CHARLES DON FLORES IS INNOCENT! (updated on 09/12/2017)
Two men — one white, one Mexican American — were charged with the killing of a woman
in a Dallas suburb in 1998. The white defendant, Ricky Lynn Childs confessed to being a shooter and was allowed to plead guilty to the murder by the Dallas county prosecutor and was sentenced to 35 years. Childs served 17 years in prison, and was released on parole in April 2016 and is free today.
The Mexican-American defendant, Charles Don Flores maintained his Innocence, went to trial; was convicted and sentenced to death. In January 2016, Flores was given an execution date for June 2, 2016, and was moved to death watch on Texas death row where prisoners with execution dates are housed.
On May 19, 2016, Flores’ appeal attorney filed his final appeal, a Challenge of Certain Scientific Evidence under Texas Code Criminal Appeal Article 11.073 focusing on the issue of whether or not the hypnotically-enhanced eyewitness testimony used to convict Flores and sentence him to death is reliable.
Flores’ appeal attorney hired Dr. Steven Lynn, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychology at Binghamton University SUNY; the world’s leading scientific expert on hypnosis and recovered memory to serve as Flores’ expert on this issue.
After reviewing trial transcript, audio and video recordings of the hypnosis session, Professor Lynn determined that New Scientific Understanding shows that the hypnosis technique used on the witness:
“Likely caused the false memory of Flores being at the scene of the murder. [And that] serious consideration should be given to the possibility that a miscarriage of justice was perpetuated in the case of Charles Don Flores.”
On May 27, 2016, 6 days away from Charles Don Flores’ scheduled execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay of execution and remanded Flores’ case back to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing. This Court Order was issued because Flores’ scientific expert Dr. Steven Lynn presented new scientific evidence that the only eyewitness’s identification was tainted by a discredited hypnosis technique that has been proven harmful by the scientific experts in this field.
Charles Don Flores’ evidentiary hearing has been set for October 10th 2017. In the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Order issued on May 27, 2017 which stayed Flores’ execution, it stated:
“On May 19, 2016, applicant filed in the trial court his first subsequent application for writ of habeas corpus. Applicant raises four allegations in his application. After reviewing applicant’s application, we find that his first allegation satisfies the requirements of Article 11.071 Section 5. Accordingly, applicant’s first allegation is remanded to the trial court. Applicant’s motion to stay his execution is granted pending the resolution of his habeas application.”
In a concurring opinion, Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge J. Newel said:
“Applicant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death based in part upon hypnotically-enhanced eyewitness testimony. As we noted in Tillman vs. State, eyewitness misidentification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions across the country. [Tillman v. State, 354 S.W. 3d, 425 441 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001)]. I cannot imagine the concerns regarding suggestive eyewitness identification evaporate when eyewitness testimony is enhanced through hypnotism.”
Thus, Flores’ evidentiary hearing is set to begin on October 11, 2017, and in this evidentiary hearing, Flores’ legal team will address the concerns Jude Newell spoke of in his concurring opinion.
In this evidentiary hearing, Flores’ legal team will present scientific evidence through the world’s leading scientific expert on hypnosis and recovered memory, Dr. Steven Lynn, that the only eye-witness identification was tainted by a hypnosis technique that has been completely discredited and proven to be harmful by the cognitive scientists and the larger psychological community.
Hypnosis was one of the many suggestive identification procedures the police and prosecutors used on this lone eyewitness which created the false memory of Flores and produced the false identification.
Because this information is new scientific evidence that would have resulted in Flores’ acquittal if he were tried today, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals sent his case back to the original trial court for this evidentiary hearing.
MORE INFORMATION ON CHARLES DON FLORES’ CASE
EVIDENCE THAT PROVES FLORES’ INNOCENCE:
- Flores was convicted of capital murder under the law of the parties and sentenced to death for the slaying of Elizabeth Black on January 29, 1998. No witnesses saw the murder. There was no evidence of forced entry or struggle. And most importantly, no direct evidence regarding this crime has ever been tied to Charles Don Flores. No credible evidence incriminates Flores in this case. No gun, no bullet, no finger prints, no blood, no DNA or any other forensic evidence. No confession, nothing, absolutely nothing directly connects Flores to this crime. And from the beginning, Flores has always maintained his innocence.
- Flores has an alibi; he was at home with family and friends, an hour’s drive away from the crime scene where the murder was committed. His incompetent trial attorneys failed to present this at his trial.
- Instead of proving Flores’ guilt, the prosecutors argued during the guilt/innocence phase of his trial they did not need to actually prove Flores killed Mrs. Black. The prosecutors relied on the law of parties to suggest that Flores was somehow connected to the crime. The prosecutors knew they had no actual evidence to prove Flores’ guilt in this crime and relied on his alleged presence at the scene as sufficient basis of guilt of capital murder.
- Ricky Childs confessed to being a shooter in this murder. Childs pled guilty to murdering Mrs. Black, served 17 years and is now out on parole!!!
- When Childs was arrested, he had ammunition that matches a bullet found at the crime scene. A .44 caliber revolver found at his grandmother’s house was positively linked to the murder.
EYEWITNESS AND THE EVILS OF HYPNOSIS
- The only eyewitness who saw the suspects told police she had seen two men while it was still dark out, from over 50 feet away, and only fleetingly for a few seconds get out of a vehicle in front of the victim’s house. She described the two men she believed she saw that morning as:
“Two white males with long dark hair, mustache and thin medium build”.
- On the morning of the murder sunrise was at 7:25 a.m. The witness told police she saw the suspects at 6:45 a.m. 40 minutes before sunrise! Subsequent investigation shows that 40 minutes before sunrise there was not enough light to see anything for a fact, much less a positive identification on a man seen for a few seconds.
- The only witness was hypnotized by a police officer. After the hypnosis session the witness created a composite drawing of the suspect that matched her description perfectly, and looks nothing like Charles Don Flores. Then she was shown a 6-photo identification lineup that contained a photo of Flores and she could not identify him!
- This witness was hypnotized by the police who forever tainted her memory by using the discredited “movie theater technique”, that has now been proven to be suggestive and harmful as it alters and enhances what the witness believes she saw with false memories and creates an artificially high degree of confidence in these false memories.
- When one would think the witness would be most sure about what she saw on the morning of the murder, she could not identify Charles Don Flores! She described the suspects as white males with long dark hair, mustache and thin medium build. Flores cannot, and never could have fit this description. He is Hispanic-Mexican American of Aztec and Mayan decent, over 6 feet tall; and in 1998 weighed 250 pounds. Always clean shaven with a short military style flat top haircut, and must wear eye glasses to see.
- At Flores’ trial the witness testified that she saw photos of Flores many times in newspaper articles and television news reports after she had been hypnotized and seen a photograph of Flores in the 6-photo identification lineup. The photo used in the newspaper articles and television news reports was the exact same photograph used in the photo lineup.
After seeing Flores sitting at the defense table – the only Mexican-American in the courtroom, the witness informed the court that she was prepared to testify that Flores was the person she thought she saw on the morning of the murder. In this manner the prosecution manufactured and obtained a false in-court identification.
- It is obvious based on this factual scenario the witness was identifying what she saw in the photographs, not what she saw the morning of the murder. The sequence of events itself proves beyond any reasonable doubt that Charles Don Flores is a victim of a false in-court identification.
OUR GOALS TO HELP CHARLES DON FLORES AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
Charles Don Flores, his supporters and legal team won a great victory when his execution was stayed and an evidentiary hearing was granted in his case, but the war for freedom and justice has not been won yet! This evidentiary hearing process is the beginning of a once in a lifetime opportunity for Flores and his legal team to present evidence that an injustice was committed against him, that he was wrongfully convicted and that he is an innocent man! When Flores and his legal team prove this fact, they will win a new trial.
When Flores wins a new trial he will need a new legal team to represent him in the next phase of his legal battle. The Campaign for Justice and Freedom for Charles Don Flores’ goal is to raise the required resources needed to enlist the services of the best legal representation for him including trial attorneys, investigators and expert witnesses to prove that Flores is innocent. When an accused is financially able to hire the best attorneys, investigators and expert witnesses and, with these professionals, expose the lies and falsehoods in the government’s case, the adversial justice system in the Unites States of America operates as it should.
But we cannot do it alone. We need everyone who hears of this injustice that has been committed against Charles Don Flores to help with donating funds, time and energy to our campaign. You can help us reach our ultimate goal of seeing him transition into Part II of his life forever free and far away from the new age death camp called Texas Death Row.
Please write Charles on Texas death row and let him know you want to help him and that you care!
Thank you very much!