"Dog-sniff evidence has led to wrongful convictions, and studies show human biases skew animal behavior.... Defendants and their lawyers can’t cross-examine a dog, which means the accused cannot scrutinize the evidence or readily confront their accusers, a right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution...."
Unlike the witnesses in this New York murder case, the child-witnesses who helped send Bob Kelly and Dawn Wilson to prison were far too young and impressionable to bear responsibility. But wouldn't it be glorious if now as thirty-somethings they chose to step forward and set the record straight?
"Nationally, shaken baby convictions have come under scrutiny as new evidence challenges the diagnosis, with multiple exonerations.... The scientific research underlying shaken baby syndrome has changed significantly in recent years...."
Mark Montgomery describes the case against Junior: "The prosecutor [the same one who would prosecute Bob Kelly] alleged that Junior would drive off his route to a park by a river, strip the children of their clothes, troop them down to the river, put them in a rowboat, commit various sexual acts, put them back on the bus and take them home."
In the years since Junior's conviction, higher courts have cracked down on overreaching testimony by physicians and psychologists. "Expert vouching" is now inadmissible in the absence of physical evidence “diagnostic of” – not just “consistent with” – sexual abuse.
Just how important was expert vouching in imposing Junior’s two consecutive life sentences?
On all charges supported by expert vouching the jury found him guilty. On all charges not supported by expert vouching it found him not guilty.
February 2012 An update from Mark Montgomery on Junior's appeal:
"There are two prongs to the appeal. First, I am asking the N.C. Supreme Court to simply do the right thing by Junior. The Court said in 2010 that expert testimony like that in Junior’s case is (and was) inadmissible. That being the case, it is fundamentally unfair for Junior to be facing the rest of his life in prison, when many defendants have been freed because this sort of testimony was used against them at trial.
“Second, Junior’s lawyer objected to the testimony but did not raise the issue on appeal. I argued in a motion in Superior Court that the lawyer was ineffective for abandoning the issue. The Superior Court judge denied the motion without a hearing. If the Supreme Court will not itself set aside Junior’s convictions, it should at least require a hearing on trial counsel’s conduct.”
November 2013 After striking out with the N.C. Supreme Court, Mark Montgomery tried the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, which "reviewed Junior’s case but could not find anything that would help him. The ‘kids’ were too young at the time to have anything helpful to say now. Of the two retarded adults who rode Junior’s bus (and testified against him), one is dead and the other incompetent.” On a somewhat more encouraging note, Gov. Beverly Perdue's office has notified him that Junior’s clemency application is being considered.
Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke Medical School, makes a powerful case for Junior in a column in the Raleigh News & Observer:
“Andrew Junior Chandler has been unjustly incarcerated in a North Carolina prison for 27 years, charged with a crime that almost surely never happened….
“Let’s hope that Gov. Pat McCrory will review the mistaken judgment of his misnamed ‘clemency office’ and correct this stain on the reputation of North Carolina justice.”
Exciting news about a Saluda case painfully similar to Junior's....
"Convicted of sexually abusing his three children in a 1994 trial charged with allegations of Satanism, [Michael Alan] Parker was freed after Superior Court Judge Marvin Pope ruled Monday that the medical evidence would no longer be interpreted as proof of sexual abuse. Pope vacated Parker’s sentence and dismissed the charges against him…. "
“Duke law clinic to review 1987 conviction,” reports the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Publication in the Asheville paper is especially welcome for Junior’s friends, family and other supporters in nearby Madison County, who likely haven’t seen the case mentioned in print since his conviction in 1987.
Quite a day. First a good news / bad news seminar at Duke Law School:
If you’re being wrongfully prosecuted in 2015, the standards for child sexual abuse have become dramatically more specific and sophisticated. If, however, you -- like Junior Chandler -- were wrongfully prosecuted in 1987, then the fruits of that scientific progress remain maddeningly out of reach.
Waiting for me when I returned home from Durham Friday was a letter from Junior:
“April 15 will be 28 yrs – nearly half my life, all because of lies when I did no crime. It’s a shame & disgrace to the whole N.C. justice system, not only to do this but never to be willing to say they were wrong….”
April 2015 Actually visiting and walking around the supposed crime scenes in Madison County, which are completely open to neighbors and passersby, only reinforces my impression: The allegations against Junior are simply inconceivable. www.littlerascalsdaycarecase.org/?p=1408
The North Carolina Department of Correction has its own Sexual Offender Accountability and Responsibility program. “Through psycho-educational modules, behavior techniques and empathy training,” its website says, “S.O.A.R. participants learn that sexually abusive behavior is both controllable and manageable.”
Junior Chandler recalls having been invited to participate and perhaps receive some benefits, but …. “They said I had to admit I was guilty. I told them I couldn’t do that, because I hadn’t done anything…. What would you do?” www.littlerascalsdaycarecase.org/?p=1535
April 2021 The Everyday Injustice podcast explores Junior's case with Theresa Newman, Jim Coleman and their Duke law students.
It was 10 years ago this month that I first wrote about Junior Chandler. Mark Montgomery, Bob Kelly's appellate lawyer in the Little Rascals Day Care case, had recently mentioned to me the stark and undeniable parallels between the "satanic ritual abuse" allegations against Bob and those against Junior, a day-care bus driver in Madison County who had been imprisoned since 1987 -- yes, even before the Little Rascals case reared its monstrous head. Today Junior remains in Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution in Spruce Pine, 64 years old and well into his 35th year of two consecutive life sentences.
Here's where Junior Chandler's case stands today:
In 2019 Junior, represented by the Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Duke Law School, filed a motion seeking an evidentiary hearing on seven claims.
Key among them:
-- The purported medical evidence on which his prosecution was based has since been rejected by the medical community.
-- Though constitutionally required, prosecutors failed to disclose evidence essential to Junior's defense.
In March, Gary M. Gavenus, senior resident Superior Court judge, rejected Junior’s first five claims but ordered an evidentiary hearing on the undisclosed evidence claim and a related claim that some of the prosecutors’ expert witnesses testified falsely.
At this point, Gavenus is limiting the hearing to whether Junior could have or should have raised the claims earlier. Under the law, no matter how meritorious your claims, they can sometimes be “procedurally barred” for being raised too late -- a roadblock that courts seemed all too eager to invoke during Junior's original run of appeals.
If the judge rules the claims are not procedurally barred, he will order a full evidentiary hearing, at which Junior will present evidence to show the charges against him were unfounded and his trial was unfair.
Who was the prosecutor? Mike Easly? The same Gov Mike Easly who was convicted on felony campaign finance violations? Asking for a friend......
𝐁𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐋𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐑𝐚𝐬𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐬 𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐨𝐫 𝐍𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐦𝐛 𝐡𝐚𝐬𝐧'𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐧𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐥 𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐟𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐁𝐨𝐛 𝐊𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐲, 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐁𝐞𝐫𝐧 𝐒𝐮𝐧 𝐉𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐥. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐨𝐫 𝐢𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 "𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐧𝐞𝐠𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐫𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐧: 𝐍𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐲'𝐬 𝐇𝐨𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐢𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞" (𝐎𝐜𝐭. 𝟕). The role of prosecutor Nancy Lamb in the indeed "infamous" Little Rascals Day Care case needs further explanation. For Lamb's name to be attached to a child advocacy center is bizarre and appalling. According to Chris Jernigan, executive director of Southmountain Children and Family Services, “Nancy has since done a lot of training on all the mistakes they made and how to improve things.” The North Carolina Court of Appeals pointed out numerous crucial mistakes made in the prosecution of Bob Kelly and Dawn Wilson -- including the withholding of exculpatory evidence -- but Lamb has yet to acknowledge any of them. In fact, she continued for years to insist on Kelly's guilt and even traveled the country sharing "The Ingredients of Two Successful Prosecutions." Jernigan's concerns about interviewing children about alleged abuse contrast starkly with best practices developed during the "satanic ritual abuse" day-care panic of the 1980s and early '90s. “What we know from the old way of doing things," he says, "is kids would have to tell their story so many times that sometimes they would get to the point where they would say ‘It never happened’ or ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ and just shut down completely.’ ” He has it backwards: In reality, researchers have found that kids tend to tell the truth *at first*, before eventually succumbing to the confirmation bias of prosecutors' ill-trained therapists. If Nancy Lamb has truly learned from her mistakes, she should be lobbying the State of North Carolina to issue the Edenton Seven a statement of innocence similar to the one given the defendants in the Duke lacrosse case. Unsurprisingly, however, neither Lamb nor her namesake house seems interested in finding facts, only in putting defendants in jail.
The number of people exonerated for crimes they did not commit in 2019 barely exceeds one percent of the estimated 13,853 people wrongfully convicted that year. An independent, publicly funded office ...
"In the years since, the prosecution's case has been broadly discredited. Not only was there no robust physical evidence to support many of the allegations, but there were also claims that the children were asked leading questions and prompted to speculate during their hours-long interviews." www.mamamia.com.au/mcmartin-preschool-trial-satanic-panic/... See MoreSee Less