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September 29, 2005

Ronnie Earle's legacy

It was on May 26, 1996 at about 8:30 in the morning when Judy Belton's boyfriend, Derrick Shaw, surprised the Murray family by dropping off Belton's 2 1/2 year old little girl, Jayla. The Murray's had told them that they couldn't watch her that day since Mrs. Murray was gone, but the toddler was dropped of nonetheless. The Murray family noticed that Jayla was sleepy and lethargic all day with bouts of vomiting and sweating, as well as holding her left side in pain. About 5:30 the Murray's 11-year-old daughter LaCresha notice Jayla shaking and took her to her grandfather, R.L. Murray. They both took her to the hospital but Jayla was pronounced dead not long after they arrived.

A tragedy, most certainly, but what followed was just as much a tragedy.

LaCresha was grabbed at the hospital by social workers and grilled by the police, without having a parent, and attorney or an advocate of any kind. She was finally allowed to go home around midnight, but her home was crowded with forensic teams looking for “evidence”.

The following day the medical examiner claimed the baby died immediately after a fatal blow to the liver and the Austin police decided 11-year-old LaCresha was the culprit. After another session of being questioned by the police that lasted almost 3 hours, the police coerced LaCresha, again without any adults there to defend her, into signing a “confession”.

Then in stepped Ronnie Earle.

In spite of the lack of evidence as well as the illegally acquired “confession” Earle managed to convince a grand jury to issue an indictment against the 11-year-old little girl for Capital Murder—then proceeded to hold a press conference where he announced the accused girl's name as well as handing out copies of her photo to the press. But the police hadn't even finished investigating.

Jayla had more than 30 bruises, broken ribs in addition to the injury to her liver. The prosecution's own medical expert testified at trial that it is rare for that many injuries to be the result of one blow. Derrick Shaw, the boyfriend of Jayla's mother, had a criminal record, had lied to police on more than one occasion regarding the case and witnesses had seen him abuse the little girl before. Yet he was not considered a suspect.

The “confession” the police manage to trick out of the 11-year-old followed their request for her to imagine a way she could have injured Jayla. Then the officers type it up and tell her to sign it. When, on tape, she is asked if she is being forced to sign it, she replies, “yeah.” which is followed by angry “What?!?” from a nearby officer, then a sheepish, “no” from the frightened 11-year-old little girl.

Yet still Ronnie Earle made LaCresha Murray his crusade against “child abuse” apparently not noticing she herself was a child being abused by him and the legal system.

At trial LaCresha had a court appointed attorney, who offered little defense. While the jury found her guilty, the judge later nullified the verdict and granted a new trial. At the second trial LaCresha was found guilty and sentenced to 25-years in prison. An 11-year-old little girl!

In 2001, Texas' 3rd Court of Appeals reversed and remanded her conviction to district court after finding that the “confession” the Austin Police obtained was illegal; all charges were subsequently dropped—with prejudice—that August. The Murrays have filed a civil suit against the Travis County District Attorney's Office (Ronnie Earle), the APD, the Texas Dept. of Protective and Regulatory Services and several other entities

What came forward in the aftermath of the trial and eventual reversal was that the Texas Media has a long and slimy relationship with Ronnie Earle, and will print what he says, without bothering to investigate on their own. He throws them bones—like announcing the name of a juvenile charged with a crime—and they twist their stories to his liking.

Sherry Sylvester of Texas Media Watch in an article at one time, apparently, published by the Houston Chronicle but since yanked, exposed the improper ties...

In the state capitol, where the news was local, many were stunned that a veteran journalist had repeatedly invited the prosecutor in charge of investigating state government to comment on a story before it went to press.

But so far, the big Texas papers have failed to link [Austin-American Statesman columnist and reporter Dave] McNeely's ethical breach to the larger story....

McNeely's news analysis appeared in the July 20, 2003, issue of the Sunday Insight section of the Austin American-Statesman and connected the theoretical dots between alleged improper business contributions to state legislators and the several GOP leaders.

When four drafts of his story were discovered in Earle's office through an open records request, McNeely insisted he had only wanted to make sure the facts were accurate. But the 3,000-word news analysis McNeely wrote included no technical facts that had not already been reported by his paper and others.

Earle has a sleazy history of withholding evidence, taking payoffs for dropping cases in addition to the abuses mentioned above.

As for Earle's vendetta against Tom Delay, he wants to claim he is non-partisan, yet as Peter Flaherty at the American Spectator points out...

The corporate money, however, never went to the candidates. Instead, it went to a much larger fund for state elections controlled by the Republican National Committee in Washington. That committee made contributions to Texas legislative candidates, constituting what Earle now charges is "money laundering."

The only problem is that similar transactions are conducted by both parties in many states, including Texas. In fact, on October 31, 2002, the Texas Democratic Party sent the Democratic National Committee (DNC) $75,000, and on the same day, the DNC sent the Texas Democratic Party $75,000. On July 19, 2001, the Texas Democratic Party sent the DNC $50,000 and, again on the same day, the DNC sent the Texas Democratic Party $60,000. On June 8, 2001, the Texas Democratic Party sent the DNC $50,000. That very same day, the DNC sent the Texas Democratic Party $60,000.

Earle himself exposes his bias when he says such things as...

"This case is not just about Tom DeLay. If it isn't this Tom DeLay, it'll be another one, just like one bully replaces the one before."

...and...

"I think people are beginning to understand we are in danger of turning into a banana republic with a few wealthy people and many who are hungry and forlorn. I'm discovering that with the takeover of state government by wealthy corporate interests, there's a limit to my ability to see that justice is done."

Going after a politician is one thing—Tom Delay will certainly be able to defend himself as Kaye Bailey Hutchinson did when Earle filed bogus charges against her—but allowing such a man to remain in office who also goes after innocent little girls is an indictment against the voters of Travis County Texas.

Links: People of the Heart, Willisms on Earle

Coverage: Captain's Quarters, Right Wing News, Rathergate, WizBang, Outside the Beltway

Posted by Danny Carlton at September 29, 2005 07:09 AM

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Comments

Earle has been in office since 1976, those folks in Texas like him. Tom Delay innocent? Are you kidding? He is associated with the "Miami Subs" King that was hit-gangland style by the Gambino crime family down in Miami. They were great close friends. You lay down with dogs you get up with fleas. Tom Delay innocent? LOL Bush innocent? LOL Karl Rove innocent? LOL Dick Cheney innocent? LOL Bill Frist innocent? LOL Martha Stewart guilty? LOL

They are all crooks, this country is out of control. It is sickening to see a diehard so stuck on the delusion of a Political Party. The Republican's are crooks, just as the democrats are, and we need to start from scratch and kick them all out before it is too late.

Adios, this is ridiculous. I am getting off the net. I can't stand to read the lies anymore.

Posted by: SherlockRWBShoes at October 2, 2005 12:35 PM

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