Charles Don Flores Interview on Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters : The ‘Magic Movie Theater,’ Hypnosis and Death Row

December 7th, 2021
by David Martin Davies

Charles Don Flores

You know, my situation, you know what I’m saying about my case. I wasn’t involved in it. I’m innocent of that stuff. I did a lot of bad stuff in my life, stuff I really regret and I’m ashamed of, but I didn’t do this,” Flores told TPR.

Listen to Charles Don Flores interview on TPR (Texas Public Radio) :

 

One and Done: Researchers Urge Testing Eyewitness Memory Only Once

By Inga Kiderra
November 03, 2021

To prevent wrongful convictions, only the first identification of a suspect should be considered

We all know the scene from countless courtroom dramas: A witness points at the defendant and confidently declares to judge and jury: “That’s the one, that’s who did it!” But is it? Perhaps. If that same witness was also confident the very first time their memory was tested – write a team of psychological scientists and criminologists led by memory expert John Wixted of the University of California San Diego. Otherwise, there’s too high a chance that a contaminated memory will convict an innocent person. [Read more on UC San Diego Press Release]

[Podcast] Ask the Witness Only Once

Source : Podcast of the Association for Psychological Science.

When an eyewitness stands up in court and identifies the person they say committed a crime, the impact can be powerful and effective. This dramatic testimony can be sincere and honest. It can also be wrong and tragically lead to wrongful convictions, lifelong incarcerations, and even the death penalty. But how can this happen? The witness is telling the court what they truly believe and remember. And therein lies the problem: memory, the often fuzzy and malleable recollections of events in the past.

In the latest edition of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, researchers look at the problems with eyewitness misidentifications in the courtroom and explain why prosecutors and law enforcement should test a witness’s memory of a suspect only once. Joining us is John Wixted, a researcher at the University of California at San Diego and first author on this article.

D.A.s Are Asking Biden to End the Death Penalty. But Some Are Still Wielding It Themselves

Prosecutors who have championed criminal justice reforms are still seeking death sentences, opposing appeals, and, in some cases, have even petitioned for execution dates.

On the morning of Jan. 29, 1998, Jill Barganier saw two men outside the home of her neighbor, Elizabeth Black, in Farmers Branch, Texas, according to a statement she later gave police. A short time later, Black’s husband arrived home, and found his wife and dog, both fatally shot.

Barganier told police the men she saw were white, with shoulder-length hair. She identified the driver from photo arrays as Richard Childs. Less than a week after the crime, police administered a hypnosis session for Barganier at her request, according to her trial testimony. The session was conducted by Officer Roen Serna, who had never hypnotized anyone before, according to Flores’s court filings. The goal, Barganier would later testify, was to help her relax so she could create a “good composite” of the passenger.

Afterwards, she was shown an array of six photos, including one of a man named Charles Flores, an associate of Childs’s. At the time, Flores had short, shaved hair, as depicted in his mug shot. She didn’t choose anyone, according to court filings. [Read More in The Appel]

Pleading to oppose the request for the execution date

Filed on April 6th, 2021

CHARLES DON FLORES’S RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO THE STATE’S LATEST MOTION TO SET EXECUTION DATE

On Good Friday, April 2, 2021, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office elected to file, on the State’s behalf, a Renewed Motion to Set Execution Date (Latest Execution Motion). In light of the circumstances, the State’s Latest Execution Motion is ill-advised and seemingly unprecedented. This Latest Execution Motion should be summarily denied in light of pending litigation, including an Actual Innocence claim and other substantive, meritorious claims that are the subject of an 826-page subsequent writ application now pending before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). See Ex parte Flores, WR-64,654-03 (filed Feb 3, 2021 in district court, received March 1, 2021 in CCA). If the Latest Execution Motion is not summarily denied, Charles Don Flores, by and through his attorneys, asks for a hearing before the Court rules at which Mr. Flores can be present. In support of his requests, Mr. Flores respectfully shows the following: [Read more ]

PDFDownload full document in PDF

2nd Subsequent Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Filed on February 3rd, 2021

Applicant Charles Don Flores is currently confined on death row in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas.

His wrongful conviction was obtained in a trial plagued by police and prosecutorial misconduct and where his insistence on his innocence was overridden by trial counsel in closing argument, reputedly in pursuit of a “strategy” that could have accomplished nothing more than guaranteeing a death sentence. Mr. Flores is confined in violation of the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas and the United States.

He files this second subsequent application for a petition for writ of habeas corpus, pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 11.073 and section 5(a) of Article 11.071, to secure the reversal of his capital murder conviction and death sentence and for his release from confinement. The State has filed a motion seeking to set an execution date. The convicting court, however, has entered an order holding a decision on that motion in abeyance until April 1, 2021.

In support thereof, Mr. Flores respectfully shows the following: [Read more ]

PDFDownload full document in PDF

Petition For a Writ of Certiorari to The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

In Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44 (1987), this Court found that, although “hypnotically refreshed” testimony was “controversial,” the dangers associated with it could be reduced by “procedural safeguards” that this Court left to the states to adopt. Contemporary scientific understanding of human memory and of the inherently intrusive nature of hypnosis has established that there are no procedural safeguards that reduce the dangers associated with investigative hypnosis. Yet Charles Flores is on Texas’s death row for a conviction that hinges on an eyewitness identification obtained from an individual for the first time in the courtroom—after she had submitted to a hypnosis session conducted by a police officer in conjunction with other suggestive procedures.

The Question Presented is:

Is the Constitution’s guarantee of a fundamentally fair trial compromised when a conviction hinges on an in-court eyewitness identification obtained after an investigative hypnosis session conducted by law enforcement—especially in a death-penalty case that requires heightened reliability in factfinding?

PDFDownload full document in PDF

 

Journal entries – 10 to 13 September 2020

Thursday September 10th 2020

Today I have found the desire to pick this pen up again and bleed. You might think it’s easy to write for someone like me, to document my thoughts and emotions. But it’s not. Especially when I can find nothing but negative inside of me, all around me, with no light in sight. But today I have decided to write two or three things that I am thankful for. When you live in a cage, it can be difficult to find thing for which to be grateful, so I go back to the basics.

I am grateful for being able to fall asleep. Last night, the first time I lied down at midnight and slept until 8 am. That counts for a minor miracle in this dump. These devils continually wake us up. A good night’s rest helps me get up out of bed and begin my day searching for the new beginning that I need and want. Each morning carries the possibility, the promise of a new beginning, so there is always that and I believe in myself, no matter the setback, the betrayal, the misplaced trust. I will bounce back. I am grateful for the start of our American NFL pro football season tonight. Football helps my mind leave this hell even if it’s for a few hours. This weekend will give us Saturday filled with College/University football games and Sunday and Monday night filled with NFL pro games. I need the release. And I am grateful for my faithful old “classic” radio that helps me listen to all the games, news and music. That helps me stay alive. So there it is. A start.

Friday September 11th 2020

So Sheree asked me to write about my daily life, so I will try. We’ve been locked in our cells since June and no opportunity to get out for anything. No recreation, no visitation, so I am in this 9 X 12 feet cage for months in a row. The new normal post Covid-19 is we might get one or two hours recreation period per week. There is no pattern or schedule on our recreation any more. Up until June we had recreation 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Now? It’s whenever these devils show up and ask if we’re going for recreation. Maybe tomorrow I will get recreation and a few hours out of this cage. Recreation or time out of your cage is a big deal when that is all you get. They just passed out mail and I got some photos from a friend and I am grateful for that. I am grateful she understands I see nothing except 4 walls in this hell hole, so she shows me things I want to see. I like Instagram posts, comments, and friends and family too. So that piece of love and light illuminated my little world, forcing the darkness back some. And I am grateful. So what you witness is my resilience and my fighting back once again because I told you Mothertrucker, I would bounce back from this too. Now watch me! The weekend is here and I’ll write plenty of letters and maybe I can find some inspiration to write a new essay. We’ll see!

Saturday September 12th 2020

Another day locked in this cell. I was wrong in thinking/hoping I might get recreation today. To run showers, the rocket scientist who runs this dump for two night shifts guards to work four more hours to have three guards on the pod. Tat makes for a 16 hours day for those two lucky individuals. I’d laugh at them if it didn’t mean I get no rec!

Saturdays are wash days for me and I do my sheets in my sink. Meaning I wash them by hand, which is a real pain. I think that when I finally get a washer and a dryer I will not know what to do with myself then!

I am doing my best at trying to keep my focus and talk myself into doing what I need do. Having a bit of difficulty with that but it’s like that sometimes. I’ve been thinking about what I’m grateful for today and there’s not a lot of options! Haha! I am grateful for the sports page in the Dallas Morning newspaper. It’s NFL season and I have been able to read the pre-season training camp reports and learn what my team is looking like. Reading and informing myself is something I appreciate. So there is that. The main focus is being on and looking forward to the NFL season which begins tomorrow. One day at a time and maybe we’ll reach our destination. If we keep on pushing.

Sunday September 13th 2020

I was up early this morning to shower and finish up some cleaning and washing. Back in this cage for the day and I have listened to the morning sports talk programs on the games to be played today. Looking forward to that. As I sit and listen to the afternoon games I have been finishing up a few origami figures to use in a couple of mobiles. I thought about trying to do some art work and finish a card I have had started for a month now, but that’s a far as I have got. I have a couple of cards to write and send out. Our best effort changes from day to day. When we are at full strength, we are capable of much. When we are not doing so well, our best is not so great. Today, this is my best effort and it has to be enough. I am very grateful for the NFL Sunday night football game where the Cowboys will play the Rams. It’s been 6 months since we’ve had any real football games that count. Who knows if we’ll get an entire season but we’ll get one tonight and I’m ready and excited. So that is what will get me through to the next day. So today is good, better than yesterday and that is something for which to be grateful too. I am also grateful for a book I am re-reading, titled : “Things no one else can teach us” by Humble the Poet. When I re-read good stuff, it helps me remember the light when darkness abounds. Go Cowboys!

The Flores case shows how our criminal justice system mishandles eyewitness testimony

Convictions based on the pseudoscience of hypnosis allow for the miscarriage of justice

The Flores case is an example of using “junk” science for a murder conviction.

Since the inception of criminal investigations, the techniques and procedures used in these inquests have been plagued by pseudoscientific claims.

From spectral evidence allowed at the Salem witch trials and phrenologists interpreting bumps on the skulls of criminals, to modern-day polygraphs to detect lying and hypnosis to unlock repressed or forgotten memories, the justice system, and ultimately people’s lives, have too often been dictated by “junk” science. [Read more in Dallas News]