Pyongyang on the Prairie
Incredibly, the state attorney general pats itself on the back for "its strong commitment to transparency" and argues that the "State was forbidden by law from turning any of the material over to the defendant" because a crime lab review of Taylor's work is "an unfinished personnel review" protected by the state open records act. Nonsense on a stick. The law specifically states that a public body "may," not must, keep personnel records confidential -- and there is no indication that a review of Taylor's work would invade her privacy.
Both the public's right to know and the defendant's constitutional rights to exculpatory information (as well as information subject to cross-examination) trump the phony "personnel records" shield erected by the state attorney general's office and its collaborators.
In fact, given the wave of crime lab scandals across the country from Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C., it is in the national interest to disclose such information about questionable forensic analysis and testimony (which I've exposed more at length in my CRTV.com work on the Holtzclaw case and other wrongful convictions for "Michelle Malkin Investigates").
It's even more imperative given the Oklahoma City Police Department's sordid history of fabricated forensic evidence and misconduct dating back more than 15 years.
Fact: Elaine Taylor worked under disgraced former OCPD forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist, who was fired for systematic fraud, false testimony and planting evidence that led to countless death row and other convictions.
Fact: Taylor reportedly told a former supervisor that she destroyed rape kits under Gilchrist's orders because she "believed the only thing (she) could do was to follow (Gilchrist's) orders or else pay the consequences."
Fact: Elaine Taylor is the mother-in-law of Detective Rocky Gregory, the co-lead investigator in the current defendant's case (a relationship that was not disclosed at trial).
Fact: My attempt through a public records request to obtain a list of cases from the DA's office in which Taylor served as an expert witness -- so that the public can learn if she botched other analyses and testimonies -- was flippantly rejected because "our office maintains no list of cases in which Ms. Taylor appeared as a witness to give testimony as an expert or otherwise," and so "this matter (is) now closed."
Nearly six months after the cloak-and-dagger confab on Taylor's work held in late June in Judge Henderson's locked courtroom, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has yet to respond to Holtzclaw's motion to unseal the secret proceedings. In fact, the criminal appeals court has yet to issue a ruling on his public defenders' simple motion for an order to preserve evidence in light of the police department's admission that it had deleted Taylor's email account after she retired on Feb. 2, 2017 (a fact not known to the defendant until media public records request forced disclosure).
Legal experts left, right and center tell me they've never seen anything like this. Former ACLU of Oklahoma president and retired University of Oklahoma law professor Randall Coyne blasted the secrecy circus this summer, and his words bear repeating:
"This is no way to run a criminal justice system. In 29 years of practicing and teaching criminal law in Oklahoma, I have never seen the level of sealed orders and secret, ex parte courtroom proceedings that has occurred in the Holtzclaw matter. ... The dark cloud of secrecy over the Holtzclaw case gives rise to suspicions that somebody is hiding something. ... The court immediately should unseal all orders and filings so the public -- as well as other convicted defendants whose cases and lives may be impacted -- can see the details."
Is this North America or North Korea? Over to you, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Michelle Malkin is host of "Michelle Malkin Investigates" on CRTV.com. Her email address email@example.com. To find out more about Michelle Malkin and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.COPYRIGHT 2017 Michelle Malkin