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Full Version: This story will piss you off. Cell Phone vid saves man from decades in prison
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WASHINGTON PARISH, La. -- One of the worst days of Douglas Dendinger's life began with him handing an envelope to a police officer.

In order to help out his family and earn a quick $50, Dendinger agreed to act as a process server, giving a brutality lawsuit filed by his nephew to Chad Cassard as the former Bogalusa police officer exited the Washington Parish Courthouse.

The handoff went smoothly, but Dendinger said the reaction from Cassard, and a group of officers and attorneys clustered around him, turned his life upside down.

"It was like sticking a stick in a bee's nest." Dendinger, 47, recalled. "They started cursing me. They threw the summons at me. Right at my face, but it fell short. Vulgarities. I just didn't know what to think. I was a little shocked."

Not knowing what to make of the blow-up, a puzzled Dendinger drove home. That's where things went from bad to worse.

"Within about 20 minutes, there were these bright lights shining through my windows. It was like, 'Oh my God.' I mean I knew immediately, a police car."

"And that's when the nightmare started," he said. "I was arrested."

A 'living hell'

He was booked with simple battery, along with two felonies: obstruction of justice and intimidating a witness, both of which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. Because of a prior felony cocaine conviction, Dendinger calculated that he could be hit with 80 years behind bars as a multiple offender.

That kicked off two years of a "living hell," as Dendinger described it, a period that is now the subject of Dendinger's federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers, attorneys and former St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed.

In a scene described in the lawsuit, Dendinger recounted a nervous night handcuffed to a rail at the Washington Parish Jail. He said he was jeered by officers, including Bogalusa Police Chief Joe Culpepper, who whistled the ominous theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."

After his family posted bail, he said he was hopeful that the matter would be exposed as a big misunderstanding. After all, he thought, a group of police officers and two St. Tammany prosecutors witnessed the event.

"When I agreed to do it, I felt it was nothing more than someone asking to pick up a gallon of milk at the convenience store on the way home," Dendinger said. "I know I didn't anything wrong. I was worried, but people told me, 'Cooler heads will prevail.' "

But instead of going away, the case escalated.

Supported by two of his prosecutors who were at the scene, Reed formally charged Dendinger. Both prosecutors, Julie Knight and Leigh Anne Wall, gave statements to the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office implicating Dendinger.

With the bill of information, Dendinger's attorney Philip Kaplan said he got a bad feeling.

"It wasn't fun and games," Kaplan said. "They had a plan. The plan was to really go after him a put him away. That's scary."

The case file that was handed to Reed and his office was bolstered by seven witness statements given to Washington Parish deputies, including the two from Reed's prosecutors.

In her statement to deputies, contained in a police report, Knight stated, "We could hear the slap as he hit Cassard's chest with an envelope of papers…This was done in a manner to threaten and intimidate everyone involved."

Casssard, in his statement, told deputies, Dendinger "slapped me in the chest."

Washington Parish court attorney Pamela Legendre said "it made such a noise," she thought the officer "had been punched."

Police Chief Culpepper gave a police statement that he witnessed the battery, but in a deposition he said, "I wasn't out there." But that didn't stop Culpepper from characterizing Dendinger's actions as "violence, force."

When Dendinger saw the police report, he said his reaction was strong and immediate.

"I realized even more at that moment: These people are trying to hurt me."
Critical evidence uncovered

What the officers and attorneys did not know was that Dendinger had one critical piece of evidence on his side: grainy cell phone videos shot by his wife and nephew. Dendinger said he thought of recording the scene at the last minute as a way of showing he had completed the task of serving the summons.

In the end, the two videos may have saved Dendinger from decades in prison. From what can be seen on the clips, Dendinger never touches Cassard, who calmly takes the envelope and walks back into the courthouse, handing Wall the envelope.

"He'd still be in a world of trouble if he didn't have that film," said David Cressy, a friend of Dendinger who once served as a prosecutor under Reed. "It was him against all of them. They took advantage of that and said all sorts of fictitious things happened. And it didn't happen. It would still be going like that had they not had the film."

Dendinger spent nearly a year waiting for trial, racking up attorney's fees. As a disabled Army veteran on a fixed income, Dendinger said the case stretched him financially, but in his eyes, he was fighting for his life.

After nearly a year passed, his attorneys forced Reed to recuse his office. The case was referred to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, which promptly dropped the charges.

Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission and himself a former prosecutor, studied the videos. He did not hesitate in his assessment.

"I didn't see a battery, certainly a battery committed that would warrant criminal charges," Goyeneche said. "And more importantly, the attorney general's office didn't see a battery."

Now the video is at the heart of a federal civil rights lawsuit against Reed, his two prosecutors Wall and Knight, the Bogalusa officers and Washington Parish Sheriff Randy "Country' Seal.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for a host of alleged Constitutional violations: false arrest, false imprisonment, fabricated evidence, perjury, and abuse of due process.

WWL-TV reached out to the defendants for comment, but only Sheriff Seal responded with a statement. He said, "We are confident that all claims against all WPSO deputies will be rejected and dismissed by the court."

Goyeneche said the legal troubles for some of the witnesses may go beyond the federal lawsuit.

"It's a felony to falsify a police report. And this is a police report. And this police report was the basis of charging this individual with serious crimes," Goyeneche said.

Cressy, who in addition to working under Reed served as the Mandeville city attorney for 15 years, said the lawyers involved in the case may have additional problems with legal ethics and the bar association.

"It was totally wrong, a 180-degree lie" Cressy said. "So, yeah, they're going to have problems, certainly the lawyers."

'An abuse of power'

Meanwhile, Dendinger's attorney Philip Kaplan continues to dig into the case with depositions and new evidence.

In a deposition taken by Kaplan, one Bogalusa police officer, Lt. Patrick Lyons, said he witnessed a battery that knocked Cassard back several feet. But the video shows him far in the distance with his back turned.

Two of the officers stated that Dendinger ran from the scene, although he said his disability makes running impossible.

Kaplan also points out what he thinks should be obvious: "If this was truly a battery on a police officer with police officers all around him, why isn't something happening right there? Why aren't they arresting him on the spot? This case is an abuse of power."

While Dendinger has been cleared of all charges, he still lives in Washington Parish and worries about what could happen next as he presses a high-stakes lawsuit against people who tried to lock him up.

"I didn't do anything wrong and I know they know I didn't do anything wrong," he said. "So I'm faced with the reality that these people purposely lied about something that could put me in prison for the rest of my life."

Recently elected St. Tammany District Attorney Warren Montgomery said he has conducted an independent investigation of the case, but declined comment because a lawsuit is pending.

However, as of this week, Wall no longer works at the office, Montgomery said. Knight is still employed there, he said.
Everyone in that dept needs to be removed.
I'm not surprised. I've watched a lot of U.S. crime documentary shows, and it's clear that miscarriages such as the above happen regularly. Sometimes it's also the juries that are conned by defence attorneys.
this should scare people. They can literally just make stuff up about you and lock you for decades.

that is why freedom of speech etc. doesn't matter. they can just TRUMP UP WHATEVER charges to lock you away forever.

this is why they seek to eradicate Christianity.. god fearing people would be way less likely to engage in stuff like this. Your conscience would eat you up.
The article below discusses a study by a psychologist showing that standard tactics of police interrogation could be leading to lots of false confessions...

Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find

Boris Breuer,Toronto Star

[Image: B821857488Z.1_20150208112253_000_G9C1DUF...ontent.jpg]

Julia Shaw
Hamilton Spectator

By Sarah Barmak

Subject: "I remember the two cops. There were two. I know that for sure . . . I have a feeling, like, one was white, and one maybe Hispanic . . . I remember getting in trouble. And I had to like, tell them what I did. And why I did it, and where it happened . . . "

Interviewer: "You remember yelling?"

Subject: "I feel like she called me a slut. And I got ticked off and threw a rock at her. And the reason why I threw a rock at her was because I couldn't get close to her . . . "

Interviewer: "So you threw a rock instead?"

Subject: "That was bad. That was bad. Bad scene . . . Oh wow, that's crazy."

The person being interviewed is confessing on videotape to a serious crime — throwing a rock so hard at a girl's head that it left her bleeding and unconscious.

But the assault in this story never happened. The interviewee was the unknowing subject of an experiment showing that innocent people can be led to falsely remember having committed crimes as severe as assault with a weapon.

The new study proves for the first time what psychologists have long suspected: that manipulative questioning tactics used by police can induce false memories — and produce false confessions.

Published in January in the journal Psychological Science by Julia Shaw of Britain's University of Bedfordshire and Stephen Porter, a forensic psychologist who studies the role of memory in the legal system at the University of British Columbia, the study holds striking implications for the justice system.

"The human mind is very vulnerable to certain tactics in interviews," Porter told the Star in an interview.

Shaw and Porter recruited 70 students at a Canadian university who had never committed a crime, and told them they'd be taking part in a study about how well people could remember their childhoods. They asked students' past caregivers for details about a vivid event that had taken place in the students' lives between ages 11 and 14, such as an accident or an emotional first day at school. Caregivers and students agreed not to communicate about the experiment while it was ongoing.

Researchers questioned the students for three sessions of about 40 minutes each. They asked them to recall two events in their past: the true event and an added false one, both of which they said the caregivers had told them about. The false event was described in as general terms as possible — simply "an assault" or "an incident where you were in contact with the police."

If subjects said they couldn't remember the false event, questioners reassured them they would be able to retrieve their "lost memories" if they tried hard enough. If they began to "remember," experimenters asked for more detail. Do you recall any images? How did you feel? Visualize what it might have been like, they said, and the memory will come back to you.

By the end of the third interview, more than 70 per cent of subjects came to believe they had committed a crime just five or so years in the past. They didn't merely agree they had done what the experimenters suggested — they generated all the details of the crime themselves, recalling vivid sensory memories and often becoming emotional and guilt-ridden.

Some subjects persisted in believing they were guilty after they had been told the "crime" had been invented. "A few people argued with the experimenter and said, 'Well no, I know this happened,' " says Porter.

Think that's scary? The psychologists did.

"We ended the study prematurely," says Porter. Once he and Shaw had interviewed 60 of the students and realized the proportion of them generating false memories was high enough to support their hypothesis, they decided to spare the remaining 10 subjects the unnecessary upheaval.

It's the stuff of disturbing sci-fi fantasies such as Inception and Blade Runner: planting an idea or memory in another's mind that's so convincing, they believe it's their own. Except it isn't science fiction — it's science fact. And instead of fanciful technology, all the psychologists needed to implant a false idea was a room, three hours and some innocent-sounding questions.

A few details make this study different from a police interrogation. Subjects may have been less afraid to admit a crime to psychologists than to police. The hippocampus, the part of the brain that forms memory, also isn't completely developed between the ages of 11 and 14. And subjects were being questioned about an act committed five years in the past — but police investigations often involve questioning about events that are decades old.

And while manipulative, these tactics pale at what police regularly do — interrogating suspects for far longer, being more confrontational and wearing them down emotionally.

The study is only the latest to show that false memories can be induced, adding to a growing consensus that memory is inherently fragile. Harvard psychologist Daniel Schacter has shown that memory is always in part a construction — a delicate process of rebuilding.

Simply remembering something can leave it slightly changed. Even vivid recollections can get distorted because of the way we recount them to others, our mood or whether we've had enough sleep.

While this changeable, plastic model of memory has become standard in psychology and neuroscience, in the justice system, an older, outdated model persists.

"(It's) the old view that memory works as a videotape," says Porter. "The ancient Greeks used to talk about the storehouse of memory or the wax tablet of memory. That when we perceive our world around us, those perceptions are in our minds permanently, and it's just a matter of getting them out."

The outdated belief that memory is largely infallible supports the use of the Reid police questioning model, an often aggressive technique meant to confirm suspects' guilt rather than uncover the facts. The American technique, which allows interviewers to lie to suspects, has become standard around the world, including in Canada.

"These manipulative tactics aren't enhancing legal decision-making," says Porter. "They're making it more difficult, if not, in fact, impossible."

A well-known U.S. exoneration involving a man convicted on the basis of a Reid technique interrogation is that of Texan Chris Ochoa. Ochoa spent 12 years in prison for a murder he did not commit; he was freed when DNA evidence proved his innocence.

Ochoa confessed to the crime after two 12-hour interrogation sessions that led him to conclude he had no hope of evading conviction.

False memories are responsible for countless false convictions and wrongful imprisonments, Porter believes. The Innocence Project in the U.S. has found that in at least 30 per cent of cases where convicts were exonerated by DNA testing, they had made false confessions. Some of those may have been the result of falsely induced memories.

Porter believes both police and the law need an overhaul in the way they treat testimony and confessions. He argues eyewitness testimony is valuable and can be largely accurate if suspects are questioned in ways that help preserve their recall.

Advocates like Brent Snook, professor of psychology at Memorial University in St. John's, have been trying to change police departments across Canada.

He's successfully worked with officers at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Peel Regional Police and other forces to stop using Reid and adopt the PEACE model, which has been in use for decades in the United Kingdom and has been adopted in Norway and New Zealand. That model demands officers collect more corroborating evidence before questioning suspects, and doesn't allow threatening or lying. Advocates say it results in stronger cases.

"The message I try to get across to the officers is that memory is like a crime scene," says Snook. "One of the first things you don't want to be doing at a crime scene is contaminating it . . . You make sure no one gets in there and starts moving evidence around."

A separate challenge is changing the court system, says Paul Pearson, a Victoria, B.C. defence lawyer. He says in his 15 years in court, he's heard clients say they made confessions they no longer believe are true. But that has been a tough sell with judges.

"When we go to court as defence lawyers and try to argue to a judge that we should bring in psychological evidence about the frailty of human memory and false memory syndrome, we're often met with a great deal of resistance," he says. "Judges want to be the judges (of whether memories are true)."

There are signs that courts are slowly starting to change, however. Alberta judge Mike Dinkel denounced the Reid technique "in the strongest terms possible" in 2012 for its potential to render false confessions and wrongful imprisonment.

Dinkel made that critique while dismissing aggravated assault charges against daycare owner Christa Lynn Chapple, who had been charged after a child in her care suffered a head injury. Chapple endured an oppressive eight-hour interrogation even though she said at least 24 times she wanted to remain silent, only confessing when her "free will" was broken, said Dinkel.

In the light of Shaw and Porter's discovery that it takes far less than that to trick someone into a false memory, advocates hope that change will come faster to the justice system.

The Toronto Star
I think western people are particularly susceptible towards false memories or just making up childhood events.

Not to denigrate real cases of child abuse /molestation.. but I'm betting many people accusing their relatives or parents of childhood molestation could be suffering from false memories, or plain just making things up.

We do know there are MANY MANY false rape accusations out there.
(03-02-2015 03:07 AM)EVILYOSHIDA Wrote: [ -> ]this should scare people. They can literally just make stuff up about you and lock you for decades.

that is why freedom of speech etc. doesn't matter. they can just TRUMP UP WHATEVER charges to lock you away forever.

this is why they seek to eradicate Christianity.. god fearing people would be way less likely to engage in stuff like this. Your conscience would eat you up.

I was thinking this while writing my response.

It's become culturally acceptable for many Americans to lie, cheat, and trample over others if it means preserving your personal advantage.

Now, of course, the police officers and attorneys in the case above were violating the law; but the bigger issue is where this mentality comes from?

It's clear that it emanates from a culture that condones getting (or staying) ahead at any cost.
Even with someone that I really hated I could never do something like that to them.

You don't play with people's lives like that.

This mentality is widespread in the US. there is no compassion. People laugh at other people's suffering. that's how bad it is.

they wish death upon people just over their opinions. I get death threats. Purely due to my opinions and political views.
This series of posts from the OG, illustrates the typical US mindset. Vengeful snitching. Drunk driving is wrong and bad but this shows the psychology of people.

Quote:From: Blade Brown Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 3 hours ago Member Since: 4/3/14
Posts: 4351 Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up

Somebody is drunk driving? There's a person I have the utmost hatred for. They drive home drunk every weekend. I would love nothing more then to see them get pinched for DUI. I would have zero remorse or guilt for it. Can I make an anyonmous call up the cops to alert them? Give em the plate number and all that? This would be a dream come true if it worked. Phone Post 3.0
From: Altofsky 1160 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 3 hours ago
BushkillBlades.com, Knifemaker Member Since: 12/17/06
Posts: 45924 Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up

Correct me if I'm wrong(and I'm sorry if I am)... but aren't you a habitual drunk driver as well?

From: Blade Brown Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 3 hours ago Member Since: 4/3/14
Posts: 4352 Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up

I want to legally seak revenge on this person to the best of my abilities. I know the best revenge is to live well and be successful, but that doesn't look to be in the cards for me anytime soon. Phone Post 3.0
From: Bench 27 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 3 hours ago Member Since: 5/23/05
Posts: 4721 Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up

I don't see why you wouldn't be able to OP Phone Post 3.0
From: GEYprideneverdies 74 The total sum of your votes up and votes down Send Private Message Add Comment To Profile
Posted: 3 hours ago Member Since: 6/27/11
Posts: 6633 Ignore | Quote | Vote Down | Vote Up

I did do this before. It really all depends on the individual cop. If you tell them that a specific car is likely to be driving drunk and tell them where that person is, they might send a car to investigate. And obviously they'd do something if the person was driving in a way that'd suggesr impairnent. That's what happened when I did it anyway. Phone Post 3.0
jesus fucking christ.
It is down right scary to see a pathological liar seemingly convince themselves of whatever bullshit they're spewing. Many of these people have lost touch with reality completely.

I was a roommate to one last year and it was bizarre how many whoppers this dude would tell in a single day. Many of them he knew that I knew were BS when he was telling them to someone else in front of me. Yet he never even looked at me afterward and said anything about it. Not even a "I can't believe they bought that shit"...lol. It never dawned on him that I would put two and two together and realize that I too could not trust a word he said.

I can't do that. That would eat at me to no end. It's tough enough dealing with many people these days without having to remember whatever nonsense you came up with the last time you talked. I'll tell a fib here or there just like anyone, but I'm generally more brutally honest to a fault.
good post fugazi. you seem like a good guy

psychopathy everywhere. immanentized psychopathy EVERYWHERE
This is as bad as it gets.
if the cops aren't thrown in jail... you know what kind of message that sends to society?

If the media isn't going after these perverts of justice.. these things are just simply public warning messages.

modern versions of the public hanging.
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