Open Letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter
Updated: Jan 10, 2019
Dear Mr. Hunter,
I spent some time on your website attempting to gauge the kind of man you are and what you stand for. Everything sounds great; who doesn’t want an AG who protects children, sets his sights on fighting the opioid epidemic, vows to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable, and my personal favorite, a man who swears to uphold and enforce the Constitution.
Let’s talk about the Constitution. First, this is the verbiage from your website. “The Constitution of the United States is the most profoundly important governing document the world has ever known, and Mike Hunter believes it should be interpreted as originally intended by our founding fathers. As an ardent supporter of our Constitution, Mike Hunter will continue to enforce it and protect it from assault.” That sounds perfect–almost like you could wrap it in a bow and present it as a gift.
We’ll start with the Fifth Amendment: this amendment guarantees fair proceedings when people are threatened by a loss of life, liberty, or property by the government. This is an amendment where the phrase “due process” is used. Due process is defined as “fair treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen's entitlement.” So, now that we’re on the same page, I have a question... Was Julius Jones treated “fairly” during his due process? I can answer that question, but I’ll go a step further. No, he was “defended” by two attorneys who had zero experience in capital cases. One of them hadn’t even graduated law school yet. How in any realm of the definition of fair is that acceptable? I don’t know how people sleep at night knowing a man was defended by two people wholly inept, at the time, to defend a man on trial with the death penalty on the table. Furthermore, what planet is fair defined as the DA lying to the jury about the co-defendant’s sentence? The DA said Christopher Jordan would serve thirty years, so he was given no leniency or favors for his testimony, yet he walked out of prison in fifteen years. That’s not honest, whatsoever.
The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury. A synonym of impartial is unbiased. Was the juror who made a racial slur in the presence of other jurors unbiased? I don’t think so! How on earth that was deemed irrelevant or not harmful by the judge is beyond me!
The most important text I want to focus on the fourteenth amendment is this: “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” There’s that phrase, “due process” again. To me, the fact that those two words, seemingly insignificant on their own, but pack a powerhouse when placed together, are used twice tells me that the Constitution is explicitly clear that the law protects citizenry from unjust treatment in the criminal justice system. I’ll pose the same question again––How did Julius receive due process? How was incentivizing Christopher Jordan to say whatever would get him off the hook, and thereby receiving a fifteen year sentence despite what the DA made the jury believe, equal due process? Or, perhaps the most puzzling, the fact that the ONLY eye witness, which is the victim’s sister, saw half an inch of hair coming from the bottom of the stocking cap. There was evidence that clearly illustrated that Julius’ hair was short, which proves the man the witness saw couldn’t have been him! Christopher Jordan, on the other hand, had his hair in corn rolls at that time, which curl up at the bottom!
A few other aspects of his case that put his treatment on another planet: The deck was stacked against Julius. He had two inexperienced lawyers who were up against the best prosecutors in the state. But, that’s fair? Right, in what world? Let’s talk about Parish Powell, a death row exoneree. He was wrongfully convicted based on false testimony. Julius and Paris have this witness in common! His name is Kermit Lottie!
Lottie had federal drug charges and was facing thirty years! There was a hearing in which the defense questioned whether Lottie was receiving anything in exchange for his testimony. The answer was no, but before the trial, Detective Fike wrote a letter to the federal prosecutor praising Lottie and his assistance in the case. As a result, Lottie ended up serving four years. Another lie the DA made the jury believe! Does this fit the definition of fair? Of course not! You’re an educated man; you have a law degree for crying out loud! How can you dismiss all of this?
Another aspect I want to touch on because of the statement you gave to the media after the DNA results were released. “Our responsibilities as the attorneys for the state in the criminal appeals process is to follow the law with the overarching goal of always finding the truth in the appeals process. The lab results, which indicate that Julius Jones’ DNA is present on the red bandanna, is an additional validation of the trial and the appellate process in proving his guilt. I also hope that through this process all Oklahomans who are victims of atrocious crimes know that my office will continue doing everything we can to ensure evil people who commit atrocious crimes will stay in prison.”
The DNA results include Julius, yes, but it also includes “three or more individuals,” which was conveniently left out of your statement and the media’s report. Most people with a lick of sense would deduce that Julius’ DNA should and would be present because the bandana was found at his house! How ignorant do you and David Prater think we are?
Another point I have to make about these results is the lack of saliva on the bandana. The witness said the bandana was worn to cover the nose and mouth. There is no way saliva wouldn’t be there. I researched this: in every case I found involving a bandana worn in this manner, saliva was always present. Furthermore, I wore a bandana tied in the same manner around my house, just for grins. I wasn't yelling or yielding a gun, but I transferred saliva. Sure, that doesn't prove anything, but it made me scratch my head. The results of the DNA don’t hammer the case closed, sir, if anything, they present more questions than answers. Who are the other three contributors? Why is there a lack of saliva? Just because Christopher Jordan isn't a match to the "major contributor" doesn't mean he isn't to the other three profiles.
You may be too far to the right to identify the unethical and improper aspects of everything I listed above and that’s fine. I’m not asking you to change your political affiliation or opinion; in fact, I could care less. I’m asking for something quite simple considering your belief that Julius is guilty and right where he belongs. All of the above things, at the very least, illustrates that this man deserves a new trial. I can’t even say retrial because his first trial was a laughing stock to the criminal justice system and everything the system stands on!
On top of the retrial, I want you to release his case files to his legal team. I don’t know anywhere in the world where a legal team is expected to defend a person without that persons complete file. The Oklahoma Open Records Act makes this request law! For whatever reason, numerous requests made to you and David Prater are being ignored. This is preposterous! It’s no wonder the state of Oklahoma is number one in incarceration rates; the state can’t get out of its own way to see when they’ve made an error!
Julius wouldn’t be the first man exonerated from death row in Oklahoma: Paris Powell, Yancy Douglas, Dennis Fritz, Ron Williamson, Curtis Edward McCarty, Clifford Bowen, Charles Ray Giddens, Richard Neal Jones, Gregory Wilhoit, and Adolph Munson are a few men freed from death row in Oklahoma. Did you know that a study conducted from 1973 to 2004, released in 2014, estimated that 4.1% of those on death row are innocent? That’s a startling number considering there are over 2,700 men and women on death row, which calculates to about 110 innocent people. That’s scary!
So, you have a choice; end up like Texas in 2004, after execution Cameron Todd Willingham to learn soon after he was actually innocent, or get ahead of this and correct it. I’m not asking you to blindly overturn his conviction; I’m asking for due process and transparency. That’s not a tall order; it’s a constitutional right! We’ll wait and see if the proclamation on your website is merely words, or if you will enforce the Constitution in all cases and not just the ones you want to.
P.S. As I offered to David Prater, should you need any help in finding the records or scanning/copying the documents for Julius’ defense team, I’d be happy to assist free of charge!
Tiffany L. Gobble