CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Retired Detectives are Volunteering to Review Cold Cases

From From Los Angeles to Maryland, the hot trend in cold cases is special units of retired detectives who are coaxed off the golf course to comb old files for new leads.

These retreaded sleuths usually work two days a week as unpaid volunteers to bone up on DNA evidence and other new wrinkles in a case. They combine science with their street savvy in questioning witnesses to relieve overloaded staff detectives of some of law enforcement's most tedious work.

Police agencies nationwide "are recognizing that these old cases are not to be filed away and lost," says Max Houck, director of a forensic science program at West Virginia University. "Many of them can be rejuvenated. Retired investigators have time to go back and reflect on interviews and photographs." Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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Stephen Pina - #W-60009

"Who's Next to be Falsely Accused ???"

When will justice prevail? Can't afford a private attorney? Automatic conviction. Does our law really favor the rich? Of course it does; the affluent get the best legal help. Are public defenders able to defend with caseloads of over 700 cases each? Of course not; it is an impossible task.

Are there people being wrongly accused and convicted for crimes they have not committed? Definitely, my name is Stephen Pina and I am one of them.

Steve is Innocent:

The story above is something that continues to reoccur. This is a case that has an innocent man in prison because of mistaken identity and irresponsible investigation on the part of the police and the prosecutor.

Case Info:

On Friday, February 26, 1993, in the Boston Mission Hill Development at approximately 8:45 pm, two men were shot; one man later died. Seven months later I was charged with first-degree murder. After three years and two trials, the first ending in a hung jury, after four days of deliberation and the second ending after six days of deliberation, I was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole; however, I was never charged with shooting and wounding the second man. This man was shot by the same person and with the same weapon. The wounded man stated that Steve had not shot them NOR was he the killer. He further stated to the police that they had the wrong man; however he was never used as a witness. This would have weakened the prosecutor's case. The prosecutor's case relied on the testimony of TWO WITNESSES WITH "SUBSTANTIAL CRIMINAL RECORDS, HISTORY OF DRUG ABUSE, AND EQUIVOCAL INITIAL IDENTIFICATIONS OF THE SHOOTER." The key witness, while HIGH ON CRACK COCAINE AFTER BEING ARRESTED IN A CRACK HOUSE IDENTIFIED ME AS THE SHOOTER. This identification was made from the same photo array shown five months earlier. At that time while sober, she did not identify me as the shooter. Their testimonies did not go unrewarded for the prosecution.

The police knew of four other suspects, two of these had been robbed by the same homicide victim earlier that day. Minutes later when asked by the police did they want to press charges, one of them replied, "FUCK-IT, I'LL TAKE CARE OF IT MYSELF LATER."

Three hours later Keith Robinson was murdered. The other two suspects, who the police knew had the gun that was used at the time of the homicide, and whose names they had, never investigated any further. The gun was recovered, yet the fingerprints were deemed insufficient. I don't believe the gun was properly tested, had it been, the prosecutor would have had no case because they would have known my prints were not on that gun.

In Conclusion

I am seeking any support to getting a new trial. Please don't let another crime be irresponsibly investigated. This could happen to anyone without the resources for a proper defense. I have included some of the police reports for your viewing (click on Exhibits - upper right column). I will try to add more reports in the future.

To help with this process, feel free to send me an email (see my personal ad for email link) to let me know what reports you would like to see. I encourage and welcome organization support and all suggestions and ideas. Please show your support to the:

Posted by: Stephen Pina | Jun 6, 2008 3:27:54 PM

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