Daniel Rizzo – The Intimidator

  Sir, I don’t know anything,” was what Erica Dockery told Prosecutor Daniel Rizzo of Harris County.

However, the prosecutor Daniel Rizzo, part-time intimidator, part time medium, was  convinced that Ericka Jean Dockery’s boyfriend Alfred Dewayne Brown, had murdered veteran Houston police officer Charles R. Clark during a three-man burglary of a check-cashing place. They refused to believe Erica Dockery’s initial, but honest testimony that Mr. Brown was with her during the time of the murder, therefore NOT COMMITTING THE MURDER.

But, Daniel Rizzo, wanted none of that. He knew what the truth was, and he was going to make sure Erica Dockery would testify to HIS version of the truth, not matter what the real truth was.

 

In a rare, disturbing glimpse into the shrouded world of the Texas grand jury system, we can read with our own eyes the beginnings of the young woman’s tortured evolution.

In it, grand jurors don’t just inquire. They interrogate. They intimidate. They appear to abandon their duty to serve as a check on overzealous government prosecution and instead join the team.

I have no idea why this went on, unreported.  Sometimes, I wonder if we just let Kangaroos take over a court in Texas, if they could run a better trial.  This sadist in disguise, ends up forcing a woman to falsely give wrong testimony, because he knew what the truth was.

 

Neither the prosecutor nor the grand jury would take Dockery’s “truth” for an answer.

The young woman, a home health aide who made Subway sandwiches by night, had no attorney. No experience dealing with authorities. No criminal history aside from traffic tickets.

She caved. At Brown’s capital murder trial in October 2005, Dockery was a key prosecution witness, helping seal her boyfriend’s death sentence by telling the court that when she asked him if he did it, he had confessed, saying, ” ‘I was there. I was there.’ “

 

Now, here comes the Egregious Grand Jury Crazy misconduct.  Grand Juries are unable to indict. when there is a video of a police officer shooting a kid point blank range.  But, in this unbelievable transcript, the prosecutor and the grand jury collude to get a witness to lie and find a way to indict a man, despite not letting any facts get in the way.

In a rare, disturbing glimpse into the shrouded world of the Texas grand jury system, we can read with our own eyes the beginnings of the young woman’s tortured evolution.

Appellate attorneys were so outraged by a 146-page transcript of Dockery’s testimony before the 208th Harris County grand jury on April 21, 2003, that they entered it into the public record for judges to review.  

In it, grand jurors don’t just inquire. They interrogate. They intimidate. They appear to abandon their duty to serve as a check on overzealous government prosecution and instead join the team.

At first, the fact that Dockery seemed to be “a good, nice, hard-working lady,” in the words of one grand juror, gave her credibility with the group. But jurors soon seized on her vulnerabilities and fear.

“Hey, Dan,” the foreman calls to the prosecutor. “What are the punishments for perjury and aggravated perjury?”

“It’s up to 10 years,” Rizzo responds.

“In prison. OK,” the foreman says.

“Oh no,” says another grand juror as if on cue, echoing other commentary that reads at times like a Greek chorus.

“I’m just trying to answer all your questions to the best of my ability,” Dockery says.

A bit later, a female juror asks pointedly: “What are you protecting him from?”

“I’m not protecting him from anything. No ma’am. I wouldn’t dare do that,” Dockery eventually responds. As Rizzo and the grand jurors parse Dockery’s every word and challenge each statement, she complains they’re confusing her.

“No, we’re not confusing you,” a grand juror says. “We just want to find out the truth.”

Although Dockery says repeatedly that she knew it was Brown on her couch that morning, the foreman tries to get her to subscribe to an implausible theory that it was somebody else on her couch.

She doesn’t budge. The group takes a break – one of several.

When the grand jury returns, the foreman says the members are not convinced by Dockery’s story and “wanted to express our concern” for her children if she doesn’t come clean.

“That’s why we’re really pulling this testimony,” the foreman tells her.

The foreman adds that if the evidence shows she’s perjuring herself “then you know the kids are going to be taken by Child Protective Services, and you’re going to the penitentiary and you won’t see your kids for a long time.”

‘Think about your kids’

Rizzo goes on to accuse Dockery of misleading the grand jury. Then, after being told again and again to think about her children, Dockery changes her story a bit. She says Brown was not at the house when she left for work.

“No, no, no,” she finally blurts out.

“One minute, Ericka,” a grand juror says a bit later, apparently sensing an opportunity. “He wasn’t in the house when you put your kids on the bus either, was (he)?”

“I’m trying to remember,” she says.

“Think about your kids, darling,” a grand juror says.

“I’m trying to remember,” Dockery says.

“That’s what we’re concerned about here, is your kids,” the foreman says.

“He was not at the house,” a grand juror urges.

“We’re as much concerned about your kids as you are,” the foreman says. “So, tell the truth.”

“He was not in the house when you put your kids on the bus, was he?” a grand juror says.

“Tell the truth, girl.”

“Yes,” Dockery says finally. “He was there.”

A bit later, Dockery acquiesces on that point, saying that Brown was not in her house earlier that morning, either.

At this point, one may wonder, what motivated the Jury foreman.  Well, he turned out to be a cop!

 

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Tinker, Tailor, Lawyer, Spy