Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fine article in Northern Virginia Daily by Alex Bridges / also my Letter to the Editor

[CLICK on article image to link to article.]
Friends of Liberty and Justice for ALL in America,

Alex, Thanks for an informative article. You are following in the fine tradition of former NV Daily reporters Darcy Spencer and Brian Root.

Words have meaning, and the term "Convicted killer" seems a bit wide of the mark.

I do not know exactly what to suggest because it is a problem with the less than honest use of words by the Courts, and so reporters on the Courts are somewhat stuck in using the deceptive language of lawyers.

I believe that you may know that many if not most of the Innocent Men exonerated and released from Jail have been freed by the work of journalists not jurists or lawyers.

Anyway, thanks again for your fine reporting.

For Equal Justice in Virginia,

James Renwick Manship, Sr.

Dear Editor of Letters to the Editor:

(Post headline of story you're commenting on here)
Court reporter seeks presidential pardon for convicted killer

Dear Editor of Letters to the Editor:

Northern Virginia Daily reporter Alex Bridges has done another informative article. Previous NV Daily reporters Darcy Spencer and Brian Root are the only (other) sources of light and truth in this dark stain on the integrity of the Courts of Winchester.

My only quibble is the confusion of language because of the Procedures of the Court, you know "legal-ese" intentional confusion of the facts.

Jeff Washington was not really "Convicted" and was NEVER the "killer", the Forensic Evidence if seen by the Jury or by Jeff would have PROVEN Jeff's Innocence.

In this Jeff Washington case an Alford Plea is better described as "NOT GUILTY but will submit to a Prison Sentence rather than Risk a Death Sentence, given the lack of effective defense by my defense counsel."

But the Prosecutor, Democrat Paul Thomson, working in concert with Jeff's "Defense Counsel" John Prosser forced a "Coerced Confession" Alford Plea AFTER opening arguments AFTER the JURY was seated.

The day AFTER the Coerced Confession "Alford Plea", Prosecutor Thomson admitted to a Northern Virginia Daily reporter that the scientific evidence to link Jeff Washington to the murder was lacking.

see a copy of that article at:

By the 1970 U.S. supreme Court opinion by Justice White in North Carolina v. Alford, to be a VALID "Alford Plea" TWO REQUIREMENTS MUST BE PRESENT:
(1) Evidence against the Accused.
THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE AGAINST JEFF WASHINGTON - NO Gun Shot Residue Tests, NO fingerprints, NO DNA samples, NO body fluids, NO hair fibers, NOTHING, NADA, ZILCH.
Therefore on that basis alone the so-called Thomson-Prosser manipulated "Alford Plea" is UN-Constitutional per the Supreme Court 1970 Alford Opinion.

Then there is the second requirement:
(2) Competent Counsel.
A first year law student, or even better if allowed by Virginia "Unauthorized Practice of Law" Statutes, a Pro Se "Assistance of Counsel" could have gained an acquittal from a Jury who must decide on "BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT" to convict Jeff Washington of the murder.

IF the Gun Shot Residue Tests, that is to say scientific or Forensic Evidence on TWO tests showed NO Gun Shot Residue on Jeff Washington but POSITIVE on Prosecutor Thomson's star witness against Washington, namely John Doleman, what JURY in America would convict Jeff Washington?

The only reason Jeff Washington is in jail is because his Defense Counsel and the Prosecutor did a mind game on his mother by their Opening Statements to frighten her into begging her son to take an Alford Plea, that he had for weeks previously rejected when his Defense Counsel Prosser pushed for that.

Prosser certainly was Competent Counsel -- for the Prosecution, not for Jeff Washington.

For Equal Justice in Virginia,

James Renwick Manship, Sr.

Court Reporter
Investigative Journalist
Member, Society of Professional Journalists
President, The Virginia Chronicle
newspaper, 2003-2004

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Court reporter seeks presidential pardon for convicted killer

{NOT "convicted killer", coerced confession Alford Plea...}

Washington serving 70-year sentence

By Alex Bridges -- Daily Staff Writer

WINCHESTER — Jeffrey Washington's fight against a murder conviction and lengthy prison sentence made it to the White House this week.

Court reporter James Renwick Manship Sr. sent a letter to President Bush seeking a pardon for Washington, who was convicted in 1995 of murdering Carlos Marshall at a city residence the year before.

{NOT "Convicted killer", coerced confession Alford Plea yet NO evidence to link Washington to the crime!}

Washington is serving a 70-year prison term for the crime.

Manship cites in documents and in interviews that the commonwealth forced an Alford plea out of Washington in order to receive a conviction. An Alford plea means that the defendant does not admit guilt outright but agrees that prosecutors have enough evidence and therefore does not want to risk being convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

Manship on Monday said he sent the letter and a number of documents concerning the case to the White House on Friday by express mail in hopes of next-day delivery. He also faxed nine pages of the documents he mailed to the White House.

Along with the letter, Manship sent material that he said shows Washington's innocence, including forensic evidence from the case.

In early September, Manship sent a similar request to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. However, as recently as Monday, Manship said Kaine's office asked for the original letter that would state whether Washington wanted Manship to seek the pardon. Manship said he had previously sent it by certified mail.

The request for a pardon from Kaine cites the case of Walter Snyder, a man convicted of rape but later cleared by DNA evidence and then pardoned by then Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.

In his letter to Bush, Manship cites the case of Earl Washington Jr., who is no relation to Jeffrey Washington, in which the man also was exonerated by DNA evidence. In 2000, then-Gov. Jim Gilmore pardoned Washington.

However, Gov. Mark R. Warner did not pardon Washington in 2002, Manship said in the letter and, as of yet, neither has Kaine.

Manship said he was given no timeline as to when or if Bush or other officials would consider the pardon request.

Manship said he would have hoped the pardon could have been granted by Election Day and might even have helped Gilmore's campaign against Warner for U.S. Senate had it been granted.

But Manship added that Kaine might not have granted a pardon since his predecessor did not.

"So, to a certain extent I decided that working with current governor, based on the Catch-22 feedback I was getting ... I'm gonna continue to work with them, but it seems like they [Kaine and Warner] were not capable of making the decision prior to the election, and maybe the president would, and that's why I asked the president."

Manship may pursue other routes.

"The reality is that if there is not a pardon granted pretty soon, I'm going to work with people who are capable of doing so in bringing lawsuits against lots of people in Winchester for violations of Virginia law," he said. "I'm really hoping they go the easy way — easy for them, easy for me, easy for Jeff and easy for everybody."

* Contact Alex Bridges at abridges@nvdaily.com