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Injustice Anywhere Podcast: Jeff Havard’s life is now in the hands of the Mississippi Supreme Court

Spreaker.com: Jeff Havard’s life is now in the hands of the Mississippi Supreme Court

In 2002, Jeff Havard was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. The truth about this case is clear. Chloe slipped from Jeff’s arms while lifting her from a tub after a bath, causing her head to hit a nearby toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeff’s claims. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Jeff Havard is innocent.

In May of 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing for Jeff’s case based on defense claims of new evidence due to changes in the science behind Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).

Unfortunately, the court limited the scope of the hearing to SBS, which barred the defense from addressing the now fully debunked charge of sexual assault. The evidentiary hearing took place in August of 2017, in the courtroom of Adams County Circuit Judge, Forrest Johnson. Johnson is the same judge who presided over Jeff’s trial in 2002.

Jeff’s evidentiary hearing took three days. The judge listened to testimony from four experts who testified for the defense and heard testimony from a pediatrician who testified for the prosecution. The hearing, which was limited to a single topic, and provided no immediate decision, took one day longer than the entire trial that landed Jeff on death row in 2002.

Judge Johnson waited over sixteen months to rule on the evidentiary hearing. Johnson’s report sided with the state. The report, which was less than five pages in length, made it clear that Johnson had put his own best interests ahead of his duties as a judge. Johnson lazily copied most of his skimpy ruling directly from previously written decisions. In doing so, he completely ignored compelling expert evidence presented to the court. Instead of taking new evidence into account, Johnson recycled provably false allegations that have been parroted by the state for years.

In a weak attempt to show impartiality, Johnson ordered that Jeff be resentenced in front of a jury, rather than reinstating Jeff’s previous sentence of death. Why would Johnson do that if he truly felt Jeff was guilty of raping and murdering an infant? Johnson’s ruling suggests that he was moved by the powerful evidence proving Jeff’s innocence, but he lacked the courage to do what was right. Johnson’s decision was self-serving because it was favorable to the state. The jury at the resentencing hearing only had two options to choose from; the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The state wanted this case to go away in a hurry. Locking up Jeff for life and forgetting about him worked just fine for the state of Mississippi.

On December 18, 2018, Jeff was resentenced to life without parole. Jeff is now off of death row, but his fight is far from over. In September of 2019, Jeff’s defense team took their case back to the Mississippi Supreme Court arguing that the Adam’s County Circuit Court errored by not granting Jeff a new trial based on newly discovered evidence that would dramatically alter the outcome if the case was tried again before a jury.

The state responded to the defense arguments on January 19, 2020. Jeff’s defense team then responded to the state’s response on April 15, 2020. Unfortunately, this is how slowly the system works. It has been nearly three years since Jeff’s evidentiary hearing, and the Mississippi Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on the ruling of the Adam’s County Circuit Court.

The April 2020 response from Jeff’s defense team is powerful. It completely dismantles the arguments and delay tactics put forth by the state. Jeff’s defense shows in detail that the newly discovered evidence would have most certainly changed the outcome of Jeff’s trial. They also provide solid legal arguments to show that the new evidence is not barred by time as argued by the state. The primary argument being made by the state is that Jeff can no longer fight for his innocence because all arguments are barred by time. The state is doing nothing to present factual information. Their strategy is to block any and all new evidence that can prove Jeff’s innocence. Their position is outrageous and should be condemned.

Jeff’s defense team does an outstanding job of showing what a jury would hear today compared to what the jury heard at Jeff’s trial in 2002. They present the information in an easy to read table detailing how striking the new evidence is.

You can learn more about Jeff’s appeal by listening to the latest Injustice Anywhere Podcast. In this podcast, we hear from Jeff’s dear friend and advocate Lori Howard about the latest court filing. We also hear about Jeff’s current living conditions, and information is provided to Jeff’s supporters on how they can help Jeff as he waits for the Mississippi Supreme Court to rule on his case.

Listen to the latest podcast on Spreaker.

Learn more about Jeff’s case at FreeJeffreyHavard.org.

Keep up to date with current events on Facebook.

Support Jeff by donating to Jeff’s canteen and phone account through Paypal using this email address: Myloridarlin66@gmail.com.

You can also support Jeff by participating in Jeff’s letter-writing campaign to the Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch: https://www.facebook.com/events/2527072554290043/

Jeff Havard letter-writing campaign to Attorney General Lynn Fitch

View the campaign page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/921373155353218/

In 2002, Jeff Havard was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. In May of 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing for Jeff’s case based on defense claims of new evidence due to changes in the science behind Shaken Baby Syndrome. In September of 2018, Jeff’s death penalty sentence was vacated, and a resentencing hearing was ordered. On December 18, 2018, Jeff was resentenced to life without parole. Jeff is now off death row, but his fight is far from over.

The truth about this case is clear. Chloe slipped from Jeff’s arms while lifting her from the tub after a bath, causing her head to hit a nearby toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeff’s claims. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Jeff Havard is innocent.

Lori Howard and Injustice Anywhere promoted a letter writing campaign for Jeff back in 2013 that did not go unnoticed. In fact, it prompted Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to respond:

“The State has no knowledge of how this case has become such a public one, the State directs this Court to Exhibit B. Routinely, the State receives letters from across the country, from concerned citizens pleading for the life of Jeffrey Havard. See Exhibit B. Curiously, each of the letters (submitted herein as examples) contains detailed factual allegations about this case: that the victim, Chloe Britt, died as the result of an accidental fall; that the victim’s autopsy made no reference to sexual assault; that the only binding factor in this case was anal dilation of the victim; that Mr. Havard requested a polygraph test; that Mr. Havard refused a plea agreement. Moreover, some of these letters are identical in their wording, leading the State to believe the writers are procuring their information from the same source.”

Our 2013 letter campaign led to a pathetic failed attempt by Jim Hood to seal Jeff Havard’s court records. You can read more about Hood’s desperate attempt here: http://wrongfulconvictionnews.com/mississippi-attorney-general-jim-hood-files-motion-attempting-to-seal-jeffrey-havard-case/

The state of Mississippi should listen to concerned citizens who have come forward in support of Jeff Havard. The state should listen to the facts. Please review the advocate’s letter to Mississippi Attorney General, Lynn Fitch which is posted below. The campaign is asking that you take a few minutes of your time to send Attorney General Fitch your own letter in support of Jeff Havard. You can use the letter provided or you can create your own. Please keep in mind that personal letters are a plus. When writing your own letter, please do not hesitate to include the factual information and links provided in the letter below.

You can contact Lynn Fitch by mail:

Office of the Mississippi Attorney General, Lynn Fitch

Attn: Attorney General Fitch

550 High Street, Suite 1200

Jackson, MS 39201

You can email Attorney General Fitch’s office directly: support@msegov.com.

You can call Attorney General Fitch’s office: 601-359-3680

You can respond on Attorney General Fitch’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/LynnFitch.

Our letter to Attorney General Lynn Fitch from advocates for Jeffrey Havard:


Dear Attorney General Fitch,

We are writing to you about a horrific case of injustice that is ongoing in Adams County, Mississippi. This is a case involving a tragic accident, tunnel vision, junk science, false testimony, and prosecutorial misconduct.

The case we are referring to deals with the death of an infant. Please find it in your heart to take a few minutes to review this case of injustice.

In 2002, Jeffrey “Jeff” Havard was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. According to Jeff, Chloe slipped from his arms while lifting her from the tub after a bath, causing her head to hit a nearby toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeff’s claims. Advances in science now show that Chloe’s injuries were not the result of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), as suggested by the prosecution. Scientific evidence now shows that Chloe’s injuries were caused from a short fall. It is also important to note that the erroneous charge of sexual abuse has now been fully discredited by all experts in the case, including the prosecution’s expert.

The jurors who convicted Jeff were told of a horrific crime. They were told that Jeff Havard sexually assaulted Chloe Britt and then violently shook her to death. Prosecutors repeatedly told the jury that Chloe died from violent shaking, which has now been proven false. The state can claim that the SBS charge was based on bad science at the time, but there is no excuse for the accusation of sexual assault. That accusation was an egregious act of prosecutorial misconduct. The prosecution was told before trial by their expert, Dr. Steven Hayne, the state medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, that there was no evidence of sexual assault. The autopsy made no mention of a sexual assault. The prosecution withheld this evidence from the defense, never presented the autopsy at trial, and outright lied to the jury. The trial was dominated by the sexual assault accusation. Jeff was presented to the jury as a monster. He never stood a chance against the false charges.

In May of 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing for Jeff’s case based on new scientific evidence related to SBS. Unfortunately, the court limited the scope of the hearing to SBS, which barred the defense from addressing the now fully debunked charge of sexual assault.

The evidentiary hearing took place in August of 2017, in the courtroom of Adams County Circuit Judge, Forrest Johnson. Johnson is the same judge who presided over Jeff’s trial in 2002. The 2002 murder trial was speedy to say the least. Within a matter of two days, the court selected a jury, tried the case, received the jury’s verdict, and sentenced Jeff to death.

To put things into perspective, Jeff’s evidentiary hearing took three days. The judge listened to testimony from four experts who testified for the defense, and also heard testimony from a pediatrician who testified for the prosecution. The hearing, which was limited to a single topic, and provided no immediate decision, took longer than the entire trial that landed Jeff on death row.

Judge Johnson waited over sixteen months to rule on the evidentiary hearing. Johnson’s report sided with the state. The report, which was less than five pages in length, made it clear that Johnson had put his own best interests ahead of his duties as a judge. Johnson lazily copied a majority of his skimpy ruling directly from previously written decisions. In doing so, he completely ignored compelling expert evidence presented to the court. Instead of taking new evidence into account, Johnson recycled provably false allegations that have been parroted by the state for years.

Judge Johnson falsely suggested that Jeff had given conflicting statements to police. Johnson also suggested that Jeff had confessed to injuring the infant, which is a ridiculous exaggeration of what Jeff actually told police in his statements. Johnson knows this of course, because he acknowledged in the original trial that Jeff had not confessed to any crime. Johnson embarrassed himself with his weak attempt to turn Jeff’s own words against him. The original trial transcripts are on record. Johnson does not have the power to rewrite history.

In a weak attempt to show impartiality, Johnson ordered that Jeff be resentenced in front of a jury, rather than reinstating Jeff’s previous sentence of death. Why would Johnson do that if he truly felt Jeff was guilty of raping and murdering an infant? Johnson’s ruling suggests that he was moved by the powerful evidence proving Jeff’s innocence, but he lacked the courage to do what was right. Johnson’s decision was self-serving because it was favorable to the state. The jury at the resentencing hearing only had two options to choose from; the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The state wanted this case to go away in a hurry. Locking up Jeff for life and forgetting about him worked just fine for them.

Multiple expert witnesses have come forward in support of Jeff Havard. The underlying felony of sexual assault, even though it was barred from discussion at the evidentiary hearing, has been refuted by every expert in this case. The felony murder rule no longer applies. We now know that the rule should have never been applied in the first place, because the state’s sole expert told the prosecution before trial that there was no evidence of sexual assault.

There are currently no experts, on either side, who support the claims that originally convicted Jeff Havard. That point alone should sound alarms.

Jeff Havard has now been in prison for nearly 17 years for a crime that never happened. Included with this letter, you will find affidavits from multiple experts who have testified under oath in support of Jeff’s innocence. You will also find affidavits highlighting the retractions from the prosecution’s only expert witness in the case.

Congratulations on becoming Mississippi’s new Attorney General. We are hopeful that you will review this case. Thank you in advance for your time.

Sincerely,

Advocates for Jeff Havard

Information included with the letter:

Expert Witnesses

Dr. Michael Baden

Dr. Michael Baden is a physician and board-certified forensic pathologist. Baden is the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City and is the former chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police. Baden is well respected worldwide for his work in this field.

Baden testified that he believed Chloe’s death had nothing to do with shaking. Per Baden, it is no longer accepted in the field of science that shaking alone is enough to cause fatal injury in children. Impact is now considered a requirement to produce fatal injuries, if other factors such as neck or rib injuries are not observed.

Baden stated that the injuries observed during the autopsy were entirely consistent with a blunt force impact which would have resulted from a short fall as described by Jeff.

Baden stated that the infant had no signs of injury to the neck or ribs, which would have been present had the infant been violently shaken. He went on to say that autopsy findings which are found to be consistent with early statements given from a person who was present show that those statements carry more weight. He said it is difficult to tell a story that later matches up with an autopsy report if you are not telling the truth.

Baden told the court that pathologists are more qualified than other specialties to diagnose cause of death. Per Baden, ER doctors and pediatricians specialize in the treatment of living patients. Pathologists have the task of looking beneath the surface of non-living bodies to properly determine cause of death. Evidence exists after death that his not available to doctors who are treating living patients. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Michael Baden:

http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_B_-_Baden_Affidavit_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Janice Ophoven

Dr. Janice Ophoven is a pediatric forensic pathologist with over 30 years of clinical, administrative and quality improvement experience. Ophoven is trained in pediatrics and is board certified in pathology and forensic pathology. Ophoven’s practice is focused on understanding child abuse and injury to children.

Ophoven stated that no evidence exists to show that Chloe’s death was the result of child abuse. She testified that violent shaking alone was no longer an accepted cause of death in infants. Ophoven told the court that it was a common belief in the scientific world back in 2002 that short falls could not cause fatal injuries in children. She went on to say that the scientific community no longer believes that to be true. She made it clear that there have been significant changes in science regarding infant head injuries and Shaken Baby Syndrome since the time of Jeff’s trial.

Ophoven concluded that the infant’s death was the result of a short fall as described by Jeff. She also informed the court that pathologists are more qualified to determine cause of death than ER doctors and pediatricians. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Janice Ophoven:

http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_C_-_Ophoven_Aff_executed_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Chris Van Ee

Dr. Chris Van Ee holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. Van Ee has specific expertise in the analysis and risk assessment of head injury in the infant and adult populations.

Van Ee testified that a short fall was the most logical scientific reason for the death of Chloe Britt. Van Ee told the court that short falls are now known to cause injuries which were once thought to be caused only by violent shaking. Per Van Ee, a one-foot fall onto a carpeted surface head first has a higher chance of producing a head injury to a child than violent shaking. Van Ee testified that he reviewed photographs of the bathroom in Jeff’s trailer and determined that the fall described by Jeff could have caused fatal head trauma. Tests conducted by Van Ee using crash-test-dummies, concluded that a short fall from three-feet onto a hard surface such as a porcelain toilet could generate forces similar to a car accident which could lead to the death of a six-month-old infant. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Chris Van Ee:

http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_E_-_Van_Ee_Affidavit_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Steven Hayne

Dr. Steven Hayne was the only expert to testify during Jeff’s trial in 2002. Hayne is a former pathologist from the state of Mississippi. Hayne has a questionable history which has caused him to be barred from performing autopsies in Mississippi. Hayne completed upwards of 90% of the autopsies in Mississippi from 1987 through 2008. He was often called by prosecutors as an expert witness, and history shows that he has been willing to provide testimony favorable to the prosecution regardless of the facts. (Please see article from Investigative Journalist, Radley Balko.)

The testimony provided by Hayne was crucial to the prosecution’s case against Jeff Havard. Hayne conducted the autopsy on the infant.

Hayne did not find any evidence of sexual assault while conducting the autopsy, even though he was told to look for it. There is no mention of a sexual assault of any kind in the autopsy report.

Regardless of his findings, Hayne helped the prosecution when he testified that a contusion in the infant’s anus could have resulted from penetration with an object. Hayne also testified that the death was the result of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Hayne has now retracted both of those statements.

Shockingly, the defense learned in January of 2014, twelve years after Jeff’s conviction, that Hayne had looked at tissue sections under a microscope and found definitively that there was no evidence of sexual assault. In a case where suspicion of sexual assault only arose when ER doctors and nurses noticed what they believed to be physical evidence of sexual abuse.

ER staff observed that the infant’s anus was dilated and rushed to judgment. The ER staff was not qualified to give an opinion regarding sexual abuse. Every single staff member who provided a statement to police, made the same mistake when misdiagnosing the condition of the infant’s anus. It is a known medical fact that anal dilation is a common artifact in accidental deaths involving severe brain injury.

Hayne’s microscopic findings were clearly exculpatory, and would have positively shown that the doctors and nurses had misinterpreted what they saw. The state withheld this evidence from the defense as well and failed to tell the doctors and nurses about it before they testified.

Hayne’s statements in his affidavits and in his testimony state that he does not support a claim of sexual assault and that he no longer believes that Chloe died by shaking alone. He now believes that impact had to be a factor. Meaning that the infant could have died from a short fall as described by Jeff. Hayne bases his current beliefs on changes in science related to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Please see enclosed affidavits for Dr. Steven Hayne: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Hayne7-14.pdf, http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_A_-_Hayne_Affidavit.pdf

Dr. James Lauridson

Dr. James Lauridson is a former Alabama state medical examiner. In 2007, Mississippi’s post-conviction relief office obtained Lauridson to review the autopsy findings of Hayne. Lauridson concluded that the evidence failed to confirm that a sexual assault of any kind had taken place. There was no sign of any tears or lacerations in the infant’s anus and it was not out of the ordinary for dilation to occur naturally. Lauridson concluded that any conclusions that Chloe Britt suffered sexual abuse were not supported by objective evidence and were wrong. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. James Lauridson:

http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/10512018327__April_10__2009_.pdf

Dr. Scott Benton

Dr. Scott Benton testified for the state at Jeff’s evidentiary hearing in 2017. Benton was the only expert called by the state. Benton is the medical director of the Children’s Justice Center and chief of the division of forensic medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Benton’s qualifications as an expert on issues of infant death were challenged by the defense because Benton is a pediatrician, not a pathologist. Both Baden and Ophoven provided clear reasoning in their testimony as to why pathologists are uniquely qualified to analyze cause of death. Judge Johnson noted the defense objection and said that he would take it into consideration when ruling on the case.

During questioning, Benton argued that shaking alone could prove fatal for an infant. His testimony ignored current scientific literature which states that shaking alone without other signs of injury is not enough to cause fatal injuries in children.

On cross-examination, it was discovered that Benton was not contacted by the state to evaluate the case. Benton’s participation was the result of his own eagerness to get involved. Benton contacted Jerry Mitchell from the Clarion Ledger because he had read a single article of Mitchell’s and had determined that the case was a homicide. After an email exchange with Mitchell, Benton’s further inquiries led to his work on behalf of the prosecution.

It was also discovered on cross examination that the Children’s Justice Center where Benton works was experiencing financial difficulties at the time due to a mismanagement of funds that were received from grants. The medical center benefited upwards of fifty thousand dollars for Benton’s testimony in this case. Please see enclosed deposition for Dr. Scott Benton:

http://freejeffreyhavard.org/Bentondeposition.docx

Other Resources

Article from investigative journalist, Radley Balko: “Murder evidence evaporated, but Jeffrey Havard still sits in a Mississippi prison”.

https://www.sunherald.com/opinion/article218929855.html

This letter campaign is also featured in the Injustice Anywhere 2020 Spring newsletter.

Snow Files Episode 5: Hindsight’s Always 20/20

In 1991, there was a string of armed robberies in McLean county and a task force formed. Jamie was implicated in a robbery he did not commit, arrested, and made to participate in a lineup for an unrelated murder. He was cleared. Charges were dropped. Nine years later, he found himself on trial, as the defendant for that murder. A detective who interviewed him about the robbery took the stand, and replaced the word “robbery,” with “murder,” for his retelling of their conversation. This fifth episode Snow Files exposes exactly where the corruption began, and shares Jamie’s deep regrets over his failed self-defense.

Listen on PodBean.com

The 2020 Injustice Anywhere Spring Newsletter Is Now Online

We are currently facing a worldwide pandemic due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak. We need to listen to our experts and follow the recommended social distancing guidelines. We have that freedom. Those who are incarcerated do not. Elderly inmates and those with pre-existing conditions are in grave danger. Please contact your local politicians and voice your concerns. We are all in this together.

According to the National Registry of Exonerations, there have been 2,577 exonerations in the United States since 1989. This number is staggering. Over the past quarter-century, America has incarcerated more people than any civilized nation on earth. A disturbing number of those incarcerations have been wrongful convictions. Hundreds of exonerations can be credited to advanced DNA technology. But research on topics like, bite mark evidence, fire investigation technology, and shaken baby syndrome, have all played a significant role as well. The ability to distribute information via the internet has also proven to be an invaluable resource when fighting wrongful convictions.

Exoneration statistics show that we are on the right track, but we have a long way to go. We need to correct the mistakes we have made, all while working to reforming the system which allowed those mistakes to occur in the first place. Sadly, the wrongful conviction problem is far more pervasive than most people realize, and even with increased interest, most cases continue to lack the attention they warrant. Many innocent people remain in prison. They need others to be their voice. Please join us in the fight to free the innocent.

Featured Articles

• The Snow Files podcast
• Jeff Havard letter campaign
• Brendan Dassey seeks clemency
• Charles Erickson’s appeal
• The Enrico Forte case
• The Lloyd Eldon Miller case
• David Thorne case update
• Brian Peixoto case update
• Melissa Caluzinski needs our help
• Is it time to abolish the death
penalty?
• Publish your own articles

http://www.injusticeanywhere.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/2020-spring-newsletter.pdf

New Podcast Presents The Wrongful Conviction Of Jamie Snow And How They Got Away With It

Coming March 2nd! We are excited to announce the “Snow Files” podcast, presented by Injustice Anywhere! A deep dive into the wrongful conviction of Jamie Snow, and how McLean County got away with it.

A True Crime story told by the defendant from Stateville Prison in Joliet, Illinois. An eye opening presentation of the 1991 cold case murder of Bill Little, “solved” upon the arrest of two people nearly 10 years later – one was acquitted, the other is serving life without parole. Jamie Snow is being represented by the Exoneration Project out of the University of Chicago. The podcast will reveal vital new information obtained from years of FOIA requests, over 70 audio recordings and police documents that have never been heard or seen before. An in-depth look at an incredible conviction based solely on faulty eye witness ID and jailhouse informants – no physical evidence links Jamie to the crime.

The main site is: http://snowfiles.podbean.com.

You can read ahead on the docs page here: https://snowfiles.podbean.com/p/docs-by-episode/

You can join our discussion group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/SnowFiles/

Advocates launch new letter writing campaign for Jeff Havard

Advocate Lori Howard, along with the support of Injustice Anywhere, has launched a new letter writing campaign in support of Jeff Havard. The campaign is asking Jeff’s supporters to take a moment to send a letter or email to Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant, to ask that he review the Jeffrey “Jeff” Havard case.

Facebook Event: Letter writing campaign for Jeff Havard.

In 2002, Jeff Havard was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. In May of 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing for Jeff’s case based on defense claims of new evidence due to changes in the science behind Shaken Baby Syndrome. In September of 2018, Jeff’s death penalty sentence was vacated, and a resentencing hearing was ordered. On December 18, 2018, Jeff was resentenced to life without parole. Jeff is now off of death row, but his fight is far from over.

The truth about this case is clear. Chloe slipped from Jeff’s arms while lifting her from the tub after a bath, causing her head to hit a nearby toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeff’s claims. Chloe’s death was a tragic accident, not a murder. Jeff Havard is innocent.

Lori Howard and Injustice Anywhere promoted a letter writing campaign for Jeff back in 2013 that did not go unnoticed. In fact, it prompted Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to respond:

“The State has no knowledge of how this case has become such a public one, the State directs this Court to Exhibit B. Routinely, the State receives letters from across the country, from concerned citizens pleading for the life of Jeffrey Havard. See Exhibit B. Curiously, each of the letters (submitted herein as examples) contains detailed factual allegations about this case: that the victim, Chloe Britt, died as the result of an accidental fall; that the victim’s autopsy made no reference to sexual assault; that the only binding factor in this case was anal dilation of the victim; that Mr. Havard requested a polygraph test; that Mr. Havard refused a plea agreement. Moreover, some of these letters are identical in their wording, leading the State to believe the writers are procuring their information from the same source.”

Our 2013 letter campaign led to a pathetic failed attempt by Jim Hood to seal Jeff Havard’s court records. You can read more about Hood’s desperate attempt here:

http://wrongfulconvictionnews.com/mississippi-attorney-general-jim-hood-files-motion-attempting-to-seal-jeffrey-havard-case.

The state of Mississippi should listen to concerned citizens who have come forward in support of Jeff Havard. The state should listen to the facts. Please review the advocate’s letter to Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant which is posted below. The campaign is asking that you take a few minutes of your time to send Governor Bryant your own letter in support of Jeff Havard. You can use their letter or you can create your own. Please keep in mind that personal letters are a plus. When writing your own letter, please do not hesitate to include the factual information and links provided in the letter below.

You can contact Governor Bryant by mail here:

Office of the Mississippi Governor, Phil Bryant
Attn: Governor Bryant
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, MS 39205

You can send Governor Bryant a message on his official website here: https://www.governorbryant.ms.gov/Pages/Contact.aspx

You can email Governor Bryant’s office directly here: support@msegov.com.

You can call Governor Bryant’s office here: 1-601-351-5023, or toll-free here: 1-877-290-9487.

You can respond on Governor Bryant’s Twitter account here: https://twitter.com/PhilBryantMS.

Letter to Governor Bryant from advocates for Jeffrey Havard:

Dear Governor Bryant,

We are writing to you about a horrific case of injustice that is ongoing in Adams County, Mississippi. This is a case involving a tragic accident, tunnel vision, junk science, false testimony, and prosecutorial misconduct.

The case we are referring to deals with the death of an infant. We know cases like these are not ideal for politicians. With that said, an American citizen should not lose his freedom due to sensitivities within politics today. Please find it in your heart to take a few minutes to review this case of injustice.

In 2002, Jeffrey “Jeff” Havard was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in Mississippi for the sexual assault and murder of his girlfriend’s six-month-old daughter, Chloe Britt. According to Jeff, Chloe slipped from his arms while lifting her from the tub after a bath, causing her head to hit a nearby toilet. New expert evidence supports Jeff’s claims. Advances in science now show that Chloe’s injuries were not the result of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), as suggested by the prosecution. Scientific evidence now shows that Chloe’s injuries were caused from a short fall. It is also important to note that the erroneous charge of sexual abuse has now been fully discredited by all experts in the case, including the prosecution’s expert.

The jurors who convicted Jeff were told of a horrific crime. They were told that Jeff Havard sexually assaulted Chloe Britt and then violently shook her to death. Prosecutors repeatedly told the jury that Chloe died from violent shaking, which has now been proven false. The state can claim that the SBS charge was based on bad science at the time, but there is no excuse for the accusation of sexual assault. That accusation was an egregious act of prosecutorial misconduct. The prosecution was told before trial by their expert, Dr. Steven Hayne, the state medical examiner who conducted the autopsy, that there was no evidence of sexual assault. The autopsy made no mention of a sexual assault. The prosecution withheld this evidence from the defense, never presented the autopsy at trial, and outright lied to the jury. The trial was dominated by the sexual assault accusation. Jeff was presented to the jury as a monster. He never stood a chance against the false charges.

In May of 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing for Jeff’s case based on new scientific evidence related to SBS. Unfortunately, the court limited the scope of the hearing to SBS, which barred the defense from addressing the now fully debunked charge of sexual assault.

The evidentiary hearing took place in August of 2017, in the courtroom of Adams County Circuit Judge, Forrest Johnson. Johnson is the same judge who presided over Jeff’s trial in 2002. The 2002 murder trial was speedy to say the least. Within a matter of two days, the court selected a jury, tried the case, received the jury’s verdict, and sentenced Jeff to death.

To put things into perspective, Jeff’s evidentiary hearing took three days. The judge listened to testimony from four experts who testified for the defense, and also heard testimony from a pediatrician who testified for the prosecution. The hearing, which was limited to a single topic, and provided no immediate decision, took longer than the entire trial that landed Jeff on death row.

Judge Johnson waited over sixteen months to rule on the evidentiary hearing. Johnson’s report sided with the state. The report, which was less than five pages in length, made it clear that Johnson had put his own best interests ahead of his duties as a judge. Johnson lazily copied a majority of his skimpy ruling directly from previously written decisions. In doing so, he completely ignored compelling expert evidence presented to the court. Instead of taking new evidence into account, Johnson recycled provably false allegations that have been parroted by the state for years.

Judge Johnson falsely suggested that Jeff had given conflicting statements to police. Johnson also suggested that Jeff had confessed to injuring the infant, which is a ridiculous exaggeration of what Jeff actually told police in his statements. Johnson knows this of course, because he acknowledged in the original trial that Jeff had not confessed to any crime. Johnson embarrassed himself with his weak attempt to turn Jeff’s own words against him. The original trial transcripts are on record. Johnson does not have the power to rewrite history.

In a weak attempt to show impartiality, Johnson ordered that Jeff be resentenced in front of a jury, rather than reinstating Jeff’s previous sentence of death. Why would Johnson do that if he truly felt Jeff was guilty of raping and murdering an infant? Johnson’s ruling suggests that he was moved by the powerful evidence proving Jeff’s innocence, but he lacked the courage to do what was right. Johnson’s decision was self-serving because it was favorable to the state. The jury at the resentencing hearing only had two options to choose from; the death penalty or life in prison without parole. The state wanted this case to go away in a hurry. Locking up Jeff for life and forgetting about him worked just fine for them.

Multiple expert witnesses have come forward in support of Jeff Havard. The underlying felony of sexual assault, even though it was barred from discussion at the evidentiary hearing, has been refuted by every expert in this case. The felony murder rule no longer applies. We now know that the rule should have never been applied in the first place, because the state’s sole expert told the prosecution before trial that there was no evidence of sexual assault.
There are currently no experts, on either side, who support the claims that originally convicted Jeff Havard. That point alone should sound alarms.

Jeff Havard has now been in prison for nearly 17 years for a crime that never happened. Included with this letter, you will find affidavits from multiple experts who have testified under oath in support of Jeff’s innocence. You will also find affidavits highlighting the retractions from the prosecution’s only expert witness in the case.
It is your duty as governor to take time to review this case. Cases like these will be a part of your legacy. Jeff Havard will eventually be freed. Please see to it that justice is done in your state. Thank you in advance for your time.

Sincerely,

Advocates for Jeff Havard

Information included with the letter:

Expert Witnesses

Dr. Michael Baden
Dr. Michael Baden is a physician and board-certified forensic pathologist. Baden is the former Chief Medical Examiner of New York City and is the former chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police. Baden is well respected worldwide for his work in this field.

Baden testified that he believed Chloe’s death had nothing to do with shaking. Per Baden, it is no longer accepted in the field of science that shaking alone is enough to cause fatal injury in children. Impact is now considered a requirement to produce fatal injuries, if other factors such as neck or rib injuries are not observed.

Baden stated that the injuries observed during autopsy were entirely consistent with a blunt force impact which would have resulted from a short fall as described by Jeff. Baden stated that the infant had no signs of injury to the neck or ribs, which would have been present had the infant been violently shaken. He went on to say that autopsy findings which are found to be consistent with early statements given from a person who was present show that those statements carry more weight. He said it is difficult to tell a story that later matches up with an autopsy report if you are not telling the truth.

Baden told the court that pathologists are more qualified than other specialties to diagnose cause of death. Per Baden, ER doctors and pediatricians specialize in the treatment of living patients. Pathologists have the task of looking beneath the surface of non-living bodies to properly determine cause of death. Evidence exists after death that his not available to doctors who are treating living patients. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Michael Baden: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_B_-_Baden_Affidavit_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Janice Ophoven
Dr. Janice Ophoven is a pediatric forensic pathologist with over 30 years of clinical, administrative and quality improvement experience. Ophoven is trained in pediatrics and is board certified in pathology and forensic pathology. Ophoven’s practice is focused on understanding child abuse and injury to children.

Ophoven stated that no evidence exists to show that Chloe’s death was the result of child abuse. She testified that violent shaking alone was no longer an accepted cause of death in infants. Ophoven told the court that it was a common belief in the scientific world back in 2002 that short falls could not cause fatal injuries in children. She went on to say that the scientific community no longer believes that to be true. She made it clear that there have been significant changes in science regarding infant head injuries and Shaken Baby Syndrome since the time of Jeff’s trial.

Ophoven concluded that the infant’s death was the result of a short fall as described by Jeff. She also informed the court that pathologists are more qualified to determine cause of death than ER doctors and pediatricians. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Janice Ophoven: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_C_-_Ophoven_Aff_executed_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Chris Van Ee
Dr. Chris Van Ee holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University and is a licensed Professional Engineer. Van Ee has specific expertise in the analysis and risk assessment of head injury in the infant and adult populations.

Van Ee testified that a short fall was the most logical scientific reason for the death of Chloe Britt. Van Ee told the court that short falls are now known to cause injuries which were once thought to be caused only by violent shaking. Per Van Ee, a one-foot fall onto a carpeted surface head first has a higher chance of producing a head injury to a child than violent shaking. Van Ee testified that he reviewed photographs of the bathroom in Jeff’s trailer and determined that the fall described by Jeff could have caused fatal head trauma. Tests conducted by Van Ee using crash-test-dummies, concluded that a short fall from three-feet onto a hard surface such as a porcelain toilet could generate forces similar to a car accident which could lead to the death of a six-month-old infant. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. Chris Van Ee: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_E_-_Van_Ee_Affidavit_with_CV.pdf

Dr. Steven Hayne
Dr. Steven Hayne was the only expert to testify during Jeff’s trial in 2002. Hayne is a former pathologist from the state of Mississippi. Hayne has a questionable history which has caused him to be barred from performing autopsies in Mississippi. Hayne completed upwards of 90% of the autopsies in Mississippi from 1987 through 2008. He was often called by prosecutors as an expert witness, and history shows that he has been willing to provide testimony favorable to the prosecution regardless of the facts. (Please see article from Investigative Journalist, Radley Balko.)

The testimony provided by Hayne was crucial to the prosecution’s case against Jeff Havard. Hayne conducted the autopsy on the infant. Hayne did not find any evidence of sexual assault while conducting the autopsy, even though he was told to look for it. There is no mention of a sexual assault of any kind in the autopsy report.

Regardless of his findings, Hayne helped the prosecution when he testified that a contusion in the infant’s anus could have resulted from penetration with an object. Hayne also testified that the death was the result of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Hayne has now retracted both of those statements.

Shockingly, the defense learned in January of 2014, twelve years after Jeff’s conviction, that Hayne had looked at tissue sections under a microscope and found definitively that there was no evidence of sexual assault. In a case where suspicion of sexual assault only arose when ER doctors and nurses noticed what they believed to be physical evidence of sexual abuse.

ER staff observed that the infant’s anus was dilated and rushed to judgment. The ER staff was not qualified to give an opinion regarding sexual abuse. Every single staff member who provided a statement to police, made the same mistake when misdiagnosing the condition of the infant’s anus. It is a known medical fact that anal dilation is a common artifact in accidental deaths involving severe brain injury.

Hayne’s microscopic findings were clearly exculpatory, and would have positively shown that the doctors and nurses had misinterpreted what they saw. The state withheld this evidence from the defense as well and failed to tell the doctors and nurses about it before they testified.

Hayne’s statements in his affidavits and in his testimony state that he does not support a claim of sexual assault and that he no longer believes that Chloe died by shaking alone. He now believes that impact had to be a factor. Meaning that the infant could have died from a short fall as described by Jeff. Hayne bases his current beliefs on changes in science related to Shaken Baby Syndrome. Please see enclosed affidavits for Dr. Steven Hayne: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Hayne7-14.pdf, http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/Ex_A_-_Hayne_Affidavit.pdf

Dr. James Lauridson
Dr. James Lauridson is a former Alabama state medical examiner. In 2007, Mississippi’s post-conviction relief office obtained Lauridson to review the autopsy findings of Hayne. Lauridson concluded that the evidence failed to confirm that a sexual assault of any kind had taken place. There was no sign of any tears or lacerations in the infant’s anus and it was not out of the ordinary for dilation to occur naturally. Lauridson concluded that any conclusions that Chloe Britt suffered sexual abuse were not supported by objective evidence and were wrong. Please see enclosed affidavit for Dr. James Lauridson: http://www.freejeffreyhavard.org/10512018327__April_10__2009_.pdf

Dr. Scott Benton
Dr. Scott Benton testified for the state at Jeff’s evidentiary hearing in 2017. Benton was the only expert called by the state. Benton is the medical director of the Children’s Justice Center and chief of the division of forensic medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Benton’s qualifications as an expert on issues of infant death were challenged by the defense because Benton is a pediatrician, not a pathologist. Both Baden and Ophoven provided clear reasoning in their testimony as to why pathologists are uniquely qualified to analyze cause of death. Judge Johnson noted the defense objection and said that he would take it into consideration when ruling on the case.

During questioning, Benton argued that shaking alone could prove fatal for an infant. His testimony ignored current scientific literature which states that shaking alone without other signs of injury is not enough to cause fatal injuries in children.

On cross examination, it was discovered that Benton was not contacted by the state to evaluate the case. Benton’s participation was the result of his own eagerness to get involved. Benton contacted Jerry Mitchell from the Clarion Ledger because he had read a single article of Mitchell’s and had determined that the case was a homicide. After an email exchange with Mitchell, Benton’s further inquiries led to his work on behalf of the prosecution.

It was also discovered on cross examination that the Children’s Justice Center where Benton works was experiencing financial difficulties at the time due to a mismanagement of funds that were received from grants. The medical center benefited upwards of fifty thousand dollars for Benton’s testimony in this case. Please see enclosed deposition for Dr. Scott Benton: http://freejeffreyhavard.org/Bentondeposition.docx

Other Resources

Article from investigative journalist, Radley Balko: “Murder evidence evaporated, but Jeffrey Havard still sits in a Mississippi prison”.

https://www.sunherald.com/opinion/article218929855.html

Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff: “The Murder of Bill Little”

The Jamie Snow case is currently being featured on the Truth & Justice podcast with Bob Ruff. Jamie’s case kicked off season seven of the podcast on Sunday, July 14. The Truth & Justice podcast performs independent, in-depth investigations of wrongful conviction cases, with the unique feature of using crowd sourcing, which utilizes their 100k plus followers to elicit expertise in various aspects of each case they present.

Here is the first episode of the series:

Successful Case: Adam Braseel

Please visit our Free Adam Braseel website to view extensive analysis, court transcripts, videos, and recent updates on this compelling case.

Adam Braseel, was wrongfully convicted in November 2007 for the murder of Malcolm Burrows and the assault of Rebecca Hill, in Tracy City, Tennessee, in 2006. Adam was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes. Adam’s conviction was based solely on faulty witness testimony. There is not one shred of evidence that ties Adam to the crimes. Now, in the years following his conviction, new information has come to light which further supports Adam’s innocence.

Adam Braseel received good news in January 2016, when Circuit Court Judge Justin C. Angel granted Adam’s request for relief by voiding his convictions and ordering a new trial. Adam was released from prison on bond shortly after Judge Angel’s ruling. The prosecution appealed the Circuit Court’s decision to the Tennessee Court of Appeals. As a result, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s decision to grant relief. After ten months of freedom, Adam was returned to prison to continue serving his life sentence. Adam filed an application to appeal the appellate court decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court on October 11, 2016. Unfortunately, his request for a hearing was denied by the high court in February of 2017.

New forensic evidence was discovered in early 2019 which placed a known cop killer, who looked like Adam Braseel, at the scene of the crime. This new evidence sparked more calls for a new trial. A hearing on Adam’s amended petition for a new trial took place on June 26, 2019. The hearing is set to reconvene July 31, 2019.

On January 7, 2006, Grundy County deputies responded to a 911 call made by Kirk Braden from a home on Melissa Rock Road in the small town of Tracy City. Braden called to report that his mother, Rebecca Hill, had been assaulted in the home. Upon arrival, deputies found that Hill had been beaten and had suffered severe head wounds.

Former Grundy County Deputy Mike Brown, described what took place at the scene, in an interview with DK Sale in 2016. According to Brown, Hill told him that a man had come by the house saying that his car had broken down. Hill’s brother, Malcolm Burrows, who was the owner of the residence, went outside with the man to help with the car. Hill told Brown that the man returned to the home without Burrows and assaulted her. According to Hill, her screams awoke her son who had been sleeping in another room. Hill told the deputy that her son had scared off the assailant.

According to Brown, evidence was collected at the home, and Hill was taken to a hospital by ambulance. Brown was the last officer to leave the scene, and only then did it dawn on him that Burrows was missing. All other investigators left the scene without giving any thought to fact that Burrows never returned home. As Brown left the residence, he spotted a car parked on the side of the road, and followed a trail from the car into the woods to find the body of Burrows lying face down on the ground. An investigation would determine that Burrows had been beaten to death with a blunt object.

On the same day that Burrows’s body was discovered, Adam Braseel had gone to see some friends for a planned weekend of four-wheeling in the mountains in Grundy County. Adam has multiple alibis who have all confirmed his whereabouts for that entire weekend, including the times that the crimes in Tracy City allegedly took place.

According to the Grundy Country Sheriff’s department, they set their sights on Adam Braseel based on anonymous information they had received. This information remains a mystery to this day. A neighbor of Burrows also told police that she had seen a gold colored car at Burrows’s home early in the day. Adam was driving his mother’s gold colored car that weekend when he went to meet up with friends.

The murder occurred in a small town so word traveled fast that police were looking for Adam. Upon hearing the news, Adam voluntarily turned himself in and cooperated fully with police. He turned in his mother’s car and his clothing. Investigators did not find a single trace of blood in Adam’s car or on his clothing. There is absolutely no physical evidence whatsoever which incriminates Adam Braseel.

Adam Braseel’s conviction was based solely on the questionable eyewitness testimony of Rebecca Hill and Kirk Braden. Braden identified Adam in a single photo lineup. Single photo lineups have consistently been held to be unconstitutional by our appellate courts because they are completely unreliable. Rebecca Hill failed to identify Adam in a photo lineup immediately after the crimes took place. At trial, Hill actually identified someone other than Adam Braseel when she was presented a photo lineup. At some point, between the time the crimes took place and the trial, only after talking with prosecutors, was Hill ever able to identify Adam in a photo lineup. That identification was considered legitimate, despite the fact that she was unable to identify Adam on two separate occasions, including while under oath at Adam’s trial.

In addition to the fact that there is absolutely no physical evidence linking Adam to the crimes, the prosecution’s theory no longer holds water. Prosecutors argued that Adam’s motive for murder was the theft of Burrows’s wallet which allegedly contained eight hundred dollars. The prosecution claimed that Burrows’s wallet was not on him when his body was collected. That information is now disputed by statements made by former Grundy County Deputy Mike Brown in a 2016 interview with investigator DK Sale. Brown was the first person to discover the body of Malcolm Burrows. According to Brown, he saw a “big fat wallet” in the pocket of Burrows’s back jeans pocket. If that wallet was in Burrows’s pocket, then whoever murdered Burrows certainly did not take it when he or she fled the scene. Therefore, the motive was most certainly not theft.

Sadly, we now know based on the investigations of both DK Sale and William Bevil, that Adam’s wrongful conviction was caused by egregious negligence and disturbing corruption, which turned two would-be suspects into “victims” and landed an innocent man in prison for a crime he did not commit. Evidence has been uncovered which has exposed tampered evidence, forged documents, and a drug running ring that may have been the catalyst for it all.

There are many unanswered questions about the murder of Malcolm Burrows. But one thing is clear, Adam Braseel had nothing at all to do with it.

Your Content, My Life


Eight years after my release from an Italian prison, I’m still someone else’s story

I’ve had more than my fair share of surreal moments. You probably know the obvious ones. The moment an Italian court declared me guilty of a murder I didn’t commit was mind-breaking. Up until that instant, I thought my innocence was a guarantee of my freedom. I was wrong. The moment I was acquitted was just as insane. I had prepared myself to grow old in prison. I’d forgotten what it was like to walk on grass.

I’m about to return to Italy for the first time since I was released from prison and fled the country in a high-speed chase, paparazzi literally ramming the back of my stepdad’s rental car. I’m doing so because I’ve been invited by the Italy Innocence Project to speak about wrongful convictions and trial by media. And as this homecoming looms (or is it a “deployment” or “madness” — no word seems to fit), a different sort of surreal moment is at the forefront of my mind. Read more >>

Amanda Knox Returns to Italy for First Time Since Her Acquittal

Ms. Knox, an American who was exonerated in a 2007 murder, went back to the country where her legal drama unfolded to speak about wrongful convictions and how journalists cover cases like hers.

By Mariel Padilla
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/13/world/europe/amanda-knox-italy.html

Amanda Knox, the American woman whose sensational murder case in Italy slalomed from conviction to her ultimate acquittal, returned on Thursday to the country where it all started.

A flurry of reporters greeted her in Milan when she arrived at the airport. It was the first time that Ms. Knox had traveled to Italy since being released from prison there eight years ago.

Accused along with her Italian boyfriend at the time of the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher, a British exchange student, Ms. Knox was held in Italian custody for four years before her 2009 conviction was overturned. In 2015, Italy’s highest court fully exonerated her and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. Read more >>

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