Interview with Roy Greenwood

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Table of Contents 
  •  RAYMOND: . . . I don't know, bureaucratic and everything. 
  •   GREENWOOD: I don't know. Sounds awfully legal to me. 
  •   CHAMMAH: You're all good to go.  
  •   RAYMOND:  We want the libraries, which, we hope you'll make this public and we want the libraries to be able to accept everything we do. I actually had an experience with trying to write a dissertation. The materials were there, and I knew they were there. Everybody knew they were there. They couldn't release them to me because somebody hadn't gotten the right signatures, and so they're sitting in there.  
  •  GREENWOOD: Somebody put documents in a public library? Why give them to them?  
  •   RAYMOND: Exactly. So, I'm a little nerdy about this, but now you know why. It was actually the University of Texas Center for American History, which is now the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, but at the time—before it was called Briscoe Center. I kept going back, saying "Has somebody signed it yet?" So often we take the consent process most seriously, because we want to make sure people understand. I think you know what you're getting into. But I still need the paper work, so—Thank you. And thanks again, Mr. Greenwood for letting us be here.  
  •  GREENWOOD: Sure. RAYMOND: Today is December 7th, 2010. It's Pearl Harbor Day. We're continuing with day two of an absolutely fascinating interview.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well I hope so.  
  •  RAYMOND: It is.  
  •   GREENWOOD: I may sound like a foghorn today. I developed a cold five minutes after ya'll left. Ya'll didn't give me a cold? I haven't had a cold in three years.  
  •   RAYMOND: I don't think it was me. But I think you got it somewhere on the way back from being in the stale air of the airports.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well I expected to get pneumonia, yellow fever, all kinds of stuff, but I was, other than being tired I didn't have a sign of it until last Monday. And just [snaps]. Anyway.  
  •   RAYMOND: Anyway, I want to start, and I have a couple of your cases that resulted in opinions that I want to ask you about. But even before we get there, there's a general statement that in the law, in criminal, well, all law in the United States, trial courts find facts, decide who they believe, decide what evidence is important, decide who they believe, and decide on facts. Now, appellate courts decide the law, mostly, with few exceptions, don't get into the facts.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Mostly, yeah.  
  •   RAYMOND: It seems like the exception falls a lot in death penalty cases that distinction breaks down somewhat. A little bit.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well, you're going to have to be more specific about that, because generally speaking the same rules should apply exactly and it all depends which facts you're talking about.  
  •   RAYMOND: Right, and so, but I know, because we've talked a little bit before, that sometimes an appellate or habeas attorney, a post-conviction attorney, you do look at facts again, and I wondered if you could talk about what that process is as either a habeas attorney or a direct appeal attorney, because that is not typically the role of most appellate attorneys in other—well maybe I'm making assumptions.  
  •   GREENWOOD: It is. Should be. 
  •   RAYMOND: Okay. So if you could talk about the investigative role of—what do you do if a case comes to you and you're representing somebody who’s been sentenced to death. What have you done, or what are some of the things you've done in terms of figuring out some of the factual things that should have been raised?  
  •   GREENWOOD: All right. Okay. I think I understand what you're talking about. In a direct appeal situation, which in Texas and now most states is mandatory, it's not an option, the lawyer who represents a defendant, certainly in Texas, and I think this is pretty much standard across the board, the attorney who represents somebody on appeal—every defendant in Texas is given the right to take a direct appeal. 
  •   And that's a word of art, or a term of art, and that appellate process is solely concerned with the record of appeal that was taken during the trial, pretrials, and any motion for a new trial hearing. No evidence outside those proceedings can be considered. Years ago, we had situations where we were able to determine while direct appeals were pending, that there were certain, what in those days were called fundamental errors, which, and I may have been the first one to do it, said this case has got perfected on appeal.  
  •  I was hired to do the appeal, I got the record, looked at it, said there's a fundamental error there. And this is going to drag on for two years, even though the whole proceeding is going to be declared void in a simple, one page writ of habeas corpus. So I just said fine.  
  •  Did a one page writ of habeas corpus, pointed out the error to the trial judge, didn't know what to do with it, and had the clerk send it on up to the Court of Criminal Appeals, and they said Ah, new rule. If in fact this happens in order to save the criminal justice system time, money, blah, blah, blah, we'll go ahead and consider it. And they did. Subsequently they abandoned that rule.  
  •   RAYMOND: What case was that in?  
  •   GREENWOOD: I don't remember the guy's name. Back in the seventies, even while I was working for the court, the court got on this tangent about setting convictions aside if indictments were considered to be fundamentally defective. And then they started setting aside trials when the jury charges were fundamentally defective, and hundreds and hundreds, thousands perhaps, of convictions were reversed because of those.  
  •   And I got hired on a guy out of Huntsville, if I'm not mistaken, Walker County, on a cocaine case, and that's the case I did it on. I don't remember today. The representation was really quick because I just—And they set the conviction aside and for whatever reason on the other trial the lawyers got the cocaine suppressed and the case never went back to full retrial, but you could do that. You can't do that anymore. Anyway, appellate lawyers are bound by the record on appeal.  
  •  That's all they can raise. And hundreds, literally thousands of potential errors can be raised during that direct appeal proceeding, from the way the juries were made up to jury selection errors, the juror gives the wrong information, peremptory challenges are made and not made and challenges for cause are denied, confession, search, and seizure, hearsay, just thousands of potential errors can come up during a direct appeal proceeding. And you've got to put together your direct appeal based on what your record is.  
  •  Whether the lawyer—the Court of Criminal Appeals has finally set out, the rule is they will not, or should not review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal. And most courts of appeals say, Nah, we're not going to look at it.  A handful of them, and this is not inappropriate, the Court of Criminal Appeals hasn't barred them from reviewing ineffective assistance on direct appeal. It's really hard to make a complete case and very rarely, only in a handful of situations will an attorney challenge a trial attorney's representation at trial and get testimony at a motion for new trial hearing to prove up his case. I mean most attorneys don't get appointed or hired until the time to file a motion for a new trial has passed.   
  •   And besides, the lawyer whose representing the defendant doesn't have an opportunity—he may know that a lawyer has made one great error, but he made have made fifty great errors, and if you hinge everything on one and lose, you may lose eventually on habeas. So the Court of Criminal Appeals has said you shouldn't do it, because that can hurt you later on, but even then there have been a few cases in which errors were committed during trials, for the purposed of direct appeal, and the lawyers made statements on the record saying "I screwed up."  
  •     And so a few courts of appeals have granted relief, or reviewed claims, but it shouldn't be raised, as a general rule. In any event, you've got these thousands of potential errors, that are bound by this record, so even if a lawyer screws up, you've got to argue, in order to raise a point—and my style, and it always has been, and should be for any attorney, is after you set out your complaint, is to give the facts concerning how the complaint arose, what did the State do, what did the defense do, do they object, do they timely object, do they give reasons for the objection, do they get a ruling from the court, blah, blah, blah.  
  •  Because the Court of Criminal Appeals has since day one, since I started dealing with them in the sixties, required this long practice of quote "perfecting error" and, well I'm watching a trial from Massachusetts now, on what used to be Court TV, now it's True TV, and in California, other states, something will be going on, lawyer just says "Objection," and they go off to the side and talk about it. They're just objections.   In Texas, your objection has to be based on—you have to specifically state the grounds for it and there's even been some cases saying you have to state the statute for it, the constitutional basis for it. 
  •   And it's gotta be made immediately. If you wait after the answer, you could be—ah, too late—and then if, a lot of Texas judges have learned if you just say "Move on, counsel," that's not a ruling, and so they've lost the deal. And so there's all these—other states give a lot better breaks, and judges on the courts say, "Well, why is there ineffective counsel?"   Well, because your silly-ass rulings make them ineffective.  Because only a handful of us, who've tried cases and specialized in appeals for long periods of time, can do all that. 
  •   Keep in mind all these legal requirements while at the same time preparing for trial, fighting' the DA's office, fightin' the cops and the trial judge, trying to put your defensive case together all at the same time. Very difficult. There's only a handful of lawyers who are really good at it.  And still maintain some semblance of sanity, that's the key.  So anyway, did that answer the question about how the appeal—now as to facts. There's just been some changes, and I'm gonna try to explain it.  
  •  Historically, until rather recently, when a defendant, appellate, raises on appeal that the evidence is insufficient to support the verdict, and there's thousands of ways it could be insufficient, depends on the crime, depends on whatever, theory of the State's case. But, the rule was, is that the appellate court would look at the evidence most favorable to the State.   So if there was only one witness who said "That guy did it," but there are seven thousand alibi witnesses including the pope, the president, and fourteen congressmen, and the jury, crazy-ass jury, convicted him, oh well.  
  •  Then after the penal code of 1986 was passed, and all defenses a defendant could raise with a jury charge were listed, it's taken twenty something years, but I think about two months ago the Court of Criminal Appeals finally, before any kind of defensive charge, there were thousands. Anything that came up in the evidence that theoretically could be a defense, a defendant could theoretically get a jury charge. He'd just make one up.  
  •   RAYMOND: Give me an example of what you're talking about?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well the most bizarre was, if one guy, say shot another guy in an altercation. There used to be this jury charge that said that if these two guys, and I'm not gonna try to give you the language, the evidence was showin' that these two guys were fighting' with each other all the time, and that one guy went over to another guy's house. A went over to B's house in order to settle their differences amicably.  
  •  But since he had problems with B before, he took a gun, wound up getting into another fight with B, shooting him. It used to be the law—now, historically that would be, even now, if he claimed "Well B was trying to hurt me, therefore I shot him"—he would still be entitled to self-defense if he testified that B was trying to kill him and he shot him, but he was also entitled as charged.  See, a jury would look at self defense and say "Whoa. You went over there, and you had a gun, so screw your self defense."  
  •  But there used to be a charge in Texas that said that a person had the right to arm himself to go see another guy to settle his differences amicably. It's the stupidest charge I ever saw. It was around for a hundred years. And it took until like 2000 for them to do away with it.  And over the years, accident, the specific charge of accident, does not exist. If it's not in the penal code as a specific affirmative defense, you don't get it. You can argue it. You can say "The Jury ought to consider." 
  •   But you can't get a jury charge from the [court]. Now, back to facts. It's presumed that the State's case, in the past, presumed that you look at the State's case most favorably. Okay. When that penal code was enacted, it also enacted various defenses, insanity and other things, which had burdens of proof contained within them, as to whether it was the State's burden to show this, and the defense had to come back and show this, or whatever. Anyway, there's burdens of proof in there. Whose burden of proof is it to show, for example, self defense. The defendant's got to raise the issue.  
  •   Okay. Because ofthose burdens of proof, all of a sudden, and it's by preponderance of the evidence to raise the issue. Okay? So if the defendant says, He tried to kill me and I shot him, that, taken alone, raises the issue, so he's entitled to the jury charge. But then the jury's told they have to believe that by preponderance of the evidence, at least fifty, fifty-one percent. They don't say the percentage, but that's it. Okay. Well, that's there, but then you have the beyond a reasonable doubt definition there, so they're in conflict.  And you know genius juries that we have, how do you resolve that?  
  •  So, there was some research done and all these affirmative defenses that a defendant could get when the, remember the courts of appeals used to do strictly civil—civil has all sorts of weird burdens of proof. They've got three burdens of proof.   
  •  The civil judges saw these jury charges being in conflict, so they held that if the State—this is complex—they basically said that if the defendant makes a showing that is so strong, on an affirmative defense, like insanity, if every witness comes forth and says "He was crazier than a loon," the State puts on no evidence about insanity except for a deputy sheriff picking' his nose saying, I think he's sane, and then the jury believed that, that on that defense, the civil judges recognize that, that was just way against their common sense, so they would say the evidence is factually insufficient to support the State's overriding of the defendant's burden of proof on insanity.  
  •  It's a mouthful.  And the Court of Criminal Appeals kind of bought that, as to these affirmative defenses. And lo and behold, bout fifteen, twenty years ago, the Third Court of Appeals says "Wait a minute. We've been looking at just the sufficiency to convict for a crime. We're seeing some gross abuses of justice here. And we think the civil burden should kick in, so that there's a potential for factual insufficiency." Court of Criminal Appeals bought that. So, for the next fifteen years, all of a sudden factual insufficiency became this rage. But it's basically a doctrine that says, well it doesn't say this, "the jury was nuts." 
  •   Okay? Because, generally speaking—so what got happening is—so you have two grounds of error on appeal; legal insufficiency and factual. There's one witness, so that would make legal insufficiency not good, but factual insufficiency, if the pope and the sheriff put him a thousand miles away, so he could win on that. But double jeopardy had implied that, so it could be retried. Which, not exactly sure about that [inaudible]. But that's the way it went.  And only, to my knowledge, you understand, a bunch of cases are not published. We don't see them. You can see them if you get on the internet and read them all, but there's so much to read. Unpublished cases are theoretically not an authority for anything. So, generally speaking we don't read 'em unless we happen to know something about them, just interested in the case. We don't read 'em.    
  •  But, to my knowledge, only three cases have been reversed on sufficiency, factual sufficiency, and those decisions upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeals. There may have been fifty that were reversed, but they got turned around, unpublished, I don't know. I only remember three decisions by the Court of Criminal Appeals that upheld—and one of them was about eight months ago, a death penalty case out of San Antonio. A bunch of police officers got shot.  
  •  The facts were so screwed up, I just glazed over, the opinion’s a monster. And it's all facts, and it's just, you don't know what’s going on.  So they granted factual insufficiency. Well, the dissent, a couple of judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals were the dissenters, said "Well, yeah, okay, it's factually insufficient, but it's also legally insufficient." So he should have been barred from being retried. Double jeopardy applies.  
  •  Well, then have you have other dissenters saying this factual sufficiency ought to be done away with. Well, of course the State's been trying to get them to do away with it for years. And he finally wound up winnin', but only on factual sufficiency, so he was looking at another death penalty case. I don't know what happened to him, I think they probably pled him or whatever.  And after that case here comes the State back again.  
  •  They've been, about every two years they try to get factual insufficiency done away with, and about a month ago they got it done away with.  So, I don't know what that means, because the standard has been, since the middle ‘eighties, the United States Supreme Court, in Jackson vs. Virginia, stated the burden of proof for upholding a conviction. The Court of Criminal Appeals still think Jackson vs. Virginia is a direct appeal case. It's not. It's a habeas corpus case, and they keep saying you can't raise sufficiency of evidence on habeas in a few opinions.  
  •  But they've granted relief on dozens of half ass-innocence claims: innocence of prior convictions, innocence of enhancement counts, innocence of the primary crime. Six of one, half dozen of another, sufficiency can be raised. You don't raise it like that. You say "I'm innocent," and you win. Or this prior conviction was never available at all under any circumstances, I win. It's just a matter of semantics, but you can still get opinions and speeches by judges saying you can't raise sufficiency on habeas corpus, and I've been pointing it out to them for twenty five years and they won't pay any attention to me, but those opinions that say that are wrong, have been wrong since 1986.   
  •   RAYMOND: Can you go back and tell us about Jackson vs. Virginia? Because I think this is—  
  •   GREENWOOD: Not much. It basically is "If no rational fact-finder could have found the guy guilty, he's not." And whatever that means. It's a broad test. As I recall it was a burglary case. I don't remember the exact facts. I don't even remember how he got—the case wasn't that important, it wasn't any screaming violation of the criminal justice system. I don't know why they even took it.  But they did and that's the test. Of course they took it because they wanted to make a point. I'm not sure at the time why they wanted to make a point.  
  •  Because it wasn't a real problem. I mean nobody was getting relief anyway. But they just denied this guy relief, said what the test was, and the Court of Criminal Appeals has never acknowledged that you can raise the fact that the evidence is legally insufficient in a writ of habeas corpus. I have had to—one of the cases I had is Blair. Blair's evidence, it was legally insufficient on direct appeal. And I raised it on habeas corpus also, the fact that he was innocent. They didn't even understand the first parts, never got it, but I had the cases, the authority, and all the stuff, but they didn't want to deal with it. Did that answer your question at all?  
  •   RAYMOND: Well, not really. In Mr. Blair's case, and in some of your other cases, you have looked at evidence, you've talked about newly discovered evidence, and maybe sometimes evidence is newly discovered because there was a Brady violation and the State did not give you the evidence, or maybe someone comes forward. There is some kind of investigative process. 
  •    GREENWOOD: Okay, that's habeas corpus. That's not on direct appeal.   
  •   RAYMOND: In habeas. GREENWOOD: Yes.  
  •   RAYMOND: And I wonder if you could talk about, if you are a post-conviction lawyer, and you are trying to—I understand that you could be appointed for appeals but not habeas and vice-versa, but if you are a post-conviction person trying to get this person off Death Row, at some point you might do some investigation into the facts, and I wonder if you could talk about what that looks like.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well, it's kinda simple, really. That's pretty much, we've got the direct appeal down. Now we're in habeas corpus. Somebody either comes to you or you're appointed. The first thing you gotta do is get the record and I tried and in most cases was successful while I would always contact a client immediately on being appointed, even on Death Row. I wanted to read the record before I talked to him. And that's the evidence. You can throw aside the jury selection, and that's fifty volumes. You can throw aside most of the punishment junk.  
  •  That may be long too. But the guilt—innocence is rather short. Even in death penalty cases. It's rarely more than two or three thousand pages long, even the most complicated death penalty case, most of the time. And if it's five to six hundred pages I can knock it out in a couple of days, at least to get a basis in what's going on, how the defense lawyer presented the defense, what's his theory of the defense if anything. And then I would schedule, it takes several days to set up an appointment to visit an inmate not to mention schedule travel and all that. So, I almost always was able to read the evidence before I got to see the client. And I would tell him that "Look, we can't raise all these claims of hearsay and this and that and jury selection."  
  •  All that had to be raised on direct appeal. If it wasn't, it's waived. You can't re-litigate. The only way you can re-litigate is if the lawyer screwed up so bad not re-litigating it first, then you can claim he's ineffective. That's where you can bring in all the errors, under the guise of ineffective counsel. Almost everyone raises it. But, there are a handful of cases to indicate that a constitutional claim raised at trial and rejected can still be raised again on habeas corpus if you can show a change in the law. And because these cases last so long, if you had a closed case; the validity of the confession; how the warnings were given; or whatever. 
  •   I always told clients "We're gonna re-raise it." If it's a constitutional question we're going to re-raise it. If it's close, if it's good, because the Supreme Court could rule on that very question in the future. I mean if they ruled against then—but you've got to keep that in mind.  But basically, you were limited to ineffective assistance of counsel; newly discovered evidence, and the statute required newly discovered evidence of innocence, which is similar; Brady claims; suppression of favorable evidence, and there's always that, maybe minor, but sometimes major, but there's always some suppression of something.  
  •  There's just— Only a handful of DAs have an open file rule. Even when they have an open file rule, all the cops' stuff doesn't get in there. There is suppression of stuff. I don't know one DA who requires every document produced by a law enforcement officer during an investigation to go in the DA's file. It just doesn't happen. It's just too much paper work. They consider it irrelevant. If they don't hit a suspect, they consider it irrelevant. Well, those non-suspects could be relevant to your defense. And neither judges nor DAs seem to understand it’s from the defense’s viewpoint what's favorable, not yours.  
  •   It's a lot better than it used to be, but there's that. Then there's a handful of situations in which claims of double jeopardy can be raised, because of the silly Texas test. Usually they're waived, but there are situations in which double jeopardy can be raised in a habeas corpus. Under bizarre circumstances.  
  •   RAYMOND: What is the silly Texas test that you're referring to?  
  •   GREENWOOD:  It's complicated. I couldn't quote it, and I'm not sure it would do any good to tell you. Because the Court of Criminal Appeals is so far over the map, I don't even—I used to be the number one expert on double jeopardy, from 1970 to 1976. Then the Supreme Court handed down this decision, and adopted, well, they handed down this decision, which was out of Ohio, which was perfect with regard to what Texas had been doing. A year later they overruled that decision and readopted a 1932 Supreme Court decision on double jeopardy that is still the law, and which makes no sense. And that's what we're dealt with.  
  •   CHAMMAH: What's that called? GREENWOOD: Blockburger. CHAMMAH: Okay. 
  •    GREENWOOD: It's whether it's jeopardy if someone burglarizes a federal post office, or steals, and he's acquitted in one and not the other. Anyway, and they held it was two separate offenses, even though the burglary was with the intent of theft. I forget now which one he was acquitted of first, but if it flipped, and he had been acquitted of stealing, they'd have probably said of the burglary prosecution "Well, stealing is not the crime. Going into the building without consent, well, that's right." But what did he do? Did he steal something? Did he go into the building to steal something?  
  •  I mean, how do you—basically, and that's in conflict with another decision of Ashe vs. Swenson, which is six people robbed all at one time and the first one is acquitted, can't be retried. That's still the law, can't be retried on the other five. Well, what's the difference? If he didn't enter the damn building, how can he steal anything?  So double jeopardy is messed up. But because it's messed up, there are a handful of situations in which it can be raised.  
  •  Nobody's ever won anything on it because jeopardy's so rare, anyway, but you've got all kinds: you've got mistrial jeopardy, you've got sufficiency jeopardy, you've got misconduct jeopardy, you've got acquittal jeopardy, you've got [inaudible] defense jeopardy, you've got multiple prosecution jeopardy, and some folks don't even say that's jeopardy even though all of those, are in one form or another, a violation of multiple prosecution jeopardy. But it can be raised. I've just never seen one yet.    
  •   So ineffective systems of counsel, double jeopardy, newly-discovered evidence, oh, well no—oh, and becoming insane. That pretty much covers the waterfront. There may be something else I'm forgetting about, but that pretty much covers the waterfront on what you can raise in a habeas petition. And actually, you can't raise becoming insane until the last shot anyway.  
  •   RAYMOND: Okay, so now you've read the record, you go visit the client.   
  •   GREENWOOD: Yeah, and my theory was—and this may take several letters, and this helps. It's always been my policy to answer every letter that an inmate will write me. I do that since Day One, even when I was not out of law school yet, and you know, told them, Don't abuse it, I'm trying to do other people too. And I only had four or five abusers over the years. Michael Blair was one of them. Most of them were pretty respectful of my time. Most of them didn't have enough brains to write a lot of intelligent questions, but as long as you would respond and try to answer every question, legitimately, they were happy for a while. So based on an appointment, I'd say I've got to read the record. 
  •   It may be three weeks. If you've got any questions—and I'd answer them. That would establish a rapport. You've got to establish a rapport. And I tried to do that in advance before they've ever met me, because by that time they start asking questions of other inmates who I was, that I was legit, would do good and had a good reputation, so by the time I had met most of my clients they were already happy. And assuming that maintained through the interview, I would try to explain—and first, before actual innocence came up, we didn't have that claim. Couldn't raise it on habeas corpus anyway. 
  •   There wasn't any reason to do this, but once it came up, I would tell 'em, I said "Look, you know, if you've got a brain, that actual innocence can be raised on Texas habeas." They all knew that. I said, And if you're innocent, we'll bust our ass trying to prove it. The problem is, that if you're not innocent and you give us this story that you are, and I've only got X number of hours in the day, and so many months to put this together, if I spend ninety percent of my time doing that, I'm not going to be able to investigate the rest of it." 
  •   Because basically we were limited in funds and time and we had deadlines for Texas capital habeas. There was a limit. And most of them understood that.   And Blair told me right off that he was innocent and Anthony told me right off that he was innocent. A couple of others said they were innocent but [snaps], within five minutes, within a month they'd said something in their letters, or something. They screwed up. I caught 'em. I caught a couple of them during the first interview. "Oh yeah I'm innocent."  
  •  Then about two thirds of the way "Well, when I killed…" I worked for the inmates. I know how to talk to them. I write them letters. I know how to talk to them. I've written to, talked to, communicated with more inmates than any one human being in this State. I'm sure of it. Because even the Inmate Attorney’s Office, he doesn't see anybody anymore. I interviewed two or three hundred guys every month.  
  •  Different guys, and saw the same ones for my client. Plus wrote hundreds of them. I was getting an average of seven to ten letters a week from inmates up through 2005, asking me to look at their case. And I'm still getting one a month and I've been retired for five years. If word doesn't get around sometimes. The inmate grapevine's good, but sometimes it falls apart. And you know anybody that could pay for a review, if there was a record available, I'd do it.  
  •  So you tried to get, once it was available, actual innocence. That was a big deal, because you had to determine pretty quick, once you got your team together, you knew what the record was, you'd taken whatever efforts to get discovery, which were not much then, on which avenue you were gonna go. And I didn't waste a lot of time, because finally it came to pass that they all folded up. But I never had any of my capital clients, by the time my representation was terminated with them, bitching about me not raising actual innocence. They weren't.  
  •  Most lawyers don't communicate with inmates like that. I mean, whatever talent I have seems to fall directly into this kind of stuff. Being able to communicate with them, understand their position, but at the same time wade through all the bullshit. Because most of it's bullshit. When you, read, I don't know how many writs of habeas corpus I've read in eight years, but minimum twenty a day, for five days a week, for eight years, and reviewed them.  
  •  You'd see just about every piece of crap and lie, and most of them within one five page application, no matter what facts they said on page one, by page three, half or more of those facts, they'd impeach themselves. It's just—they just can't do it.  
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Title:Interview with Roy Greenwood
Abstract:Roy Greenwood is a former criminal defense attorney. In Video 1, he discusses his upbringing and education. He talks about the changes in the court system throughout the time he practiced law and the capital appeals he worked on, including Charles Rector’s. He speaks about national and state political trends and how that has affected the court system over time and how the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act effected criminal defense in Texas and the changes in claims in actual innocence. He also discusses the high cost of capital murder cases. In Video 2, he talks about problems with suppression of evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. He discusses why he stopped taking cases, and then delves specifically into the Charles Rector and Anthony “Cowboy” Miller cases, Michael Blair’s case and Jesse Patrick’s case, all of whom he represented. In Video 3 he talks about the end of the Michael Blair case and James Carl Lee Davis case. In Video 4 he talks about the process of a direct appeal and the process of appealing a Death Row case specifically. He also talks about filing writs of actual innocence for clients in prison. In Video 5 he speaks more about the Michael Blair case and then about a case involving a defendant named Baltazar. He talks about his relationship with jurors and with his clients, and about how race impacted the clients he defended. He concludes by talking about how the DA’s office in different counties operate differently. This interview took place on December 3rd, 2010 and December 7, 2010 at Roy Greenwood’s home.
Sequence:4 of 5
  • Roy GreenwoodRole: Narrator
  • Texas After Violence ProjectRole: Collaborator
  • Virginia RaymondRole: Interviewer
  • Maurice ChammahRole: Videographer
  • Maurice ChammahRole: Transcriber
  • Jesse HarderRole: Transcriber
  • Virginia RaymondRole: Editor
Date Created:2010/12/03 - 2010/12/07
Geographic Focus:North America--United States--Texas
Type of Resource:Moving image
    This electronic resource is made available by the University of Texas Libraries solely for the purposes of research, teaching and private study. All intellectual property rights are retained by the legal copyright holders. The University of Texas does not hold the copyright to the content of this file. Formal permission to reuse or republish this content must be obtained from the copyright holder.

Source Metadata

Analog/Digital Flag:physDigital
Carrier Number:4 of 5
Signal Format:NTSC



Continue with Video 5 of the TAVP Interview with Mr. Roy Greenwood

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