08.24.2017 by @WinterwoodGrace
Courts begin unsealing documents
Oklahoma courts began unsealing documents today that they claim were sealed in error. They have now unsealed a total of 4 documents in the matter of Daniel Holtzclaw. At the heart of all the secrecy seems to be documents that may be protected under Oklahoma law and not discoverable. The state claims that this was discovered in such a unique way as to make determination of legality difficult to interpret. In other words, the state wants to know in advance if they are going to get hit with a claim of Brady violations.
Personnel Review Records
At the heart of the hearings were documents found in relation to former DNA analyst and state expert Elaine Taylor. Taylor testified during the original trial of Daniel Holtzclaw as the state’s expert witness on the DNA evidence. That evidence has now come under fire as a group of scientists from around the world question everything from it’s collection to its interpretation. The experts are: Peter Gill, a British expert who worked on the Amanda Knox case; Moses Schanfield, a former lab director from New York; Suzanne Ryan, a DNA scientist from California; Jane Goodman-Delahunty from Charles Sturt University in Bathurst; George Schiro, a lab director from Mississippi; Brent Turvey from the Forensic Criminology Institute in Alaska. These independent experts had filed an amicus brief that was rejected by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals.
Taylor, who retired shortly after Holtzclaw’s appeal was filed, seems to be at the very center of the secrecy. Or rather, her performance as an expert witness is. In the now unsealed documents, the state questions whether documents relating to an employee’s performance are in fact discoverable, or if these are protected by law. Posed in the guise of questioning notations made on documents as part of an alleged personnel review, they ask the court to decide what is discoverable, if anything, and how to disseminate discoverable material to the defense if it is combined with protected information. This maneuver, while seemingly correct and aboveboard, actually raises other questions. The first question is why a review was being done on an employee that was retiring? The second question is what unique circumstances could possibly cause this type of furor for secrecy?
Still Speculation on Sealed Documents
While some of the documents were unsealed today, the transcripts and exhibits remain cloaked in mystery. This leads to more rampant speculation, a thing that makes the state look worse for the wear. People are starting to question why there needs to be so much secrecy in what should have been an open and shut case. With renewed media attention, supporters for Daniel Holtzclaw are making themselves heard, loud and clear, across social media platforms. Michelle Malkin, outspoken editor for ‘Conservative Review’ once asked, “What if he didn’t do it?” More people than ever are now echoing that exact sentiment.
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