Saturday, September 8, 2012

Attorney says Idaho Falls police withheld evidence in Angie Dodge case

IDAHO FALLS, ID — Christopher Tapp, the man convicted of raping and killing Idaho Falls resident Angie Dodge on June 13, 1996, says police and prosecutors failed to turn over critical evidence to his defense attorney when they were preparing for Tapp’s trial. Tapp’s public defender, John Thomas, made the claim on Tapp’s behalf in a “Brady petition” filed with the Bonneville County court and prosecutor's office on Wednesday, September 5. The petition calls for Tapp to be freed because the Idaho Falls Police Department failed to share significant findings in its investigation of the crimes. Tapp was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The petition declares that at least 10 times in police reports, IFPD Detective Ken Brown mentions Jeffery Lynn Smith, a former Idaho Falls resident and convicted rapist, as a suspect in Dodge's murder, but the information was never shared with Tapp’s attorney. The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecution violates the defendant's rights to due process when evidence is withheld, the petition notes. John Browning, an Idaho Falls resident in 1996, alleges in an affidavit dated August 30, 2012 and filed with the Brady petition that in 1996, he told IFPD detectives that Smith came to the apartment he shared with his now ex wife that was not far from the crime scene. The “visit” took place at about 3 a.m. on June 13. He said in the affidavit that Smith had blood on his clothes, gashes on his face, and a rug burn on his chin. Browning states that Smith made him feel “uncomfortable,” and when he asked Browning if he could use the bathroom to wash up, Browning said he could use an outdoor hose but could not come inside. Browning also said Smith voluntarily explained the injuries and blood but the affidavit does not include any details about what Smith may have said. Browning’s ex wife, Gentri Nicole Morris Goff, gave a similar account in an affidavit dated August 13, 2012, and said the IFPD never interviewed her to see if her story matched her husband’s. She also declared that in July 2012, Tapp’s legal team showed her a 1988 photo of Smith, and she identified him as the man who had come to the apartment in 1996. In 1997, Christopher Tapp was convicted of raping and killing Dodge. After hours of police interviews during which his legal team — including the Idaho Innocence Project — says he was manipulated and coerced, Tapp confessed to the crimes. No hard evidence, such as DNA or eyewitnesses, has connected him to the crimes. Last month in a Dateline NBC feature on the Innocence Project’s push to get Tapp freed, Carol Dodge, Angie’s mom, said she now believes Tapp is innocent. On Thursday after the Brady motion was filed, Carol Dodge said she hopes Judge Tingey “does the right thing” and frees Tapp. Tingey has 30 days to act on the petition. On Friday, Sept. 7, Idaho Falls Police Chief Steve Roos said one of his detectives is looking for any records IFPD may have of contacts with Smith. He also said a DNA sample was taken of Smith and it did not match DNA at the crime scene. In 1992, Bonneville County charged Smith with murdering Leo and Mary Downard of Ammon, but dropped the charges due to lack of evidence. His brother, Lanny, was later charged with the crime and convicted. In 1998, Bonneville County convicted Smith of a 1993 rape. "The average Joe on the street should be concerned that the police are withholding evidence. When police start going awry there has to be checks and balance and that’s what defense attorneys are for,” said Tapp's attorney, public defender John Thomas, in an interview Channel 8 Eyewitness News aired Thursday, Sept. 6. “If there is one witness out there the state is not turning over there may be others out there.” Also on Channel 8, Bonneville County prosecutor Bruce Pickett said, "The fact that Chris Tapp can make multiple filings with the court or submit new evidence goes to the strength of our court system, not to the weakness of it. If there is, other evidence, the court wants to look at it.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The legal system in Idaho Falls is corrupt. My own daughter had a civil case in process last year, when the attorney representing my daughter's case and the doctor's attorney attempted to use falsified records to intimidate me into dismissing the case. I sought out the assistance of the police, mayor, politicians, governor, the attorney general etc... The city attorney wrote a letter in which he stated it would not be proper to prosecute the doctor, not that he was not guilty, it appears that some felons have immunity from prosecution in Idaho.

I imagine if they committed an illegal act in your case, they will do anything to keep from compromising those affiliated with them, even to the point of lying and withholding information because no one looks at what they are doing in Idaho to undermine the constitutional rights of those outside of the majority there.

My blog is : un_heard_voices.blogspot.com

I am also a journalist:

http://guardianlv.com/2013/06/city-attorney-misinforms-improper-to-prosecute-local-dr-erich-garland-exclusive/