Trial by innuendo, the overturned Dorothy Bingham case

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Burden of Proof  (n ): the obligation of the State to present legal evidence demonstrating the defendant's guilt.

Reverse Burden of Proof : the defendant better have a competent lawyer who is willing to challenge fabricated evidence in Cherokee County, TX.

The Cherokee County district attorney's office has been violating evidentiary standards for decades. Prosecutors and judges have worked hand-in-hand to stage trials based on hearsay and otherwise inadmissible innuendo that may or may not show up for judicial review on the court record. Nonetheless, cases lacking tangible evidence are presented to Cherokee County juries in the hope they will convict based on “feelings” rather than actual proof beyond a reasonable doubt. These criminal cases would otherwise be unprosecutable in counties that obey the rule of law because the burden of proof standards are not even close to the civil  criteria of the preponderance of the evidence. In any other jurisdiction, the district judge would throw out the case before it made it to the newspapers.

“To hell with clear and convincing. Isn't it likely the defendant is guilty, because we say so?”

For some reason, Cherokee County judges sit comfortably during these factless trials and condone tainted juries being seated. “Because it's such a small town, we know everybody's related.”  They also allow the district attorney to butcher the Texas Penal Code by applying bogus case laws never seen before in precedent, such as the Law of Parties on defendants in no way associated with the commission of a crime.

The 'Law of Parties' doesn't mean the district attorney and state witnesses should be congregating at each other's homes or drinking margaritas with the jury foreman.

Section 7.02 of the Texas Penal Code, known as “the Law of Parties” states that a person is criminally responsible for the actions of another if he or she promotes or assists – even immaterially- in the commission of a crime. In the case of conspiracy to commit murder, Texas law allows the death penalty to be applied under this statute and is currently upheld by the US Supreme Court. For the record, the collusive Cherokee County judiciary took a stab at trying to convict under this statute several years ago, as they have with Jessica's Law under other concocted legal scenarios. They change the case facts around to match what they want to present on the record. Another recent example of this is the 2005 dismissal of Constable Randall Thompson (for what they alleged was his refusual to perform his duties) and a complete denial that Thompson was a salaried county employee facing a federal drug indictment.

The local newspapers help match their skewed version of reality, in the process losing all credibility. They operate as a tight little corrupt unit, creating stories and strategies for each other, before and after the jury has deliberated. Normally, case facts are conveyed through the process of questioning witnesses. In Cherokee County, the judge and prosecutor have already side-barred to agree that the reasonable doubt standard will not explained to the jury. Why is the complete opposite intent of the law applied in Cherokee County? Why is more important to get a conviction rather than to uphold the rule of law?

Is it to divert blame away from themselves? Is it to get their names in the TDCAA journal by lying about their cases? Or to simply grandstand for their jury pool toadies? It is usually a combination of all the above, but the most plausible explanation is to divvy up the proceeds of insurance payouts. They can't collect without a conviction and they can't convict the individual who is dolling out the recompense check. But they will throw everything including the kitchen sink at anyone threatening to get a piece of the pie.

The Kitchen Sink Theory is “unsupported by more than a mere modicum of evidence and will not support a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt” … unless the trial takes place in Cherokee County, TX.

Cherokee County has a documented history of generating revenue by bringing charges against innocent individuals. Court-appointed attorneys, bail bondsmen and court employees all reap the benefits of the small town shakedown. The local 'no-news-is-good-news' media also does its part by refusing to publish overturned convictions that shed light into the deliberate misapplication of legal statutes and resultant waste of taxpayer dollars. They will however publish concocted accusations, a la Robert Fox and highlights of ongoing trials they feel is in the county's best interest. When Cherokee County's District Attorney throws in the kitchen sink,  they are busily guzzling the bath water and repeating the lies.

Case in point, the reversal of Dorothy Bingham's  murder for remuneration and organized crime conviction by the Twelfth Court of Appeals.  The case was tossed out based upon insufficient evidence presented at trial by the district attorney. In 1998, Dorothy Bingham and several individuals from Jacksonville, TX were indicted in Cherokee County for the murder of Bobby Sexton. Somewhere in the mele', Cherokee County decided insurance money was involved and somebody had to get their hands on the victim's death benefits. In 2000, Bingham along with her estranged granddaughter and others were convicted of First Degree Murder.

Dorothy Bingham spent two years in prison until her appeal was heard and her convictions overturned. Said her attorney to the Jacksonville Daily Progress on her release,

“I thought we had a pretty strong case because basically she was convicted on innuendoes and speculation ”

[It was] “quite a leap of faith on the jury's part to think Dorothy had anything to do with [the murder of Bobby Sexton].”

The Cherokee County district attorney told the jury at trial that because Bingham could have benefited from the victim's payable on death policy, she was in fact a co-conspirator in the killing of Bobby Sexton. The Tyler Court of Appeals disagreed with the misinformed Cherokee County jury and found “no rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Appellant [Dorothy Bingham] was a party to Bobby's  murder.”  (Source: 12th COA opinion No. 12-00-00242-CR,  Bingham vs. Cherokee Co.)

Unfortunately, rational jurists are systematically culled from the Cherokee County jury pool and relatives of the victims are impaneled to deliver the conviction. To serve further injustice, readers have to delve back into the archives of the Houston Chronicle two hundred miles away to find the story. You won't read about it in the corrupt town where it took place.

Sources of trumped up charges overturned by the 12th Court of Appeals, Tyler:

2nd Judicial District Criminal Docket; Case 13745 ; CAPITAL MURDER REMUNERATION


2nd Judicial District Criminal Docket; Case 13947 ; OBSTRUCTION OR RETALIATION


2nd Judicial District Criminal Docket; Case 14049 ; ENGAGED IN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ACTIVITY


2nd Judicial District Criminal Docket; Case 14049A ; MURDER




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