Nevada Has An Innovative Idea For How To Right Wrongful Convictions

This comes from ThinkProgress, with thanks to Tonja Brown:

on April 2, 2015

Nolan Klein spent the last 21 years of his life in prison on a life sentence that he never stopped fighting.

Klein claimed a witness misidentified him in a photo lineup and he had nothing to do with the 1988 robbery and sexual assault that occurred in a Payless shoe store in Sparks, Nevada. His sister has continued advocating for his innocence, even after his death.

Courts have denied him a posthumous exoneration, but lawmakers in Nevada introduced legislation with bipartisan support last week which would have helped Klein fight his wrongful conviction and could grant an exoneration after his death, his sister, Tonja Brown, told ThinkProgress. The bill, AB 401, would make Nevada the second state in the nation to allow the creation of separate courts that would re-examine possible wrongful convictions.

“If this bill existed, Nolan Klein and others like him could have their cases heard,” said Brown, who also wrote about her story in an exhibit attached to AB 401. “It would allow all evidence that was not presented at trial that may have been hidden from the defense, newly discovered evidence that was overlooked, DNA evidence to be tested and witnesses that were never investigated.”

To date, there have been 329 people exonerated by DNA testing in the United States, with the average exoneree serving 14 years in prison. Since 2003, prisoners in Nevada can petition the court for DNA testing, but creating a separate court would allow judges to examine all of the available evidence and other information that may have been withheld in the original trial that convicted an innocent person.

The jury in Klein’s case was only shown around 20 exhibits — a small portion of the evidence that was available to the defense counsel, Brown said.

Read the rest here…

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Lawless America Movie Interview: Tonya Frances Brown for Nolan Klein in Carson City, Nevada

Please watch this powerful and enraging video featuring Tonja Brown, Nolan Klein’s sister, who fought and still fights hard to battle injustice done to her brother and also to fight for basic human rights of others still inside.
On Sept. 20th, please remember Nolan Klein, an innocent man who died in 2009 on that day, while still in prison, all because evidence that could have exonerated him, lay hidden and was never presented by the prosecution.

www.justicefornolanklein.net

Lawless America Movie Interview: Tonya Frances Brown for Nolan Klein in Carson City, Nevada.

Nolan Klein is dead. He died in the Nevada State Prison. He was wrongfully convicted. He spent 20 years in prison and died there, an innocent man.

Nolan Klein wrote a letter expressing his feelings about the corruption that he experienced. Nolan Klein speaks to us from Heaven through his sister, Tonja Frances Brown.

Lawless America…The Movie is all about exposing the fact that we now live in Lawless America. We no longer have laws that are enforced because judges do whatever they want to do. America has also become lawless because government officials are dishonest and/or corrupt.

The movie will expose corruption in every state. The Movie will focus on victims. Corrupt judges and corrupt government officials will be exposed, and we will confront a number of the crooks.

If anyone has ever questioned the story of a person who has expressed the view that they were a victim of the government or of judges, this movie will prove that the odds are that the corruption report was true. In fact, there are probably tens of millions of victims in the United States who never realized what happened to them.

One feature length documentary movie is being produced. It will be shown in theaters, on Netflix, Blockbuster, and other such video places, and the movie will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals.

In addition, videos will be produced for each state and for each type of corruption. Everyone who is interviewed for the film will record a three-minute segment that will be done as testimony before Congress as well as a 30-60 minute on-camera interview with Bill Windsor, founder of LawlessAmerica.com and GRIP, and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislators in each state will receive the testimony from those in their state, and the members of the U.S. House and Senate will receive all of the testimony nationwide.

Over 750 people are already scheduled to be interviewed for the movie.

For more information, see www.LawlessAmerica.com and www.Facebook.com/lawlessamerica

Audit Seeks Answers about Prison Sentences in Nevada

From: MyNews4, Reported by Joe Hart, on July 16th to 18th, 2012:

Prison officials first told News Four in March there was no need to track possible computer mistakes that may be keeping inmates locked up longer than they should be.

“Some people would probably say yes but what’s the point of tracking them as long as you fix them ?”  Steve Suwe told us at the time. Suwe is the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections.
But state lawmakers have a different view.  Now, the Department of Corrections is facing its first ever audit to find out whether a computer glitch may be adding false charges to inmates records.

State Assemblyman William Horne, who chairs the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice called for the audit after questioning prison officials about the issue.

“We need to find out whether this is actually happening and if so, we need to correct it,” Horne told News 4.
The issue dates back to 2007  when the Department of Corrections switched over to a new computer system.  Prison officials told us the new system got tripped up when calculating certain types of sentences, 
especially those with indefinite terms such as ten years to life.

 News four obtained a copy of a deposition from a lawsuit filed on behalf of former inmate Nolan Klein.
Former warden and deputy director at NDOC Don Helling testified in his deposition last year that quote  “All of the old data was flipped over into the new information system and when the information was flipped, errors occurred.”

But prison officials say even if errors did happen they were caught and corrected.  They insist no inmate has ever served extra time because of a computer mistake.

“We haven’t found one case where the computer has added a sentence,” said Rex Reed, who oversees inmate management for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

But state lawmakers say they’re aren’t satisfied with the answers they have received from the Department of Corrections. In fact in his letter to the Legislative Counsel Bureau dated June 14th, Assemblyman Horne wrote:  “I have not received any satisfactory answers.”

 Horne’s letter asks the audit division to find out:

-whether any errors showed up on inmates records as a result of the computer switchover in 2007.
-whether any errors turned up on records reported to the parole board.
-how the department of corrections resolves complaints about inmate records.
-and whether changes are needed to improve the d-o-c’s computerized offender tracking system.

Horne says the audit could be just the first step.

Read the rest here: http://www.mynews4.com/content/news/factfinder/story/Audit-Seeks-Answers-about-Prison-Sentences-in/lST19yH4jEOBahgdNcAkjg.cspx

Carson City Woman Counting on Prison Audit for Answers

From: MyNews4, reported by Joe Hart, on July 16-18th, 2012

Tonja Brown of Carson City says a computer glitch is the reason her brother Nolan Klein died in prison.
 Klein was convicted of rape in 1988 and served 21 years.  He died while serving time at the age of 54.
  But Brown— who recently won a $50,000 settlement from the state after claiming her brother received inadequate medical care in prison, says Nolan should have been released.  She says a computer glitch kept him from getting paroled.

“Because the day before  the computer glitch  went into effect we had it in writing by the attorney general he was not a threat to society,” Brown told News 4.

In fact a letter, dated june 4 of 2007, from Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recommended that quote “Klein be afforded parole at the earliest parole eligibility dates.”

But the very next month in July of 2007,  Klein was denied parole.  At the time the parole board was not required to give a reason for its actions.   But a copy of Klein’s record shows two felony convictions dated June 5 of 2007.   The month before Klein came up for parole and the same month the department of corrections switched over to a new computer system.   Brown says a computer glitch was to blame since her brother was — in prison — in June of 2007.

“Clearly he did not commit a crime in June of 2007,” Brown said.

But prison officials insist no inmate has been impacted by a computer glitch.

So we asked Rex Reed, head of the offender management division for the prison system to explain how these new charges showed up on Klein’s record in 2007.
   
“That was one of those instances where the date was changed from the from the actual that the crime occurred and was stamped with the date of the new computer system,” Reed told News 4.

Read the rest here:

http://www.mynews4.com/content/news/factfinder/story/Carson-City-Woman-Counting-on-Prison-Audit-for/b0h_pejRxEmqKEiCet4UCA.cspx

Audit of Nevada Prison Sentences underway

From: CarsonNow on 16th July 2012

Tonja Brown of Carson City says a computer glitch is the reason her brother Nolan Klein died in prison.
But Brown — who recently won a $50,000 settlement from the state after claiming her brother received inadequate medical care in prison — says Nolan should have been released. She says a computer glitch kept him from getting paroled.

Protest against the Attorney General of Nevada’s Office

Tonja Brown:
We protested against the Attorney General’s Office for withholding evidence in cases.
The actual banner is 4′ x 130′.

Press release about the action:

I will be joining Ty Robben along with others for a protest at the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday at noon. Due to the investigative reporting by Joe Hart and Geoff Dornan regarding the computer glitch that has caused inmates to have false felony charges placed in their files, the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice has called for an examination into computer glitch.

What the Advisory Commission does not know is how the Attorney General’s Office is, in part, responsible for the denials in at least one former inmate, Nolan Klein’s Parole and a Pardon, because, their office withheld exculpatory evidence from Mr. Klein and the federal court in the 2005 case of Klein v Helling. These Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office and being compounded by the computer glitch resulted in Mr. Klein’s Paroles, a Pardon, his freedom and his fife.

I anxiously await the results from the Examination that was order by Assemblyman Horne on March 7, 2012. On April 17, 2012 I will turn over the exculpatory evidence and show the Commission the irreparable harm this has caused Mr. Klein and his family.

The Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office has placed the intregity of the Attorney General’s Office in question. I have asked the Governor to contact the the United States Justice Department to investigation the Atttorney General’s Office for civil rights violations.

Tonja Brown

Read it in the Nevada Appeal (subscription is needed)…

See further: New Blog about State employees

Press Release to the Board of Pardons concerning People who Maintain Innocence in Nevada

Press Release by Tonja Brown concerning the PARDONS BOARD
Today the Board of Pardons will convene and have Public Comments too. Here is the Agenda for today’s meeting. More information and documents available about Nolan Klein’s case at: justicefornolanklein.com

This will be placed on the record at the Pardons Board hearing under Public Comment.

Over the years I have attended several of the Pardons Board hearings and meetings. I believe the last Pardons Board I had attended, placed on the Agenda was the Board to consider accepting those who maintain innocence. It was not excepted. Again, today, I ask that you adopt a policy to allow those who maintain innocence a chance at their freedom and not have to die in prison because of an Over-Zealous Prosecutor wanting to get and keep a conviction at all cost.

Perhaps with this new development and the loss of an innocent man, Nolan Klein, the Pardons Board will now except those who maintain innocence to be allowed to appear before them.

New information has come to light with regard to those who have maintained innocence, including, Nolan Klein, as well as others. For instance, recently, I have hired a private investigator and he has located the prime suspect the police believed had committed the crime that Nolan Klein was wrongfully convicted of. This exculpatory evidence on the prime suspect was withheld from the defense, the victims and the jury.

This prime suspect has admitted that he had knowledge about this crime (The Payless Shoe Store) as well as the other crimes the police believed were committed by the same person. We know that Mr. Klein was not charged or convicted of those crimes because, those victims had cleared Mr. Klein, however, none of these victims knew about this suspect. We’ve always wondered what this suspect looked like. After 23 years later he still resembles the composite sketches and Nolan Klein never did. Prime suspect report attached.

As I listened to what the Investigator and the suspect had to say I found it interesting that when the prime suspect went to inquired into this crime that Mr. Klein was convicted he was told by the police that they picked up a person and they put him away for a long time. That person was Nolan Klein.

As you may recall Nolan Klein appeared before you on October 29, 2008, Although Nolan Klein’s attorney’s did submit to the board the evidence of Washoe County District Attorney, Dick Gammick admitting that they opened up the DNA and tested it and we demanded to know where the results were that were hidden from the us. You denied Nolan a pardon. Shortly thereafter, Nolan Klein’s attorney’s filed in Washoe County a Motion to compel Gammick to turn over the test results. In May 2009 Judge Adams ordered Gammick to turn over the test results and the entire file in Nolan’s case. On June 10, 2009 the entire file was turned over and the rest is history. I want you to know this before you decide to dismiss the Petition for Exoneration. During the June 24, 2009 Pardons Board hearing I provided you the evidence that was found hiding in the DA’s file. See Writ of Mandamus attached.

I have provided this Pardons Board with a list of Defendants names to one degree or another who have had their constitutional rights violated by the Washoe County District Attorney Office, for example, ADA Steven Barker for Discovery violations on withholding exculpatory evidence. In one particular case DNA that exonerated the person.

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Interim/75th2009/Exhibits/AdminJustice/E062310E.pdf
Gammick, Justice Hardesty, AG Masto sat on the Advisory Commission when I presented the cases of ADA Barker. They did absolutely nothing with regard to Mr. Barker.

I anticipate that the NV Supreme Court will dismiss this Petition for Exoneration again, because, that is what they do.

Writ of Mandamus that I filed in Washoe County and then appealed. Geoff did the story last year.
http://washoecourts.com/index.cfm?page=casedesc&case_id=cv10-01057&Submit=Submit

2011 The NV Supreme Court dismissed the Writ for practicing law without a license; however, they are the ones who gave me permission to proceed.
http://caseinfo.nvsupremecourt.us/public/caseView.do?csIID=25404

filed by licensed attorney Petition for Exoneration http://washoecourts.com/index.cfm?page=casedesc&case_id=cr88-1692&Submit=Submit

Nolan Klein’s case is still pending before the NV Supreme Court

Regarding ADA Washoe County District Attorney Office. It should be noted that DA Dick Gammick responded to me when I asked him in August 2010 why we continued to employ Mr. Barker. Apparently it is perfectly acceptable for the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office to violate one’s Constitutional Rights even if it costs an innocent person his or her life, just as long as they get and keep that conviction! ( I have Gammick on video at the Republican Jewish Coalitition, Aug. 2010)

Steven Barker continues to violate Discovery by refusing to turn over inculpatory and exculpatory evidence in cases.

Case 1 – CR09-0158 – State v Felipe Henriqez
Filed September 3, 2009
Discovery violations and or prosecutorial misconduct

Case 2 – CR06-1733 – State v Joshua Leo Davey
Filed Order – January 23, 2007 by Judge Jan Berry
The court has conferred with the State Bar on Steven Barker on Discovery Violations
Filed June 20, 2007 Judge Berry ‘s Order.

Case 3 RCR09- 049502 State Kirk Masten
November 19, 2009
Been caught on multiple occasions hiding evidence violating Discovery laws and rules The Supreme Court Justices Hardesty, Pickering, Saitta issued an Order stating that “deprived a defendant of a fair trial. Further misconduct by Barker could lead to a referral to the State Bar of Nevada.”

CC: Judge Connie Steinheimer, AG Masto , DA Dick Gammick, Washoe County Public Defender.

Tonja Brown
2907 Lukens Lane
Carson City, NV 89706
671-5037

Woman aims to prove innocence of brother, who died in prison

By Carri Geer Thevenot
in:LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Posted: Mar. 21, 2011

Nolan Klein died in a Carson City prison on Sept. 20, 2009, more than two decades after a jury convicted him of armed robbery and rape.
But that hasn’t stopped his sister from seeking justice for him.

Tonja Brown has shared her story with just about anybody who will listen.
She maintains a website, justicefornolanklein.com, and has helped write a book, “To Prove His Innocence.”

She has staged public protests. And most recently, she has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the state of Nevada.

“Had he received proper medical care, Nolan Klein would have received a new trial, and he would have been exonerated,” the Carson City woman said . “There’s no doubt about it.”

Brown, 50, filed the federal lawsuit in October in Reno and is seeking at least $1 million in damages.

According to an amended complaint, filed in January, her brother suffered from hemochromatosis, an inherited condition that causes the body to absorb too much iron.

“As a direct result of the negligence of the Nevada Department of Corrections, Nolan Klein lost his life and died an agonizing death without treatment and proper medication,” the document alleges.
Prison officials wouldn’t comment, but their lawyers denied the allegation in an answer to the amended complaint.

Brown is represented by Reno lawyers Robert Hager and Treva Hearne. In her lawsuit, Brown alleges the DNA evidence that could have cleared her brother in the rape case “was compromised while in the custody of the Washoe County evidence room.”

“This was a case of mistaken identity,” she said.
Klein was sentenced to life in prison for robbing a Payless ShoeSource in Sparks and raping the store manager at knifepoint. The crime occurred in May 1988.

Brown said Klein was living with her family in Carson City at the time, and his girlfriend was living in Reno with the couple’s infant son.
If Brown can easily recite all the details of Klein’s criminal case, so can Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick, who bristled when asked about it.

“I’ve been listening to her for 23 years,” Gammick said.
He then tersely recounted the history of the case, including all of Klein’s failed appeals and requests for parole.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that he was guilty,” Gammick said.
After becoming district attorney in 1995, Gammick said, he researched all the issues Brown had raised and “told her none of them held water.”

Brown chooses to believe in a “mass conspiracy,” the district attorney said.
When asked about Brown’s claims regarding DNA evidence in the case, Gammick said investigators had no DNA evidence to test. A cigarette butt collected as evidence “was never tied to the scene,” he said.

An attempt to ask follow-up questions was greeted with a dial tone. Gammick did not respond to a message left at his office after the call was disconnected.
According to Brown’s lawsuit, Klein “was condemned to death by incarceration because of the policy and practice of the Nevada State Department of Corrections in operating its prison facility and in punishing those inmates who are successful at litigation.”

Klein attended paralegal training while incarcerated and filed several complaints against the correctional system and the city of Sparks, according to Brown’s lawsuit, which said that some of his litigation succeeded.

Brown’s lawsuit further alleges that the state “refuses to provide reasonable medical care to its inmates proven by a recent history of unnatural deaths and suffering by inmates within the Nevada prison system litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union.”

The ACLU of Nevada filed a class-action lawsuit against the state in 2008 after the organization’s doctor, William Noel, met with and studied the records of 35 inmates at Ely State Prison.

Noel called the care for inmates “the most shocking and callous disregard for human life and human suffering” he had encountered in the medical profession.
The ACLU of Nevada received $325,000 in legal fees when the case settled last year.

This month, the organization released a 68-page report titled “Not Fit For Human Consumption or Habitation: Nevada’s Prisons in Crisis.”
The report claims overcrowding and understaffing are preventing Nevada prisons from meeting the basic human needs of those they incarcerate.

Read the rest here.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit in case for Nolan Klein´s wrongful death

From Justicefornolanklein.com:

This Wrongful Death Suit will allow Nolan’s innocence to continue on.

One of the damages: Newly discovered evidence found in the Washoe County District Attorney’s file has been hidden since Nolan’s arrest.

Now a jury will hear the facts of Nolan’s criminal case and it will no longer be left up to the Courts that continue to protect the wrongdoings of the Washoe County DA’s office.

See here for the complete text of the suit.

Changing the AG for justice’ sake

Soon there will be elections for a new Attorney General in Nevada.
The AG is a part of the Board of Prison Commissioners, and therefore will have influence on the prison system, rules and regulations, etc. Also, the AG has to defend the conduct of the State when prisoners with serious civil rights claims and abuses challenge the state in court, as has so often been the case over the years.

So maybe for the sake of justice, ethics and human rights concerns, we could all choose someone for the position of AG who will be constructive with the civil and human rights of those in prisons and who are already being punished by taking their freedom. They have families and loved ones who are our neighbors and friends, maybe we are them…

If we choose someone with these qualities, it will not only good for the ‘most despised’, but even more for those in the free world. Besides, it will cost much less in tax payers money if prisoners do not have to go to the courts anymore to claim their rights. Could this be a win-win situation?

Here is a word from someone whose brother became a victim all over again from the current A.G., Masto’s inadequate ways:

“Just to remind you that AG Masto conspired to conceal a crime. The crime was that the prosecuting attorney, Ron Rachow, withheld the evidence from the defense that showed that SPD believed that someone else was responsible for the crime that Nolan Klein was convicted of 22 years ago.

Masto was given the documents 3 months before Nolan Klein’s death and she kept quiet about the evidence found in the file.

She continued to fight Nolan’s appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals knowing that she had been given the newly discovered evidence that supported Nolan’s claims in the 9th Circuit.

Masto then violated ADKT 427.

A Writ of Mandamus was filed on this new regulation and Oral Arguments were heard on Sept. 30.

We are waiting for a decision from Judge Flanagan.

Read this story. If there are to be any changes then we must vote for Travis Barrick for Attorney General.”

Here a short audio-clip of candidate for AG Travis Barrick on the Nevada News Bureau website.

Read the article in the Nevada News Bureau here.