He spent 11 years in prison because of faulty eyewitness identification.
Watch the case of Jennifer Thompson and Donal Cotton.
WHEN WITNESSES GET IT WRONG
In case after case, DNA has proven that eyewitness identification is frequently inaccurate. In the wrongful convictions where eyewitness misidentification played a role, the circumstances varied substantially. For example, the Innocence Project has worked on cases in which:
A witness made an identification in a “show-up” procedure (where witnesses are shown only the suspect at the scene of the crime or in another incriminating context) from the back of a police car hundreds of feet away from the suspect in a poorly lit parking lot in the middle of the night.
A witness in a rape case was shown a photo array where only the photo of the person that the police suspected was marked with an “R”, while the rest were unmarked
Witnesses substantially changed their description of a perpetrator (including key information such as height, weight and presence of facial hair) after they learned more about a particular suspect.
Witnesses only made an identification after multiple photo arrays or lineups — and then made hesitant identifications (saying they “thought” the person “might be” the perpetrator, for example) – but at trial the jury was told the witnesses did not waver in identifying the suspect.
DECADES OF SOLID SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTS REFORM
In October of 2014, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the nation’s premier scientific entity, issued a groundbreaking report settling many long-debated areas of police practice. The report identified a set of reform procedures, which have been promoted by the Innocence Project since the inception of its work in this area of police practice.
In 1907, Hugo Munsterberg published On the Witness Stand, in which he questioned the reliability of eyewitness identification. When Yale Law professor Edwin Borchard studied 65 wrongful convictions for his pioneering 1932 book, Convicting the Innocent, he found that eyewitness misidentification was the leading contributing factor of wrongful convictions.
Research illustrates that the human mind is not like a tape recorder; we neither record events exactly as we see them, nor recall them like a tape that has been rewound. In eyewitness identifications, witness memory is impacted by a variety of factors that occur from the time of the crime onwards, and their memories can be easily contaminated.
Several easy-to-adopt procedures have been shown to significantly decrease the number of misidentifications. In order to prevent additional additional wrongful convictions due to misidentification, the Innocence Project is collaborating with law enforcement and policymakers to adopt the following policies:
Blind/Blinded administration Blind administration, where the officer administering the lineup is unaware of who the suspect is, can prevent suggestive statements or unconscious gestures or vocal cues that may influence the witness, thereby reducing the risk of a misidentification. For the small police agency with work force constraints, a method called the “folder shuffle” can be utilized to effectively blind the administrator.
Lineup composition “Fillers” (the non-suspects included in a lineup) should resemble the eyewitness’ description of the perpetrator. Further, the suspect should look similar to the fillers (for example, he should not be the only member of his race in the lineup, or the only one with facial hair). Eyewitnesses should also not view more than one identification procedure with the same suspect.
Instructions: The person viewing the lineup should be told that the perpetrator may or may not be in the lineup and that the investigation will continue regardless of the lineup result. This reduces the pressure on the witness of feeling like they have to pick a perpetrator. The witness should also be told not to look to the administrator for guidance.
Confidence Statements: Law enforcement should elicit and document a statement from an eyewitness articulating his or her level of confidence in the identification made at the time that the identification is made.
Recording: Identification procedures should be videotaped and/or audiotaped whenever possible.
Fourteen states have have implemented these reforms through laws, court action and policy directives, while jurisdictions including Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Tucson have made eyewitness identification reform procedures part of their standard practice.
Covington Police: Strip Club Was Site of Prostitution
FRI, 04/25/2014 – 08:49 RCN NEWSDESK
WARNING: This article contains explicit language of a sexual nature
A man walked into Liberty’s Show Lounge and was approached by a dancer named, Cat. She wanted a couple bucks for the jukebox. He obliged. She put on some tunes and then took the stage where her moves simulated sex.
Cat lied on her back, spread her legs in the air, and began smacking her vagina while her butt was exposed. Following the performance, she descended from the stage and approached her new friend.
“She came over and asked, ‘Are we going to be naughty or not?’,” the man said. “I replied, ‘Why the hell not?’.
That’s when the man learned how to order drinks at Liberty’s, the long-running “gentleman’s club” on Scott Boulevard in Covington.
“She followed up and asked which size of a drink I’d like to purchase,” he said. A female bartender, roughly sixty years old, approached.
The prices seemed high for Covington, probably high for anywhere. But these were more than drinks. The “menu” included three options: a $28 drink would allow Cat to join the man at his table where they could enjoy one another’s company. A $38 purchase, and Cat would lead the man to the center of the lounge where the pair could enjoy more privacy, and the dancer’s hands could slip into the man’s pants. For $58, Cat would take the man to a u-shaped booth in the back of the room where no one could see them. That booth was reserved for the big spenders who would be rewarded with a blow job courtesy of Cat.
The man opted for option #2, the $38 special and slipped the bartender a pair of twenties and told her to keep the change. “I followed Cat to the middle of the bar and we sat at a booth. She sat next to me and threw her left leg over my right leg and she was kind of explaining to me the situation,” he said. The situation was this: Whatever was about to go down between them could be visible by the bartender or the bouncer (who collected a $4 cover at the door) during any of their regular visits to check on Cat. As long as the man kept buying drinks or slipping them all tips, “everything would be OK”, Cat told him.
While the first man got comfortable with Cat, a second man kept tabs from across the room. The men entered together but pursued their Liberty’s adventures independently. Cat told the first man about how things work for an employee at the dingy club. “She said, dancers basically work for free. They receive tips and half the liquor count and are paid by cash at the end of the night,” he said. “She laughed and said, ‘literally the girls made their money under the table’.”
The man told Cat that if she did “a good job”, he’d tip her again at the end. Cat removed several napkins from her purse and laid them across her lap. “I guess for clean-up afterwards,” the man said. “She began touching my genitals and asked if I would pull my dick out of my zipper. I followed her instructions.”
Keeping things casual, the man maintained small talk. He asked Cat how she kept from getting caught. She didn’t. She’d been fired six times from various clubs for similar handy work.
“Cat said, ‘Just be cool’,” he said. The aged female bartender returned to the man, asked if he wanted another beer. Her eyes never left his. The man did want another beer and the bartender left. “She never looked down to see my genitals exposed,” the man said.
Cat continued her under-the-table massage. “I was feeling a little uncomfortable. I said my wife and I were trying to get pregnant and I didn’t want to ejaculate,” the man said. “I asked if I could see her and she exposed her vagina and said I could touch her.”
The purchased flirtation continued for a pair of songs from the jukebox and then Cat offered her services outside the club, a private show, and the man could contact her some time and she’d meet him in the alley. He could even bring his friend from the other side of the bar.
He asked if Cat knew if any of the other girls at Liberty’s would be willing to tag along for such a date. She wasn’t sure, but, “maybe Trinity would be cool with it”.
Then, a drug dealer well-known to law enforcement in the area entered Liberty’s, and the romancing of Cat abruptly ended. The drug dealer recognized the man and was talking with the bartender and other dancers. Cat came back to the man and asked if he was a cop. “She said, ‘If you were a cop, you’d be in as much trouble as me right now.”
Then Cat whispered her phone number in the man’s ear. He and his friend left. They had a report to make.
Police Raid Liberty’s Show Lounge
The story the man told about his tryst with a dancer named Cat was part of allegations laid out in a seedy testimony offered at Covington City Hall on Thursday afternoon where Liberty’s owner Kim Foran appeared with attorney Harry Hellings in hopes of saving her liquor license.
The man and his partner, as well as four other vice officers from Covington Police, had all visited the club last August in an attempt to gather information following complaints of prostitution inside the club. Days later, officers raided the joint and shut it down, handing out nine citations for nudity, drug possession, and other charges. The City alleges that Liberty’s permitted nude or nearly nude activity, solicited patrons to buy drinks for employees, compensated workers with a cut from liquor sales, and allowed the site to be a public nuisance. A jusy later acquitted Foran, according to her attorney.
Assistant City Solicitor Bryce Rhoades represented Covington.
All of the officers testifying at the city’s alcohol and beverage control hearing shared similar stories, though all did not involve Cat. Some involved dancers named Desire or Secret.
“She started rubbing my penis through my pants and explained that she could give me a hand job here and that I could have her number later,” one officer said of Desire. “She said the doorman wouldn’t bother us if we tipped him on the way out.”
Desire took her top down and placed the officer’s hands on her nipples. “She said I could masturbate her,” he said, “and we could have oral sex at the back table.”
Another officer was approached by a dancer in a bikini with ribbons tied up and down her legs. “I gave her a couple singles to put in the juke box,” he said. The ribbon-clad legs then took the stage for a performance. “I put some money under one of the ribbons. She was rubbing her crotch. There were a couple guys in the bar doing the same thing.”
Moments later, the officer gave the dancing Desire more cash. “I gave her five dollars in her strap near her butt,” he said. A second time, he returned to the stage. “I put five singles a second time underneath the strap near the inside of her left thigh.”
The man’s partner for the evening then purchased a drink for Desire and, “I was approached by a second dancer named Cat,” he said. “She squatted in front of me, put her hands behind my knees,” he said. The bartender approached and asked if he wanted to buy her a drink, he alleged. “Cat encouraged me to buy her the $58 drink and she promised me that it was something I wouldn’t regret.”
“I’m really good. Give me the full sixty and let me suck your dick,” she said, according to the officer.
He ponied up the $58 and Cat led him to a corner booth. “We sat down. She started rubbing the inside of my thigh. The bartender brought her the drink, one that appeared to be bourbon and coke, the officer described.
“She continued to rub on the inside of my leg and groin area around my penis,” the officer testified. “She unzipped my pants. She slid her hand inside the blue jeans, outside the underwear. She reached further down to the scrotum area.”
During this semi-private performance, the officer was sending text messages to another officer. “I said, my wife is texting me and that I’m not comfortable with this. My friend gets me in trouble all the time and I think I better go,” the officer said. He and his fellow officer left but not before Cat gave him her phone number. “She said she could take a break from work some time to take care of me,” he claimed.
Owner said she was unaware of activity inside bar
Through her attorney, Harry Hellings, Foran said that she was not aware of any illegal activity going on inside her establishment. Following the raid last August, all of the employees in question were fired, the attorney said.
Hellings also drilled officers on whether they knew for sure that the drinks served were alcoholic and whether they saw the many signs that warned of “no solicitation”. Hellings said that Foran showed up the night of the raid to cooperate with officers.
One officer acknowledged that Foran showed up, in her pajamas.
“I was not in my pajamas,” Foran said quietly, multiple times in Hellings’ ear during his cross-examination.
“Would you please let me do this? I can’t do this with you talking in my ear,” Hellings snapped at Foran.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she whimpered.
Hellings also suggested that the city was targeting the business because of a possible development deal. City Manager Larry Klein told The River City News that at least one developer working on nearby properties was interested in acquiring the building but that potential deal was no longer active and that the city was never involved. Liberty’s is situated in a part of Downtown Covington that is seeing a resurgence in development. The Kenton County Library recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, Gateway Community & Technical College is active in one building and has dispatched contractors to another for renovation, and a local developer is restoring a sprawling structure next to Liberty’s where a nearby company will expand and the Covington Police bike patrol will be housed. Buona Vita Pizzeria recently opened its second location on the block. Lee’s Chicken also modernized its interior.
And then there’s Liberty’s, a throwback to Covington’s recent past as a destination for wayward husbands, bored businessmen, and every day vagrants looking for a cheap thrill. Or a $58 thrill. Most of the businesses have been forced out, though a few remain in tact.
“We don’t want that kind of illegal activity going on in the city and that is an important corridor with Gateway and students and youth and redevelopment of that area,” Klein said. “We want that to be a legitimate business.”
“I hope there’s a good outcome here. I hope the illegal activity stops one way or the other. The city has made great progress in recent years at places with similar activity. Bottoms Up, 701, the Pad. The city has made great strides in bringing legitimate economic activity to these corridors and we want that to continue. That’s a message to any other businesses out there that is conducting similar activity. We won’t tolerate it in this city. It’s bad for business.”
Liberty’s hits the real estate market
Whether its liquor license can be salvaged (no decision was made Thursday and city zoning administrator Andy Juengling has seven days to consider the testimony), the property and business (with liquor license included) hit the market on Thursday.
“Liberty’s Show Lounge! Great Opportunity to own a real money maker-Long established Gentleman’s Club in the heart of the city-includes liquor license-upper level of building could be finished for extra income!,” the real estate listing boasts. The asking price is $275,000 for the narrow club with its teal booths lining the southern wall and leading up to the coveted u-shaped booth where $58 can allegedly land a man a memorable seat. A long bar sits across from the booths. A stage, complete with a pole and mirrored backdrop rests at the other end.
Foran’s attorney could not be reached for further comment on Thursday.
Covington Police Chief Spike Jones was proud of the work his so-called “D-Team”, the department’s undercover vice squad, did. “I look at it as one of those last bastions of Covington that no longer exists,” Jones said, “a Northern Kentucky that no longer exists and doesn’t need to exist. It needs to go.”
“The activity they were engaging in was, in our opinion, knowingly illegal. It’s a black eye on the city that that was even going on. If we can do something to move that type of business out of the city, I’m more than happy to do it.”
Editor’s Note: The Covington Police got opinions from the Kenton County Attorney and Commonwealth’s Attorney Offices on how to proceed during this investigation. The department told The River City News that the behavior of the undercover officers during the course of the investigation was legal and compared it to the act of purchasing drugs from dealers during investigations.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
“The ladies really like Eddie,” my stepsister tells me on the way to meet the 71-year-old biker for breakfast somewhere in the Rockies.
The man we’re about to meet one bright September morning is one of the first members of the legendary outlaw biker outfit called the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club (IHMC).
The FBI calls the Horsemen a “one percent” Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG), meaning the group has committed to enforce the club’s laws with violence and maintain an ongoing criminal enterprise that brings them into “serious conflict with society and the law.” The Feds also believe the group actively recruits former Army veterans into its ranks.
While Eddie (which is not his real name) says his days of active club involvement are behind him, he’s a biker at heart and only put away his motorcycle chopper when it became impossible for him to ride on two wheels anymore. He rides a three-wheel Chopper “trike” now, and that’s how we were first introduced.
I first met Eddie in August 2012 through my stepsister and her fiancé, whom we’ll call Doug. Doug owns a mountainside motorcycle shop where Eddie had his trike designed. My stepsister was raised by a senior executive in Palo Alto and was a minor celebrity in the 1970s California drug scene. Somewhere between then and now Eddie “adopted” my stepsister as her “Biker dad,” as she explains it.
In the years Doug and my stepsister have known Eddie, nothing he said raised any doubt that the man is who he claims. Doug tells me that week-long parties at Eddie’s place with “old-school, patch-bearing motherf—— all hanging out” have only added to his credibility. (Doug noted that patches themselves are never worn at parties like this to avoid conflict among rival groups, but he knew members from previous meetings.)
Eddie is around six-feet tall, covered in tattoos from his neck down, with white hair all over his head and face that creates a striking Santa Clause impression if Santa were a heavy tobacco user and had a slightly nicotine-stained mustache and beard.
He fits the biker persona most would expect, wearing dirty and oil-stained slicks (pants) that repel more water the dirtier they are. “Slicks are also what a lazy-ass biker wears when he doesn’t wanna do his laundry,” Doug later explains. And Eddie’s armed. Somewhere in the folds of his clothing and shoes are reputed to be an untold number of pistols. Maybe that’s part of what kept locals from asking what he was doing in the mountains and why he was in seclusion. Later, when locals began to understand who he was and the reputation he had, nobody wanted to know who would have sent Eddie into hiding in the first place.
I asked him myself while visiting his home. “Cause I put my prick where it didn’t belong.” Not sure if he’s being metaphorical, I ask him: “A woman?”
“Yeah, a woman.” He says between mouthfuls of cigar smoke. “She was married to the wrong guy and here I am.”
Eddie tells me his story, starting with his time as a Naval Seabee toward the start of the Vietnam Conflict. Halfway through his tour in Okinawa he cross-trained to drive a truck and his mechanically slanted future was set.
Following his discharge, Eddie was asked to prospect for the Horsemen, and in 1968 he received his patch when he became one of the first members voted in.
A Prospect must do anything a full patch-holder asks him to do. These tasks can range anywhere from chump duties, to more serious activities. It is not the Prospect’s duty to reason why or question anything that is asked. His task is only to prove that there is nothing the brotherhood can’t count on him for. The brotherhood must believe this man would throw himself in front of a bullet, to keep another patch-holder safe. It doesn’t matter whether he particularly likes the patch-holder. He’s not protecting the man; he’s protecting the patch and everything it represents. He must not let the patch fall to the ground. Actually, he doesn’t wear the patch … the patch wears him.
But not even the patch could protect Eddie from the jilted husband on his trail for more than 20 years, and he only agreed to this story now because the man is no longer after him.
“He died,” Eddie explains exposing a wood-grip pistol in a holster beneath his vest.
“How?” I ask.
“Shot,” he says. “Not by me, of course, but life of a one percenter is death or prison,” he continues. “I’ve outlived all my biker enemies and the citizens for that matter,” he says referring to those not in a motorcycle club.
As he thinks about this, Eddie pulls out a Kel-Tec P3AT .380 pistol from the left front pocket of his slicks. The P3AT is perhaps the lightest and most concealable pistol in the world.
“That is a small pistol,” I say, recognizing it. “Not the size of the gun, but where you put the bullet,” Eddie replies.
Eddie says he didn’t expect to live this long — he just went to his 53rd high school reunion. The years have become precious and he’s changing his ways in hopes of sticking around as long as possible.
Eddie’s not been well, my stepsister tells me. A lady friend took him to Florida for his birthday last year and after consuming a lot of “powders” he’d been hit by health issues.
He takes Crestor for his cholesterol and a bottle sits on the floor by his feet. “I think that has pot in it,” he says bending to pick it up. “No,” he says dropping it. “BBs.” (For one of the less deadly guns sitting about.
In response to doctor’s orders, Eddie recently quit drinking and partying like he had, sticking to the medical marijuana that he gets from Colorado dispensaries.
He has plenty of understanding about selling drugs too.
Eddie explains that one percent OMGs like the Horsemen will set up a drug house fronted by a business or residence. If the club can get one production cycle from the drug house and sell its drugs without arrest, it has recovered expenses and turned a minor profit. If the club can escape detection for a second cycle of drug manufacturing and selling, Eddie explains, “That’s all profit.”
“It was all about pot in the beginning,” Eddie says. “But a 50-pound bale of marijuana is about yea big,” he says, making a large rectangle with hand gestures. “And pot goes for about $10 a gram.”
“Fifty pounds of crank (methamphetamine) is about this big,” he says, making a much smaller rectangle with his hands than he made for the equivalent amount of pot. “Meth costs about 30 cents a gram to make,” Eddie says.
He doesn’t need to explain.
The reason guys on “Breaking Bad” make so much money is because meth sells for about $25 a quarter gram right now on the mountain where Eddie lives, or $100 a gram. PBS reports that it has seen meth sell for up to $330 a gram.
It’s something to think about as I notice Eddie’s hideout has as much weaponry as a drug house: pistols, bow and arrows, ammunition, knives, swords, a WWI trench knife, and a sawed-off shotgun are strategically strewn about the place.
Taking a photo of his shotgun, Eddie becomes concerned. “Do not show my face or my name,” he says again, looking at my stepsister. “This,” he says, picking up the sawed-off, “is a 20-year charge.”
He debates what law might stick as he explains the age of the weapon and the type of round loaded inside. “At my age I can’t afford to do even a nickel,” he says, referring to the idea of spending five years in prison.
Eddie reaches down and packs up a homemade pipe designed to hold hash and pot separately but draw them in the same breath. My stepsister and I each have to hold a lighter as Eddie takes a deep drag.
Exhaling and holding the pipe toward me, he says, “This’ll knock your dick in the dirt.”
I decline and ask to take more pictures. Eddie nods and asks me if I like skulls, explaining there are a case of mammal skulls upstairs and a mannequin called GI Jane that he and visitors dress up in various outfits.
A quick tour upstairs finds another floor of well-organized chaos. Everything from a dozen Polaroid cameras to a 1950s soda machine are wedged between raw timber walls and massive plate glass windows.
GI Jane is there, and a string of photos from a competition where she was the subject are taped over her head to the ceiling.
It seems like a good place for the duo from the History Channel show “American Pickers” to stumble across.
Back outside swirling black clouds meet over the neighboring canyons as Eddie explains the trajectory for one of his firing ranges.
He shoots across the street into the neighboring hillside with rifles and points to a dangling piece of metal where he shoots his pistols.
An old Ford tractor sits to the side, its seat beneath a red square awning rigged to keep Eddie out of the sun.
“Those clouds,” Eddie says in his gravely voice. “Winds come through these canyons and tear them apart. It was like that when I got the place 40 years ago. This is the Angry Acre, and that’s why I bought it.”
Opening the door to my stepsister’s big blue Oldsmobile I ask Eddie if the woman was worth the running and if he would do it again.
“Was it worth it? Hell yeah it was worth it,” Eddie says. “And would I do it again? You betcha.”
Author’s note: Despite the fragmentation between the current Ohio-based Horsemen and the California-based original horsemen whom Eddie said he joined, I inquired about Eddie through the club’s current main chapter.
Prior to publishing I sent an email through the IHMC website asking if a club historian might be able to speak to the likelihood of Eddie’s tale. An unnamed individual from the club left me a voicemail after this story was published, saying the club did not operate with patches at the time Eddie mentions. The voicemail went on to say, “Whoever is feeding you this is bullshitting you. So don’t print it.”
Unable to verify either version, it’s impossible to know which is more truthful, but what is published above is a factual retelling of Eddie’s story. Look for our upcoming piece on mountain survivalists for a greater understanding of life in the “high country” where Eddie lives now.
Restorative justice is a new movement in the fields of victimology and criminology. It is a way to acknowledge that crime causes injury to people and communities. It insists that justice repair those injuries and that the parties be permitted to participate in that process. Restorative justice programs, therefore, enable the victim, the offender and affected members of the community to be directly involved in responding to the crime. They become central to the criminal justice process, with governmental and legal professionals serving as facilitators of a system that aims at offender accountability, reparation to the victim and full participation by the victim, offender and community. The restorative process of involving all parties – often in face-to-face meetings – is a powerful way of addressing not only the material and physical injuries caused by crime, but the social, psychological and relational injuries as well.
A definition of restorative justice in simple terms is this: Restorative justice is a way of seeing crime as more than breaking the law – it also causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. So a just response must address those harms as well. If they are willing, the best way to do this is for the parties themselves to meet to discuss the harms and how to about bring resolution. (Other approaches are available if they are unable or unwilling to meet.) Sometimes those meetings lead to transformational changes in their lives.