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General News    H3'ed 3/7/09

Framed by the FBI: A dozen reasons the 'Omaha Two' deserve a new trial (6 of 6)

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If Peak didn't make the call about a woman screaming then he is hiding the identity of an older relative or accomplice and destroying his own credibility against Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa.


Poindexter's attorney, Robert Bartle, played the recording for the Nebraska Supreme Court in a hushed courtroom and the justices heard what Poindexter's jury did not--a killer's voice.  The issue of the recording came before the Nebraska Supreme Court a quarter-century earlier with Mondo's appeal.  Then the state high court dismissed the appeal because the tape had not been analyzed by an expert.


The technology used by Owen to determine the voices were not a match did not exist at the time of the initial, secret FBI analysis.  Judge Russell Bowie, who Poindexter first asked to address Owen's expert testimony, ignored the recording in a District Court decision.  However, Bowie did accept the duplicate recording as an exhibit putting the issue squarely before the Nebraska Supreme Court.


Oral argument was heard in early October and a decision is pending on Poindexter's request for a new trial.


If Tom Owen is right, one of Larry Minard's killers was never apprehended and police dropped the search.

New Trial Reason Twelve:  Injustice of  Stone v. Powell  

Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) appealed his murder conviction for the bombing death of policeman Larry Minard.  While Mondo didn't get relief from the state court system he found an impartial judge in federal court.


U. S. District Court Judge Warren Urbom heard Mondo's appeal for violations of his 4th Amendment rights.  After listening to testimony from a police lieutenant, James Perry, Judge Urbom rejected Perry's account of events and found that Mondo we Langa's civil rights were indeed violated by Omaha police.


"Therefore, it is the holding of this court that the police were not rightfully on the premises of David Rice on the night of August 22, 1970, and thus all of the evidence obtained by the search of the house that night was seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment and should not have been received into evidence at petitioner's criminal trial."


Judge Urbom ruled, "Therefore, the petitioner must either be released from custody or granted a new trial free of the tainted evidence."


The prosecution appealed and a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reviewed Urbom's decision to grant a new trial.  The federal appellate judges examined carefully the police justification for entering Mondo's residence without a proper warrant.


"In fact, the testimony of the various police officers at the evidentiary hearing held before the district court strongly suggests that the police had no evidence whatever that Peak was at petitioner's house and that they were acting on nothing more than a hunch or random guess."


As for Perry's version of events, the three-judge panel was abrupt.  "After reviewing the record, we find that Judge Urbom's decision to discredit this particular testimony was amply supported by the record."


"Moreover, testimony before Judge Urbom suggests that the purpose of searching for explosives was an afterthought conceived after the police arrived at the house, rather than an urgent emergency, and that they decided to apply for a warrant to search for explosives in the petitioner's house only because they had not discovered dynamite in any of the other locations they had searched earlier in the day."


"We consider it necessary to point out that the record discloses a widespread search for the suspects Peak and Poindexter which evinced at least a negligent disregard by the Omaha police for the constitutional rights of not only petitioner but possibly other citizens as well."

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Michael Richardson is a freelance writer living in Belize. Richardson writes about Taiwan foreign policy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Black Panther Party. Richardson was Ralph Nader's ballot access manager during the 2004 and (more...)

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