Note to IP conference re Amanda Knox. Fraud Hampikian's ONLY achievement was to be main cause of annulment of 2011 appeal, to anger of defense counsel. And to subject Knox and RS to much tougher appeal, leading to desperate measures to bend Supreme Court. So Hampikian directly caused mafia involvement Knox and RS must hide for life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Innocence Project: Seven Years Clutching Knox And Trashing Italian Justice To Joy Of Mafias #2

Posted by KrissyG

Long post. Click here to go straight to Comments

1. Post Overview

Previously main poster Hopeful showed up the intensely superficial grasp of the case by an Innocence Project founder who is a lusty huge booster of Knox.

We see no sign that anyone in the Innocence Project (IP) has ever done due diligence, or has any better grasp of the case than Jason Flom. We certainly don’t see any on video or in print. We see only appallingly misleading and illegal work…. and nothing else. As Hopeful said in that post:

Anyone who thinks Idaho IP representative Greg Hampikian’s seemingly illegal involvement in the court-ordered DNA re-testing was somehow competent and truth-based should read KrissyG and James Raper for two blasts of reality.

This may come as a surprise. In ten years nobody whatsoever has ever landed the slightest blow on the huge (though not pivotal) DNA component of the case.

The defenses and many others have seriously misrepresented it, yes, but that is something else.

2. Chief IP Misleader Hampikian

Nearly a year before Knox ever turned up at her first Innocence Project meeting in Oregon, we had highlighted IP Idaho rep Greg Hampikian’s very misleading work here.

Our main poster the Machine had acidly remarked about Greg Hampikian in that post:

    1. He is ignorant of most of the basic facts of the case.

    2. He hasn’t read the official court documents in their entirety, but has instead relied on Amanda Knox’s family and supporters for his information without bothering to do any fact-checking.

    3. He incessantly downplays or misrepresents the hard evidence against Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito and overstates that against Rudy Guede.

    4. He doesn’t limit himself to his own narrow area of expertise, but speaks about other aspect of the case and gets basic facts wrong.

    5. Like so many in the seedy defense operation he ridicules his counterparts in Italy, most of whom are much better qualified in criminal-case DNA than he is.

Do please read all of the Machine’s very damning post. Note that Hampikian has never ever tried to answer back, though he is still as much of a self-infatuated rooster as before. I would add to the Machine’s profile of Hampikian these further revealing points:

    1. In an aura of personality cult he incessantly proclaims that he is the founder and director of the Idaho Innocence Project.

    2. He took quite a shine to Amanda Knox and went white-water rafting with her.  He broke with his wife, shortly after.

    3. This absurd claim appears on his Wikipedia page - those are often written by the “celebrities” themselves:

    During the high-profile case of Amanda Knox, on May 23, 2011, Greg Hampikian announced that, based on its independent investigation and review, DNA samples taken at the crime scene all pointed to African drifter Rudy Guede and excluded Knox and Sollecito. Upon reexamination of the DNA, he concluded that the evidence is unreliable and contaminated. Hampikian’s findings are one of the main reasons that Knox and Sollecito were set free.

    Really?! The mafias had no role? Hard to believe from this that Hampikian was never an official witness put under cross-examination at the trial or appeals. He had zero official role, and the very extensive DNA evidence really proved nothing of the sort. More DNA samples of Knox than of Guede were at the scene. No contamination was ever proven.  In fact, it was categorically ruled out by the courts.

    4. He has appeared in numerous Youtube clips in especially prepared tv shows, in which he presents himself as “the objective scientist” not letting on that he is essentially only a PR shill.

    5. Hampikian was claiming a government grant for his department at Boise State University.  Journalist Andrea Vogt suspected he was using the funds to promote Amanda Knox’s marketing.  Vogt applied for information under the Freedom of Information Act.  Hampikian evaded the demand by claiming his work was a top trade secret. Academic scientists are supposed to be transparent and make their work replicable and peer-reviewed by other scientists.  So Vogt’s instincts seem correct, given the unlikely reason.

    6. He praises himself on his wiki page as “Prof. Hampikian is also an accomplished amateur folk singer and songwriter.” Indeed, he appears on a Youtube video, sounding like a hundred cats in pain singing about his d-i-v-o-r-c-e., after his rafting expedition with Knox.  She appears grinning by his side in pictures.

    7. He has given evidence under oath in court several times (though never in Italy) claiming he was THE expert who got Amanda Knox “exonerated”.  Knox has never been exonerated, certainly not on the DNA evidence, and the mafias clearly had a role in springing the pair. So, Hampikian is not someone who takes solemn oaths seriously, although his illegal interference was real. 

    8. The defence lawyers for Paul Jenkins and Fred Lawrence are currently in court to try to pin the DNA evidence on another convict, David Wayne Nelson, with Hampikian as the ‘expert DNA witness’ claiming,

‘“I do a lot of cases,” said Hampikian. “This is the second time I can remember one of my cases where it cleared two men and someone else is a hit to the database.”

He doesn’t say to whom he is referring in this absurd claim, but no doubt it is Knox and Sollecito with Guede as the ‘hit’.  Hampikian, thus, is a stranger to the truth, as Knox and Sollecito’s DNA at the crime scene is legally sound.

3. Who Manages Or Crosschecks Hampikian?

Hampikian seems to have a pass to claim whatever he wants in the name of the Innocence Project. No quality control, no peer review, no reporting, no accountability at all. Just a near-endless stream of lies.

If Hampikian was to be checked out and made to stop lying and acting as a PR shill, and to stick only to the truth, whose job in the IP would be that? Presumably the man at the top. Barry Scheck.

Has Barry Scheck been asleep at the switch? If so, not for the first time. .

4. Ten Quick Facts About Barry Scheck

1. Born 1949, at Yale Scheck was a ‘fervent anti-war demonstrator’.  In Los Angeles he was a key member of OJ Simpson’s ‘dream team’, which got OJ off a murder rap in 1995.

2. Barry Scheck, as a law professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, is a forensic and DNA evidence expert. He joined the “Dream Team” to help them ‘harness the power of forensic and DNA evidence’ to assist in Simpson’s defence.

3. Scheck is also known for his work as co-founder and co-director of the Innocence Project, a non-profit organization that uses DNA evidence to ‘clear the names of wrongfully convicted inmates’.

4. Scheck co-founded the Innocence Project in 1992 with Peter Neufeld, also his co-counsel on the O.J. Simpson defence team.

5. The Project claims it is ‘dedicated to the utilization of DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted’.

6. To date, it claims 343 wrongful convictions have been overturned by DNA testing ‘thanks to the Project and other legal organizations’.

7. The Innocence Project claims ‘it does not use legal technicalities to challenge convictions; the Project accepts only cases in which newly discovered scientific evidence can potentially prove that a convicted person is factually innocent’.

8. Scheck unsuccessfully defended British baby sitter Louise Woodward against a charge of killing a baby in her care, shortly after the OJ acquittal, leading some to perceive a ‘backlash’ against his defence methods.

9. Scheck and Neufield were heavily criticised in 1999 in a case where eight cops were charged with abusing Abner Louima or shooting dead Amadou Diallo-to benefit their own civil cases on behalf of those victims, putting the police at risk of an unfair trial.

10. Scheck and Neufield called a press conference before the criminal trial, revealing potentially incriminating evidence against the four policemen from an autopsy report, which revealed Diallo was shot in his foot and legs whilst already down. Their ethics were questioned.  Outside the press conference, 1,000 Scheck supporters chanted, ‘“No justice, no peace, no more racist police.”

5. So The Bottom Line On Scheck Is?

Thus, we have a picture of someone who sees himself as a warrior for social justice, and anti-establishment.  Scheck uses his privileged position as a lawyer and DNA expert to help the disadvantaged and oppressed.

However, after the OJ Simpson trial, which saw Scheck shoot to fame, and not necessarily in a good way, but as a silver-tongued crafty defence lawyer who could persuade a jury that night is day by any means at his disposal, regardless of ethics, there emerges a hint of a ruthless man driven by an urge to get the better of his perceived opponents.

So far so good, this is 100% of what we the public have cynically come to expect of a winning-at-all-costs lawyer.  We want them to write our ‘strong letters’ for us, or to win our compensation; perhaps get us off a rap.

We want them to ‘be on our side’, and when you are poor, dispossessed and otherwise ‘invisible’ to the establishment, finding such a high-profile lawyer to champion your case, then fawning gratitude transforms into hero-worship and cult following.

Such is the effect of Scheck’s Innocence Project, thousands of prisoners in the USA claiming to be ‘wrongfully convicted’, whether they are or not, flock to sample the ‘exoneration’ he holds out as the prize for joining up.

Add to the pot US attorneys who as part of their standards are expected to devote a substantial part of their time towards ‘pro bono’ work (free representation), then the ready pool of the poor and deprived that make up the Innocence Projects are ready made clients for them.

6. IP Does Indeed Do Some Good Work

We have shown again and again that American law enforcement, justice and incarceration systems, not their Italian equivalents, are the systems where injustices are off the charts.

Read for example the series of three posts starting here.  An estimated 200,000-plus sitting in prison because prosecutors scared them into a plea-bargain.

Barry Scheck’s target group and release rate is absolutely miniscule compared to this 200,000, but it is not a net negative on the whole. Every little bit of pushback can help. Scheck’s interviews and speeches are often good.


7. But Things Do Go Badly Wrong.

The Medill Innocence Project Case

There seems plenty of evidence that the Innocence Project is only loosely managed from the top. Other grandstanders and corner cutters and law-breakers like Hampikian are far from unknown.

And to IP host institutions like lawschools “mistakes” like this one below can bring major harm.

In the Medill Innocence project, a professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, David Protess, was picked to head this.

His work had overturned convictions in a number of high-profile cases that won freedom for the ‘wrongfully imprisoned’ and earned him fame and prestige that included a TV-movie deal and a new post. From the start, Protess got his law students to were acting as amateur gumshoes, Protess dispatched them to interview witnesses and dig up new evidence.

Protess was looking for wrongful convictions.  He thought he had found one in Anthony Porter, who had narrowly escaped execution for a 1982 murder and had since served fifteen years, after winning a last minute reprieve.

Protess was keen to highlight that the State had been prepared to execute an innocent man, and he and his private eye students pinpointed an ‘alternative perpetrator’ in Alstory Simon.

“This investigation by David Protess and his team involved a series of alarming tactics,” the Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, said in her statement after Simon’s eventual release.  The Medill Innocence Project’s tactics, “were not only coercive and absolutely unacceptable by law-enforcement standards, “they were potentially in violation of Mr. Simon’s constitutionally protected rights.”

From the Daily Beast in 2014:

Perhaps the worst of those alarming tactics were used by Paul Ciolino, a private investigator working with Protess who got Simon to confess to the murder. According to Alvarez’s findings, Ciolino threatened Simon, promised him a short sentence and financial rewards for cooperating, and used an actor to play a witness who accused Simon of the shooting.

Finally, Ciolino volunteered a lawyer, Jack Rimland, to represent Simon in court. Rimland, a personal acquaintance of Ciolino, may have had a conflict of interest defending a man that his associate was trying to prove guilty, but that didn’t stop him from taking the case.

At the time, it did the trick. Alstory Simon confessed to the murder on video and within days, after more than a decade on death row, Porter walked free.

The State prosecutors then had to spend time and money retrying Porter and reaffirming the seemingly overwhelming evidence of his guilt (six eye witnesses named him).  However, the case against Porter was dropped a month later.  Following on from this case, Illinois banned the death penalty, in 2011.

More from the report in the Daily Beast.

After initially defending the program, Medill launched an investigation of its own. In the end, it was found that students working under Protess had used false pretenses in trying to elicit witness statements.

More damningly, the professor’s claim that the records from his class’s work were protected by journalistic privilege was undermined by the discovery that he’d altered an email instructing that the project’s findings should be turned over directly to defense counsels without any copies retained.

When it was all over, Protess had negotiated his retirement and left the school. His reputation bruised but with legacy of his central victory—winning Anthony Porter’s freedom—still intact.

After Simon’s release last month and the accusation that Protess helped put an innocent man in prison for 15 years, possibly freeing a killer in the bargain, his legacy may be the least of his concerns.

The IP Role

This is a perfect illustration of what can happen when badly supervised lawyers try to solve a case outside of a courtroom.  Delusion, fanaticism and a disregard for due process can blind an Innocence Project lawyer or law student to the truth of culpability.  In other words, they find themselves fighting the establishment, whatever that is, rather than true injustice.

The State prosecutor, Alvarez, said at the time:

“The bottom line is, the investigation conducted by Protess and private investigator Ciolino as well as the subsequent legal representation of Mr. Simon were so flawed that it’s clear the constitutional rights of Mr. Simon were not scrupulously protected as our law requires.”

In 2016, Alstory Simon filed a $40m lawsuit From the Chicago Tribune.

A federal judge on Tuesday gave the green light to a $40 million lawsuit alleging Northwestern University and former star professor David Protess conspired to frame a man for an infamous double murder that became one of the most significant wrongful conviction cases in Illinois history.

The lawsuit brought by Alstory Simon alleges Protess and private investigator Paul Ciolino manufactured bogus evidence, coaxed false statements from witnesses, intimidated Simon into confessing and set him up with a lawyer, Jack Rimland, who coached him to plead guilty.

In denying a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said that it was plausible the money and publicity Protess had brought to Northwestern had allowed a culture of lawlessness and unethical conduct at the university.

The Bombshell Twist

In June 2017 Chicago Tribune reported a ‘bombshell’ twist.  It was revealed that in 2014 at the time of Simon’s release a 28-page internal report wherein the deputies of the then State Attorney Alvarez had concluded, ‘there is not sufficient evidence to seek to vacate Simon’s convictions’. 

Many High-profile Innocence ‘Exonerees’ Earn $’000’s

Simon is like so many prisoners released early, whether or not there is an ‘Alford’ deal – where release is on condition the prisoner accepts the State does not accept liability that the conviction was wrongful and no ‘certificate of innocence’ is provided.

This type of deal is true, for example, for ‘Sunny’ Jacobs, released from death row and finally prison for her role in the murder of two policemen in Florida, and the notorious WM3 which includes Damien Echols, who has since made millions from books and tours on the back of ‘innocence’.

Amanda Knox, Damien Echols and the other two WM3 are listed by All American Entertainment as exonerated ‘speakers’ charging up to $10,000 a time.  Yet none have had a ‘certificate of innocence’.  Thus, by Ciolino’s own words, they cannot be classed as ‘exonerated’.

Cook County ‘Wanted to Prosecute David Protess and Paul Ciolino’

The reason Cook County gives for refusing to vacate Simon’s conviction is because he failed to come clean on the deception a taking a rap for another man’s crimes in exchange for a shorter sentence.  The reports states:

Simon was not a child or inexperienced at any relevant time. As of 1982 he had accumulated an extensive criminal history. He had been arrested for robberies or armed robberies five times between 1966 and 1977. He had three felony or armed robbery convictions. ... He was 47 when he (pleaded) guilty. This certainly complicates his claims regarding coercion and being misled.

The report criticises the ‘less than ideal circumstances’ in which Ciolino tricked Simon into confessing the first time, after which Simon continued the masquarade by spontaneously admitting to firing the fatal shots for some time after his conviction.  For example, in a letter to his lawyers.

However, in spite of these reservations, Alvarez had called a news conference and announced there was ‘no other conclusion’ than that Simon should be freed.  Pointedly, she indicated that if it were not for the statute of limitations (time limit for bringing a charge) she would have prosecuted Protess and Ciolino.

Subsequently she declined to send representatives to contest Simon’s effort to win a “certificate of innocence,” a document that allows wrongfully incarcerated, factually innocent persons to collect cash damages from the state.  It was because whilst Simon probably did not commit the murders, he was part of the innocence fraud which put him in prison and which freed Porter.

Paul Ciolino Hits Back

The latest news, as of January 2018, leading on from the supposed ‘leaked’ document of 2014 which showed Simon’s convictions were merely ‘vacated’ is that Paul Cionlino is suing Simon, Alavarez, and a couple of the ‘Park’ filmmakers, a Chicago Tribune journalist and policemen for damages for ‘defamation’.

The 66-page petition mirrors the counterclaim Ciolino filed before and which was dismissed last year.  He claims his reputation and career were destroyed by the allegations in the Simon case.  Ciolino claims Simon was ‘paid thousands of dollars’ and witnesses interfered with by these anti-Innocent Project forces. 

The Murder in the Park documentary, asserts there are many other cases where ‘the wrong man is imprisoned and the right one was freed, which Ciolino claims is defamatory.  He highlights the letter to Simon’s lawyers in which he states he killed Hillard in self-defence and Green by accident.  Ciolino’s new lawsuit is described as ‘frivolous and without merit’ (Prieb) and ‘so false as to be sanctionable’ (Ekl)

Simon had alleged Ciolino impersonated a police officer and used actors as fake eye witnesses.  He claims Ciolino said if he confessed, he’d get a shortened sentence by claiming ‘self defence’ and avoid the death penalty.  He was also ‘promised large sums of money from book and movie deals’ if he played along, the suit alleges.

Paul Ciolino Acknowledges a Vacated Conviction Does Not Mean ‘Exoneration’

If this illustrates anything, it’s that Innocence Projects running parallel to the US legal system can cause all sorts of chaos and confusion.  In effect, Alvarez the State Prosecutor having freed Simon, is now refusing to vacate his conviction.  The Innocence Project does not see a vacated conviction as an ‘exoneration’ as evidenced by Ciolino suing for defamation on the grounds that ‘Simon is guilty after all’.

If a vacated conviction does not mean exoneration to people like Ciolino, then people like Ryan Ferguson, the West Memphis Three and Amanda Knox, whom the Innocence Projects spearhead as their ‘Star Exonerees’ are gods with clay feet standing on a false pedestal.

It calls into question the integrity of Innocence Project lawyers, such as Kathleen Zellner, who is said to earn more than $12m per annum as a conservative figure.  The last published Annual Report of the Innocence Project shows a turnover of $26m, with a surplus gain of >$3m in the ‘not-for-profit’ org in 2016.  Zellner is famous for obtaining ‘death bed’ confessions from prisoners on Death Row taking the rap for the alleged crimes of her clients, thus securing their release.

8. My Conclusion About This Above

Given these pressures and these possibilities for mismanagement, what of the IP’s illegal intervention into the case in Italy? What of the false touting of an “innocent” Knox? What of the trashing of Italian justice, in witting or unwitting harmony with the mafias?

Another IP trainwreck waiting to happen. And happen it did. 

Posted by KrissyG on 03/20/18 at 12:26 AM in


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