Thinigs that make you go Hmmm…

Maybe I should make that a category.

Frederick informant: Police implied he’d receive leniency:

Steven Wright, a police informant, said there were “implied promises” made by police and prosecutors to take care of him in return for his testimony against Ryan Frederick, a Chesapeake man convicted of killing a police detective during a drug raid.

Draw your own conclusions.

Ryan Frederick Verdict:

Voluntary Manslaughter

[The Jury] also convicted him of simple possession of marijuana.

In the process, the group opted against the two most serious charges filed against the 29-year-old – capital murder and manufacturing marijuana. Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

I have to say I’m not exactly pleased with the verdict, but given the vagaries of Virginia law, and the circumstances of the case, I can understand it.

[UPDATE] This just in: Jury recommends maximum sentence:

A Chesapeake jury called for a maximum sentence of 10 years for Ryan Frederick, convicted earlier today of voluntary manslaughter the 2008 slaying of Detective Jarrod Shivers during a drug raid.

Now I DEFINITELY hope he appeals. Ten years? For defending his home? What a travesty.

[/UPDATE]

[UPDATE2] Looks like an appeal is imminent.

Frederick’s attorney, James Broccoletti, though grateful his client didn’t get a capital murder conviction, agreed that this was not a “heat of passion” killing.

He vowed to appeal, saying the 10-year maximum sentence reflected the jury’s “outrage and emotion” but ignored his client’s clean record and character.

“This case isn’t over by a long shot,” he said.

Good

[/UPDATE2]

The possession conviction I have no quibbles about. That one was pretty cut and dried. The state flat out failed to prove that he was manufacturing; lacking a conviction on the felony drug charge, there were no grounds for the “using a firearm in the commission of a felony” charge.

The “voluntary manslaughter” charge is debatable, but he did fire before the attackers had gained entry and were still outside the house, he did fire without having a clear target and he wasn’t completely innocent, so he cannot claim that there was no reason for him to think it COULD be Police…even if he didn’t hear the announcement.

As I said, I don’t agree with the conviction, but I can understand why they convicted.

I fear, however, that the Chesapeake Police Department are going to use the conviction for justification to deny any culpability in this affair. They will self-righteously claim that the conviction proves that they did nothing wrong, and they may even (cue the irony music) use the death of Detective Shivers as further “evidence” that dynamic raids are justified “for the safety of Police Officers”.

This entire situation was caused by a poorly conceived, poorly executed and completely unnecessary violent “raid” which is accepted police procedure throughout this country; which means that more good and decent Police Officers and more innocent (and not-so-innocent) citizens are going to die, or have their lives destroyed unnecessarily. These types of situations are going to continue to occur until we, as a citizenry, demand that it stop.

I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t know if Frederick will appeal or not, I must say that this statement from his attorney (from the same story linked above) doesn’t seem to indicate that he will:

“I think it’s a very fair and very rational verdict by the jury. I think it demonstrates that they applied reason, thought and common sense and sound judgment in what was a very emotional case,” defense attorney James Broccoletti said.

At any rate, I’ll let you know when I hear anything about sentencing.

Things that make you go Hmmm.

There is an excellent article in the Examiner today regarding Paramilitary Police raids like the one that victimized Ryan Frederick.

It’s definitely worth a read, but the reason I mention it is because it referenced a Washington Post article detailing a similar violent raid on the home of Berwyn Heights, MD mayor Cheye Calvo that occurred not too long ago.

Luckily for the police in this case, Mr Calvo was not prepared to defend himself. Had he been armed, he may have ended up in Ryan Frederick’s situation as he reportedly initially believed that his home was under assault by home invaders.

Unluckily for Mr. Calvo, the police executed his two dogs in conducting the raid, reportedly even chasing one down as it fled in order to “protect themselves” from its “aggressive stance”.

How does this relate to the Ryan Frederick case? Because of this minor detail reported in the Post:

At home in St. Mary’s, [Berwyn Heights Police Chief Patrick] Murphy dialed the cellphone of his second-in-command, now standing on the mayor’s front lawn. Murphy’s officer handed the phone to a Prince George’s narcotics investigator, Det. Sgt. David Martini.

This is how Murphy later recalled their conversation:

“Martini tells me that when the SWAT team came to the door, the mayor met them at the door, opened it partially, saw who it was, and then tried to slam the door on them,” Murphy recalled. “And that at that point, Martini claimed, they had to force entry, the dogs took aggressive stances, and they were shot.”

“I later learned,” Murphy said in an interview, “that none of that is true.”

Martini said he was not free to comment for this article.

“None of that is true.”

But, I thought that the Police would NEVER…um…embellish…a story to cast themselves in the best light. I thought that we could ALWAYS trust the Police to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…especially in cases as important as, say, a capital murder trial like Ryan Frederick’s.

Hmmmm.

One final tidbit from the Post story:

“In other words, police can do what they did to us with impunity” Cheye concluded. “There are no consequences, not for them.”

Some animals are just more equal than others.

Ryan Frederick Saga Quote of the Day

Bill219014 gets the quote of the day with his response to this vapid and pointless rant written by Kerry Dougherty and regurgitated in the Virginian Pilot this weekend:

What’s cooking at the Chesapeake city jail?

Spectators couldn’t help but wonder about that last week as they gawked at Ryan Frederick during his capital murder trial.

I mean, how often does an inmate pack on about 60 pounds behind bars?

Umm…by spending a year sitting in a 9′ x 5′ cell for 23 hours of every 24 maybe?

On Thursday, prosecutors tried to focus attention on Frederick’s weight, hinting that the beefy 29-year-old might have kept thin in the past by abusing drugs that cause weight loss. The prosecution posed hypothetical questions to an expert witness about whether cessation of methamphetamines or cocaine might result in rapid weight gain.

I didn’t realize that hints were considered evidence in murder trials. I thought evidence had to consist of…well…evidence. Silly me.

The sheer stupid in this column was palpable.

But Bill’s response was priceless and earned him the coveted quote of the day award here at COACOO (as the eminent sayuncle refers to this humble blog):

Actually, the sad thing is that this column probably presents some of the BEST evidence against Frederick. Consider:

-The testimony of Det. Roberts, who either flat-out lied about what Stephen Wright told him, or is the most gullible cop to walk the face of the earth.

-Stephen “You Can Trust Me THIS Time” Wright’s own testimony.

-The ham-handed interrogation by Det. Winkelspecht, in which he provides more information to Frederick than he elicits from him, not to mention his self-justifying editorializing, which is always useful in an investigation.

-And of course, “I’d like to think his testimony is reliable” Skeeter, who has info regarding the JFK assassination and the faked Apollo 11 moon landing for anyone who cares to listen.

Heckuva job, Kerry.

Ouch. That’s gonna leave a mark.

Ryan Frederick Update

More from John Willburn, who’s been present at the trial the whole time.

Some very interesting stuff. First of all, it appears that the prosecutor, who I’ve contended all along was more interested in getting a conviction and avenging the death of a Police Officer than in justice, has been lying to the court.

Judge Arrington agreed with the prosecution that only those items listed on the warrant, measurements, drawings and pictures, were subject to discovery. There were none to turn over as the only record, we were told, was the video.

But in arguing against admitting the video, Prosecutors Ebert and Conway denied any still pictures had been taken. Willet said nothing to the contrary.

Surprisingly, today, the prosecution entered the video into evidence, with the consent of the defense. I was there to watch. As the video played, I noted flashes from a camera. As the video progressed, there were at least fifty of these flashes. A photographer in a yellow windbreaker was visible several times taking still pictures, once even moving Prosecutor Ebert aside so he could line up his shot.

So, twice, in open court, the Prosecutors looked Judge Arrington in the eye and denied still pictures, which were clearly subject to discovery, existed, finally delivering them to the defense only after it became obvious when they saw the video that they did in fact exist.

Today, he reports on yesterday’s proceedings where Ryan Frederick himself testified. I have to admit that some of my conclusions during the course of this case have been wrong. I never really believed that Frederick was growing pot. I thought that was nothing more than the Police misinterpreting the tools of a hobby gardener. I was wrong about that. Frederick admitted to growing small amounts of pot for his own personal use. He denies selling it and, from what I’ve heard about the cultivation of pot, I believe him. I don’t think it is reasonable to believe that he had nearly enough equipment or space for a commercial grow operation.

With that said, even though Frederick obviously is not a saint, I still believe that the Police raid was unnecessary and irresponsible, that accepting the word of a criminal for the basis for such a raid is unsupportable and that the Police are using tactics that are unethical at best and possibly even illegal, in employing criminals to “find” evidence for them. This type of “police work” is patently a violation of the principles of freedom. Unfortunately, most people either don’t care because they aren’t criminals and don’t think it could ever happen to them, or agree with the tactics because, as far as they are concerned, the Police can do no wrong and if people weren’t criminals they wouldn’t be subjected to these types of attacks. Because of the lack of public outcry about these types of tactics, they are unlikely to change.

At any rate, it is all up to the jury at this point and who they find credible. The account of Frederick’s testimony is a little long, but, for those interested in this case, worth the read so I’ll not excerpt it here except for the author’s conclusion:

He was an entirely credible witness – everything he said was obviously true.

Ryan Frederick Update

Radley Balko’s doing a great job of keeping up with this and I can’t improve on anything he had to say so just head on over there for his take.

I will add, however, that an article in the paper today says that the visit to Frederick’s home was not canceled, but delayed in order to give the judge, attorney’s and Frederick time to visit the home to:

determine if any items were lying around that would be inappropriate for the jury to see.

Probably a good idea for the defense. Frederick hasn’t been in the home for months. The Police have had free access to it and so have the prosecutors. I’m not [italicized word added as a correction after initial posting -ed] saying the Police may have planted anything, but they may have left something laying around that could impugn the character of Frederick while being irrelevant to the case (how many people have potentially embarrassing things…magazines, pictures, um…marital aids…stashed away somewhere that could be embarrassing, but have nothing to do with whether you are a violent drug dealer?).

With that said…based upon the conduct of the prosecutor so far (withholding evidence and lying about what it contained to justify withholding it, sending an officer who’s testimony directly contradicts the prosecutor’s opening statement off to Georgia for “training”, trying to get a change of venue to ensure that the STATE gets a “fair trial”, etc), it wouldn’t surprise me overly if they intentionally left anything embarrassing they may have found out in plain view for the jury to see.

The delay was a good idea.

More coverage of the Frederick Trial

A MUST READ account of testimony from Doc Tabor at Tidewater Liberty, who was present at the trial.

An excellent piece by J.D. Tucille at the Examiner regarding the reliability of “jailhouse testimony” claiming that Frederick was bragging about the crime afterward.

And Radley Balko’s take over at The Agitator.

Good stuff if you’re keeping up with this case.

What the…????

Can someone please explain to me the relevance of the testimony of the wife of Detective Jarrod Shivers to the Ryan Frederick Case?

In tearful testimony Thursday morning, Nicole Shivers told the jury how she met her husband on a blind date and they married in 1997. She described how he was always looking to better himself in his career and said t hat’s why he took the assignment in the Special Investigations Section, handling drug and vice cases.

Nicole Shivers said the final time she saw her husband alive was the morning of his death, Jan. 17, 200 8. He was sleeping, and she was rushing off to work. They spoke several times that day by phone, the last time about an hour before the 8:30 p.m. raid at Frederick’s home.

Nicole Shivers’ testimony was brief, and defense attorneys did not cross-examine her.

How, specifically, will hearing about how Detective Shivers met his wife and the last time they saw and spoke with each other help the jury determine whether Frederick premeditatedly killed Detective Shivers in cold blood as he is accused of doing, or was simply defending his home from what he perceived to be a criminal assalt?

It’s almost like the prosecution is trying to get the jury to let their emotions rule the day rather than the evidence and facts of the case.

Any trial lawyers out there? Why would the judge allow such obviously irrelevant testimony be presented?

Neither Detective Shiver’s relationship with his wife, nor even his character or conduct as a police officer are in question here. All that is in question is whether Ryan Frederick knew that it was police officers that he was shooting at when he fired the fatal shot.

That’s it.

I’m no lawyer, but that seems to me to be grounds for an appeal right there. Anyone out there have any insight into this?