October 18th, 2010
This is in reference to Mary Fischer’s articles posted on the ScotusBlog “Texas Death Row DNA Case”, which can be found in the “Death Row News” section, “Hank’s case in the media” paragraph of the website: http://www.hankskinner.org
Dear Mary, again. I wrote the foregoing long before its posted date and was going to send it to you much earlier but the unit went on lockdown at an inopportune time and I had no stamps to write my wife so she could give it to you.
Now I’ve read your first two articles and I must say, I was quietly impressed – compare yours to Michael Graczyk’s (A.P.) crap. Whoo! That man makes me ill.
Jeff Blackburn and I have a long (yet fairly decent) history. I really think a lot of him, although I rarely tell him that. He knows me so well because he’s just like me! But keeping his law license keeps him on check, in the courts, before judges. I practice “guerilla law”. Ha/Ha Like Che Guevara, I play to win.
Yes, I am sometimes abrasive. Sometimes downright rude and ornery. I’m confrontational and I love heated argument or debate. To me, it’s like crying, (which I am also not hesitant to do if circumstances and emotion warrant it); it’s a form of soulful emotional purge. That’s what makes us human and distinguishes us from lower animals, like bears or dogs: the ability to emote and express. Language, although it can be ugly, is generally a beautiful gift from God. But I disdain people who abuse it, and lie, or hide behind words, who are fake, who use words deceitfully, underhandedly and falsely, to mislead others. Quite literally, people in Texas are trying to use words in a wrong way, to kill me.
As to your first two stories:
About my stay: Doug did not “yell excitedly” into the phone. Doug would never do that. First, this thing had worn him out. He and the associated counsel on my team had been in Huntsville 3 days without sleep, working on my appeals and had to answer a very irrational and out-of-time opposition filing from the A.G. So they were just so tired and worn out.
Secondly, Douglas Robinson is the coolest customer you ever met, so aloof and understated, so deep with his few chosen words, that in 13 years of his representation I can recall verbatim almost every conversation we’ve ever had. I often tease him that he unnerves me because he has the demeanor of an undertaker I once worked for and that I once owned a marine iguana that was more emotive than he is. Doug is just a guy who lets his actions speak for themselves. But he is also a great and very dedicated lawyer. I love him dearly and I’m fortunate to have him.
He certainly did say those words, but they came tiredly and very coolly. No exclamation point. Ha/Ha.
No, I’m not hopeful again. I still think I am ultimately going to die. 17 years ago this evidence probably would have proved my innocence. DNA degrades over time, so it may be impossible to get a probative result out of it, now. Who knows.
The funny thing about Lynn Switzer’s I’m “gaming the system” argument is that, at any time during the last 17 years the State could have tested this evidence and been done with it, one way or the other. As I pointed out to Switzer in my letter 01.27.10, all three of her predecessors in office have stated publicly, on the records (look at the exhibits with the letter!) that this evidence is “important” and needs to be tested.
“Prosecutors” (who now say) I “should’ve tested the evidence at trial but chose not to” are liars! If that were solely true, then what was the post conviction DNA testing statute enacted for? (VACCP TX CH 64) CH 64 wasn’t even yet a law when I went to trial! It was made for cases like mine. You see, when you examine what Switzer says with an exacting, factual logic, it is most readily apparent that what they argue is both ridiculously hollow and inanely circular. They are solely the exact cause of what they complain of.
As to Switzer’s short answer likely being “procedure” as to why she won’t allow testing of the evidence, that belies her duty (her sworn duty!) as a prosecutor. Code of Criminal Procedure article 2.01 “duty of district attorneys” clearly states that they shall not hide or secret evidence of the innocent nor win convictions at any cost, but do all that is necessary to see that true justice prevails. That means exonerating the innocent. As to her “full and fair trial” arguments, the jury never got to hear Andrea Reed’s truthful testimony (in her 1997 recantation) nor the current exculpatory evidence, so how can my trial possibly have been “full or fair”?! Once again, viewed logically, Switzer’s arguments and excuses, as I said, are baseless, meritless, hollow and redundantly circular. The jurors themselves have recently been interviewed and shown exculpatory evidence. They now say the evidence needs to be tested. Well and knowing what they know now, likely would not have convicted me. (see “Texas jurors reconsider verdict” by Medill Innocence Project on my website)
One more thing about Switzer, your asking about my sitting down to talk to her and what would I say? You’re reading it now. She could not answer on the facts. She has no viable answer, which is why she keeps hiding behind these private attorneys she hired at the taxpayers expense. But more than that, as my letter to her, the proof I sent, the offers I made, clearly prove, she is not the least interested in justice at all, but would (and almost did!) sacrifice the life of an innocent man for political expediency – she is little different from Pontius Pilate, who washed his hands and sealed Jesus’ fate. In 2000 years, we’ve learned nothing, as a society. Why on earth would I want to sit down and talk to someone like Lynn Switzer? For what? She’s a murderer in the making.
As to Kenneth Rosenstein, Alaska assistant attorney general and his inane comment “the answer lies in the procedure”, he is typical of latter day “ultra-conservative” republicans who exalt procedure over substantive law and facts. It’s insane! What he’s actually saying is, as long as you dot the Is and cross the Ts, it’s perfectly fine to kill an innocent person. En toto, his “strong advice” to me and my attorneys eats shit. Be sure you tell him all I’ve said here, please.
Our arguments are not emotional at all. They’re 100% on the evidence. Isn’t it funny how the opposition spins all this subterfugal crap, but has never once responded to the facts and evidence we allege?!! It’s because they have no response! What we argue and present is 100% on the money and true! Why can’t you see this, Mary dearest? Is it not apparent to your discerning eye that you’re being “hoodwinked, boondoggled and hornswaggled”* by these officious state buffoons? (* that’s ol’ Foghorn leghorn’s words! I love that rooster! Bugs Bunny – Road Runner hour loony ‘toons and merry melodies!) Ha/Ha.
While you were quoting Lynn Switzer’s public statement, why did you not quote my response to it in either New Hell Hole News #24 or #25? She lies! The lies are blatant, obvious and openly contradicted by the legal and public record!
As I said – how can I be “gaming the system” when it is Lynn Switzer who has an obligation to test this evidence but for years has absolutely refused to do so? No, Lynn Switzer does not believe her own words. She knows they’re lies designed only to protect her and conceal the truth of my innocence from the public. As Jeff Blackburn eloquently stated: “We have a deeply institutionalized culture and the most backward courts in the country that protect the government from criticism (or any real exposure of corruption and wrongdoing!) or fault at all costs”. That is exactly what has been going on in my case all these years and I have never heard it more aptly or succinctly stated than that. Yay, Jeff!
As to Jeff’s comments about my attitude and my views and how I act, he’s 100% correct. He and my other attorneys have often told me I should be more amiable. It’s just hard to do. I’m a child of the sixties – I’m an old hippie and I’m anti-establishment to the max. I’ve been wrongly and falsely convicted by people I have zero respect for, who have just continued to smile at the cameras and lie on me for 17 years! It is impossible for me to just sit idly by and accept that.
Over the years, one of the ways I’ve kept my sanity, is to read the books. It’s a great comfort to me to know that the grandmasters of the FBI Forensic Sciences Academy and the Behavioral Sciences section all profile the anticipated actions of an innocent person to behave exactly the ways I do.
Jeff says I defy conventional thinking of how an innocent person should act – yes, the public’s perception. But, all these cops, prosecutors and state officials know differently, as described above; that I act exactly as they expect an innocent person would – yet they still want to kill me. Just to silence me. They fear me, because they know I’m probably innocent and they fear that too. The scandal and public distrust my exoneration would cause. That’s what this is really all about from the State’s perspective: keeping the cat in the bag; hiding the lies, concealing the truth; damage control. Chernobyl is covered over with concrete, lead and steel too. But it’s deadly brew festers still on the surface of the earth; infecting thousands, polluting the land, air and water. Texas likewise may yet succeed in covering this up and killing me, but underneath the pervasive rot in its legal system remains.
Thank you for getting Roy Greenwood’s comment on testing. It’s nice to know he had the guts to confirm what I told you about Comer’s duty to DNA test pretrial when I demanded it. Roy says: “if he can be believed” about me telling Comer to test. Well, Comer admitted it at the 2005 evidentiary hearing and my pretrial letters to Comer are part of that record.
Like I keep telling you, I’m telling the truth and everything I say is 100% backed up by the facts, evidence, and the public/media/legal records of the case.
One thing you failed to mention about the jacket found next to Twila’s body is that the forensic criminalist who viewed the evidence, Max Courtney, stated that the cuffs and forearms of the sleeves of that jacket contained medium velocity (blood) impact spatter and that jacket was likely worn by the assailant. Only Twila had wounds that would result in medium velocity impact spatter (M. V. I. S.) ergo, whoever wore that jacket killed her. It’s a man’s X-LG 44-46! I wear a med 38-40. It’s six full sizes too big for me!
The last thing I’d like to address (for the 10,000th time) is the lie that I was found at Andrea’s “hiding in a closet” Ha/Ha. It’s kind of funny in a way – on the one hand they say I’m this full blown murderous psychopath, but on the other I’m so fearful I’m “cowering and hiding in a closet” – we knew it was the law pulling up. If I’m a killer, why didn’t I take Andrea and her kids hostage and have a standoff?
It’s because neither of those things were true. I wasn’t cowering or hiding. Michael Graczyk of the A. P. is a ghoul, a wannabe cop and an outright liar. When the law drove up, Andrea led me into the front bedroom in the dark and told me “stay here until I see what they want.” In reality Andrea’s kids were in the back bedroom and she wanted me in the opposite end of the trailer as far from them as possible because it was well known that the stupid sheriff, Randy Stubblefield, was trigger happy and she figured they’d shoot me.
There was a mattress on the floor of this cramped bedroom and the closet, about 5 ft wide but only 2 ½ ft deep, had a ton of clothes hanging in it and no doors on it. When the cops rushed in the room and flipped on the lights with their guns drawn, and I heard hammers cocking, I was blinded and I staggered backwards and fell backwards against the clothes. My heels caught against the edge of the mattress and my butt against the wall, my knees hyperflexed and I couldn’t get up. But I was in plain sight at all times and held my hands out so they could see I was not armed. Knowing they were going to kill me, I turned my face toward the clothes so I wouldn’t have to see my death coming.
At trial, John Mann made up out of thin air this “hiding in the closet” lie to try to imply guilt, when he rhetorically asked “why would he hide if he’s not guilty?” to the public and a jury. It was John Mann’s circus and he was head ringmaster. In 2004, Randy Stubblefield was deposed for the federal hearing and forced to admit I was never “hiding” nor attempting to. Unscrupulous, lying pieces of shit like Michael Graczyk (A.P.) and Allan Turner of the Houston Chronicle to this day continue to perpetuate that lie and others.
From Graczyk’s 10/10/2010 story * which was picked up by various papers around the country: some of his other lies, below. This story was retaliatory because, a few weeks back he and I got into it over another of his lies – where he falsely stated I “had two victims’ blood ‘splattered’ all over” me.
That’s an obvious lie. Only Twila had wounds (blunt force trauma) that resulted in any spatter at all. The blood of Scooter was only a contact stain which the State’s blood experts conceded was consistent with my actual innocence. Randy’s blood was not on me.
Back in December last year, after I publicly called Graczyk a ghoul and chastized him for lying on me about the cell phone mess (see my NHHN & TDCJ’s documentation attached to my letter to a wired magazine reporter on my website), Graczyk began courting me and trying to turn me. I met with him and told him the truth. I provided a foot tall stack of documentation to prove all I said. He took photos of me and gave me copies – trying to manipulate me and coax me to confess: “wasn’t it at least possible you did it? You don’t remember, do you?” Ha/Ha. When I recited the evidence and facts that prove I didn’t do it, he was forced to grudgingly agree with me. But he couldn’t resist lying so I called him on it, cut off his requests for interviews and wrote him a letter detailing his lies a couple of weeks ago and I told him when this evidence gets tested and they prove my innocence, I’m going to hire lawyers to sue him for all his lies.
I’ve long accused Graczyk of being a wannabe cop and a ghoul. He says I’m an asshole. Maybe I am, but I’m a truthful one, and I can pass a polygraph on anything I say and he’s just a liar, contradicted by the facts, evidence, the record itself and previous media stories. Here’s some more of Graczyk’s lies from his 10.10.10 story:
– Graczyk says I’m a former convicted car thief and parole violator. I was convicted of unauthorized use, not theft, aka joyriding. I was not a parole violator. In fact I had, 8 months prior to the murders, successfully completed and discharged 5 ½ years of super-intensive sup
I’ve already addressed the “game the system” comments. The State, through its own agents, are solely responsible for the delays they complain of. They are “the system”. They’re the ones gaming the public and blaming it on me.
– I’ve already addressed, infra, what the DNA testing could prove.
– We’re not claiming as in the Alaska – S. Ct. Osborne case that I have any general substantive due process right to DNA testing. We’re claiming an as-applied law challenge that the State and Switzer arbitrarily and capriciously denied me access to the evidence and violated my due process rights. I’ve carefully explained all this to Graczyk more than once. So he’s either dense or intentionally siding with the State’s abject misrepresentation of the case and its attendent issues in the S. Ct.
– My bloody handprints found in the house? He fails to tell you it’s my blood, as I fell on glass getting out of there and cut my hand. More importantly, the D.A. lied and said the cut on my hand is a self-inflicted wound where I supposedly stabbed one of the sons. Yet my blood is not on any of the murder weapons. Why? I never touched them. But Graczyk conveniently forgets to mention any of this crucial evidence in his little story, huh. Wonder why?
– Mike Graczyk also conveniently forgot to tell you that I wasn’t even wearing my clothes when the murders occurred and I was passed out on the couch. My clothes were draped across the furniture where I’d removed them and hanging 18” or less from where Twila was bludgeoned to death.
– The defense blood spatter expert Graczyk quotes as “acknowledging the stains on my clothes were inconsistent with someone merely laying on the sofa”, was never told the information, in the above stated paragraph – that I wasn’t wearing the clothes at that time – and that the oldest son, mortally wounded and bleeding, got me up and out of the house while I fell all over the place, getting more blood on my clothes. The stains tested were only contact stains. My sell-out Judas of a trial lawyer never told our expert any of these facts!
– The testing of items we want, the knife was found in a trashbag bearing fully articulated bloody handprints of an unknown individual that
– Trial lawyer Comer never said he feared additional DNA testing would be inculpatory towards me until after John Mann, then D.A., selectively tested certain items in 2000 and then falsely claimed the results “pointed to” me, in the media.
– “Prosecutors say there’s ample evidence to prove guilt” and “no evidence to conclusively prove innocence”. Well of course that’s what they’d say because they fear the results of the tests proving my innocence. However, instead of merely allowing them to sling around the descriptive terms “ample” and “overwhelming evidence of guilt”, why doesn’t someone put them to the test to show and detail all this “ample and overwhelming evidence of guilt”? I’ll tell you why, because it doesn’t exist! Without Andrea Reed’s lies, today there is not a single shred of
– It’s not “Skinner and his lawyers who point to Donnell” as the killer but the State’s star witness, Howard Mitchell, who told D.A.’s investigator, Bill McMinn, that he believed Donnell did it and gave credible evidence to back it up. My sell-out trial attorney Comer never investigated it.
I could go on and on here for 10 or 20 more pages, but I’ve said it all before in previous NHHN posts so I won’t keep harping on it. Dig a hole, Michael Graczyk. Legally speaking, you are one day gonna lay in it, I guarantee you that. To all of you haters, other lying idiots, flotsam and jetsam of the world who prowl the internet looking for some issue to beat up on, get a life! Ha/Ha.
999143 Polunsky Unit
H W Hank Skinner
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston TX 77351-8580
For those of you who use JPay to write to Hank, don’t forget to always include your postal address and your e-mail address after your signature, so Hank can reply to you. For those who would like to use JPay to write to Hank (www.jpay.com) don’t forget to enter the TDC number as an 8-digit number: 00999143.
* Death row inmate seeks high court OK for DNA tests
By MICHAEL GRACZYK (AP) – Oct 10, 2010
LIVINGSTON, Texas — An ex-con sent to Texas’ death row for three murders and spared from execution earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court is set to take his case before the high court, which may decide whether his attorneys can test items for DNA he claims could prove his innocence.
Hank Skinner was convicted of pummeling his girlfriend with a pickax handle and stabbing her two sons on New Year’s Eve in 1993 in their Texas Panhandle home. DNA evidence at his trial showed blood on his clothing from that night was his and from at least two of the victims.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday on whether prison inmates may use a federal civil rights law to get DNA testing that was not performed before their conviction. Prosecutors in Skinner’s case have refused to make some evidence available for DNA testing, including knives from the scene and a jacket next to one of the bodies.
The arguments come seven months after the Supreme Court spared Skinner just an hour before he was to go to the death chamber. Justices said then they wanted to postpone his execution until they decided whether to review his case.
“The relief Mr. Skinner seeks is simple and limited: the opportunity to obtain access to physical evidence for the purpose of conducting DNA testing,” Rob Owen, a University of Texas law professor and Skinner’s lead attorney, said in a brief to the high court.
Gray County District Attorney Lynn Switzer has refused to surrender the items and lower courts agreed with her, saying Texas law already gave Skinner “plenty of opportunity” to show additional testing could prove his innocence.
Skinner, a former convicted car thief and parole violator, was trying to “game the system,” Switzer said.
Prosecutors have said there’s no evidence to conclusively prove Skinner wasn’t the killer and that ample evidence exists to show he is guilty. They also contend new DNA testing “would not affirmatively prove anything.”
“They’re fixing to kill me for something I didn’t do,” Skinner, 48, said last December from a tiny visiting cage outside death row as his execution date neared.
To head off the scheduled March execution, his legal team renewed its appeals seeking release of evidence for new DNA testing.
Since the Supreme Court justices agreed to look at the case, the high court ruled in a DNA-related case from Alaska that convicts have no constitutional right to test genetic evidence to try to show their innocence. The court said it would not second-guess states or force them routinely to look again at criminal convictions.
Attorneys for Switzer, citing that case, argued in court briefs that Skinner’s lawyers hoped to get federal district courts involved in “second-guessing the decisions of state courts” under state DNA statutes. They also noted his trial lawyer chose not to test items Skinner now wants access to, and that using the civil rights law was an improper attempt to circumvent other appeals already refused.
Switzer has the backing of attorneys general from nearly two dozen states, who filed a brief on her behalf.
“He seeks a judge-crafted remedy that he hopes will be more favorable to him,” the attorneys general’s brief said.
Similarly, the National District Attorneys Association urged the justices to reject Skinner’s argument, saying a ruling favorable to him would undermine state law, expand federal jurisdiction over state matters and delay resolution of capital cases.
At his trial in 1995, Skinner’s jury heard evidence he was in the house where his girlfriend, Twila Jean Busby, 40, and her two sons, Elwin “Scooter” Caler, 22, and Randy Busby, 20, were killed. Besides the blood on his clothing, Skinner’s bloody hand prints were found in the house.
Skinner doesn’t deny being in the home at the time of the slayings, but insisted he couldn’t have killed them because he was passed out from a mix of vodka and codeine.
Skinner explained that Caler, who had several stab wounds, likely bled on him while trying to roust Skinner from his drunken stupor. And he said he was lying on a couch just a few feet from where Twila Busby was bludgeoned, likely accounting for her blood.
Police were summoned when Caler staggered to the front porch of a neighbor’s home. Officers followed a 3 1/2-block-long blood trail to the trailer of a woman Skinner knew. He was found there hiding in a closet.
A defense blood-spatter witness at Skinner’s trial acknowledged stains on Skinner’s clothing were inconsistent with someone merely laying on a sofa.
Skinner’s lawyers want DNA testing on vaginal swabs taken from Busby at the time of her autopsy, fingernail clippings, a knife from the porch of Busby’s house and a second knife found in a plastic bag in the house, a towel with the second knife and a jacket next to Busby’s body.
Skinner’s trial attorney testified at an evidentiary hearing he didn’t seek testing of the items Skinner’s appeals lawyers now want because he feared the tests would be more damaging to the case.
Skinner and his lawyers point to Twila Busby’s now deceased uncle, Robert Donnell, as the possible killer, contending he was a “hot-tempered ex-con” who became more violent when he drank. Donnell and Busby were seen at a New Year’s Eve party the evening of the slayings but she returned home early after Donnell’s crude remarks and unwanted passes, Skinner’s lawyers have said.
Incapacitated from drugs and booze, Skinner didn’t go to the party.
Texas has executed 16 inmates so far this year.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press.