Darker-side-of-justice

Book cover of “The Darker Side of Justice” written by Gerald Price. Tate Publishing.

EXCLUSIVE: Father speaks out for the first time on rampant corruption, collusion in daughter’s high-profile abuse trial, conviction

Louisiana’s Third Circuit Court Vacates Original Sentence, New Hearing Expected To Consider ‘Legal Error’ on Latest Re-sentencing

by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com

Jaime Day and her children’s story reads like a Hollywood drama – so unbelievable it seems to be fiction.

Evidence Planted, Media Firestorm Begins

Gabe was a troubled nine-year-old boy who lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana. His biological mother used drugs, and participated in drug-related crimes. Documented by multiple doctors, counselors and hospitals as dealing with extreme mental illness, he would defecate in his pants at school in order to be taken home, refuse food and attempt to harm himself. On three occasions, he harmed himself seriously enough that he had to be taken to the emergency room.

Upon each of Gabe’s visits to the emergency room, the hospital staff would conduct an evaluation and place him on the psychological ward for a five-day stay. According to his grandfather, Gerald Price, Gabe loved these stays because the hospital staff catered to him completely. He later admitted that he had deliberately self-inflicted so that he would be taken to the hospital.

In September 2009, a child psychologist started him on Risperdal and Depakote. These drugs, used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, were prescribed at adult doses. The mood stabilizer (Depakote) came with an FDA warning regarding suicidal thoughts.

Both of these drugs have been in involved in federal lawsuits for off label use. In 2013 Johnson & Johnson’s settled for $2.2 billion for illegally marketing Risperdal for “controlling aggression and anxiety in elderly dementia patients and treating behavioral disturbances in children and in individuals with disabilities,” and included a brazen kickback scheme to Omnicare Inc., a pharmacy supplying nursing homes. (Source.) Similarly, Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay the federal government $1.6 billion for illegally marketing Depakote for uses that were never approved by the FDA in 2012. (Source.)

Gabe’s father Murry Day and his wife Jaime eventually received full custody of Gabe when his mother’s parental rights were terminated. Jaime, a young mother who had few resources and a frequently absent husband, was trying to make ends meet, keep her marriage together and care for her troubled step-son as well as her own children with Murry, Kolton and Kyler.

3-Day-boys

Image provided by family.

When Gabe became too unmanageable at school, he was recommended for a state-certified, doctor-referred program called “Home Bound” for students with significant medical conditions who cannot handle a school environment. Jaime sought out and enrolled him with a licensed family counseling program called Helping Hands, with weekly visits. She and her parents applied with every agency available, but found no long-term help programs for children with mental conditions such as Gabe’s in their home state of Louisiana.

A Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) call from a disgruntled relative made a report of a child “locked and tied” in a back room of Jaime’s house. The report also indicated he was being starved. A deputy from the sheriff ’s office was dispatched to Jaime’s home. At the time of his arrival at the hospital, Gabe had physical indications on his body that were consistent with the self-inflicting history, for which he was by now well known.

However, the hospital and the sheriff ’s office immediately began to pursue proving someone was abusing Gabe — and Jaime was the prime suspect. Within days, DCFS removed Jaime’s two boys. On March 8, 2010, Jaime was arrested on an indictment of thirty-two counts of cruelty to a juvenile, five of which were listed as second degree cruelty. Her bail was set at five million dollars.

Jaime’s father Gerald described what happened next.

Local media immediately went to work after Jaime’s arrest. What they reported was completely off, wild, and irresponsible… The report said he (Gabe) was tied to a doorknob with a dog leash and starved. What made that report preposterous was the obvious fact that if a nine-year-old boy were tied to a doorknob, he would simply untie himself. They described a urine- and blood-soaked mattress in his room. By this time, my family was literally in shock. We could not possibly recognize what was being reported, except we certainly recognized our daughter’s picture on the front page.

The media firestorm was intense, with the local sheriff speaking to the local news saying, “The family claims she is innocent, but the evidence is clear.” Throughout the rest of both the family court and criminal court proceedings, media was present, with stories appearing all over the Southeastern U.S.

Despite the later testimony of the DCFS worker that the lead detective confessed to planting the evidence, as well as the sheriff’s deputy’s testimony that the scene at the home was not anything like the allegations described, and despite the DCFS worker’s repeated insistence that the young mom was a good parent, as well as the foster mother who carefully documented the extent of Gabe’s mental and emotional disturbances….the family claims Jaime had already been judged and condemned in the public’s mind. The media stoked tremendous community outrage which created a cauldron of what the family believes to be collusion and corruption that included DCFS, the state of Louisiana, the District Attorney’s office, the state’s psychologist, and others, which ultimately sent a young mother to jail for 30 years.

Devastated, their lives in tatters, splashed all over the media and smeared beyond repair, justice seemed a travesty to Jaime Day and her parents, Gerald and Sherri Price. Clinging to their faith, bolstered by friends and a close-knit church community that had known Jaime and the kids many years, they threw all the resources they had into the fight of their lives. Still in jail, Jaime was not left in peace, but endured the inmates jeering, cursing, and spitting on her.

Grandparents Denied Custody Because They Believed Their Daughter was Innocent

Slowly, the story began to unravel. In family court, DCFS tried to prove that Jaime’s boys could not go to live with her or with their grandparents.

“We were informed that because we believed our daughter was telling the truth that we would not be considered for placement of the children,” says Gerald.

Gabe was put in a separate foster parent’s home from that of the other two boys.

Family Court – Judge Angry with Evidence Concealed and Revealed at Last Minute

While Gabe was in the foster home, his foster mother maintained a journal where she kept a record of Gabe’s repeated bizarre and self-injurious behavior, which mirrored the claims of Jaime and her family. This journal appeared to not only have been in DCFS and the state psychologist’s possession for months, but concealed from the defense and the family court for more than a year— a criminal offense. In a last-minute court-room drama, the journal was provided to Jaime’s defense attorney literally as the hearing was happening.

The judge was livid.

At no time in this lengthy hearing was this journal presented. You know, it could have made some sense, if any, in the chain of events that can only be described as a nightmarish carnage in the lives of these babies, not to mention what can only be best described as a media feeding frenzy…

Further, this Court will order that the Department of Children & Family Services show cause … why this Department should not be held in
contempt for failing to provide the information in its possession that has affected the outcome of this case. These parents have been denied a
fair trial. This Court will not put up with that and this Court will take all available necessary steps to investigate why such crucial evidence was omitted, withheld… [1]

Boys Returned to Grandparents but Criminal Trial Looms

Jamie-3-boys

After two years living in an unknown home with strangers, Jaime’s boys, Kolton and Kyler, aged six and eight, were immediately returned to family, to live with their grandparents. Gerald, Jaime’s father and the boys’ grandfather with whom they now lived, says the two boys would often request to see their mother and be reunited with her.

But it wasn’t over yet. Their mother had yet to be tried in criminal court.

Jaime and her family filed a series of federal lawsuits arguing her civil rights had been denied. Additionally, they filed a motion for sanctions against DCFS, and documents were filed calling for a state board of ethics review of the state’s expert psychologist, which could produce disciplinary action against him and his license to practice.

Criminal Trial Injustice

In Jaime’s criminal trial, the same psychologist who had already been proved duplicitous, was again permitted to be the expert and allowed to discredit the information found in the foster mother’s journal to an uninformed and unsuspecting jury. The jury had no knowledge that this was a man in a fight for his professional career and had every unethical motive for attacking the journal’s credibility.

Besides the use of the discredited psychologist, the trial featured an apparent effort to influence or coerce the testimony of a witness by an investigator from the sheriff’s office. The investigator was removed from the trial but the damage was done – the witness suddenly remembered “new” information. Jaime and her family were amazed – no mistrial was called.

Defense Lawyer Turns Face – Paid Off?

Most devastating of all, though, was the reported sudden collapse of any effort on the part of Jaime’s defense attorney. He had defended her and her family vigorously in family court, yet in the final days before her criminal trial, he was allegedly offered and took a case defending the assistant district attorney against charges of sexual assault. This created what the family feels was a conflict of interest. Suddenly, the lawyer who had worked so hard on Jaime’s behalf for years, allegedly threw in the towel and demanded she plead guilty.

Days after he took the D.A.’s case, and as the prosecution rested their case against Jaime, Gerald writes:

We were then stunned by what we endured for the next three hours. [They] (the defense team) were a tag team determined to persuade Jaime to take a deal to plea in exchange for an eighteen-year sentence….

He would attack her with an in-your-face charge, literally yelling at her that this was her only recourse, and if she did not take it, she would spend the next forty years in prison.

Jaime refused – she had no interest in admitting to horrific charges of which she knew she was innocent. Jaime’s own lawyer then allegedly persisted in calling her repeatedly over the weekend and even showing up at her house on Sunday afternoon to demand that she plead guilty.

“I will not allow them to take the only thing I have left and that is my declaration of my innocence.”

Of his daughter’s absolute determination, Gerald writes:

She loudly and with deep emotion declared to [her attorney], “These people had taken everything I have. I’ve lost my children, my home, I kept pictures of that little boy on my wall for as long as I had a wall to hang it on. I will not allow them to take the only thing I have left and that is my declaration of my innocence. I will never plead guilty to something I never did, no matter what the penalty.”

Gerald states:

What we do believe is that the case for Jaime was [his] to lose and he lost it. With many exculpatory facts and the absolute weaponry and information needed to dismantle the State’s case and to expose the fraud and conspiracy of its witnesses, he remained relatively silent and allowed Jaime Day’s life to be devastated.

Mother Sentenced to Prison

3-boys-Jamie-grandparents

Jaime spending her birthday in prison (they misspelled her name on the cake.) Photo supplied by family.

According to Gerald, witnesses who should have been called, weren’t. Information used by the prosecution went uncontested, and without context. And when the smoke cleared, Jaime had been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

“The state and its witnesses were caught in wrongful conduct in the family court proceedings,” Gerald notes. “Consequently, they lost in family court and our children returned to us. This fact was withheld from criminal court, thereby allowing the state’s expert’s testimony to remain untarnished as far as the criminal court and the jury was concerned. So now, they don’t have to be accountable at all for their actions given the fact that they were allowed to basically destroy the very evidence that got them in trouble in the first place in the criminal trial.”

Jaime, heartbroken, was taken to prison. Her parents were left to care for her children and try to explain why their mommy was in jail and couldn’t see them.

Lawyer Withdraws All Lawsuits Against DCFS Against Family’s Will

And the final blow: Jaime’s defense lawyer withdrew all federal lawsuits that had been filed against DCFS and all related parties. Gerald says:

It was an apparent ‘gift’ to the prosecutors of this case and to DCFS. [He] in effect slammed the door on any possibility of ever revisiting these suits upon the State, regardless of whether or not Jaime won a new trial in appeal.

Consider the fact the state and most of its witnesses faced multiple lawsuits for their actions at the time of the trial. Additionally factor in what all of them stood to lose if Jaime were acquitted and you have a recipe for deep corruption and for an innocent woman going to prison for the remainder of her life.

Her parents, having filed for bankruptcy from the overwhelming burden of the multiple trials and their daughter’s defense, vowed to never give up fighting for the daughter they knew to be innocent and their grandchildren’s future.

Appellate Court Vacates Original Sentence

Justice moved at a snail’s pace. But at the state Appellate Court last year, a trickle began. The court vacated the original sentence, stating it was excessive, and ordered the original trial judge to reduce the sentence. Jaime’s incarceration was lowered to a 10 year sentence.

The appellate judge noted:

We find that the thirty-year sentence “shocks the conscience” and is, therefore, excessive…The record reveals a young man with significant mental illness prior to coming into Defendant’s care. His behavior was difficult, at best, and often outrageous…It appears much of the harm to G.H. was unintentional, resulting in part from G.H.’s refusal to eat.

Some of the bruising was likely caused by G.H. himself. The record overwhelmingly indicates that Defendant was in a precarious situation; she was caring alone for her own children and G.H., who was such a significant challenge, and was unable to get the assistance G.H. required…

Jaime has now served two years of her sentence. Her parents and children visit at every available opportunity, but it is never enough. Her parents would find counsel and work to re-file federal lawsuits to hold their local officials accountable, but have exhausted all funding.

New Hope for Declaration of “Legal Error” in Conviction

3-day-boys-church

The 3 boys at church. Image supplied by family.

But there is new hope for Jaime and her children. A motion has been filed with the Appellate Court claiming legal error by the sitting judge when re-sentencing Jaime, due to language used in rejecting the earlier findings. Essentially, the appellate court came to a different conclusion than the earlier conviction. They are requesting a sentence of “time served” be imposed and that Jaime be released. While this would not technically “overturn” Jaime’s original conviction, for all practical purposes, it would imply that the original decision might not have been appropriate.

Additionally, the Appellate Court, in its original ruling, was not permitted access to the family court information with its additional exculpatory evidence, but will now have access to all evidence, which the family hopes will help. Jaime’s father, Gerald Price, has written a book titled, “The Darker Side of Justice,” detailing the excruciating experience their family has lived through.

Jaime’s family continues to hope that someday, the truth will come out, justice will be served, and Jaime will be released and reunited with her children and family.

He has a Facebook Page also:

Darker-Side-Justice-Facebook

Help Jaime and her children – Contact the officials below and demand that she be re-united with her family

Louisiana Attorney General
Buddy Caldwell
Constituent Services (email address available)
225- 326- 6079

Governor Bobby Jindal
Email the Governor

References

[1] 14th  Judicial District Court, State of Louisiana, In the Interest of Jason Kolton Day and Dalton Kyler Day, Juvenile Docket No. 23118, p.5, 10, July 26, 2012, before the Honorable Guy Bradberry

[2] http://www.kplctv.com/story/27697614/louisiana-third-circuit-court-of-appeal-on-jamie-day-resentencing

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