[Ppnews] Ed Poindexter seeks review of Nebraska ruling over COINTELPRO influenced trial
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 11 14:20:08 EDT 2010
Ed Poindexter seeks federal review of Nebraska
Supreme Court over COINTELPRO influenced trial
June 11, 1:52 PM · Michael Richardson - COINTELPRO Examiner
Edward Poindexter, the former head of the Omaha,
Nebraska chapter of the Black Panthers, has filed
a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S.
District Court of Nebraska. Poindexters petition
seeks an order reversing his illegal conviction
and sentence for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman.
Imprisoned forty years for the bombing death of
patrolman Larry Minard, Poindexter and his
co-defendant Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice)
were convicted following a controversial trial
tainted by COINTELPRO tactics. Operation
COINTELPRO, the Federal Bureau of Investigations
illegal war on American political activists, was
unknown to the public at the time of Minards
death and was officially terminated shortly after Poindexters 1971 trial.
At the heart of Poindexters current appeal is a
recording of the 911 call that lured Minard to
his death in a vacant house. The recording of the
killer was withheld from the defense and sent to
FBI headquarters where director J. Edgar Hoover
secretly ordered the head of the FBI crime lab to
not prepare a report on the tape.
The Omaha field office of the FBI had been under
pressure from Hoover for months to take
counterintelligence action against the Panther
leadership and both Ed Poindexter and Mondo we
Langa were targets of the undercover agents.
In order to pin the bombing on the two Panther
leaders it was necessary to get the evidence of
the real killer, the 911 caller, out of the way.
Hoover gave the order to the crime lab, with the
apparent concurrence of acting police chief Glen
Gates, before Minards body was laid to rest.
The sordid details of the COINTELPRO manipulation
of the investigation and trial did not emerge
until years later under Freedom of Information
requests. Poindexters petition tells the sad
story of his attempt to gain a new trial in the state court system.
The Omaha Police Department has tape recorded
the 911 call of August 17, 1970, but at the 1971
trial, no evidence was presented concerning the
911 tape. The trial jury was not able to listen
to the voice of the 911 caller because the
prosecution failed to disclose evidence of a
taped recording of the call. The only significant
evidence implicating Poindexter was given to them
by then 16 year old Duane Peak, who claimed he
had made the call, and who gave contradictory
testimony at the preliminary hearing and trial.
Omaha police destroyed the original tape
following the trial but a dispatchers copy
emerged years later. Finally, after decades in
jail, Poindexter was able to hear the voice of
Minards killer and immediately recognized the
voice was not that of Peak. The tape was
submitted to internationally renowned voice
expert Tom Owen who has been an expert witness 180 times in 41 states.
Owen compared the 911 call and Peaks voice on
the voice exemplar from a digital perspective
transferred onto Owen;s computer. Owen utilized a
12-step methodology for voice identification
using the aural method, and completed a
.Owen made several spectrographs for
comparative purposes and concluded there was a
difference in pitch between Duane Peaks known
voice and the voice on the 911 tape and an
obvious difference in the sound of the voices.
Also testifying was attorney David Herzog,
counsel for David Rice [Mondo we Langa] in the
joint trial, who stated unequivocally that
defense counsel were not aware of the existence
of the 911 tape, much less police reports, which
illustrated the tape had been played for critical
State witnesses. Herzog further testified that if
defense counsel has been aware of the 911 tape,
the defense tactics at trial would have been very
different. A critical police report kept from
Attorney Herzog was an exhibit which illustrated
that Duane Peaks brother, Donnie Peak, was
identified as possibly the 911 caller by Annie
Norris, a key prosecution witness at the 1971
trial. Herzog testified that if the report had
been available to him, he also would have known
the police had possession of a 911 recording of Duanes voice.
Prosecutorial misconduct denied Poindexter due
process of law guaranteed by the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.
At Poindexters trial, the prosecutions key
witness, Duane Peak, who claimed he made the 911
call, was the only witness implicating Poindexter in the murder.
The prosecution withheld from Poindexters
counsel vital information regarding the 911 call
that lured the Omaha Police Department to the
abandoned house and officer Minard to his death,
in spite of counsels request and the courts
order, that all such information be disclosed.
The prosecution failed to inform the defense
counsel that the 911 call had been recorded, or
to make a copy available to defense counsel, so
that they could listen to the tape and/or to
conduct their own analysis of the tape.
The prosecution failed to inform defense counsel
that it sent a copy of the 911 call tape to the
FBI for voice identification, and that the FBI
would only provide a verbal report on its
analysis, depriving defense counsel of that information.
The prosecution failed to inform defense counsel
that it advised the FBI, after Duane Peak claimed
to have made the 911 call, that any use of the
tape before the end of the trial could be
prejudicial to the murder trial of Poindexter and his co-defendant.
The prosecution failed to disclose to defense
counsel, the court or the jury that it had made
an explicit or tacit agreement to prosecute Duane
Peak with leniency and as a juvenile, in exchange
for his testimony that he had made the 911 call
and that Poindexter and his co-defendant were
responsible for making the bomb that killed Officer Minard.
Duane Peak, the confessed killer, was released
from custody after approximately 33 months in
juvenile detention and now lives in the state of Washington.
The unknown 911 caller has never been identified or charged for the murder.
Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa are imprisoned
in the maximum-security Nebraska State
Penitentiary where they are serving life
sentences. Both men steadfastly maintain their innocence.
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