Interview with Roy Greenwood

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Table of Contents 
  •  RAYMOND: And you've narrowed it down to very few cases, maybe, I'm not sure, because you have your actual innocence cases which are very, very few, and then you have people who might have committed the crime, but there might be still grounds for challenging—  
  •   GREENWOOD: Oh sure. You bet.  
  •   RAYMOND: —And so difference kinds of investigation. But you still have the issue of how do you prove whatever it is that you're saying whatever it is in the habeas petition. And I'm wondering now—and once you figure out what that might, well, I guess it might be a, I guess I should not even assume that you've figured it out and then go get the evidence.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Oh no. Well, Blair. Like I said everybody told me that DNA couldn't be an issue in Blair's case, so I'm honing in on the fact that he is, even with the evidence, assuming it's all valid, it's still not legally sufficient because hair evidence alone, hair matching evidence by a microscope, is not sufficient, and that's all it was.  
  •  So I'm honing in on that, plus the fact his lawyer didn't raise it, so I had two valid complaints to start with, on the record. Blair's not telling me, he doesn't know anything off the record. His lawyer doesn't know anything—his lawyer may have done DWI's and stuff but he wasn't a big time criminal lawyer. He absolutely did not want to do the appeal. He didn't know anything about appeals.  
  •  He admitted that, gave us an affidavit, that's why we were able to raise an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. I thought we'd get an out-of-time appeal. So then I could re-raise the lack of evidence, and that's where I was going when all of a sudden, I told you about reading the little blurb, where there's two hairs. Everybody had told me there's no hair. There's no tags on the hairs. And I call the—whatever the face people in Dallas, GeneScreen, and said, Did you get hairs with tags on?  
  •  She said no. I said "Well, I think we found some." And got an order to get the court order to find them, and she found the hair tags, so once we found them, and I'm still trying to figure out how this quote "hair expert," if—I mean, he was the main forensics guy for Collin County. He looks at all this hair and he says, right there, two of these hairs have tags on them. And this was during the trial. Yet pre-trial, he had apparently, and I have no evidence that the DA's office lied to the defense about that, because if they lied to the defense, that means they lied to GeneScreen, the judge and everybody else.  
  •  I mean that would have been a slam dunk had it been his hair. They would have tested it. You just don't let hair that fell on the body that doesn't belong to the deceased get by. That was one of the hairs. So it just, screw up. And I think the screw up was at the hair guy, the expert, because he made other mistakes, too. Big ones, obviously identified, makin' all these claims that they were mongoloid hairs coming from Blair. God knows who they came from. But that was a fluke, I mean that should have been handled pre-trial.  
  •  And we were concerned whether the Court of Criminal Appeals would grant us relief on newly discovered evidence. Since Blair, you know Blair's three paragraphs granted relief, okay fine, in an unpublished opinion.  Some months, year, after that, they expanded the—may have been recently, actually—they expanded the definition of newly discovered to actually newly discovered and actually available for testing newly discovered. Because they've had two major changes, since the early nineties of the type of DNA testing.  
  •  They can test for different stuff, mitochondrial primarily, which didn't exist, at least, to anybody, maybe except the FBI, in ‘ninety-three, but which was available to us in ‘ninety-six or ‘eight or whatever. So they now have those two different tests and that's good. That makes some sense. But it took, you see how long it took 'em, and we were worried about what was the hair newly discovered? No. Not at the time of the trial. Could it have been tested? Yeah. But whose fault was that?  
  •  Fortunately not ours. If anybody had ever mentioned, the State never mentioned that. But we expected—they're false on everything else, to say "Well, they should have had this tested." I was ready to blast their ass. I said "Yeah, we asked, they asked," Don what's his face? The trial lawyer. He asked. And they said no, doesn't exist. And I found an old letter from GeneScreen to the DA's office to the sheriff saying no, it doesn't exist.  So the fault was at the lab guy, whatever his name is. I forget it. I don't know why I'd ever forget it after all these years. He screwed up all kinds of things. 
  •   RAYMOND: Okay, so and Blair, these events happened that kind of brought about, ultimately, to find out that he was actually innocent. But in these cases again, you're trying to figure out your theory, you're trying to find the evidence. How do you—where do you even start?  
  •   GREENWOOD:  You start with what you got. I mean after the record and after the client, then I usually would try to get in touch with the trial lawyer. The trial lawyers were very helpful. A couple were, I represented a guy named Andy Hopper, got the death penalty out of Dallas. His case had a long and screwball history. His victim's [narrator’s edit] name was Gailiunas.  
  •  Books have been written about him. Doctor, was separated from his wife, got a girlfriend, and the girlfriend was murdered, and nobody knew why, and it took like ten years to find all the people and the woman that ordered the killing was finally caught in France and they had to work out a deal with the United States, if they returned her she couldn't get the death penalty.  And my guy was, he didn't know any of these people.  
  •  He had been asked, he was a straight-arrow religious fanatic, had gotten to be a cocaine addict and it took—the woman hired A to kill this woman, A hired B, B hired C, and C or D asked my guy to kill somebody for $1500. He didn't know any of those people. And just by a fluke, seven years after the crime, they got a name of my client, brought him in, and a cop coerced him into making an admission, and our issue was whether or not he could assert his right to silence.  
  •  And the cop admitted he had. It was undisputed, but that was the only evidence they had, was the confession, because it was so far removed, and nobody would throw out that confession, and he was executed. But that was on the record, and the trial lawyer's were a tremendous help in that case.  Historically trial lawyers have been very little help. In those days, they'd get defensive about anything.  
  •  They wouldn't cooperate, but with the 2006 standards for capital practice in Texas, now they have to help. There's no rule on that before those standards or guidelines. Now they have to help. And anybody ever contacts me about a trial I've done, "Sure, what do you need?" But, just human nature, they would not help, and they knew how important it was. And only a handful of trial lawyers ever helped, ever wanted to cooperate.  
  •   RAYMOND: And why do you think most people did not?  
  •  GREENWOOD:  Just human nature.  
  •   RAYMOND: Say what you mean by that.  
  •   GREENWOOD: Afraid to admit mistakes. Hell, I remember one case. Grant Jones had been the DA in Corpus Christi for like fourteen years. He had been, all throughout the 70's, when I was working for the court. I knew who he was, a buddy of mine. But he finally got beat for DA, and went into private practice, and he was appointed to represent this guy, death penalty prosecution, a little girl got shot, come to find out the guy who lived in this house had assaulted my client's mother. Had beat her up with a baseball bat.  
  •  My client had a horrendous, he was only about twenty five. But he had Mexican gang ties, and just a horrendous criminal record from the age of fourteen on. Had served at least one short stretch in prison. And he comes, and he's mindin' his business. He's on parole with an ankle bracelet. His mother comes home with her other son. She's all beat to hell. And she tells him, X beat me up. Well his, [explosion sound], he explodes, get a gun from somebody, goes over to the house, kicks in the front door and starts blasting'.  
  •  Only person hit was a five year old little girl in bed. So that's burglary, killing of a child, blah, blah, blah. And his record, you know, some of the evidence that they found against him had been illegally seized. But Grant Jones specifically lied to me about how it all happened, before I got the copy of the record from him. I read the record, and he lied to me about what had happened, his role outside the record. And my client lied to me. And as a result, I didn't raise this question which could have gotten him a new trial.  
  •   RAYMOND: The question about the seizure, illegal seizure.   
  •  GREENWOOD: And Jones lied to me, and then had evidence to contradict the presumption I went on based on his lies, and just blasted our writ, because everybody lied to me.   
  •  RAYMOND: How did he blast? What happened?  
  •  GREENWOOD: It's complicated. I'd have to—this is twelve years ago. Have to restructure all this. I can't remember the details. Oh, I remember what it was a search and seizure claim, he didn't raise it and I'm wondering why. My client told me, I wanted him to raise the search and seizure claim. It was the only evidence that tied him to the house. Nobody identified him. It was dark when he broke in, "blam, blam, blam, blam," he runs out. And his ankle bracelet screwed up and they didn't have him leaving his house.  
  •  But his shoe made a print on that door, and that shoe was able to be exactly matched to the print on the door, which put him there. And that shoe was found as a result of a search which was bad, really bad. They did a sweep of all Hispanic area in Corpus. The old days, where they'd round up the usual suspects. And Jones told me that—see I can't remember it all, but he gave me a story, my client said he didn't raise it.  
  •  And there was no complaint made during the trial. Oh I remember, he said "I didn't see that." I said, "Really. You didn't see that was a potential search." "No." So I says "Well, he says he didn't see it."   I said "Man, I told him—ineffective assistance of counsel, he failed to do this." He comes back with a sheet of paper, which my client had signed, saying "Don't raise the search and seizure claim." Well, my client, while he had just total criminality oozin' out his ears, was not a total idiot.  
  •  There was no, I ask everybody at some point "Why the hell would you do that?" And it had something to do with protecting his girlfriend, which made no sense because she wasn't involved, at all, anywhere. Not with the search, not with the crime. Anyway, when he brought forth this waiver of Fourth Amendment claim on a writ, it put a big-ass halt on our claim. And had he not, if the client had told me, I would have been able to say, "Well, he waived his search and seizure claim, right? You've got this document, yeah?" I said, "Well, what did you tell him about why, that justified not raising it?"  
  •   Well what it later come to find out, is that they told him his girlfriend was gonna be harmed some way. And it wasn't true. So I would have been able to claim, as opposed to "He didn't raise it," the issue would have been "He got him to waive a Fourth Amendment claim as a result of bad advice." And that would have been a slam dunk, because we had the search bad, and it was harmful cause of that footprint. His tennis shoes were there.   
  •   RAYMOND: What happened to that client?  
  •   GREENWOOD: He was executed.  
  •   RAYMOND: What was his name? Do you remember? 
  •   GREENWOOD: I wanna say it’s Baltazar. Jesse.[1] I think that's right.  
  •   RAYMOND: I can look at the notes. Maybe I'm really being thick here, but I have never heard of, why would a defense attorney ask a client to waive that kind of claim?  
  •  GREENWOOD: To this day it doesn't make any sense. I mean if somebody is, I've seen people want to protect themselves. I've seen people want to protect family members. That's what Anthony Graves and Robert Carter was all about. Carter trying to protect his wife. Didn't make any sense, they couldn't prove—He testified and he controlled who he named. But it made no sense. It doesn't make any sense.  
  •   RAYMOND: I'm just trying to be thinking wildly here. Would it have just been so much work?  
  •   GREENWOOD: No. Simple. Everything that they did came out. I didn't have to do any other investigation. I had a record that showed—and they were pretty much goin' crazy. They did a mass police sweep of half of the Hispanic area in Corpus Christi. And they harassed a bunch of people. One thing through that led to something else, which led to his arrest. Cause they didn't know who the hell he was. And anyway, I can't remember all the specific facts, but there was a showing that they did this, and that the way he was arrested was a sheer fluke.   
  •   RAYMOND: I'm wondering if the nature of the, the fact that the victim was a little girl had anything to do with—Was there any kind of, not really wanting to get him off, or—  
  •  GREENWOOD: From Jones? Of course. He was a prosecutor for fifteen years. For all I know he dumped it. His law partner, or associate or something, Mickey [Kolpack—vr], was very close to Jesse. I forget his last name. He wasn't there when I went to Corpus to pick up the record. And I really wanted to talk to him, because he and I talked on the phone, and Jesse told me he's the one who talked to him all the time, Jones didn't talk to him much. Him I wanted to get the story from. He wasn't there. I made the appointment ten days in advance.  
  •  He wasn't there. And then later, communication got less and less, after I told Jones, or asked him about that search. Why didn't this search get raised? Less and less, and found out later that Mickey had—[cat meows] [Tape cut]. [00:18:49]   
  •  GREENWOOD: Sheer speculation, and I don't want to speculate on why people do things. I stopped doing that a long time ago, with gettin' my first one or two jury verdicts. Especially lawyers. There's too many motivations. But Jones had no reason to lie, other than just, he had and Baltazar didn't get along, and he was prosecution-oriented, and if he did too much—He still wanted to be running for reelection again. He ran again and was beat. And Mickey had a heart attack about six months before Baltazar was executed.   
  •  RAYMOND: Mickey. What was his last name? Do you remember his last name? GREENWOOD: No. RAYMOND: Did you ever go to your clients’ executions?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Every one of them I told them I'd be there if they wanted me to be, but they had other family members. Every one of them had somebody that was gonna be there. And none of them ever asked me to be there. Just out of my own bizarre curiosity I figured I'd get to see at least one. But still haven't.  
  •  RAYMOND: Just thought I would ask. GREENWOOD: Yeah. RAYMOND: If you had anything to add to the Baltazar case. Did you have anything to add to that? GREENWOOD: No. 
  •   RAYMOND: I wanted to ask you about, this one first, the case of, Clarence—well State vs. Jordan. This is one that- GREENWOOD: I remember. RAYMOND: Could you tell us about that case, and begin with the facts?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Don't remember. Just did the appeal. That one issue, void prior conviction used at punishment. Slam dunk. I don't remember the facts. Jordan was later retried. He got the death penalty again, I think. I don't know happened to him. I don't know if he's still—that was—Ken, this head cold and my being tired—[To cat] Hi Bo, Okay big guy. Well, you went through your cat door. How the hell did you get through the cat door with that thing? [cat has a cone on its head]  [To RAYMOND] I may have to feed him in a minute. I'm sorry. I'm a little dingy with all the medication I'm taking.  
  •   RAYMOND: No, it's good. State vs. Jordan. GREENWOOD: Yeah. I don't remember anything about the facts. The case. Ken, forgot his last name, [McLean—narrator’s edit] known him for thirty years, he dies about two years ago. RAYMOND: McLean?  
  •   GREENWOOD:  McLean. Represented him at trial, and several lawyers in Houston did the trials and wanted me to do the appeals, and I won like the first five in a row. And Clarence was one of them. But I never met him, never talked to him, just doing the record.   
  •   RAYMOND: One of the issues. There was an issue about a prior conviction, a juvenile conviction. The other one that the court seems to—they ruled, was about excluding the juror, excluding the juror who—well the defense had wanted to—  [Tape cut]. That not ringing a bell?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Oh no. Thirty years ago. RAYMOND: All right. I just thought—  
  •   GREENWOOD:  I won, on jury selection, direct appeal, I won maybe three appeals out of hundreds. And I'd have to sit here and think for an hour to even remember their names. Damn sure never any death penalty. The courts have flip flopped back and forth so many times on what's error in jury selection, what's not, can't keep any of it straight and I don't remember any of it. I just gave up five years ago when I stopped taking cases.   
  •   RAYMOND: Okay. You used to do some trials though? 
  •   GREENWOOD: Oh yeah. From ‘eighty to ‘eighty two, for three years, according to what I was told, I did more court-appointed jury trials than anybody in Travis County.  
  •   RAYMOND: Can you talk a little about how you approach jury selection?  
  •   GREENWOOD: I'd have to think for an hour about it. I haven't tried a case since 1993.  And I didn't do jury selection. I was co-counsel in Walker County and the lead counsel who knew half the jury, he did jury selection. Every case is different. You've gotta try to make, just generally, just gotta try to make eye contact and some sort of communication through your language, or physical, or chemistry with as many people as possible in a short period of time. And—  
  •   UNKNOWN VOICE: Sir? GREENWOOD: Yes? UNKNOWN VOICE: Your cat got out.   
  •   GREENWOOD: I know. Don't let him outside. God knows. But then depending on the case, and the defense, eight thousand other factors, where you are, you have a theme you want to get across, and you see who is receptive, who wants to talk. And I was always successful in getting jurors to talk. And had some interesting jury communication afterwards, win or lose. Most of the jurors, and I won't say most of the jurors, almost every jury trial I had at least one juror wanted to talk. Which is I'm told very unusual. And some, hell, one case, two jurors, they convicted him, my guy, acquitted him of murder and found him guilty of a lesser included defense, and later invited me over to their house.   
  •   RAYMOND: Wow. GREENWOOD: Yeah. We had, the jury verdict on that case came back in at about eleven o'clock at night. And at almost twelve-thirty, quarter-of-one, the Sheriff's deputy had to run us out. We were all outside the courtroom, and there were nine jurors remaining, an hour and a half later, talking about the case. The guy's name was Jerry Pennington.  
  •   RAYMOND: I had never heard of such a thing.  
  •   GREENWOOD: No, I hadn't either. Still haven't heard of jurors staying around that long. RAYMOND: Is that Travis County? GREENWOOD: Yeah. RAYMOND: You had said, a minute ago, when you said you gave up speculating about people's motives. GREENWOOD: They'd drive you nuts.   
  •  RAYMOND: But you specifically referred to jurors, to jury trials. After having talked to jurors you came to that conclusion?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Just what they do and how they tell me they arrive at verdicts. Plus listening to thousands of other lawyers tell me, and look at records, how they convict this guy, there's no rhyme nor reason, [Tape cuts back to earlier point and returns here] and most of the time they won't tell you. It'd just drive you crazy. What's the next step? What can you do? Or get on to the next case. Otherwise, if you worry about every loss, just think how many people moan and bitch about losing, I don't know, an animal.  
  •  Well, theoretically you're sad for a little while, but you've got to get on with your life, and even though it's human beings you're dealing with, there's always another criminal. Or an innocent citizen charged with a crime. And you just can't be that maudlin about it. Somebody you get attached to.   I've gone back and represented, well, my last case, really last criminal case, I had represented this guy for a number of years in the nineties, and lost. I thought he was innocent. And then certain bizarre circumstances occurred that he got another shot himself. He did something and he was given another shot to raise this stuff, and he contacted me and told me about it.  
  •  And I said "I'll represent you for nothin'." And from 2006 until March, April 2009 I represented him and the Court of Criminal Appeals set his conviction aside. That was the last opinion I had. Last opinion I had, out of Dallas County, and last I heard they dismissed the charges. He had served twenty-three years in prison on a murder case.  
  •  RAYMOND: Can you share that man's name with us? 
  •   GREENWOOD: Sure. Billy Frederick Allen.  
  •   RAYMOND:  Billy Frederick Allen. Thank you. Well, Maurice might have other questions but I just want to ask you one more, which is that last time you talked about an us and them mentality, at least with Henry Wade, and specifically talked about it as a racial “us and them.”   
  •   GREENWOOD: And there were certainly, that factor in Wade's DA training, somebody got the manual and showed how they exclude Blacks. While that was not the case that went to the Supreme Court, after the Supreme Court handed down the Batson case, some former DA, who had been given this manual as a DA was in private practice, and managed to get a copy of this manual. And that was exhibit number one in his habeas corpus where they struck all the Blacks. That was institutional.  
  •   RAYMOND: Do you, can you tell us about what was in that manual? GREENWOOD: Just showed—get rid of Blacks, get rid of Jews, get rid of blah, blah, blah, and that was their stated policy.   
  •   RAYMOND: Get rid of Blacks, Jews, and who else? GREENWOOD: Just whoever. I don't know, minorities and whatever. That was thirty years ago when it got out. It's still talked about.  
  •   RAYMOND: You've been practicing law, or had been practicing law a long time, and I wonder if you could talk about race, or racism, over that time that you were practicing, and what you saw, or—what changes you might have seen in the criminal justice system, particularly in trials or appeals.   
  •   GREENWOOD: I don't even know how to answer that. I really don't. I did almost all my trials here in Travis County. Of all the counties, it has less racism than anything. I've had Black clients acquitted. I haven't seen institutional racism here, but everybody knows what, two-out-of-ten to three-out-of-ten are closet Klan, one form or another. It just depends on the makeup and what you got. Everybody's racist to a little degree, but why talk about it? And to my knowledge I never had it affect any of my cases.  
  •   RAYMOND: Okay. Well that was really my question. 
  •   GREENWOOD: I mean obviously if I'd tried cases for thirty years, I would have seen it. See, racism didn't count, if you're a criminal, whether you're white, Black, green, or otherwise, the cops and the DAs hate you anyway. You've got a problem with the juries. The judges don't like anybody. So it's just another factor. If you're a criminal, whether you're any color, you're already, if you're charged, whether you're innocent or not, no matter what color, you've got a problem. And racism never was, you always had to think about it, but in Travis County, every defense lawyer was taught you have to ask a question about racism in jury selection. 
  •   Well I learned real quick that in Travis County you didn't really have to ask that, because our panels were pretty much split. Of course, Travis County didn't shoot for excluding Blacks like some of the other counties. So it wasn't a big problem. The big problem with Travis County juries was and probably still is Blacks don't show up for jury service. And the judges don't attach them. And that's everywhere.  What you get is state government workers, postal workers, retired military, and other retired people, and you're already havin' a problem there. But fortunately there's more people in minorities that work in state government, post office here than most places. So I never really saw it as a big problem with any of my particular clients.   
  •   RAYMOND: And you talked about a Black versus white mentality in Dallas, at least from Henry Wade's point of view. What about Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, did you ever?  
  •   GREENWOOD: I'm sure it was there. Dallas was equal opportunity racism. I mean, to them, if you were in the dock, we're gonna get you, we're gonna get rid of your kind off the jury panel, no matter what color you are, and you better not be over there. Harris County's a little more subtle about it, because they had, apparently, because of the splits in the way Harris County is laid out, they had more Blacks that would show up on the jury panels over the years. They were gotten rid of, or absent, Harris County DA's just weren't so overt as a policy in the office to do it. That's all hearsay to me. Like I said, I'd have to think about it, but nothing springs to my mind about any client that I ever had, who was in his position solely because of race.   
  •   RAYMOND: Well I do want to ask about Michael Nawee Blair.  Like you said his mother was Thai. And particularly when you mentioned one of the experts saying something was a “mongoloid” hair.  
  •   GREENWOOD:  That's probably what made his—when I read that testimony I went "Whoa. That's bad for us." And that was, gee at one point this expert said "This is consistent with Blair's hair. This is consistent." And then the DA bore a little more, he says "What makes it consistent?" And he got into this mongoloid hair thing. And I'm goin' "Whoa."  I didn't know much about hair. Microscopic hair studying at that point, but I read up on it at that point. Because the rest of it was just general. [Tape Cut] RAYMOND: Talking about the hearing, the expert, so-called expert talked about "mongoloid hair." Is there such a thing?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Apparently. I've read up on it and yeah there really is.  RAYMOND: And is that what it's called?  
  •  GREENWOOD: Yeah. They had other names for it, but that's the term that's used. They have lots of terminology. Nowadays they don't have—it's been rendered moot. Don't even think about putting in microscopic hair testimony and more. You get DNA or I don't see you. That's basically where it is now. Because the Court of Criminal Appeals granted relief to some guy two, three weeks ago, on microscopic hair, that the State, the facts were very similar to Blair's, except it wasn't a death penalty case, they tested it, the State used it against him. Lo and behold, DNA tests come up. It's not him.  
  •  They granted relief. They didn't publish Blair's case and put it in the law books. They published this one. And that one may have been the one where they talked about newly discovered and newly available evidence. Because it was all there. It's just the test wasn't there. That may have been it. Anyway, some time in the past few months.   
  •   CHAMMAH: Was that distinction created for that? Or are there other cases? 
  •   GREENWOOD: I'm sure the DA's office said "No. It wasn't newly discovered. They had it all along." And somebody, yeah, duh, you've got to expand on the definition. It's perfect finally. I'm surprised they didn't go the other way. Test doesn't exist, you lose, next.  I mean I've seen that. Some court rules are not retroactive. And just as easily they could have done that. That wouldn't have made any sense, would have looked bad. But everything is a matter of appearance, unfortunately.  
  •   RAYMOND: Let me ask you one more question, since we're on Blair. You had mentioned that if anywhere in the state there's a contest for biggest, baddest DA that Collin County would do you have any thoughts about Collin County and why it has become, if you will, a leader?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Well Collin County was. Collin County's been whapped recently. First of all, a relatively new DA, new judges, and Collin County's lost several big cases recently. Plus [Tom] O’Connell's affair with the judge [Judge Vera Sue Holland] and all of that. Anyway, [John] Bradley's now far and away the-  
  •  RAYMOND: From Williamson County?  
  •   GREENWOOD: Yeah. He's touching on problems with his commission [The Forensic Science Commission], but as far as DA he's still the top dog in the State.   
  •   RAYMOND: And you see that more as a matter of personality than as a matter of where people live, or the nature of Williamson County versus Collin County, or, is that what your—  
  •   GREENWOOD: It's the nature of the people that make it that way. You've got a bunch of white-collar, almost no minorities, white-collar rich people, the highest income in the State of Texas in Collin County, and farmers. Williamson Count: retired, military, farmers. And it may take another fifteen years for the college education to hit up there, but there's still farmers and retired, older. Very few Blacks. Some Hispanics of course. Plus a top notch, professional DA's core, that's been there for years, and Collin County is broken up quite a bit.  
  •  Now some of their top prosecutors are judges, or have left, or have not run for reelection. Collin County's been splintered pretty good. I don't think—Their reputation lives on, because of the past, but I don't think they can continue to do it.   
  •   RAYMOND: It's interesting that Travis County, which you've described as one of the more liberal counties in the state, is right up against Williamson County. GREENWOOD: It's bizarre. Well, you see how many police officers live in Williamson County, as opposed to Travis County? Very few police officers live in Travis County. Most of them live there, and then Bastrop, and around.  
  •  I never understood that. Some legislator proposed, or somebody proposed you couldn't be on the police department unless you lived in the city, or at least in the county, and they freaked. The first ones—I had never heard of the proposed bill, but the A.P.D. was the first ones that screamed.  
  •   RAYMOND: Well thank you this is very helpful. Maurice, did you have questions?  
  •   CHAMMAH: I was just wondering. You started to go into this just now, whether there's still a sense of competition between some of the different counties, like you had said with Harris and Dallas?  
  •  GREENWOOD: I don't—the level has—I'm sure there is, but it's—Bradley, everybody's gonna shoot, most of them are gonna shoot for Bradley. If you want to be that reputation. But most of them don't have the communities to support it. That's the deal. It's the people that allow him to do that. If you transplanted half of Travis County into Williamson County, it'd change. And Beaumont used to be the most Democratic, more so than Travis County, but now they've turned very conservative Democrat.  
  •  There's still all the labor unions, but those people have been afraid about losing their jobs for the last ten years, off and on, so they've gotten relatively conservative. Their judiciary and DA's office is always real hard-ass. But the political scheme was liberal, you'd think. But it's kind of hard to be liberal when you're in—do you know anything about Beaumont? I mean we're talking oil workers and ship people, and a few farmers. Other than the labor unions, that's not the basis for a liberal community. I mean you take the unions out of the mix and they'd be Republicans in a New York minute.  
  •   CHAMMAH: I'm also wondering what are all the factors you mean by them being really harsh. Is it just in terms of harsher sentences, going for death more often in capital cases? What are some of the factors that make it so harsh in a place like Williamson County? What are some of the things the DA are doing that wouldn't be as obvious? 
  •   GREENWOOD: Well the thing that immediately—Bradley doesn't go after the death penalty much. They don't have that many. But he could always shoot for more, but Bradley's also a realist. He's a sharp guy. Like I said, John Bradley—me and David Schulman, another lawyer here, and me in Austin, are the only two lawyers I know of who get along with John Bradley. I'm not saying we like him, but we respect him and he apparently respects us, and when we deal with him, and we haven't dealt with him in years, but when we do, he's fair, he's straight up, he tells us the truth, he doesn't bullshit around.   
  •  But every other lawyer he jacks around. And Travis County lawyers, half of them, say I wouldn't go into Williamson County on a bet. Schulman regularly gets appointments out of there. Of course the judges screw him around, but the DA's office doesn't.  
  •   RAYMOND: And Mr. Schulman has done capital cases as well.  GREENWOOD: Oh yeah. CHAMMAH: Great, well that's good. RAYMOND: Any other questions? CHAMMAH: No, that's good for me.   
  •  RAYMOND: Thank you so very much.  CHAMMAH: Yeah thanks a lot.  RAYMOND: This has been absolutely fascinating and really important. We will get your transcript back to you. It will take a while.  
  •   GREENWOOD: I understand. RAYMOND: But we will get the DVDs to you as soon as we can. Might be a week or two, but then you can look at them, but the real test, because we can make more changes in the transcript. 
Mark Video Segment:
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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:5 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
Geographic Base:North America--United States--Texas--Austin
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:5 of 5
Signal Format:NTSC