1 Leora N. Rosen, Ph.D.
11309 Commonwealth, T-3
North Bethesda, MD 20852
October 12, 2010

 

Gail D. Kessler, Assistant Bar Counsel
Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland
100 Community Place, Suite 3301
Crownsville, Maryland  21032-2027

 

    Re:     BC Docket No. 2011-064-13-9 (Smith)
        and BC Docket No. 2011-063-13-9 (Cassilly)


Dear Ms. Kessler,

 

Although my initial complaint in the abovementioned cases only included the extrajudicial statements made by these two prosecutors, in my last letter to you dated October 5, 2010 I submitted information regarding two other instances of prosecutorial misconduct by Messrs. Smith and Cassilly in the case of the State vs. Valerie Carlton.  I now submit more information, and hereby formally ask for an opportunity to present evidence of additional instances of egregious prosecutorial misconduct and unethical attorney behavior on their part.  There are three specific points that I would like to address:

 

1)    My first point elaborates on a footnote that I made in my letter of October 5, 2010.  As reported in that letter, Mr. Smith told the media in an interview on June 11th 2009, following the death of Ms Carlton’s baby, that there was no connection between the charges against Ms. Carlton and the baby’s death.   Yet on the very same day, the Office of the State’s Attorney used the event of the baby’s death as an opportunity to attempt to extract self-incriminating information from the defendant in furtherance of the prosecution of their case against her.   HCDC’s policy is that when there is a death in an in-mate’s family, the Chaplain informs the inmate and provides pastoral care to the bereaved.   On June 11th 2009, the day I learned of the baby’s death, I drove to the jail because Ms. Carlton’s attorney told me he believed I could be present with the Chaplain (to assist) when he broke the news to her.  When I arrived at the jail, Chaplain Roberts informed me that the news had already been broken to Ms. Carlton, but not by him.  He said that the prosecutor’s office had phoned him that morning, and told him that Ms. Carlton’s baby had died in foster care, but that he would not be permitted to inform her of the death.  He was told to vacate his office so that someone from the CID of the prosecutor’s office could do it, in order to “observe her reactions.”  

 

According to Chaplain Roberts, this was the first time in his 20 years of service that such a request had been made.  He vacated his office, and the prosecutor’s office dispatched one Debbie Bradley-- who actually works for the Victims’ Services Division of the Sheriff’s Office -- to inform Ms. Carlton of her baby’s death and to take notes about her reaction.  Chaplain Roberts said the purpose of this violation of procedure was to develop information against Ms. Carlton that would assist the prosecutor in his case against her.  That the intention behind this exercise was to cause Ms. Carlton maximum distress is evidenced by the fact that a Restraining Chair (which is defined by Amnesty International as a form of torture) was prepared and waiting for her well ahead of the meeting with Ms. Bradley.  For your information, I have included Ms. Carlton’s own contemporaneous personal account of this exper-ience, which I believe amounted to frank, premeditated torture.  This was arranged by the Office of the State’s Attorney in order to try to get Ms. Carlton to say something incriminating, even though they knew she had nothing to do with the baby’s death.  The incident caused Ms. Carlton lasting physical injury (to her wrists and ankles, at least) and severe, untold and ongoing psychological trauma, which compounded the trauma of the loss of her baby, which injuries continue to affect her to this day.

 

2)    On or around March 8th 2009, Ms. Carlton was charged with assaulting a correctional officer at HCDC.  Ms. Carlton’s private lawyer, Isaac Klein, Esq., immediately tried to make arrangements for his client to meet with Dr. Mark J. Mills, a forensic psychiatrist who had previously evaluated Ms. Carlton at Spring Grove Hospital some six months earlier.  After several phone calls to the jail, Mr. Klein was informed, on or around March 11th 2009, by a jail official, that he would need a court order to allow Dr. Mills to see the inmate.   This was untrue.  After much complaining by officials, citizens, Dr. Mills himself, and Rabbis (and after the passage of time, which was itself injurious both to Ms. Carlton and to her case), the jail finally changed its mind about the court order, admitted that it was not necessary to go to court, but made up some other vague requirement that had to be met.


Throughout the day Monday March 15th Mr. Klein and Rabbi Zvi Boyarsky of the Aleph Institute, and a community volunteer by the name of Michelle Etlin, tried to reach someone at the jail to clarify what the requirement entailed, and how to obtain the necessary permission for Dr. Mills to evaluate Ms. Carlton.


Finally, Rabbi Boyarsky was able to reach Warden DeHaven who told him that the court order requirement had been reinstated, and that it had nothing to do with jail policy.  It was a requirement set by the State's Attorney, Mr. Cassilly.  The Warden told Rabbi Boyarsky that the State's Attorney was not permitting Ms. Carlton to be evaluated because the information from this evaluation was going to be used for her defense.


 Rabbi Boyarsky meanwhile asked Ms. Etlin to phone several surrounding detention centers to check on this "policy" and she found out the following: Baltimore County detention center said:  “NO PROBLEM, just have the doctor call the warden.”  Howard County said: “ There is no such thing as a court order, just have the doctor come and show his credentials.”  Montgomery County was the most interesting: they did some checking up, and finally the warden got on the phone and said, "Where did you get the idea you need a court order?  It's a doctor the defense wants to come in here?  Have them come in; it's considered part of a lawyer's visit; every defendant has the right to lawyer’s visits."


Meanwhile, Rabbi Boyarsky made phone calls to several officials in Harford County, and finally reached the County Attorney, Mr. Robert S. McCord Esq. Mr. McCord confirmed to Rabbi Boyarsky that no court order was needed for a doctor to see a jail inmate, and he told Rabbi Boyarsky that he would personally instruct Mr. Cassilly that he could not legally place any conditions on such a visit.  Shortly after Rabbi Boyarsky spoke with Mr. McCord, the jail lifted the “court order requirement” and other impediments, and arrangements were made for Dr. Mills to see Ms. Carlton at the jail.  In the course of this run-around, Dr. Mills had to make and break two separate appointments, adjusting his busy schedule to accommodate a series of ridiculous problems that he had never encountered in 35 years’ experience evaluating inmates in prisons and jails for lawyers all over the country and even for the federal government.


In conclusion, Mr. Cassilly used the power of his office to try to prevent Dr. Mills from lawfully seeing Ms. Carlton in the jail, by causing jail personnel to say that the visit was not allowed without a court order, which was untrue.  Three professionals had to get involved in an exhaustive series of complaints, inquiries, phone calls and official involvement before Dr. Mills was able to meet with the defendant.  Mr. Cassilly’s obvious goal was to impede the preparation of Ms. Carlton’s defense.


3)    My final complaint is that Mr. Smith worked in concert with personnel from the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) not only to cook up false charges but, perhaps worse, in order to hide significant exculpatory evidence that resulted from the community response to early press reports about the defendant’s alleged pedophilic acts.  In early June 2009 following the series of media reports about Ms. Carlton’s arrest and the allegations that she had molested two little girls, a certain Mr. Ron Wilson brought his daughter Mimi to the CAC to be interviewed for possible child abuse.  Mr. Wilson had been a neighbor of Ms. Carlton for several years and had moved away about a year before the allegations surfaced.  Ms. Carlton’s daughter, Winnifer (one of the alleged victims) and Mr. Wilson’s daughter Mimi had grown up together and remained close friends even after Mr. Wilson moved away.  Mimi was a frequent visitor at the Carton home and slept over there on a regular basis.  Mr. Wilson had never suspected that Ms Carlton had abused Mimi, but following the press accounts, he believed it was his duty as a responsible parent to find out.

 

Mr. Wilson informed Ms. Carlton’s mother, Lenna Gordon in late October or early November 2009 that he had taken Mimi to the CAC where she had received a forensic interview to determine if she had been molested by Valerie Carlton or anybody else.  Mr. Wilson reported that in the interview, Mimi said she never experienced any abuse in the Carlton home, and that indeed the home was a warm, loving, safe environment for children and she had been very happy there, and treated well, and respectfully, by Valerie Carlton and Winnifer.  Mr. Wilson told Ms. Gordon he concluded that the sex abuse allegations were nonsense, and were based on one neighbor’s wish for revenge, and that he had no problem with his daughter spending time at the Carlton home.

 

However, despite repeated requests on the part of defense attorneys, materials pertaining to the interview of Mimi Wilson were never turned over to the defense.  After learning about the existence of the interview from Ms. Gordon, I informed John Janowich Esq., Ms. Carlton’s public defender, of the existence of the exculpatory evidence and he said that he would be sure to request that it be handed over.  Some time later, Mr. Janowich told me that he had made the request, but the materials had not yet been handed over.  Subsequently, when Mr. Janowich put a paralegal, Joanne Velez to work on the case, I reminded her to persist in obtaining the interview materials and she said she was trying (see attached email.)  To this day, none of Ms. Carlton’s attorneys have seen the Mimi interview, although Mr. Wilson is ready to testify that it took place.  Therefore I am alleging that Mr. Smith knowingly and intentionally withheld critical exculpatory evidence from the defense in the case of the State vs. Valerie Carlton.

 

In conclusion, I believe it is obvious that Mr. Cassilly and Mr. Smith set out to charge Valerie Carlton with enough heinous crimes to coerce a plea of “NCR” so that they would not have to show up at a speedy, public trial with valid evidence.  They over-charged her, they demanded exorbitant bail in violation of the Eighth Amendment, they hid obvious and compelling exculpatory evidence, they arranged for her to be violently mistreated in jail so she would “do anything” to get out, they prevented her attorney from being able to adequately prepare her defense, and they outright slandered her in the press to psychologically terrorize and isolate her.  I am sure they have done many things that have not even come to light, but those listed above are, I believe, quite compelling, and they should be held accountable.

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

 

                    Sincerely,

 

                    Leora N. Rosen, Ph.D.

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