Temujin would love to hear from you. Please write him at:
34625 26 Mile Road
New Haven, MI 48048
We are indeed delighted for him. Our hope is that this will also bring some relief to many of the other inmates who are suffering. Temujin is a very intelligent man who has used his time in prison to educate himself in the law. Many others are not so able to assist in their own defense. You know we unequivocally proclaim his innocence and have done so for decades. From recent news, you must be aware there are many other innocents imprisoned as well. Consider the hell of being innocent and abused by medical practitioners. Even the truely guilty deserve proper care.
His lawyer, Solomon Radnor, is to be commended for his sense of justice and willingness to take on this case. Additionally, thanks to the jury of 4 men and 4 women who unanimously ruled in his favor. Their close attention to a week long complicated trial is much appreciated. A large amount of the credit for the victory goes to A'Miko Kensu, his deceased wife. Her tireless efforts on his behalf paid off. She sent numerous emails and collected many of the documents used as evidence in his case. She must be smiling in heaven right now.
The appeal of Temujin's criminal conviction still rests with the Michigan Supreme Court. We are hopeful of a positive decision soon on that as well.
This case did not include the disastrous treatment he received at the Gus Harrison Facility which very nearly cost him his life. A state which would poison its children to save a couple of bucks is capable of going cheap and getting even with its prisoners.
When so many believe in his innocence and there is no evidence against him, why then is Temujin still in prison? The reasons given have had nothing to do with guilt or innocence, merely procedural rules which endlessly bubble up to defeat justice. It has been nearly 30 years now. His original trial was a publicity show. A federal judge said as much in October of 2010 when she overturned the verdict. That was countermanded by a federal appeals court on procedural grounds with no regard for the justice of the case.
That scene was re-enacted again when the state appeals court ruled against him. One of the three appeals judges did agree that the original trial was flawed. He said the 2010 federal judge's decision overturning the conviction was not in error and should not have been reversed by the higher court. But justice once again stays chained to procedure. Now a brief has been filed with the Michigan Supreme Court to once more seek justice. We can only hope.
If you are new to this issue, here is a brief synopsis. In 1986 a young man was killed with a shotgun in the parking lot of a community college in Port Huron, Michigan. There were no witnesses to the crime. It was a morning and most students were in class. The police arrested a young man for the crime. It became hot news, he was billed the "Ninja Killer". He was in all the media for the circus. Problem was, he did not know the victim and had no reason to kill him. At the time of the crime he was attested to be in Ecanaba, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, several hundred miles away. The prosecutor, now a federal judge, secured a conviction by proposing that he had convinced a local pilot at the Port Huron airport to fly him back to Escanaba. No flight plans or any substantiation was ever offered. His public defender was coke head alcoholic who did a miserable job defending him. He was sentenced to life without parole. There is much more detail below and the documentary covers the facts well.
We adopted him as an innocence project in 1999. We met him on a religious matter and became acquainted with his story. His then lawyer and a private investigator verified for us that this was a miscarriage of justice. We found it hard to believe that the American judicial system could be so poor. We still respect the police, judges and all who honestly and fairly strive to keep order in our society. But all is not well.
So now it is in the hands of the Michigan Supreme Court Justices. We sincerely hope that they see through the shroud of bureaucratic balderdash and rule for justice. His defense team is still the highly regarded University of Michigan, School of Law, Innocence Clinic.
Judge Shapiro, reluctantly concurring with the others, wrote separately:
"I reluctantly concur with the majoritys affirmance of the trial court's denial of defendant's motion for relief from judgment. Defendant's only claim before this -that the newly discovered original photographic lineup shown to eyewitnesses required a new trial-,while not wholly devoid of merit, is insufficient to warrant relief under the standard for a successive motion for relief from judgment under MCR 6.500 et seq.
I write separately because, after reviewing the record, I conclude that defendant's trial was flawed in several respects and that the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan did not err in granting him habeas relief."
His full statement can be found here. Judge Shapiro's remarks"
We thank the judge for his candid opinion. The official judgement can be read here. Appeal Court Judgement"
Dear Friends and Supporters,
I would like to express my sincere and deepest gratitude to the Michigan Court of Appeals for the oral arguments hearing they granted us on June 2, 2015 and their fair consideration of our position. Obviously, we are hopeful that the Court will agree that the issues we presented do merit the reversal of the wrongful conviction that has resulted in my nearly 30 years of incarceration for a crime that so many in the criminal justice system and law enforcement community have come to understand as tragic and a great injustice.
Of course, we understand and accept that even if the Court does grant the appeal, my freedom or justice is not immediately assured. St. Clair County will surely appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. However, at the hearing many of us were disturbed by deliberate deceptions in Port Huron's brief.
For example, the county brought up before the Court the jacket they found in my girlfriend's home as an indication of my guilt when they knew that it was not mine and admitted at trial that the jacket was dirty, had not been washed, and contained no nitrite-gun powder residue (gun powder residue would have been on the jacket if it was worn while the shotgun was fired). Further, this jacket no way resembled the suspect's unusual puffy green ski jacket mentioned by a witness. It was in fact an absolutely normal, completely unchanged and unmodified Army Field Jacket. Not to mention the fact that one witness, Richard Kruger, testified that the suspect was not wearing a normal military style coat.
Also, the sad truth is that county prosecutor once more attempted to mislead the Court to try to reinforce the testimony of the hypnotized witness Rene Gobeyn's testimony that changed multiple times. The fact is that Gobeyn actually saw no crime and his testimony conflicted with the honest, detached witnesses in the parking lot. At trial Robert Marvich, who was with Gobeyn at the critical moment in the parking lot where the crime occurred, contradicted just about everything Gobeyn supposedly saw and did.
Then there is the fact that Richard Kruger was never actually a witness. The prosecutor has long relied on the confusion about Kruger. In truth Kruger was never in the parking lot where the crime occurred. His suspect was some guy he claimed he saw an hour earlier in a completely different lot. Why would the suspect be walking around in a different lot when the suspect was supposedly in a car an hour later by the victim's car?
There are so many other facts that prove I could not have committed the murder, including documents and testimony from nine witnesses that prove that I was in Escanaba in the UP when the crime occurred in Port Huron. In fact, I was in Escanaba with my disabled Mercury 4 door Marquis, hardly the alleged suspect vehicle that Gobeyn identified in his changing and false testimony as a Mazda or Datsun or Ford Escort station wagon.
I also want to extend my undying gratitude to the Innocence Clinic of the University of Michigan and all its many wonderful attorneys and student lawyers who have so graciously defended me in the long, often heart-breaking struggle for justice. Many thanks to Caitlyn, Dave, Imran, Mary Soo, Erika, Matt, and so many others as well as new staff such as Dominque and, of course, Jennifer!
Thanks also goes to the members of Proving Innocence who have been there all the way: Dave and Bonnie, Bill and Kate, Ross and Jo, Greta and Marvin, Pat and Jerry, Bill, Herb, Ken, John, and Michelle as well as my many well-wishers, supporters, and friends whether in person or just in spirit (Mike, Dorothy, Dean, Eddie, Tetshin, Khaya, Joe, Barry, Eric, and more).
I also appreciate the members of the media who have been fair and thorough over the years (though more coverage is always appreciated).
Thanks and blessings to all our viewers on YouTube who were shocked and educated by watching Dean's documentary, "Justice Incarcerated"
Know that you are all loved and appreciated. Let us pray that justice will prevail and believe with all our hearts that it will be so.
In Friendship and Fellowship,
Temujin Kensu (aka Fredrick T. Freeman)
PS. Please know how very much this would have meant to A'miko. She loved all of you very much.
Proving Innocence also has additional information on their website, Temujin Kensu
Wonderful progress has been made by the incredible people at the University of Michigan Innocence Clinic on my appeal. I am blessed to have such an amazing defense team, as well as such amazing friends and supporters. Please know that I love and appreciate each and every one of you.
It has been an arduous, painful and difficult road since the loss of my beloved A'miko in November of 2012. I have been buoyed through this by all of you who have offered our kind thoughts, words and deeds on my behalf. Thank you so very much for this.
Believe that this struggle is one that we wage for the millions around the world who continue to suffer injustice in all its varied and ugly forms. Have faith, for we will be victorious, vindicated and justified in our efforts for this noble cause.
Feel free to write me at the address on the website.
Yours in Camaraderie and Friendship,
We haven't had a call from him for over a week. That probably means he was sent back to solitary at the Gus Harrison prison. Happy New Year.
The good news is that his unrelenting defense team from the University of Michigan is ready to file a response to Judge West's ruling with the Court of Appeals. Maybe he will get justice-if he lives long enough.
January 7, 2015 Update, Temujin has returned to the hospital for further treatment.
Temujin did call in the evening. He was not disheartened. The ruling was as expected and the defense team is ready with the appeal. It just means waiting longer for justice and freedom. He sends his thanks and best wishes to his supporters.
Sorry if this is sounding conspritorial. It is not meant to be. The judge should not be accused of delaying the decision for this. The heavy hand is most likely because Temujin is suing the responsible agencies for poor diet and having no access to health supplements that we on the outside take for granted. Those lawsuits are doomed anyway. His lawyer, Andrew Stacer, abandoned the case without explanation. Most strange. They would have benefited many.
I have no idea why the judge is incapable of rendering a decision.
If only Fyodor Dostoyevsky was alive still to write this novel.
October 1st, 2014
It has been over 6 months since the March Hare-ing. Still no decision from the judge. Question comes to mind, why so long? This is not a major legal precedent, that was determined years ago in the Brady ruling. The case was sent down from the Appeals court to determine yes or no, violation or not. Maybe, just maybe, it is the politics. Maybe, just maybe, a higher court should rule. After all, if the judge can't make his mind up in 6 months, how many more years is it going to take for a little justice?
If you have written him and have not heard an answer, it is most likely that the letters were withheld from him. He would really love to hear from you and will reply if he gets them. Be sure you include his prisoner number.
They recently held a letter from me with some religious information I was sending him. That was reversed the day before his transfer. He hasn't seen it yet.
Nothing to report on the March Hare-ing yet. Judge West's decision is still pending.
I do not envy any judge his job, nor do I intend any disrespect by calling this "Justice Theatre". I have been involved in amateur theatre for over 30 years and have directed many plays. I could not help but be struck by the similarities. If you would like an unbiased view of the proceedings, Beth LeBlanc of the Port Huron Times Herald did a fine job of reporting. Her articles on the events of Wed, 3/12 and Thurs, 3/13 can be found at these links:
Article covering Wednesday's Hearing.
Article covering Thursday's Hearing.
There is a rule in the justice system that once a matter has been brought forward in a trial or appeal it cannot be re-introduced. The only basis for opening a trial or appeal is new evidence. Thus, no matter how flawed prior work may have been, over is over. My perspective is a bit more biased.
Let me set the scene. Wednesday, March 12th, was as you may remember, the blizzard from hell in the northeastern states. The world was blowing a sideways whiteout and snow was getting deep. The courtroom of Judge Michael West has an outside wall with large windows so we were able to enjoy both the shows, inside and out. From the visitors church bench seats, the prosecutor, Mona Armstrong, was to the left. The defense team was to the right. It consisted of three lawyers headed by David Moran and three student lawyers assisting. They are from the prestigious University of Michigan, School of Law, Innocence Clinic. They have been his defense attorneys for several years now.
Temujin was brought in before the judge entered. Brought-in is a mild term. He was in prison garb and shackled about the feet and waist. His cane had been taken away. (He uses a cane since a tendon in his leg separated last year.) They considered him a "flight risk". He was accompanied by many armed officers of various jurisdictions. I counted seven in the beginning but it doubled to fourteen a few hours later. Yes, they were all armed. Yes, they casually rested their hands on their pistols. And they were positioned at all vantage points so that if any of us scratched a nose, a hand would shift a holster. All those bodies blocked a lot of the sound and I had to strain to hear. I think I got most of it. The director in me marveled at this. I couldn't have staged it better myself. I just wondered, who was supposed to be intimidated? We the audience? Certainly we had no intention of trying to bust him out, no more than he would have if we could have. After all this was a hearing that will eventually lead to his freedom- we hope. Oh, and my wife, Dorothy and I are in our 70's and she walks with a cane also. Being regarded as a possible threat is just as good as getting carded for a senior discount. Oh, and Dean Mongan was with us also, son and film maker of "Justice Incarcerated". He's so dangerous the prison officials managed to lose his media accreditation and he could not visit Temujin in the slammer. You know, pen beats sword, movie covers pen.
This hearing came about when Herbert Welser brought forward the original photos used for the witnesses identification. Mr. Welser is a retired Port Huron Police Detective Inspector, now Private Investigator. He found the photos in an evidence locker. The defense was made aware of them through the efforts of A'Miko, Temujin's deceased wife, and Bill Proctor a former reporter, also now Private Investigator. Mr. Welser had been involved in many photo lineups in his career and had assembled a good number of them himself. He's an expert. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The Supreme Court of the State of Michigan was given the evidence. It was questionable that his attorney in 1986, David Dean, was ever aware of them. The nature of the photos made Temujin stand out from the other four markedly. This is a violation of the Brady disclosure rule. To quote Wikipedia, "Brady disclosure consists of exculpatory or impeaching information and evidence that is material to the guilt or innocence or to the punishment of a defendant."
Wikipedia article on Brady.
It says you are entitled to see all the evidence used against you. Any responsible lawyer who was aware of them would have moved for a mistrial. So, the Supremes sent it back to the lower court to determine if in fact this violated Brady disclosure. Was his attorney, David Dean, aware of these photos at the time of the trial? The photo lineup shown to the jury during the trial was markedly different. That would have been misleading and would call for a new trial.
Ms. Armstrong did her best to assert that his was not a hearing on Brady, but that is what the Supremes seemed to want. The defense wanted to introduce testimony that the photos were disappeared for many years, despite numerous calls for their examination. Judge West narrowed the field down for both parties. He said it did not matter if they were not available for the appeals, the question he had to decide was whether or not they were available for the original trial in 1986. Nor did he allow any testimony that was not directly related to the original trial. This removed Bill Proctor from the witness box as he wasn't at the original trial. It also precluded Allen Woodside from testifying. Woody was the original private investigator who first brought the case to Proctor's attention. Proctor, then an investigative reporter for a Detroit TV news station, televised several segments asserting Temujin's innocence. Woodside and Proctor had secured evidence that a snitch witness, Phillip Joplin, lied on the witness stand. Joplin said so on camera and in writing. He said his health was bad and he didn't want to die with this on his conscience. But of course that didn't relate to the photos so it didn't count. A couple of other attorneys who had represented Temujin in the past were similarly rendered irrelevant.
Welser was allowed limited testimony as to the practices of the police department at the time. Temujin's photo that is in question was taken by the Pleasant Ridge Police Department a couple of years earlier on a minor dispute. It is obviously an arrest photo. The defense called an expert witness, Jennifer Dysart - PhD. She is Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice NY, NY. She has done considerable research on witness identification. Dr. Dysert has testified in a hundred or so other cases and is generally regarded as an expert in her field. Her view was that the difference between Temjin's photo and the others were so significant as to bias a witness towards picking him. There were two such witnesses. One had been hypnotized and came up with a license plate number that was totally unrelated. The second had picked another man out of a physical lineup. Dr. Dysert explained witness bias. This is when a witness has made an identification, there is a very strong chance he will validate his choice in subsequent identifications- even if wrong.
Since this matter revolved only around those particular photos, no testimony was possible regarding the many witnesses that placed Temujin in Escanaba, Michigan, several hundred miles away, within two hours of the crime. Nor were those witnesses ever charged with perjury.
The most notable testimony of the day came from Federal Judge Robert Cleland. He had been the prosecutor on this case in 1986 but now sits on the federal circuit bench in Detroit.
This is the same court, by the way, that another federal judge, Denise Page Hood overturned Temujin's conviction on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate defense, October of 2010. That case was sent to the Federal Appeals Court in Cincinnati at the request of the Michigan Attorney General. Judge Cleland sits there as a visiting judge from time to time but was not a part of that ruling. Judge Hood was overturned on a technicality in May of 2012. (qv the posting for May 18, 2012 below.)
Judge Cleland testified that he probably had seen the original photos since he had ordered the poster board that was shown to the jury. That poster had the five photos in a row, enlarged, with differences and prisoner ID's removed. That was shown to the jury as the identifying lineup. Judge Cleland explained that many things happen in the rush to prepare for a trial. In my opinion, there are a lot of bad guys that the justice system tries to protect us from. The good guys do have their work cut out for them. And this was a media event at the time, with Temujin being billed as the "Ninja Killer". He was all over the news in '86. There was a lot of pressure to resolve the crime. Please remember that this border town is nice community and the officials do a lot to keep it that way. So maybe this or that happened. Like when the testimony of the Escanaba witnesses needed to be dealt with, the prosecutor suggested that a local pilot might have flown him to Escanaba. (No evidence was offered.) But that kind of thing was not the matter here, those folks never saw the photographs.
Temujin's original attorney, David Dean, was to testify via video link. There was some problem and the judge adjourned the proceedings indefinitely. As it turned out, the next day Dean did agree to testify. We had left town, thinking that it was over. A friend alerted us to the court reconvening and we scurried back up to Port H. Unfortunately we were too late to hear Dean's testimony. All I have to go on is Ms. LeBlanc's article and what others have conveyed to us. Apparently Mr. Dean fairly well quoted the prosecutors words of the day before. This directly contradicted sworn affidavits Dean had given to the U of M defense team previously. What to think! What would make him change his mind about the facts?
Then came the summation of the prosecution and the defense. It reminded me of some of the old Perry Mason episodes. Ms. Armstrong said none of this counted and didn't involve Brady at all. Ms. Caitlin Plummer for the defense, insisted that it was the heart of the matter. Judge West said he had to do something because the higher court had insisted, and that he couldn't take too long because they were waiting. He promised to move it to the "top of his pile".
So, we'll probably hear something in a couple of months. If Judge West rules it is not a Brady violation, then the officials in Port Huron will be relieved and business can go back to normal. But the Supreme Court may think otherwise and rule for a new trial or setting Temujin free. They may see such a ruling as protecting the "Old Gender-Non-Specific Network". David Mason is quoted in the Times Herald that Mr. Dean either perjured himself or if he saw the photos and didn't object at the trial, he was inadequate in his defense. I believe Mr. Dean was disbarred several years ago. I heard a similar matter of his was overturned for inadequate defense. Don't know if it involved his documented cocaine and alcohol problems.
Now you see what I mean by Justice Theatre 2014.
To our many foreign readers: Please do not judge our system too harshly. You weren't there and I'll bet you have problems of your own. Yes, you Chinese do stuff like this too, don't you.
POST SCRIPT, 3/18/2014
I wish to apologize to the People's Republic of China. It was not my intention to create a diplomatic incident by comparing your justice system to that of St. Clair County, Michigan. Please accept my apologies and disregard the above.
April 26th, 2013
We were honored last night to have the Made In Michigan Film Society feature "Justice Incarcerated" at their monthly meeting. It had been selected and shown at their Film Festival last year in Lapeer, MI. We were asked to update the audience on the progress - or lack of it - since the video was made. We related the sad story of the offhand rejection by the Federal Court of Appeals (see Below). With the magic of modern technology, Temujin was able to call my cell phone and do a Q&A with the audience on the speaker. It was well received and the film, as well as its creator, Dean Mongan, received high praise.
The Ken Burns doumentary, "The Central Park Five" was recently released on PBS. It is another tale of justice gone awry. Wish we had the national exposure. It is only the clamor of the public that gets the attention of the officials these days. No wonder the statue of Justice is shown with a blindfold. I always thought it was to keep it fair. No, it is to hide her tears. Don't get me wrong. There are many fine folks in law enforcement and the justice system. We need them for an orderly society. But money and power and drugs can corrupt some. Because of that, many suffer.
Is 15% too high a rate for innocent in prison? What should our society tolerate to give the citizens the illusion of safety? Now especially, we as citizens must define the kind of country and world we will live in.
There is still hope in his case. Recently, a retired Port Huron (scene of the crime) police officer found the photo used in his original photo line up. It was not the one shown to the appeals courts. It has a large picture of him in the center and a couple of small polaroids one either side of other men. Well, recently, in another case, the US Supreme court said that is framing the guy. Temujin's U of M defense team is hopeful that this may finally bring him some justice.
If you wish to write him, the address is:
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446
There is Justice and there is the System of justice.
In a most disturbing turn of events, the Federal Court of Appeals ruled against Temujin Kensu (aka Fredrick Freeman). They reversed the decision of the District Court judge in Detroit. That means he stays in prison. The District Court judge had found that Temujin was entitled to a new trial by reason of prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate defense. While the judges are learned men and bear the burden of administering justice, we cannot agree with their decision;
"For the foregoing reasons, the district court's order conditionally granting the writ is REVERSED and the case is REMANDED for entry of an order dismissing the petition as timebarred."
Here is the published version of the decision.
They seem to be saying that he took too long to ask for the trial, the District Court judge should not have looked at the case because of that, and there really wasn't good enough reason to give him a break. We believe he is innocent. We have discussed the reasons why on this webpage and produced a documentary summarizing those reasons. "JUSTICE INCARCERATED" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2ok8hDBvhU
The Appeals judges discount that the snitch witness, Phillip Joplin, recanted his testimony before his death. I have seen that confession, it is a part of the documentary, check it out. Sure as hell looks to me like a man confessing. The judges say that he didn't sign an affidavit. Whoops, you forgot to dot that "i", stay in jail for life.
" Under all the circumstances, Joplin's unsworn recantation hardly represents such clearly exculpatory evidence as would render it more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have found Freeman guilty of Macklem's murder after all."
Really? Show them the video, I think most reasonable jurors would let him go on this alone. The prosecutor promised Joplin a deal, he took it, he perjured himself and later confessed to clear his conscience before he goes to meet his maker.
"This teaching highlights the deficiencies in the district court's explanation of its analysis. The district court permitted Freeman to pass through the gateway to argue the merits of his claims without first considering all the evidence and making "a probabilistic determination" that Freeman was "factually innocent"-that is, without first requiring Freeman to demonstrate that, more likely than not, no reasonable juror would have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt."
Well now, really! The District judge in Detroit made a judgment call that Temujin should get a new trial because his trial was piece of crap. The state attorney general appealed that decision. A new trial would take time and inconvenience them. The appeals court said that he took too long to file so, tough luck. You may be innocent but stay in jail for the rest of your life.
"The alibi witnesses who did testify were able to place Freeman in Escanaba several hours before and several hours after the time of Macklem's murder, approximately 9:00 a.m. on November 5, 1986. Since the record showed that Escanaba is well over 300 miles an at least a five-hour drive from Port Huron, it would have been nearly impossible for Freeman to drive between the two locations between the times he was reportedly observed in Escanaba by these witnesses and the time of the murder. In rebuttal, the prosecution presented evidence that a small plane could make the trip in less than two hours. There was no evidence substantiating the hypothetical possibility that Freeman had ever made such a trip between Port Huron and Escanaba."
But no evidence of any kind that this actually happened outside of the prosecutor's vivid imagination was ever produced.
So, Temujin presented several witnesses from Escanaba, local business people who knew him but were not long time friends or associates. The jury chose to accept the cockamamie theory that he could have dashed to the local airport and talked a pilot into flying him to Port Huron from Escanaba and back in time to establish an alibi within two hours of the murder. Nobody says the witnesses lied, they should have been charged with perjury if that was the case. It was not. Sound reasonable?
Maybe in the movies.
This argument by the prosecutor was introduced in final arguments and defense had no opportunity to rebut.
Enough already, Temujin sits in jail for life for a crime he did not commit. Really, that's Justice, REALLY? January 9, 2011
The outgoing Governor refused to grant Temujin a pardon as she was leaving office. In case you don't get it yet, this stopped being about justice a long time ago. They want to keep him in prison while they await appeal. Then drag it out while the appeal is heard, Then drag it out waiting for a new trial. Then if they go to a new trial to drag that out as long as possible. Then if he is set free, he will sue for wrongful conviction. That will drag out in courts. The idea is to try to outlast him before they have to pay for their chicanery.
So, I guess that is what justice is about, money and power and protecting the important people from censure. It sure has improved since the middle ages, hasn't it. Maybe they should go back to the water test. Let's dunk him and see. If he floats he is innocent. If not he's a witch.
FYI. Temujin is still a bright and worthy man, uncorrupted by his situation. Bless you, my friend, stay strong and outlive the bastards.
TEMUJIN'S CONVICTION OVERTURNED, October 2010
An article in the Port Huron Times Herald says that Federal Judge Denise Page-Hood has overturned the 1986 conviction due to prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective (drunken coke-head) trial counsel. We have been hoping for this for many years. So maybe there is still justice in America. Judge Page-hood has great moral courage, thank you and bless you.
The Fredrick Freeman Story
The documentary has been selected to be shown in the Blue Water Film Festival, in Port Huron, Michigan on October 8th, 2010.
IT WOULD BE MOST HELPFUL IF YOU WOULD PLEASE ASK YOUR FAVORITE DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL, PBS, DISCOVERY, etc., TO SHOW THIS ON TELEVISION.
OCT 8TH, 2010
TEMUJIN PAROLE HEARING
We attended the recent hearing of Temujin's request for parole on the basis of innocence. This is not what the parole board is used to hearing. Most who come before them do so with contrition for past misdeeds, beg forgiveness and promise never to stray again. Instead, Temujin still strongly insists on his innocence and is willing to be paroled as a convicted killer to gain his freedom.
It turned out to be the longest parole hearing in the board's history, two days and nearly 30 hours of testimony and cross examination. Many were opposed, the prior witnesses against him and the county prosecutor. Many stood for him. Most notable was his current attorney in his federal Habeus appeal. He is a law professor at the University of Michigan and member of their innocence project. The U of M Innocence Project looks at thousands of appeals for their help and selects only those that they unanimously feel are innocent and have no DN A involved. Temujin is fortunate to be one of the very few they have selected.
I think the board heard a lot of hard core facts about what went wrong in this case. I hope many of their minds were opened to the injustice committed. But, it is their job to protect the citizens, not be judge and jury. When they get it wrong, it can be horribly wrong. I understand their concern. They will now consider the mass of testimony and decide whether or not to recommend parole to the governor. Governor Granholm is term limited and will be leaving office soon. I sincerely hope is he is granted his freedom.
Here is the text of my testimony:
In Defense of Temujin Kensu, aka Fredrick Freeman Presentation to the Michigan Parole Board, September 20, 2010
I have been advocating for Temujin Kensu for nearly a dozen years. I do not believe he received a fair trial. The reasons for this are numerous and we have detailed them in the documentary, "Justice Incarcerated", which I presented to the Board for your consideration. I was the producer along with my stepson Edward Cohn. My son Dean Mongan, was the director, editor and cinematographer. Edward is an attorney practicing in Michigan and Massachusetts. Dean is a filmmaker in Los Angeles, California. I became involved in Temujin's plight in 1999 when I agreed to perform his wedding to A'miko. I became curious about the apparent discrepancies in his case.
At first, I was concerned of being conned by a con. It was only after meeting with John Maire, his attorney at the time and still an interested party in this case. I then contacted two private a investigators who were also working pro bono. These men verified my doubts that Temujin had received a fair trail.
In the documentary, several attorneys and judges, notably Thomas Brennan, former Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, detail the many problems with the trial of Temujin Kensu, or as he was known at the time, Fredrick Freeman. Justice Brennan said that he would not have sent this case to the jury and would have dismissed it. Hopefully, this body is aware of many of those issues already. It is reasonable to say that there is justification for a new trial or a dismissal of the verdict. Many of us believe in his innocence and hope for his exoneration. He certainly deserves a pardon.
I have asked myself what would I have done as the prosecutor in a high profile criminal case. Media dogging the murder and demanding the arrest of the killer would be additional pressure. A ready culprit named by the fiancee of the victim, the suspect of dubious repute, all present an opportunity to quickly conclude an unpleasant matter. The business of justice being what it is, it is understandable that errors could have been committed. Mr. Kensu, after all, would not be only innocent man serving time. I have hear the number of 15 percent as a likely representation of prisoners who are innocent of the crimes that put them behind bars. That number was put forth by the Michigan State University School of Journalism at a symposium several years ago. I cannot vouch for its validity. Some feel it is too high, others feel it is too low. The Chairman of the state's Civil Right Commission, Matthew Wesaw, has been quoted as saying, "The state, however, pays the costs to incarcerate thousands of individuals who may have been determined innocent, or received a lesser sentence had the system worked the way it should." And this in a nation whose incarceration rates are 748 per 100,000, over six times higher than communist China at 120 per 100,000. These numbers are from the most recent issue of Science News, September 11, 2010.
However, this is a Parole Board hearing. I have been impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of this board. Errors in the past have had terrible consequences. What now is in the best interests of the state, the citizenry and most certainly Mr. Kensu? I think we can agree that he is an intelligent man. He certainly must know that any harm to anyone involved would send him back to prison. I cannot believe he would be so foolish as to throw away this opportunity for freedom. In more than two decades of confinement, his infractions have, by and large, been of a minor nature. He has helped many fellow inmates while in prison. I have sent him several books to help improved his signing for the assistance of deaf prisoners. He has trained himself in the law and has declared his intention to continue the course of assisting others with his skills. He feels he can be gainfully employed and not a burden on the state. He has a home and a loving wife waiting. He has requested to be tethered so that his whereabouts may be tracked.
Temujin Kensu has served many, many years in prison. To proclaim him innocent would indeed be an expensive proposition. To begin a retrial would also be expensive and involve many recriminations of the authorities involved. Parole is an appealing option at this point. Whatever wrongs may have been committed against Mr. Kensu may be addressed in federal court and as a civil matter in a civil court.
Temujin has suffered numerous health problems in prison. He has almost died from medical problems. Not only because of his probable innocence, but also because of his age and health, I request that this board grant him parole. I sincerely believe that Temujin Kensu would return to the community as good and productive citizen.
James Michael Mongan
OLDER POSTINGS MAY BE FOUND AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
Temujin Kensu is a man in prison for life for murder. Many of us feel that he was wrongfully convicted. There are numerous reasons to assert that he did not and could not have committed the crime. These reasons were independently verified by a private investigator, James McCachren and his associates in 1999. All appeals at the state level have been exhausted. His only hope for exoneration now lies in the hands of the federal court system and the Department of Justice. That could be a very long wait. Maybe if the Attorney General of the United States got about four million letters it might get his attention. He's got a lot in front of him already.
Temujin has taken this blow as well as could be expected. Like us, he had hoped to see the light of day after the Motion for Relief was heard. He is still advocating for his fellow prisoners and addressing inequities in the correctional system.
I originally became involved in Temujin's struggles after meeting with him for premarital counseling. I performed his wedding ceremony in prison to his very loyal current wife. (A'miko is quite a lady and has been tireless in his defense.) The apparent inequities in his case are glaring. I was very naive at the time and did not believe that the American system of justice could go so far awry. Now responsible groups are touting that at least 10% of prisoners are innocent - at a minimum - and 15% very likely. Plea bargaining and mandatory sentences haven't improved things. The war on drugs has filled the prisons with many little soldiers that drain the taxpayers resources and patience. Prosecutors and judges are pressured by media, budgets and re-election posturing to appear tough on crime. Unfortunately that seems to mean tough on innocence also. Things will not change until the people demand that we deal with each other in a truly fair and just way. We are only so great a people as we are. All the media hype in the world cannot change that.
Temujin (formerly known as Fredrick Freeman) has been moved again, new address below. Any message of hope and encouragement that you could send him would be a blessing.
WOODY'S WORDSMy name is Allen Woodside and I am a semi retired professional private investigator who once worked for Fred/Temujin and Denise/A'miko in effort to establish evidence of his innocence. Before going further, I would like to first thank you for the coverage you have given to his situation in today's paper. I'm delighted the media is starting to show more interest in his dilemma after all the years since his wrongful conviction. I especially appreciate the fair balance in your reporting.
I'm compelled to write you about my involvement in the case because I want to share my findings and feelings in hope that it will further enlighten you and other media folks to better understand the underling factors leading to the wrongful conviction of Mr. Freeman/Kensu. Chances are you have already heard what I'm telling you plus a lot more concerning other investigators findings and opinions. Nevertheless, I'd like you to read my commentaries and opinions more than anything else in hope that my perspective of the issues might lend to the overall picture of this unconscionable denial of justice.
(continued on the linked article)
Temujin's own account
of the events can be found on his new website,
ijconline.org. Click here.
(Link to) The Temujin Kensu Story.
Click here for the reasons why many believe him innocent.
Here is a letter from Temujin on the subject of wrongful incarceration.
SEND EMAIL SUPPORTING TEMUJIN TO HIS WIFE A'MIKO Send me an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org Temujin would be happy to hear from you.
Please write to him at:
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446
To the many foreign visitors to this website, please note that an ordinary citizen such as myself does still have the freedom to write these words. Other supporters and myself still have the power to challenge our government and hold them to a higher standard. If you have questions on the American system of Justice or on this case, direct them to the United States Information Agency or your local American Embassy. If you wish to email your comments to me, they would be appreciated.
Here's an email from Temujin's wife A'miko.
May 29, 2009
Well, we have been busy. If you haven't heard by now Granholm in March denied his Clemency petition blaming the fact that the board didn't give him a public hearing, yada yada. Never mind that she could have sent it back saying I need one to make up my mind. Heaven forbid our Governor actually make a decision and stop swaying in the breeze. On a brighter note in Federal Court our judge issued a ruling in our favor to allow all the new material that the Port Huron retired detective came up with and she seems to have a good idea of what happened. The only down side is that habeas petitions are averaging about 5 years.
Proving Innocence which is a group started by Bill Proctor is really starting to take off and they have issued several press releases regarding TK's case. There is a Kensu Campaign Page that I hope everybody goes to and sends the letters to the governor and attorney general and also signs the petition. Please send it on we need all the signatures we can get. Ross Parker has taken over as his attorney. Ross was a US Attorney for 30 years and the head of the criminal division in Detroit.
Here's the link to the Campaign Page.
The story also was in the Flint Journal on Memorial Day:
I wish I could say he was doing good but his shoulder has torn the rest of the way and he has lost the use of his left arm. The main artery to the arm is pinched in the separation and the facility and hospital doctor say any further breakdown in the joint and the main artery will most likely be torn. We just found out today that even though the prison contracted insurance company approved fixing it the MDOC said they will not allow it and they even took him off any pain medication. I really can't even describe how I feel right now about everything.
An article appeared in the Detroit Free Press in mid December 08, Shaky Evidence Still Led to Murder Conviction with important updates on Temujin's case. But no good news. in fact, there was a disturbing comment. I quote the reporter, Jeff Garrett.
"In 2007, the governor's new Executive Clemency Advisory Council voted unanimously that Freeman's case had merit, records show. On Feb. 15 of this year, the Parole Board voted 6-3 to take "preliminary interest" in the case, said MDOC spokesman Russ Marlan. But after getting a psychological report, the board voted 9-0 on April 25 to oppose the commutation."
So in other words, if you get upset by being set up and put in prison for life by a drug gang, then you shouldn't be let free. Why not? Freedom might actually help you on the outside?
Kudos to the Free Press for this hard hitting article. Shame on those weak of moral courage. Shame on the trembling poiticians and judges who cringe at the thought of justice. Next time you hear of a prosecutor bragging about his high conviction numbers, know that is by the convoluting of justice and the prosecution of innocents.
Here's another story from Sandy Saboda. Apparently the defense team has been allowed to view the evidence from the case. Gosh isn't that supposed to happen before the trial rather than a couple of decades later. It includes the shotgun shell that the prosecutors didn't think was significant enough to bring up. Lost and Found, Metro Times Feb 13th,08
December 5th, 2007
While you are enjoying the warmth of your holiday festivities, give a thought to Temujin. He will be spending his Christmas behind bars for the 21st year. So far there has been no action on his case, even after all of the positive support he received last summer and the parole board review. I can't say nothing is happening. I simply don't know of progress. But it still lies heavy on the heart. Merry Christmas Temujin, may the new year bring you freedom.
September 5th, 2007
Detroit's Metro Times published an update on some encouraging news. Look for NEWS HITS in the 8/29/07 issue at www.metrotimes.com . And check out the new link. Sandra Svaboda accompanied him on his interview with the head of the parole board, Temujin pleads his own case. Essentially what seems to be happening is that the state's new Clemency Board recommended that the Parole board reopen Temujin's case. Hopefully, it will result in his freedom. Whether or not that involves exoneration is perhaps another matter. This horribly mishandled case is now an embarassment to the state. So if this is a blow for Justice or a blow to Justice is still an open question.
Since we began this crusade many years ago, it was a mind boggling concept that our system of justice could send an innocent man to prison. In the intervening years, it is no longer a surprise. Numbers of 15% of the prison population being innocent are not jaw-droppers anymore. That figure is considered a minimum. It isn't just Michigan, it's America. We will face many more challenges and changes in our near future. How we handle them as a people directly determines what this nation becomes. And that "as a people" part means you and I. It used to be that "Freedom, Justice and the American way of life" brought pride to the soul and a beacon of hope to the rest of the world. It will not, if you do not believe it, live it and demand it of you officials. After all, they work for you and are payed by you. If, as their employer, you were faced with the decision to keep 'em or fire 'em, what would be your choice? If you say "Fire 'em", why are they still chomping chicken on your money?
August 8th, 2007
Part 2 of the METRO TIMES article about Temujin is on the streets and on their website.
"REASONABLE DOUBTS, Part II" is the title. It is by Sandra Svoboda, who has done a most thorough job of telling the tale. You can click this link to access it. Their website has this story in full and Part I also, check it out. It is hard hitting journalism at its finest. I think Sandi should get a Pulitzer Prize for this. I guarantee you will not be bored for a minute, even though it is a several pages long.
So here we are as a nation, trying to convince the world that we have their best interests at heart. Frankly, we are trying to convince our own citizens that we have their best interests at heart. Here is a coverup for a drug hit that puts an innocent guy behind bars for life. How can any responsible government official, that claims to represent the people, turn a blind eye. WHERE IS THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE! WHERE ARE THE GOOD GUYS! WE THE PEOPLE ARE BEING SCREWED OVER BY THOSE WE ELECTED TO REPRESENT US. Remember the "OF THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE" thing. That is what gives us the "SHALL NOT PERISH FROM THIS EARTH" part. When we become just another banana republic are we entitled to perpetual grazing rights? If you citizens sit on your asses and watch it all crumble around you, don't bitch when they haul your sorry butt off to a re-education camp. Don't think it can't happen here. It is happening here. The problem isn't them, IT IS YOU!
This is not only about Temujin. It is also about the thousands of others who rights have been violated and whose freedom has been unjustly taken away.
August 1st, 2007
METRO TIMES is a local news and entertainment weekly in Detroit. They tackle stories that the majors won't touch, like this one. Temijin is the lead story this week with Part 2 due next week (August 8th).
"REASONABLE DOUBTS" is the title. It is by Sandra Svoboda, who has done a most thorough job of telling the tale. Can't wait to see Part 2. Their website has the story in full, check it out.
The documentary was presented at Central United Methodist Church in Detroit as announced. It was very well received and must have had an impact. The attorney general of Michigan is asking the judges of the Federal Eastern District to recuse themselves. I understand that the reasoning goes that since the prosecutor in the case is now a judge on that bench, it would be better to move it. Sounds fair, except that he is a Republican and the judge hearing the case is a Democrat. Moving it to the west side of the state would get it into the hands of a good conservative Republican. Humm, let's see, wasn't the prosecutor in the case a Republican also? Yup, darn near every elected official in Port Huron - the scene of the crime- is a Republican. Shame I never saw the Republican sticker on the statue of justice. Not that I have anything against Republicans, just politics is inappropriate here. After all our governor is a Democrat and wouldn't touch the case when she was attorney general. Why the hell is it so tough to get justice around here? Even my cats know this case stinks to high heaven.
June 1st, 2007
The most vocal advocate for this case has for many years been TV Reporter par excellence, Bill Proctor. Bill began airing pieces on Temujin in the 90's on the local ABC affiliate, WXYZ, Channel 7 in Detroit. He is a former Detroit police officer with much street cred as they say these days. He has announced that he is taking an unpaid leave of absence from his job with Channel 7 to pursue the investigation further. He intends to pursue leads to the true killer and investigate the real reasons for the coverup which tossed Temujin to the wolves. That, my friends, is truely courageous journalism. Our loudest cheers go out for him. Here are a couple of links to this story, I cannot say how long they will stay active.
Channel 7's online news summary
Here's an interview on rival Fox News
The Ides of March, the 15th, 2007
Temujin's Attorney has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus before US District Judge Denise Page Hood. This is most lkely his last chance to get a claim of wrongful conviction into the federal court system. A recent article in the Port Huron Times Herald gives more details, Murder appeal reaches court. It has been posted to this site with permission of Mr. Chapin. A documentary is in production and a link to a trailer is posted on the home page of this site.
The former prosecutor in the case, Robert Cleland, is now a federal judge serving in the same court. We can only hope and pray that Judge Denise Page Hood will review the petition on its merit alone.
If you believe that justice in the United States in general, Michigan in particular has suffered serious blows to its integrity, now would be great time to let that be known. Somehow, somewhere make yourself be heard that you believe in the Constitution, the rule of law and justice equally for all.
JULY 14th, 2006
When we first became involved with Temujin's case, our feeling was that Justice had not been well served in his conviction. It was our hope then, as it is now, that he would be given a fair and impartial trial. We still hope for his exoneration and the conviction of the true killer.
Now it appears that hope will not be realized for a very long time, if ever. There is the very real possibility that Temujin will spend his life in prison for a crime he did not commit. Facing that, it would not be prudent to refuse an opportunity for parole if one were offered. He would at least have his freedom. In the past he has opposed this choice just as he opposed making any deals at his initial trial. He insisted on his innocence which invited the wrath of officials who brought the full weight of punishment upon him.
As a practical matter, it is not in the interest of the state to exonerate him. To do so would invite a lawsuit for wrongful incarceration that could cost Michigan a lot of money. The economy of the State of Michigan is currently the worst among the 50 states. Large settlements would not sit well with the voters. After all, politicians and judges seek reelection. They often do so on promises to be tough on crime. That can be tough on innocence, as it is conviction numbers that are thrown to voters. Exoneration numbers are not boasted. When was the last time you heard a politician say, "Look how many innocent people I have set free". We would wish that such a boast gathered the praise and support of the electorate. It does not. Those in politics are, if anything, savvy in the ways of courting the favor of the electorate.
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