Posts Tagged George Gould

PAI Interest in Several Criminal Justice Cases

by Sally Joughin, People Against Injustice

People Against Injustice has been following the case of George Gould for many years. His mother, Martha, was one of the original members of PAI when it started back in the late 1990s.

If you are familiar with PAI activities and interests, you will know that George Gould and Ron Taylor were out of prison for a year and a half, after winning a Habeas appeal in 2010. They spoke at a PAI event along with one of the lawyers and their investigator Jerry O’Donnell. Jerry’s diligent investigation over several years was responsible for the men’s release.

However, the prosecutors appealed and won, forcing a second Habeas for George. Ron had unfortunately passed away in the meantime. George went back to prison. In the midst of George’s second Habeas trial in 2012, prosecutors charged Jerry O’Donnell with bribery and tampering with the “eyewitness” whose recantation at the first Habeas trial had freed them. The “witness” then refused to testify. And George was not successful at the trial.

PAI members have attended all these different trials and hearings. Although we know that Jerry did not bribe or tamper to get the recantation, nevertheless, he was convicted by a jury at a trial a few months ago. Jerry’s sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. It will take place at the Superior Court in Rockville CT, and support from community members is needed. Contact Mary Johnson about this at (203) 387-7858 to confirm the date & time or to get more information about the case.


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George Gould Loses Habeas Appeal

by Sally Joughin, People Against Injustice

Sept. 18 Judge Samuel Sferrazza made his decision known: He did NOT overturn George Gould’s 1995 murder conviction.

George had to prove either that he could not have committed the crime or that someone else committed it, or convince the judge by his own statement of innocence. But Sferrazza was not convinced. Moreover, he found the original witness testimonies more reliable than their recantations! (See on-line articles of Hartford Courant and New Haven Register from 9/18/12 to read the decision.)

People Against Injustice, family and friends of George Gould, and other supporters—who met together several times—KNOW that George and Ron Taylor are innocent of the 1993 murder of Fair Haven storeowner Eugenio Vega. They believe that prosecutors and the judge also know that George is not guilty. Yet the judge insists that George’s conviction and 80-year sentence must stand because there was no proof that (1) police coerced witness lies, (2) Pam Youmans witnessed the murder or (3) the victim’s son killed him. Sferrazza apparently believed that Investigator Gerry O’Donnell spent 3 years pressuring and bribing witness Doreen Stiles to recant. But there are PAI members who know that she recanted the first time Gerry met her, and that he immediately shared this recantation with two prosecutors!  Sferrazza also decided that the voice on tape was not the voice of Pam Youmans, identifying the son as the shooter. But members of PAI know that Gerry O’Donnell would not fabricate such a recording. Are the prosecutors and judge honest?

George will appeal the decision. He must satisfy the very high legal requirements. He must produce the proof of who committed the crime or proof that certain persons were lying or covering up the truth or coercing witnesses. The question for People Against Injustice and friends and family of George: Is there anything that the support group can do to help at this point?

This is the dilemma faced by supporters of many wrongly convicted individuals all over the country. Sometimes people do find a way to participate that leads to success. Is that possible here in New Haven?


See also this opinion piece by David R. Cameron, a professor of political science at Yale and a member of the state’s Eyewitness Identification Task Force.

On April 1, 2010, Judge Stanley T. Fuger Jr. threw out the convictions of George Gould and Ronald Taylor for the murder of Eugenio Vega in his New Haven bodega in 1993. Outraged by the “manifest injustice” that had occurred, Fuger also threw out the arrest warrants and finding of probable cause and released the men. For Gould, it must now seem like the cruelest April Fool’s joke.

Gould will appeal. But in the meantime, the state should, with the assistance of the Innocence Project, reopen the investigation. To do otherwise would be to perpetuate what Judge Fuger rightly called a “manifest injustice.”

For more on this story, visit: George Gould waits in jail for justice in murder case – Hartford Courant.

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George Gould Trial on Hold

by Sally Joughin, People Against Injustice

On May 14, concerned friends and family of George Gould met in New Haven to discuss the current situation with his habeas case. The meeting was organized by People Against Injustice in order to bring together all those who want to do something to bring about George’s release. The meeting included members of PAI, six members of the Gould family, George’s girlfriend and several other New Haven supporters.  Others who couldn’t make it that night expect to attend future gatherings. All PAR readers concerned about this injustice are urged to participate; tell Mary Johnson of your interest — (203) 287-7858.

In case you didn’t read it in the newspaper, a lot has happened since the previous PAR newsletter. George’s lawyer, Joseph Visone, agreed to stay on the case, and it is Ron’s lawyer, Peter Tsimbidaros, and Inspector Jerry O’Donnell who are now off. Then on May 7, O’Donnell was charged with “bribing and tampering with” the witness Doreen Stiles!  She now claims that her original 1995 testimony was true and that her 2009 recantation was a lie!  O’Donnell may have helped her out financially at some point, but several of George’s supporters know that Stiles willingly recanted, and therefore there was no motive for pressure or bribery prior to the 2009 habeas. Supporters can only speculate about why she is lying now.

With all this disruption, the final days of George’s habeas trial have been postponed. The next step of the support group is to try to set up a meeting with his lawyer. Depending on the outcome, the group will decide what action to take and will invite others to participate.

PAI, family and other supporters of George believe that enough evidence was already presented during the first 4 weeks of trial to prove that Stiles wasn’t there, no robbery took place, someone else had motive, and nothing connects Gould and Taylor to the murder. Is that enough proof of actual innocence to satisfy the judge?  If the prosecutors do call Stiles to testify, could anyone believe her now?  Hopefully Attorney Visone’s last witnesses will have something powerful to add.

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George Gould’s Second Habeas Trial

– By Sally Joughin, People Against Injustice

George Gould’s second Habeas trial began March 19.  During the first week, nine members of People Against Injustice joined PAI member Martha Gould (George’s mother) and 3 of George’s siblings at the courthouse in Rockville, CT.  Readers probably remember that George and co-defendant Ron Taylor were acquitted in 2010 of a murder for which they had served 16 years of their 80-year sentences.  But prosecutors successfully appealed.  George was sent back to prison to await Habeas #2.  Ron Taylor died of cancer in October 2011.

On Aug. 8, 2011, Superior Court Judge Elliot Solomon had suggested a settlement that would have let Gould and Taylor enter a plea under the Alford doctrine (no admission of guilt) and be sentenced to the 16 years already served.  But the state’s attorney’s office wouldn’t consider it; they claim to still believe Gould and Taylor guilty, even though there is no longer any evidence linking them to the murder.

Habeas trial #2 spread out over 4 weeks, during which the two lawyers, Joseph Visone and Peter Tsimbidaros, questioned a parade of witnesses – police officers, gun experts, the banker and paint store owners who knew about the victim’s son embezzling his money, the woman raped by the victim’s son when she was a girl, and the woman who was with the victim when he was murdered.  They showed the videotaped testimony of the star witness at the original trial, and heard the audiotape of the woman present during the murder.  It was expected that during the 5th and final week the star witness would present to the new judge her recantation and tale of police coercion.

But on the first day of week 5, a big surprise:  Attorney Visone, asked to resign from the case!  Apparently, anger at his co-counsel and investigator O’Donnell are more important than George’s fate.  By the time PAR readers receive this issue, the trial will have resumed and probably finished.  The judge will need several months before making his ruling.

People Against Injustice know that George’s legal team have again proved his innocence.  But will this judge do the right thing?

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Exonerated Prisoners Get Their Wish | New Haven Independent

Ronald Taylor and George Gould are headed back to court—state Supreme Court. At their own request.

A state judge freed the two New Haven men from prison last April after concluding they didn’t commit the murder for which they were convicted.

However, state prosecutors aren’t giving up. They’ve appealed the ruling.

via Exonerated Prisoners Get Their Wish | New Haven Independent.

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