Injustice Asserted By Jeffery Washington In Rhode Island
This complaint asserts misconduct. It is not a complaint about the guilt or innocence of the complaining party.
Mr. Washington is doing a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
His case has been reopened for over 5 years. This was a highly publicized case in
which he was accused of tying up, beating and raping an elderly woman that was in a
wheelchair. Mr. Washington asserts he worked for her and had a workshop in her home
for over a decade. On the night in question he was so high on drugs and alcohol that
he, for the most part, doesn't remember what happened. When Mr. Washington became
conscious again, he was on top of her and heard the victim say the name of Christ Jesus
and then she went limp. Mr. Washington ran out of the house. When Mr.
Washington became aware of his charges he requested the death penalty. At trial the
State's expert medical witness asserted that the sexual assault on the victim was a
contributing cause of death. Mr. Washington asserts:
- He was so intoxicated he couldn't think clearly and
- He took the life of the victim accidentally and
- It was enough to make him culpable for some degree of murder
or manslaughter, but it is too much to make him culpable as one who deliberately,
intentionally and maliciously set out to kill.
Mr. Washington asserts 5 years ago he found out
the State's case was considerably exaggerated. State Medical Examiner testified
- The victim's heart condition was such that she could have
died at anytime.
- Faint rub marks on the victim from rope were consistent with
little or no resistance showing she was not severely tied.
- Bruises on victim's shoulders were consistent with being held
down during the sexual assault, but which could have been caused by such minimal force as
being hit accidentally with a hairbrush. The force with which she was held was not
sufficient to have fractured or bruised her ribs.
- There were no head injuries and no injuries which suggested a
life-threatening assault, no asphyxiation and no attempted strangulation. The
genital hemorrhage was mild to moderate and there were no objective injuries which could
have caused the death. [See related trial transcripts pages 192, 193, 222, 224, 228,
230, 233, 235, 236, 240, 242, 243, 244, 245, 258, 204, 205, 246, 345, 346410]
Mr. Washington asserts she was never raped and
her death was due to a heart attack due to a pre-existing acute arteriosclerotic
cardiovascular disease which he knew nothing about. He asserts Prosecutor Craven
coupled with ineffective assistance of counsel
resulted in crucial facts being hidden during the trial - namely his testimony and
collaborating evidence of excessive alcohol and drug use the night of the crime. A
judge who Mr. Washington asserts was outraged at the State's conduct reopened Mr.
Washington's case. Since then he has had 7 Lawyers, 3 Prosecutors and 2 Judges.
Each Lawyer is first shocked at the misconduct in the case and then finds a reason
to step off the case.
In a legal brief for post conviction relief,
Attorney Leo F. Manfred II asserts two issues:
Mr. Washington's attorney at trial refused to
allow him to testify in his own defense. [State v Teague, 953 F.2d 1525 (11th Cir.
1992). Mr. Washington did not waive his right to testify. No proper waiver was
ever clearly determined by the trial court nor was any proper waiver ever put on the
record. Unfortunately, Mr. Washington's original attorney is now deceased. There is
no record that affirmatively shows that the defense counsel advised the defendant of his
constitutional right to testify or the defendant knew of this right and personally and
intelligently waived the right and made the choice not to testify.
2. His attorney refused to present the defense of diminished capacity because of his use of alcohol and drugs.
Defendant's attorney did not utilize a report
from the State/FBI Lab showing test results supposedly done on the contents of a bucket in
which the defendant urinated and defecated shortly prior to the incident on which he was
tried. Mr. Washington asserts he has proof that both the state and his attorney had
the information in hand at trial but made sure it never became part of the trial.
The toxicology report on the contents of the bucket would have provided evidence to
support the defense of diminished capacity due to the use of drugs and alcohol. The
diminished capacity made him incapable of forming a specific intent upon which malice
could be predicated. The defendant's attorney did not present this evidence of
mitigating circumstances, which would justify the trial judge instruction to the jury of a
lesser included offense of voluntary manslaughter. Mr. Washington asserts this was
an error so serious as to show his counsel's performance was deficient and prejudicial to
the defendant depriving him of a fair trial. If Mr. Washington had testified to
consuming a significant quantity of drugs and alcohol immediately preceding the death of
the victim, the trial judge would have been able to give the jury instructions as to
murder as well as separate instructions. These separate instructions would be
regarding diminished mental capacity sufficient to negate specific intent to kill which
reduces murder to voluntary manslaughter. The diminished capacity defense could only
be presented adequately through the testimony of Mr. Washington at his trial, but Mr.
Washington asserts he was not allowed to testify.
Mr. Washington also asserts:
- The court never let anyone take the stand from his family or
friends regarding his character but they let the State put many people on the stand to
make their case.
- Racial bias in the form of an all white jury.
- His jury was not sequestered and exposed to prejudicial news
- One appeal attorney stated the penalty in this case was not
warranted and "it is a case which demonstrates what happens when the State is given a
new weapon, ostensibly to be reserved for the worst of defendants, the worst of crimes, it
becomes commonplace, one more bargaining chip to be played in the prosecution. The
victim died of heart failure, apparently precipitated by the assault, but clearly directly
caused by a pre-existing acute arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. [See
Appeals] The attorney also states State's Medical Expert Sweeney's conclusion as to
the manner of death was really based on two things. One, a legal concept and the
other a factual conjecture. First she implied though she didn't clearly state that
she considered a homicide any death which occurred during the commission of a criminal
act. It is also asserted Dr. Sweeny attempted to do the jury's job by drawing an
inference that the victim's heart failure was "caused" by the sexual
assault. That conclusion was not a medical one, but a lay inferential one that
invaded the fact finding province of the jury by taking evidentiary facts and totaling
them up to a conclusion of homicide. [See State v Castore, 435 A2d 321, 326 (RI)]
- The court exceeded its authority regarding RIGL 11-23-2. The court has no power to impose life without parole unless a unanimous
jury finding of an aggravating factor is made. The court allowed submission of 2
possible aggravating circumstances, aggravated battery and torture. The jury only
returned one - aggravated battery. The trial court, however, relied upon both
in sentencing having decided in its own mind that the evidence supported both.
- The court abused its discretion in permitting
Dr. Sweeney to testify that the victim was in pain during the sexual assault and that the
extent of the pain was tantamount to that experienced by women during childbirth.
The assertion of pain by a non-treating physician is supposed to be
inadmissible. It is also important that Dr. Sweeney also apparently testified that
the victim was still a virgin.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Many times the reason or purpose for events in our life initially escapes us,
but I am certain we can find reason and/or purpose in everything that happens!
It takes a short time to learn to exercise power, but a lifetime to learn how to avoid abusing it.
We are no longer a country of laws, we are a country where laws are "creatively interpreted."
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