By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Perry submitted an affidavit regarding his testimony on the photo, saying that prosecutor Miller had told him the picture wasn't available for him to see, but "the photo was a key point and that she wanted him to emphasize the photo to the jury." After the furious Nancy Jackson sent him the picture, Perry called the district attorney's office and told them he had been wrong.
Smotherman doesn't remember the picture as "a big deal," but she and Miller used Perry's "memory" of the photo and their own repeated references to Dowdy's other "criminal" acts to prove she was a continuing danger to society who deserved a long sentence.
But Smotherman admitted to the Dallas Observerthat she could think of no evidence "at this time" that Dowdy ever drank and drove after the accident.
As for Dowdy's other "criminal" acts? Smotherman acknowledged that Dowdy drinking alcohol in violation of her bond wasn't "necessarily" a crime, but she couldn't come up with any others. Pressed, Smotherman went into a tirade that "24 jurors" in two trials found Dowdy guilty.
But 24 Oklahoma County jurors also convicted Jeffrey Todd Pierce (65 years) and Clifford Henry Bowen (death) for crimes they didn't commit.
Smotherman has left the district attorney's office. She now works at OU's law school as "director of competitions," teaching trial technique. The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office filed a brief with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals calling the photo testimony a mistake but "harmless error." Even if other allegations about prosecutorial misconduct were true, the attorney general contends, they were all "harmless error," and thus not grounds for a new trial. A ruling is expected later this year.
Taped interviews by Frye of five jurors make it clear myriad "harmless errors" led directly to Dowdy's conviction and harsh sentence.
One juror said Caswell told her after sentencing that Dowdy probably would serve only four years, another lie unless the judge expects the appellate court to reverse her again. If it does, will Judge Caswell recuse herself? Anything can happen in Oklahoma County.
What happened to Ryan Brewer and his family was a tragedy. But what happened to Dowdy--the night of the accident and in the court system--is also tragic. And Oklahoma justice continues to pile on.
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