When a Texas jury sentenced LaDondrell Montgomery to life imprisonment for armed robbery, he insisted that he was innocent. Police and prosecutors, however, insisted that he was the man who robbed a T-Mobile store. It turns out that he was telling the truth, but it was not until after his sentencing that his father showed that Montgomery could not have committed the crime because he was in jail at the time.
It turns out that none of the investigating officers bothered to review Montgomery’s prison jacket despite the fact that they used his prior record against him. The record shows that Montgomery was in jail for alleged domestic violence at the time of the robbery. His attorney Ronald Ray says that he asked Montgomery where he was at the time but that his client could not remember. It was his father who recalled that his son was in jail during that period and called his bail bondsman to confirm the date.
Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge insisted that the prosecutors do not have any obligation to confirm such facts and that such problems have occurred previously. She says that she never investigated his record until after she was told about his alibi. For his part, Ray said he did not know about the misdemeanor domestic violence Montgomery was charged with in 2009.
It is a cautionary tale of the ease with which people are convicted in these trials and the unreliability of many eye-witnesses. Montgomery was convicted on such testimony. Jurors tend to put a huge amount of faith eyewitness testimony even though studies have shown that such testimony is often highly flawed. Here a witness sworn that Montgomery was the man who robbed the store when he was sitting miles away in a jail cell.
State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis was irate, stating “[i]t boggles the mind that neither side knew about this during trial. Both sides in this case were spectacularly incompetent.”
Source: Chronicle as first seen on ABA Journal.
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36 thoughts on “Texas Man Sentenced To Life Imprisonment Released After Records Show He Was In Jail At The Time Of The Crime”
I hate even flying over Texas, and I certainly would never book any flight with a layover there. I’m sure there must be decent people in the state, but they never seem to wind up sitting on juries or making the news.
“Incarceration of Black, Brown and Poor folks in general who cant afford a lawyer has been the ways and means to acquire cheap labor since slavery. A system designed to keep a bunch of white sons of guns, politicians and judges employed for life with high ranking government official ass kissing jobs.”
Amen. I’m a believer in the truth of that statement.
What do you think MLK, Malcolm X, Al Sharpton and Black People have been saying for years? Incarceration of Black, Brown and Poor folks in general who cant afford a lawyer has been the ways and means to acquire cheap labor since slavery. A system designed to keep a bunch of white sons of guns, politicians and judges employed for life with high ranking government official ass kissing jobs.
As a result, Black People have 20% Unemployment, get 0 – Pardons by Presidents and the chances are a White man with a Felon is given the job before the Black man without a criminal record. The difference in income shows the average White has $125, 000 on hand, but average Black has $1, 500 in disposable income or saving. Now fifteen states have changed their Voting rights laws to purposely exclude the young and old. A pictured student ID is unacceptable, but a Gun License is OK. If you compare the cost of a MVA license $20.00 or for a gun at $250-300.
Now we are suppose to wait until the 2012 election for the Recounts and recalls to begin. I’m sure We all know whose at fault and that it was the GOP’s historic number of Fill-A-Bus-Touring that Stunk up our House of Representatives as it was Shat by an Angry Party of Republicans. Men who forgot what Abraham Lincoln said and told them never to forget.
A much appreciated and late, Thank You.
Mike S, I agree with your first post also. It’s sad that in our justice system once you are arrested that you are guilty unless you can prove your innocence.
I think most people have to much faith in our system and believe that the police work hard to keep us safe, I know I use to think that way once upon a time but now my eyes have been opened and fear of our current system lives with me now.
You’re a cynic after my own heart.
The police too are victims of the system, but have become addicted to their imagine power. For the the world is “Chinatown” in the sense of the movie and they’ve lost their way.
“Life” doesn’t sound like too good a plea bargain unless, like, Texas has very lenient probation — like maybe 5% of time served or some such. Maybe it was 3rd strike?
in most cases the public defenders job is to negotiate how much time you’ll be serving. the question of guilt was established when he was arrested.
Really need;not look for any more rational explanation for these so-called “trials” than racism. Where I have watched the process here in SW Virginia, though, it’s not just color that foreordains “justice”, but also quite often perceived social status. . .
Is this the best we can do?
“Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge insisted that the prosecutors do not have any obligation to confirm such facts and that such problems have occurred previously.”
I strongly disagree, on two points.
One it is the obligation of the state prosecutor to ensure that justice is done, not just to obtain a conviction.
That is a well known responsibility.
Two, there is a requirement upon any govt prosecutor, under what is known as the Brady disclosure doctrine, where if the prosecutor is possssion of exculpatory evidence they MUST provide it to the defendant.
So they were wrong on so many points, it is sickening.
I, for one, am glad you’re here.
You will not be dissappointed, I am being schooled beyond my wildest dreams from where I’ve come from and how I’m here today.
Thanks for the link to the Gates’ book. I ordered it.
Just another example of how our “adversarial” model of “justice” only determines which side had the better attorney. This method only favors the rich and famous while leaving people such as Montgomery to rot in jail. It simply comes down to “Pay or you will stay”.
A better system would require speedy trials without delay of any kind, automatic appeals process, and conviction based on preponderance of the facts. Reasonable doubt can only result in acquittal on appeal and based on actual facts, not plausible explanations.
A side that gets caught intentionally submitting provably false information, or fails to act on exculpatory information looses. Prosecutors do have a moral imperative and there should be a legal imperative to check on exculpatory facts as well.
The advocates should both be looking to find the truth and not just win at any cost. The cost on a person’s freedom it to high to the person and the the legitimacy of the State.
One of my favorite sentences is “You don;t know what you don;t know so you can’t ask about what you don’t know.” but heck, these were lawyers supposedly defending this man. They knew what they should ask, no excuses for them.The prosecutor, he wants to put him away, but if this occurs regularly then maybe it now is incumbent upon them to check out if the person is in the state’s custody at the time of the alleged crime. (Or maybe Nancy Grace convinced them he was guilty so it was not necessary to check out any other facts.)
How it all possibly started.
‘Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History:’ A book review
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