New Evidence of David Flores' Innocence

The Des Moines Register has an update in the case of David Flores (discussed here).

[A]t least three people ... have independently come forward since Flores' appeals were exhausted in 2003 to say another man was likely responsible for Davis' death as a result of a gang-related fight. ... [Rob] Warden said he's never heard of an alleged wrongful conviction case in which three separate people came forward independently to name another suspect.

"There's an extremely high probability that he's innocent," said Warden, whose [Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law] has helped exonerate dozens of people. "The fact that you now have three people who don't have any connection to each other and no discernible motive to do anything but tell the truth is just extremely persuasive."

[more ...]

He added: "Given the fact there's no physical evidence linking Flores to the crime, and that he's always professed his innocence from the beginning ... it's almost inconceivable that these witnesses could be mistaken or not telling the truth."

All three witnesses link Rafael Robinson to the shooting. One admits that he helped Robinson flee from Iowa after Robinson accidentally shot the victim. Another, Robinson's ex-girlfriend, "said Robinson told her he accidentally shot Davis while firing at men he had been feuding with."

Robinson was identified as a suspect in an FBI report that the DA's office admits wasn't provided to Flores before or during his trial.

Flores' hearing on his request for a new trial had been scheduled for June 30 but will likely be postponed as the factual investigation continues.

< State Polling of Obama-McCain Race: A Realistic Assessment | Pellicano Seeks New Trial >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    this case does seem to just get (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 03:57:10 PM EST
    curiouser and curiouser.

    i doubt mr. flores' was a choir boy, but i sort of like it when people actually commit the crimes they're convicted of, it raises my comfort level.

    there may well be nothing of substance at all in those case files, but the refusal to release them does create the suspicion that the police and prosecutors are attempting to hide exculpatory evidence, that should have been delivered to the defense 12 years ago.

    Re: this case (none / 0) (#6)
    by duncan on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 03:50:42 AM EST
    It should be noted that "not having been a choir boy" is not actually a chargeable offense ;). You're probably right about this, and if I knew the whole truth about Flores' history I would probably be much more comfortable if he were in prison. But, like you, I'd rather see him convicted of a crime he committed as a prelude to said imprisonment.

    I don't think they approve of second guessing ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by cymro on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 05:42:53 PM EST
    ... verdicts:

    I wonder what the prosecution's take on all this is.

    I get the impression that asking anyone from law enforcement (police/DA) how they view such claims is like asking a baseball team's manager how he feels when an opponent disputes an umpire's call. "Three strikes" means three called strikes, regardless of where the ball actually crossed the plate.

    Withholding exculpatory evidence? (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 05:56:30 PM EST
    As my dear old dad loves to say, that really chaps my *ss.

    I have read several articles about this (none / 0) (#5)
    by JSN on Tue Jun 17, 2008 at 08:56:19 PM EST
    case in the Des Moines Register so I would not agree that the evidence was hidden. My general impression is that it was a felony murder case so the the prosecution had to prove David Flores was a participant in the gun fight. Some people claim that the evidence for that was weak. Not weak enough I guess.

    In my opinion a weak felony murder case should not be a class A felony with a LWOP sentence. My guess is that because the victim was a well known person the charge was enhanced to class A from class B.

    The police claim the report was misfiled. (none / 0) (#7)
    by JSN on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 09:23:34 AM EST
    I really wonder how TChris legitimizes his support for eye-witness testimony when it benefits the defendant:
    [A]t least three people ... have independently come forward since Flores' appeals were exhausted in 2003 to say another man was likely responsible for Davis' death as a result of a gang-related fight. [...]

    [One of whom] was an eyewitness who was grazed in the head by a bullet and spoke briefly with one of the occupants of a vehicle involved in the melee.

    Derek Thompson, a teen-ager who admitted he was terrified of testifying at the time, also has said he is willing to give a deposition saying he saw Robinson inside the vehicle from which prosecutors alleged the fatal bullet came, according to court documents filed by the defense.

    but roundly dismisses eye-witness tesitmony as unreliable when it benefits the prosecution:
    This is powerful testimony:

    "It was burned into my mind, my eyes ... what he looked like," the victim in the case, the Rev. Herbert Harrison Sr., testified at the trial. "I made sure that I knew who was trying to take my life."

    Problem is, confidence in the accuracy of an identification doesn't correlate with actual accuracy. [...]

    Wiggins' case is another illustration of the perils of eyewitness identification.

    Of 200 people whose convictions have been overturned on DNA evidence since 1989, the group says, 75 percent were based in part on bad eyewitness testimony. In September, another Hampton man -- Teddy Thompson -- was released after six years when the victim said he misidentified him.

    More on the problem of eyewitness identification here and here, although the Innocence Cases archive is replete with stories of mistaken convictions caused by bad witness ID's


    if Robinson were on trial, (none / 0) (#9)
    by diogenes on Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 11:59:31 AM EST
    If Rafael Robinson had been convicted, these three witnesses would be derided as being soft.