New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 23, 1987, New Braunfels, Texas
Supreme Court rules on hypnotic testimony, jail murder sentencing
WASHINGTON i AP) Hypnosis, identified as often with nightclub acts as with scientific study, may he getting its day in court.
The Supreme Court is giving the practice of hypnosis more credibility with a new ruling that states may not prohibit all testimony by criminal defendants whose memories are helped by hypnosis.
The ruling was welcomed by Paul Kinkade, president of the International Society for Investigative and Forensic Hypnosis. He said the decision is a victory but perhaps a limited one for using hypnosis as a law-enforcement tool.”
At least one critic of hypnosis, entertainer T M Kreskin, sees a darker side to the ruling.
There is no real evidence that hypnosis enables a person to remember better.” he said. ‘‘I am offering $100,000 to anyone who can prove a hypnotic trance exists.”
Kreskin said the court ruling could be a boon to the unscrupulous because people can be trained to fool a jury” by pretending to be under hypnosis.
The court, in its first statement on the legitimacy of hypnosis, overturned by a 5-4 vote Monday an Arkansas law prohibiting all hypnosis-aided testimony.
Wholesale inadmissibility of a defendant’s testimony is an arbitrary restriction on the right to testify in the absence of clear evidence by the state repudiating the validity of all posthypnosis recollections,” Justice Harry A Blackman said for the court.
The court set aside Vicki Lorene Rock’s manslaughter conviction in the 1983 shooting of her husband in Renton County, Ark She likely will receive a new trial.
Mrs Rock was sentenced to IO years in prison and fined $10,000 after she was found guilty of killing her husband. Frank Rock
According to court documents in the case, Mrs Rock initially was unable to recall important details about the shooting incident.
Her trial lawyer arranged to have Mrs. Rock placed under hypnosis by a licensed psychologist in Fayetteville. She then was able to recall that the gun went off by accident as she and her husband struggled during a quarrel.
The judge who presided over Mrs. Rock's trial invoked a state law later upheld by the Arkansas Supreme Court in refusing to let her tell jurors about anything she remembered as a result of being hypnotized. Her testimony was limited to those statements made immediately prior to hypnosis.
Blackman said. We are not now prepared to endorse without qualifications the use of hypnosis as an investigative tool. Arkansas, however, has not justified the exclusion of all of a defendant’s testimony.”
He suggested the use of recollections produced under hypnosis "may be reliable in an individual
The decision dealt only with hypnosis-aided
testimony of defendants and not other witnesses. But the court’s reasoning could force lower courts to reconsider allowing broader use of such refreshed testimony rn criminal trials.
In other action Monday, the court:
Ruled 6-3 in a Nevada case that states may not impose automatic death penalties for prison inmates who commit murder while serving life sentences without possibility of parole.
Barred challenges to jury verdicts based on allegations that jurors were biking drugs or drinking alcohol during the trial.
In a 5-4 decision of a Florida case, the court said such jury conduct is no more an "outside influence” on deliberations "than a virus, poorly prepared food or a lack of sleep
- Reinstated, by a 5-4 vote, the death sentence of John Harvey Adamson for the 1976 murder of Arizona newspaper reporter Don Bolles. I he justices said Adamson, initially given a 20-year prison sentence, properly was resentenced to death for breaking a plea-hargain agreement to testify against others allegedly involved in the killing.
Set the stage for an important employment-discrimination ruling next year by agreeing to hear the appeal of a Texas woman who says she was denied promotions because she is black. At issue is how some employees must try to prove their bosses are guilty of illegal bias.
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market was higher in active trading early today, extending Monday’s brisk advance.
The Dow Jones average of 30 industrials was up 4.90 points by IO a m. EDT at 2.450.41.
Advancing issues edged out losers on the New York Stock Exchange by about 6-to-5, with 573 advancing, 488 declining and 469 unchanged. Big Board volume totaled 30.17 million shares in the first half-hour of trading.
The NYSE’s composite index of all its listed common stocks had edged up 0.03 to 173.80
On the American Stock Exchange, the market value index was up 0.44 at 339.49.
On Monday, the Dow Jones average advanced 24.66 points to a record high of 2.445.51. Volume totaled 178.21 million shares.
Advancing issues outnumbered declines on the NYSE by about 3-to-2. with 900 issues advancing, 671 declining and 394 unchanged. Volume on the big board totaled 178.21 million shares, compared with 220 48 million in the previous session
Mistrial may end Davis mansion shooting saga
FORT WORTH (AP) - A deadlocked civil jury may have ended the 11-year legal saga of millionaire Cullen Davis, but the jury foreman said it "tears me apart” that Davis may have gotten away with killing two people.
"The evidence showed Cullen Davis killed those people,” jury foreman Kenneth Pool said Monday after a state judge reluctantly declared a mistrial in a $16 5 million w rongful death case against Davis.
The vote was 8-4 in favor of the plaintiffs, who included a .survivor of an August 1976 shooting spree that left two dead and two critically wounded at the remote $6 million Davis mansion atop a hill in southwest Fort Worth.
Brushing away tears and speaking in a voice trembling with anger at those who voted against the plaintiffs, juror Pool said:
"I couldn’t believe that they wouldn’t look at the evidence...It really does tear me apart that he was able to get away with this.”
Pool later confronted defense attorney Steve Sumner, praised him for a "good job” and added that "We
believe he did it, and you know he did it.”
'I don’t want to get into that,” replied Sumner.
Davis was acquitted of capital murder rn 1977. He faces a September trial of a suit by the estate of shooting victim Stan Farr, but Monday’s outcome left the status of that case and any other legal action against Davis in doubt.
"They’ll never get this good a shot again,” Sumner said.
Davis, 53, a born-again Christian, hugged his wife, praised his attorney, embraced his cheering, Bible-toting supporters and told reporters he was glad it was all over.
“I want to give the Ixird Jesus Christ all the credit for what happened in this trial,’’ he said.
"That’s good,” retorted his ex-wife Priscilla, "because that’s who he’s going to have to answer to.”
The platinum blonde Mrs. Davis, 45, and her second husband, Jack Wilborn, 66, were plaintiffs in the consolidated wrongful death suits. They sought $10 Bullion in punitive damages alone for tile slaying of their daughter Andrea, 12.
"It hurts,” said Wilborn. who was undecided about pursuing further civil action against Davis.
Mrs. Davis, echoing the words of her attorney, said the hung jury was the final chapter in her ongoing legal battle with Davis.
"But very obviously, I don’t feel like justice has been done,” she said
It was an anti-climactic but emotionally charged windup up to a month-long trial in which the jury never got past the first of 13 "special issues” it was asked to resolve.
First and foremost was whether Davis was the man dressed in black and wearing a crude black wig who killed his young stepdaughter and wounded Priscilla that sultry summer night ll years ago.
Priscilla’s boyfriend, Farr, 30, was killed at the scene and a young mansion visitor, Bubba Gavrel, now 33, was critically wounded.
Beverly Bass, 29, Gavrel’s date that night and now his wife, was the only survivor to escape the carnage unharmed.
All identified Davis as the assailant.
Surgeon general praises AMA AIDS recommendations
CHICAGO (AP) — U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Hoop praised recommendations by American Medical Association trustees on controlling the spread of AIDS, but critics said they put too much emphasis on testing The recommendations "could be the start of an acceptable national policy,” the nation’s top public health official, one of 406 policy-making delegates attending Hie AM A’s annual meeting, said Monday.
However, Dr. David G. Ostrow, member of a panel of AIDS experts chosen to advise the AMA’s Council of Scientific Affairs, said the recommendations “are more like hysterical reactions than thoughtful deliberations.”
Ostrow, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center, said the recommendations show a ‘ general lack of balance.”
Twelve of the 17 recommendations in a 17-page report released Saturday deal either with testing or with those who test positive for infection by the AIDS virus.
The trustees of the 217,000-member AMA, the nation’s largest doctors’ organization, called for mandatory testing for prison inmates and immigrants. They also recommended establishing a commission to explore the AIDS issue, massive educational efforts for both the public and physicians, and increased federal funding for AIDS research.
About 250 people attended Monday’s debate on the recommendations, including members of the AMA’s committee on science and public health. The committee planned to issue its recommendations on curbing AIDS today Ostrow criticized Hie trustees for not addressing the medical profession’s responsibility for providing “compassionate care” to people with AIDS-related diseases and those who test positive for the virus. An increasing number of doctors are refusing to treat AIDS patients, he said.
He said the trustees did not even consult their own expert panel before making the recommendations.
Dr Robert E. McAfee, one of the
trustees who prepared the report, said time did not allow the trustees to consult the panel before delegates met and that the panel was not chosen to advise on policy.
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"I do want to say I did see Cullen murder Stan,” Mrs. Davis said moments after the mistrial “I saw him shoot me. I know Bev saw him shoot Bubba They were all shot with the same gun that killed Andrea
"I will go to my grave knowing that Cullen Davis killed my child.”
State District Court Judge Claude Williams declared the mistrial after and unusual final appeal from attorneys failed to break the prolonged jury deadlock.
The panel of eight men and four women deliberated 20 hours over four days and listened to 20 minutes of additional jury arguments before Pool told the judge it would be a "waste of tune” to continue.
The end came at 3:30 p m.
Ixing after the nustrial ruling, Pool tracked down Mrs. Davis at her hotel and said, "I want you to know, Priscilla Davis, that you won this case.”
Said Mrs. Davis "Andrea and Stan were the losers. Bubba was paralyzed. That’s the bottom line I can goon.”
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He said the report was provided as a starting point, noting that the delegates have "every right to change, modify, refile, turn around or reject it.”
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