not been a great student growing up in Evanston and in college, but in person and on the street he had the type of intelligence that stood out.
"Joe's a really, really smart guy who throws out those 40-letter words and I once asked him why he wanted to be a cop," said Joseph Scapin, Miedzianowski's friend and the owner of a tattoo parlor searched by FBI and IRS agents as part of their case.
"He told me that after he was done with college that everybody was getting back from Vietnam and there weren't a lot of jobs so he took the police job as a holdover until something else came along."
As a freshly minted patrolman in 1976, Miedzianowski policed the streets in districts on the North Side. After three years on the job, he became partners with John Galligan, a tough-talking Vietnam veteran.
Miedzianowski was sued for the first time in 1979: He allegedly beat up a truck driver making a delivery on a narrow city street. The driver alleged that Miedzianowski, angered because the truck was blocking his car, pulled him from the truck and shouted, "I ought to kill you and throw you into the back of the box and dump you in the river."
The city settled the case for about $2,700, according to court records, but allegations of Miedzianowski's misconduct eventually got costlier and nearly cost him his job.
Galligan and Miedzianowski transferred in 1982 to the gang crimes unit, where they remained partners. Once asked why he moved from street patrolman to the gangs unit, Miedzianowski, according to a deposition he gave in a federal court case, dryly said: "Change. Just for change. Interesting change."
The Gang Investigation Section, part of the department's Organized Crime Division, gathers intelligence in an effort to control gangs and reduce gang violence. Officers, who in effect hold the rank of detective, often team up with an alphabet soup of federal agencies, such as the FBI and DEA, to target gangs.
Miedzianowski, who worked in plain clothes, was adept at developing "tricks," a street term for informants. These informants provided him with invaluable, yet closely guarded, information on gang activity: Who belonged to which gangs, who the leaders were, where gangs hid their drugs and guns.
But as an officer in gang crimes, Miedzianowski again had to confront allegations of brutality. The city paid out $50,000 after Luis Roman sued Miedzianowski, Galligan, their supervisor, Sgt. Edmond Stack, and other officers. Roman, according to court files, alleged that around Christmas in 1993 police burst into his home, grabbed him, dragged him out of his apartment and used him as a human shield in search of a nearby murder suspect.
In 1984, Miedzianowski was accused of roughing up a Humboldt Park minister, Rev. Jorge Morales, who was a political ally of then Mayor Harold Washington. The department combined that case, according to Police Board records, with an incident from a year earlier in which a North Side man claimed Miedzianowski and Galligan stormed into his apartment without a warrant and beat him up.
" 'Give me your gun or I'll shoot you,' " Andri Khoshaba recalled Miedzianowski commanding. "They broke my teeth. They broke my jaw. They searched all over my house and find nothing," he said in a recent interview.
When the officers realized they had the wrong apartment, they left, said Khoshaba, who sued the city and settled for nearly $50,000.
Miedzianowski and Galligan were suspended but the Police Board dismissed the charges and ordered them back on the job. The partners later sued the city and others, charging that the investigation was politically motivated and that they were innocent. The city settled the case, paying the officers $85,000.
Neither Galligan nor his lawyer would comment.
One year after coming back to the department, Miedzianowski and Galligan received promotions. Still assigned to gang crimes, they now achieved the rank of gang specialists.
But controversy was never far away.
For years the Police Department has been forced to fend off allegations from some citizens, community organizations and watchdog groups that it's lax in investigating corruption among its own officers.
Chicago police, for instance, when investigating a fresh complaint of misconduct, look at that complaint almost in a vacuum. Past unproven allegations -- though they may be similar -- are not considered. An officer's personnel history comes into play only when charges are substantiated -- something that rarely occurs, according to department records -- and then only in determining punishment.
That system, defense attorneys charge, allows supervisors to miss patterns of behavior and overlook so-called "repeaters," officers who often are accused of similar misconduct but never proved guilty.
The complaints against Miedzianowski rarely have led to severe discipline.
In two related internal affairs cases, Miedzianowski's immediate supervisor, who also had been a subject of complaints and lawsuits with Miedzianowski, investigated the charges of misconduct. Many times, the victims of the alleged police misconduct were suspected drug dealers or gang members -- people who were unlikely to complain and when they did complain were even more unlikely to be believed.
Police commanders, meanwhile, point out that criminal suspects often make internal affairs complaints against aggressive officers like Miedzianowski to harass and intimidate them.
Martin Abrams, a lawyer for a member of the Latin Kings gang, apparently had suspicions about why the internal investigation involving his client went nowhere.
Abrams had complained to police in 1993 that Miedzianowski and Galligan told him they would plant a gun on the gang member and then arrest him, an act Abrams contended had occurred, according to internal police records. At the time, he told Sgt. Stack about the threat and added that he "didn't like the idea" that Stack was investigating his own officers.
Stack, who declined to comment, cleared his officers of any wrongdoing. In his report he noted that Abrams refused to give a written statement detailing his allegations. Abrams also declined to comment.
Two years later, the gang member again complained to police about Miedzianowski and Galligan. He alleged the officers dropped by his house and threatened to put him back in prison, saying: "You're out and we are going to pay you a visit so you can be put back in the joint."
Again, Stack investigated and the officers were cleared.
Front-line supervisors such as Stack frequently investigate their own officers, police officials acknowledge. Of the nearly 9,200 complaints made against Chicago's police employees in 1998, police supervisors -- not the Internal Affairs Division or the Office of Professional Standards -- handled almost half of all complaints.
The Office of Professional Standards, part of the Police Department but staffed by non-police officers, handles complaints alleging brutality, while all other allegations of police misconduct are forwarded to the Internal Affairs Division. More than 200 people work in those two units.
The sheer number of complaints would overwhelm those units so others are called on to help investigate, said police spokesman Pat Camden. "When you get 9,000 to 10,000 complaints a year, obviously, you want to use your resources as best you can," he said.
No firm criteria determine when Internal Affairs would investigate but as a general rule, the less serious complaints are handed off to an officer's supervisor, Camden said.
Sometime during 1995, according to federal investigators, a Chicago drug dealer allegedly began making monthly $12,000 payments to Miedzianowski for police protection. Soon after, Juan Martir, a convicted drug dealer and one of Miedzianowski's confidential informants, allegedly heard about the arrangement and asked to be included. He occasionally would pay Miedzianowski $10,000, according to the government.
Once he began regularly taking drug dealers' money, the FBI alleges, Miedzianowski gradually slid into the role of drug kingpin. The transition escalated in 1996 when Martir and one of his regular customers, Joseph DeLeon, had a dispute, according to federal court records. Miedzianowski intervened and served as a middle man, brokering cocaine deals between DeLeon and Martir.
"Beginning in the summer of 1996, Martir began fronting, providing on credit, one to two kilograms of cocaine to Miedzianowski every week to 10 days," according to the FBI's criminal complaint. "Miedzianowski then sold this cocaine to DeLeon, using part of the proceeds to pay Martir and keeping the remainder for profit."
Nearly six months later, Martir moved out of Chicago to Miami. But before leaving, Martir introduced Miedzianowski to the drug ring's regular customers.
Once in control, Miedzianowski allegedly expanded police protection to the ring's customers and illegally supplied others with guns.
When FBI agents began accumulating evidence on Miedzianowski's alleged role in the drug underworld, they were already familiar with similar allegations made against him.
The FBI had interviewed a former agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in 1993 after she accused Miedzianowski and other Chicago cops of stealing from a drug dealer during a raid -- and after an internal investigation by Chicago police hit a dead end. She and her husband, also an ATF agent, alleged that Miedzianowski dealt in stolen guns and sold drugs.
In addition, a street gang leader alleged that Miedzianowski approached one of the gang's members and wanted to know if they would sell drugs for him. That allegation is contained in a sworn deposition given in 1997 by Stan Slaven, who testified as part of a still-unsettled federal lawsuit he filed alleging misconduct by Miedzianowski, Galligan and Stack, their longtime supervisor.
In yet another complaint, Evelyn Miranda accused Miedzianowski and other gang crimes officers of stealing a kilogram of cocaine during a narcotics arrest that sent her to prison. She later was interviewed by the FBI and a polygraph expert, who deemed her statement to be truthful, court records show.
Miranda is seeking a new trial, alleging misconduct by Miedzianowski during her arrest.
Federal authorities were aware of these complaints against Miedzianowski, interviewing Slaven and Miranda. But in all three instances -- the ATF complaint as well as the allegations by Slaven and Miranda -- no charges were filed.
Finally, the FBI found a source who could give agents an inside look at Miedzianowski: Juan Martir.
After leaving Chicago, Martir got back into the drug business in Miami. He was arrested in February 1998 and sent to prison, where he was overheard talking about his partnership with a Chicago cop, according to a lawyer familiar with the case. The FBI then wiretapped Miedzianowski's two home telephone lines and his pager.
Miedzianowski's conversations allegedly included discussions about torturing a suspect with a hot coat hanger during an interview, about a plot to steal cocaine from a drug dealer and about spending $50,000 in drug profits on his girlfriend for a car, braces and laser surgery.
Martir agreed to cooperate, further aiding the investigation. According to court records, he detailed for agents how the drug ring used three primary couriers to transport money and drugs between Miami and Chicago, how Miedzianowski had become his righthand-man and how he turned over the business to Miedzianowski.
Five days after Martir talked, the FBI arrested Miedzianowski at gang crimes headquarters.
April 9, 1999
Chicago Police Department gang crimes specialist Joseph Miedzianowski was indicted Thursday on drug-related charges. The 22-year veteran has successfully defended himself against past allegations of misconduct, according to police files and court documents.
1976-93 Allegations arise
1976: Miedzianowski joins the Chicago Police Department.
1979: A truck driver alleges that Miedzianowski beat him because his truck was blocking a street. The city later reaches a $2,700 settlement with the driver.
1982: Miedzianowski joins the gang crimes unit.
1983: Andri Khoshaba alleges that Miedzianowski and other officers burst into his apartment while looking for a suspect and beat Khoshaba. The city later settles with Khoshaba for about $50,000.
1984: Miedzianowski is suspended for the Khoshaba incident and for a second brutality complaint, but charges are later dismissed.
1986: Miedzianowski is promoted to gang crimes specialist.
1993: Luis Roman alleges that Miedzianowski and other officers dragged him from his apartment and used him as a human shield while they searched for a murder suspect. The city later reaches a settlement with Roman for $50,000.
1995-99 The FBI investigates 1995: Miedzianowski allegedly begins receiving monthly payments of $12,000 from a drug dealer in return for providing police protection. Juan Martir, another drug dealer, allegedly asks Miedzianowski to provide him with the same protection in exchange for money.
Summer 1996: After Martir has a dispute with a customer, Miedzianowski allegedly begins serving as his middleman and begins selling cocaine to the customer. He receives a portion of the money from the sales.
Winter 1996: Martir moves to Miami and Miedzianowski allegedly takes over the daily operations of the drug ring.
February 1998: After Martir is arrested on drug charges in Miami, Miedzianowski allegedly promises him that he will help him obtain a sentence reduction by vouching for his reliability with prosecutors if he doesn't talk about the Chicago operation.
December 1998: Martir, however, tells the FBI about Miedzianowski and the Chicago drug ring.
April 1999: A grand jury indicts Miedzianowski and 11 others.
Abilene Reporter News April 23, 1999
Former assistant warden indicted by Jones County grand jury
By SANDRA CHITTUM
ANSON - The Jones County grand jury indicted a former assistant warden of the French Robertson prison unit Thursday in connection with a two-vehicle wreck on Feb. 4.
James C. Mayfield was indicted on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of intoxicated assault.
Punishment range for aggravated assault is 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Intoxication assault carries a punishment range of 2 to 10 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
Mayfield is accused of causing the accident which injured Eloisa Vina. Investigators said Mayfield failed to yield right-of-way at Farm Road 1082 and County Road 306. Both were seriously injured, and Mayfield was not charged until after he was released from the hospital several weeks after the wreck.
Vina is still undergoing treatment.
Mayfield began working for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 1983, and was promoted to assistant warden of the Hamby unit in 1997. He was scheduled to start work at the Roach prison unit in Childress on April 1, a few days after he was charged.
New DNA Tests of Old Evidence Are Exonerating Dozens of Inmates Lawyers pushing for federal law requiring exams
Bill Dedman, New York Times
Monday, May 3, 1999
©1999 San Francisco Chronicle
It was a gruesome slaying. Debra Sue Carter, a 21-year-old barmaid, was found on the floor of her garage apartment in December 1982 in Ada, a town of 16,000 people southeast of Oklahoma City. She had been raped, and words were written on her nude body in ketchup and fingernail polish.
Five years later, two men were charged with murder in the case. They were well known in Ada: one was a junior high school science teacher and coach, Dennis Fritz; the other, Ronald Williamson, was a local hero who had played minor league baseball for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees.
Scientific evidence helped convict them: 17 hairs found on the victim's body and analyzed under a microscope. At their trials in 1988, an expert from the state crime laboratory testified that some of the hairs were an exact match to Fritz, and the others to Williamson. The expert also said that semen found on the body could have come from them.
Fritz received a life sentence, and Williamson was sentenced to die. At one point, Williamson came within five days of being executed.
In April, they were freed by newer scientific evidence, DNA analysis that was not available 12 years ago. DNA analysis showed that the hairs and semen could not have come from either of the two men.
The DNA tests were done by five laboratories, including one at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, the same agency that had done the microscopic tests in the 1980s. Now the labs say the DNA matches that of a convicted kidnapper who testified against the two men.
Defense lawyers say the Oklahoma case calls into question unproven science that has led to criminal convictions for a century. The men are the 61st and 62nd inmates in the nation to be exonerated by DNA evidence, according to the Justice Department. Williamson is the 78th person in the country since 1970 to be cleared after being on death row, says the Death Penalty Information Center, an anti-death penalty group.
``We will get thousands of people out,'' said Barry Scheck, a lawyer for Fritz and director of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York. Scheck was a lawyer in the O.J. Simpson murder trial who attacked DNA evidence against the former football star because, Scheck said, the methods used to collect and analyze that evidence were flawed.
``Juries eat it up when someone says `expert' and `science,' '' said Mark Barrett, who along with Sara Bonnell represents Williamson for the state of Oklahoma's Indigent Defense System. ``Hair analysis, handwriting analysis, bite-mark analysis -- unproven science has no place in the courtroom,'' Barrett continued. ``Everyone who's ever been convicted on microscopic evidence ought to have their case reopened.''
The lawyers are pushing for federal legislation to guarantee inmates an opportunity to require DNA testing. Only New York and Illinois have such laws. Fritz, for example, had exhausted his appeals and would not be free now if his DNA had not been tested as part of Williamson's case.
The evidence against Fritz and Williamson included the testimony of two jailhouse informers and a witness who was a felon. One informer said she had heard Williamson threaten to kill his mother as he had killed Carter. A witness at the bar where Carter worked said he had seen Williamson there the night of the killing. And prosecutors made much of a dream that Williamson said he had had about the murder.
``This case had all the building blocks of a wrongful conviction,'' Barrett said. ``Unproven science, a jailhouse snitch, a dream and a tainted eyewitness.''
That witness is now the suspect. The DNA tests show that the genetic material of the witness, Glen Gore, 38, matches the semen. Gore, who was serving three 40-year sentences for kidnapping and other charges unrelated to Carter's murder, walked away from a prison work crew on April 14 and remains at large. He has not been charged in the murder.
Fritz and Williamson, at a fund- raising picnic sponsored by the local chapter of Amnesty International last month, said they were angry and wanted to be compensated. Fritz, 49, who became something of a jailhouse lawyer, plans to move back to Kansas City to be with his mother and to spend time with his daughter, 25. He said he might work for the Innocence Project.
``I've got some student loans to pay off -- they've been charging me interest all this time,'' Fritz said.
Williamson's brown hair has turned gray. Now 46, he has recently been hospitalized for a pre-existing mental illness, bipolar disorder. He said that playing the guitar made life tolerable in the state's death row cells, which are underground.
He said he considered suicide before his new trial was ordered in 1997.
``I'm getting out of this state,'' Williamson said. ``A lot of people still think we must have been guilty or we wouldn't have been charged.''
Last month, the two men visited with an aide to Governor Frank Keating, seeking compensation for the time they served.
Williamson's lawyer, Barrett, said that most Oklahomans favor the death penalty, all the more since the bombing four years ago that killed 168 people at the federal building here. The state has executed 15 inmates since 1990, when executions resumed after a 24-year gap; it has about 150 prisoners on death row, out of 3,500 nationwide.
``With one case, people think that it could just be a mistake,'' Barrett said. ``But with 78 cases, they start to see that there's an epidemic of wrongful convictions. The error rate in the death penalty is not one that would be acceptable in most people's lines of work.''
2nd officer indicted on theft charge
$27,000 stolen from drug dealers, undocumented immigrants, prosecutors say
By Holly Becka / The Dallas Morning News
A second Dallas police officer was indicted Thursday on a charge of theft of more than $20,000 by a public servant, accused of stealing money from seven people that he arrested.
Officer Daniel E. Maples' indictment came five months after he turned himself in to investigators and told them that drug dealers had threatened to kill his girlfriend and her son if he did not return money he had taken from them, according to a court record.
Officer Quentis R. Roper, 32, was indicted Tuesday on a similar charge. He's accused of stealing more than $93,000 from seven people that he arrested. His supporters say that he's not guilty and that they will work to prove his innocence.
Officer Maples, 26, could not be reached for comment Thursday, and his mother said she was not aware of the indictment. One of his attorneys, Brook Busbee, declined to comment. The other, Ron Conover, did not return phone calls seeking comment Thursday or earlier this week.
Officer Maples is accused of stealing $27,900 from the seven people whom he arrested.
Senior Cpl. Glenn White, president of the Dallas Police Association, declined to comment about Officer Maples' indictment.
If convicted, the two officers - who remain on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation - could face up to 20 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Clark Birdsall declined to comment Thursday.
Prosecutors allege in court records that Officers Maples and Roper worked together and individually to steal from drug dealers and undocumented Mexican immigrants.
In an April 1998 incident, Officer Maples is accused of stealing $1,600 from the husband of a woman arrested for drug possession. The woman, her husband and a motel security guard saw the officer take the money from the wallet and put it in a plastic bag, a court record says.
"Officer Maples told . . . [the woman] at that time he was seizing the money because it was used for the purchase of illegal drugs," a court record says.
The woman's arrest report does not indicate that any money was seized or placed in the police property room, according to records.
Officer Maples' girlfriend told police that she saw a large amount of cash bundled with rubber bands and stored in a fire safe at the officer's public storage facility. Officer Maples told her that he won $53,000 gambling in Shreveport, La., and Las Vegas, records say.
A Dallas officer since 1995, Officer Maples has received seven commendations and has not been disciplined for serious administrative violations, according to department records.
Officer Roper, a popular seven-year veteran and former local football standout, has received 48 commendations and also has not been disciplined for serious administrative violations.
Amarillo Globe Newspaper
Web posted Friday, May 7, 1999
5:10 a.m. CT Legislator pleads guilty to drunken driving
By BARRY MASSEY
The Associated Press
SANTA FE (AP) - A state legislator, who has been active in the fight against drinking and driving, pleaded guilty Thursday to drunken driving.
Rep. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, was arrested Wednesday night in Santa Fe. She had attended a Cinco de Mayo party for legislators that was sponsored by several lobbyists.
A police report said Stewart was found passed out in her car. A chemical breath test determined she had a blood alcohol content of 0.10, which is above the .08 legal limit that presumes a driver is intoxicated.
"I made a mistake. I should have had a designated driver and I didn't. So I need to take responsibility. I have taken full responsibility. I pleaded guilty and I am going to do the punishment," Stewart said.
Stewart, a school teacher in Albuquerque, has been a longtime advocate of legislation to close drive-up liquor windows. Such a law was enacted last year.
"I have worked very hard to improve our DWI laws and I'll continue to do that," said Stewart. "I really want to apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and constituents."
It was her first conviction for drunken driving, which is a misdemeanor.
A Santa Fe municipal court judge ordered Stewart to do 48 hours community service as well as attend a mandatory DWI school and alcohol evaluation screening program - standard penalties for a first-time DWI offender.
Stewart also had her driver's license suspended for 90 days. For the first 30 days, she cannot drive for any reason. For the remaining time, she will be eligible for a limited driver's license that would allow her to drive to work or school, according to her lawyer, Dan Cron.
He said Stewart would be required to pay a number of fees, such as for the screening and DWI school, which could total $375-$400.
If the screening determines Stewart needs follow-up counseling or treatment for alcohol abuse, Cron said, then she has agreed to undergo that.
Stewart, 52, has served in the state House of Representatives since 1995.
© St. Petersburg Times,
published May 12, 1999
"Bo" Johnson, 47, and his wife, Judi, 48, arrive at the Federal Courthouse in Pensacola on Tuesday morning. The verdict came Tuesday night. [AP photo] After deliberating for more than 12 hours, a federal jury on Tuesday found former House Speaker Bolley "Bo" Johnson and his wife, Judi, guilty of filing false tax returns but acquitted them of a related conspiracy charge.
One female juror was in tears as the verdict was delivered late Tuesday in U.S. District Judge Lacey A. Collier's courtroom in Pensacola. A few hours earlier the jury had reported that it could not reach agreement on the charges, but Collier sent them back to the jury room to try again.
Johnson was convicted of filing false returns in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996. His wife was convicted of filing false returns in 1994, 1995 and 1996. The jury acquitted both of them on a charge of filing false 1993 returns.
Johnson faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison and a maximum fine of $400,000. For Mrs. Johnson, 48, maximum penalties could be nine years and $300,000.
Tuesday night, Mrs. Johnson looked stunned and her husband bit his lip as the court clerk read the verdicts. They were both immediately taken into custody by U.S. marshals.
The judge said he would consider written motions for their release pending sentencing July 27.
U.S. Attorney P. Michael Patterson said he thought the jury was arguing over the conspiracy charge and enough members of the panel were convinced the couple was guilty.
Patterson said he could not understand why the jury declined to convict them of filing a false return in 1993, a year when they underreported income by $51,000.
Over the five years involved in the tax case, the couple failed to report more than $500,000 in income they received from Bally Casinos; Clayton Brown, an investment company; U.S. Strategies, a health care consultant; Integrated Health Systems, owner of nursing homes and home health care agencies; Anderson Columbia Paving Co., one of the state's major road contractors; Mirabella, Smith and McKinnon, a Tallahassee lobbying firm; and other firms doing business with the state.
The Johnsons did not testify, but their attorneys blamed the unreported income on sloppy bookkeeping and an incompetent accountant.
Johnson was elected to the Legislature in 1978 and became speaker in November 1992. He left the Legislature when his term as speaker ended in late 1994 and has since been working as a lobbyist and real estate broker. His wife is a former state Department of Revenue sales tax analyst.
The Johnsons did not testify, but their attorneys blamed the unreported income on sloppy bookkeeping and an incompetent accountant.
A federal grand jury indictment charging Johnson and his wife was unsealed Feb. 18. Their trial began May 3.
Johnson's indictment came eight months after another North Florida politician, state Rep. Randy Mackey of Lake City, was convicted on similar tax-fraud charges. Mackey's conviction grew out of $36,000 he was paid by Anderson-Columbia Co., the same paving contractor that paid Johnson.
Johnson is the soft-spoken son and grandson of a North Florida county commissioner.
Tuesday night, he became the first former House speaker in recent memory to be convicted of a crime. Former House Speaker Mallory Horne was acquitted of drug smuggling and money laundering charges in the 1980s.
Johnson was best known for forcing a bridge, nicknamed "Bo's Bridge," through state regulatory agencies and the Legislature over the objections of environmentalists.
The 3.5-mile bridge spans Pensacola Bay.
An opening celebration was held Saturday, and Johnson was on hand. But the toll bridge remained barricaded Tuesday on orders of the Department of Environmental Protection because environmental restoration work was not completed.