Friday, September 14, 2007

He's done it again: Pete Shellem frees another innocent man

Extraordinary.

That single word best describes the work of reporter Pete Shellem of The Patriot News. For the fifth time, Pete's investigative work has freed an innocent person from jail. This time it was Charles T. "Ted" Dubbs of Lancaster County, who served five years of a 12-to-40 year sentence for a sexual assault that someone else committed.

Dubbs went free on Wednesday. Today's Patriot News features a commentary by Shellem that addresses this latest miscarriage of justice.
The case first came to my attention when Brown pleaded guilty last November and was sentenced in Dauphin County Court. It came out at that hearing that Brown had confessed to crimes for which Dubbs was wasting away in prison still proclaiming his innocence.

When I asked about it afterward ­- assuming they were going to free an innocent man - I got the exchanged glances, awkward smiles and the "no comments."

It was after that I got the proverbial bug in the ear. The cops figured it was a no-brainer, but Totaro’s office didn’t want to hear it. Maybe it had something to do with the election year.

True, Totaro’s first assistant at the time, Heidi Eakin, pointed out the similarities between the cases. But when members of the task force investigating the serial rapes presented her with Browns’ 60-page confession, she got her back up.

When I interviewed her in May, she was adamant that Dubbs was guilty and called his alibi defense "a joke." She speculated Brown was a copycat who committed 13 subsequent rapes after reading about Dubbs’s arrest and conviction.

Eakin said she specifically told the police not to reinterview the victims. When asked what she was doing to investigate the confession she told me "that’s not my job."

You can read Shellem's original piece from May by clicking here.

The Framers intended for the free press to be a watchdog of the government. It's a relief to know that there is still at least one reporter- Pete Shellem- who takes that role seriously.

Andy in Harrisburg

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

Five innocent men in one reporter's carrier - that is either a very improbable statistical fluke, OR a very broken justice system.

Wonder which?

11:22 AM  

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