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The Case of Patsy Kelly Jarrett

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Analyzes the case of Patsy Kelly Jarrett who was falsely imprisoned for robbery and ...... More...
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Paper Abstract:
Analyzes the case of Patsy Kelly Jarrett who was falsely imprisoned for robbery and murder. Uses Abbe Smith's book, Case of a Lifetime as the basis the analysis.

Paper Introduction:
Analysis of the Patsy Kelly Jarrett Case Part Summary of the Alleged Crime Patsy Kelly Jarrett was accused of having helped her travelingcompanion a young man named Billy Ronald Kelly to rob and murder a -year-old gas station attendant named Paul David Hatch in Sherrill New York Smith She was not alleged to have committed the robbery or themurder but was accused of being an accomplice who served as a lookout orgetaway driver At trial a witness who came through the Seaway

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Part 3: Evidence for and against Jarrett Smith (5 ) says that the only evidence against Jarrett rested "on thetestimony of a single, shaky eyewitness." Hyland was given photographs offemale suspects by the police and identified Jarrett tentatively aspossibly the suspect on the basis of the color and length of her hair. The only other evidence against Jarrett, according to Smith (2,W14), is that she was a known associate of Billy Ronald Kelly for whomfingerprint evidence was highly indicative of guilt. Jarrettrefused the plea and the trial began on March 14, 1977. At that juncture, the state of New York appealed the habeas corpusinjunction and the case was scheduled for additional arguments before theU.S. In2 5, Jarrett was granted parole, having served the full minimum sentenceof 28 years and 6 months (Smith, 2, W14). During hertime in prison, Jarrett appealed her conviction in state appeals court andthe appeal was denied. It is Smith's (19 -191) contention that Jarrett was the victim of amiscarriage of justice and a failure on the part of many different actorsin the legal system to take proper steps in bringing her case to trial. Part 2: Procedural History of the Case Jarrett, said Smith (2, W14), was arrested two-and-a-half years afterthe August 11, 1973 robbery and murder of Paul David Hatch. Six months later, the Court of Appealsreversed and held that the eyewitness testimony was properly admitted andreinstated Jarrett's conviction (Smith, 4 ). A failure to obtain thetestimony of police officers who took Hyland's original statements alsoworked against Jarrett. Smith (2, W14) said that when she discussed thiscase with Kelly, he said that he was in possession of Jarrett's car at thetime of the crime and that Jarrett was neither with him or aware of hisactions during that period. Retrieved November 2, 2 8, from http://cases.justia.com/us- court-of-appealsF2/8 2/34/181 85/ The fact that she wasnot in any way a suspect in the Virginia murder committed by Kelly and thatshe had no prior record of any legal problems is evidence in her favor.She consistently maintained her innocence and refused to accept a pleabargain in return for a reduced sentence. Kelly was a gay male and Jarrett was a female andboth were sexually involved with others, but not with one another (UnitedStates Court of Appeals, 1). Case of a lifetime. Smith (2, W14) states that Hyland wasunsure as to whether Jarrett or another woman was the person he saw in thecar and that what occurred was a problem of guilt by association. The prosecutoroffered a plea of robbery with a sentence of 5 to 15 years. Headley, superintendent of Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, respondent - appellant. Additionally, Kellyhad pleaded guilty to another murder in Danville, Virginia which occurredwhen Jarrett and Kelly were traveling to New York in 1973. This is the critical issue which Smith (56)believes that the prospect of guilt by association may have made itdifficult for Jarrett's attorneys to mount a successful defense. If justice is understood asimpartiality, fairness, and equity, Jarrett was not treated in a justmanner. Patsy Kelly Jarrett, petitioner - appellee, v Frank R. Jarrett refused the plea and stated that she could not "pleadguilty to a crime she did not commit" and that "she would be vindicated bythe Court of Appeals" (Smith, 4 ). Infact, it is Smith's (19 -191) belief that Jarrett should never have beenbrought to trial on this charge and that once she passed a polygraph withflying colors, her innocence should have been widely recognized. At trial, "a witness who came through the Seaway gasstation shortly after the crime testified that he saw Kelly behind thewheel of a car there" (Smith, 5). These facts lead this writer to believe as does Smith (2) thatJarrett was not guilty of the crime for which she was convicted. Jarrett and Kellywere tried together and both were convicted. Healso identified another picture of a woman as potentially the suspect aswell. Smith (5 ) says that "theparamount ethical obligation of prosecutors is to seek justice, notconvictions. An observer/witness named Robert Hyland made a statement on August13, 1973 about the August 11 incident in which he identified a white femaleas the driver of the blue or dark green car parked at the gas pump. Any conscientious prosecutor would be wary of a serious,inflammatory charge supported more by innuendo than evidence." Casesinvolving single witness identifications are now being evaluated morerigorously in many jurisdictions because of the possibility for aninaccurate identification. She was initially arrested on the grounds of a tentative and farfrom definitive witness identification of her as possibly the woman heobserved at the Seaway gas station. The prosecuting attorney had a good case against Kelly but a poorcase against Jarrett. All of these factors, including the state's refusal to eliminateHyland's identification testimony ensured that Jarrett would remain inprison until her sentence had been served in full. (2 8). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Smith, Abbe. Evidence supporting Kelly's innocence includes the aforementionedpolygraph test which she passed with no exceptions. She was not alleged to have committed the robbery or themurder but was accused of being an accomplice who served as a lookout orgetaway driver. This should havebeen sufficient to raise a flag with prosecutors in New York but it didnot. At that trial,Jarrett testified against Kelly and was not considered to be an accomplice. (2 8, June 29). Three efforts to obtain clemencyhad been rejected and throughout this almost 3 year period, stateprosecutors maintained Jarrett's guilt and refused to acknowledge that theeyewitness identification by Hyland was flawed or that no other evidenceexisted which was supportive of her guilt (Smith, 198-199). At trial and throughout the various appeals, Jarrett was representedlargely by Angelos and then by Smith. When Kelly's lawyer pointed outHyland's earlier uncertainty the witness became increasingly adamant." Itis compelling that only Hyland's testimony before a jury which did not haveaccess to his earlier ambivalent statements served as the foundation forher conviction.Part 4: What Went Wrong Assuming that Jarrett was, as Smith (2, W14) believes, innocent ofany and all involvement in Kelly's crimes, it is possible to identify anynumber of things in the investigation, the pre-trial, trial, and appellatesystems that placed Jarrett at a disadvantage. The Washington Post, W14.United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Smith, 4 ). It is worth noting that Jarrett was determined to maintain herinnocence even if this meant remaining in prison (Smith, 2, W14). Neither of these attorneys were ableto convince Jarrett to accept a plea bargain. She had acourt appointed attorney who approached the prosecutor and argued that theeyewitness identification provided by Hyland was somewhat shaky and thatthere was no solid evidence linking Jarrett to the crime. Hethen stated that a white male who was not the station attendant pumped gasfor Hyland's car and was paid for the gas. He ultimately denied that he had beenambivalent in his initial interview with police or his identification ofJarrett (United States Court of Appeals, 5). At trial, said Smith (8), the jury deliberated for two days andKelly, along with Jarrett were sentenced to life in prison. The crime took place on August 11, 1973in the early afternoon. Hyland's responsesbecame more adamant over time. Jarrett wasgiven the offer of pleading guilty in return for a sentence of time servedwhich then amounted to "a decade of her life in a maximum security prison"(Smith 4 ). Hyland identified Billy Kellyas the man who sold him the gas at the Seaway gas station and made apartial identification of Jarrett although at a grand jury hearing hemerely stated that Jarrett might be the woman in question and that her hairwas similar to the woman he observed at the wheel of the vehicle (UnitedStates Court of Appeals, 3). (1986, September 25). A subsequent appeal to New York's highest court wasalso denied. Jarrett took and passed a polygraph testand clemency petitions were filed only to be rejected (Smith, 2, W14). Case of a lifetime. Abbe Smith (37) entered the case on Jarrett's defense intandem with Claudia Angelos of the New York University Prison Law Clinic.Another plea bargain was rejected and Smith filed a habeas corpus petitionwhich was granted by a federal district court in Manhattan based onwrongful admission of identification evidence at trial (Smith, 39). Analysis of the Patsy Kelly Jarrett Case Part 1: Summary of the Alleged Crime Patsy Kelly Jarrett was accused of having helped her travelingcompanion, a young man named Billy Ronald Kelly, to rob and murder a 17-year-old gas station attendant named Paul David Hatch in Sherrill, New York(Smith, 5). In the mid-199 s, the case was investigated again by students andteachers from Harvard Law School. Works CitedSmith, Abbe. Furthercomplicating the case was Jarrett's demeanor, described by Smith (56) as"at once steely and serene" and lacking in anything "grandiose or self-righteous." It is important to recognize that Jarrett voluntarily testifiedagainst Kelly in the Virginia murder trial and prosecutors there did notconsider her to have been an accomplice in that case. No effort was made by the police or theprosecutor's office during the pretrial period to obtain any other evidencewhich would exonerate Jarrett. Jarrettalso allowed herself to be depicted at the trial as the "paramour" of Kellyand not as a lesbian. It occurred two days before Jarrett and Kelly leftUtica for their homes in North Carolina in Jarrett's blue Oldsmobile. A singleeyewitness who was ambivalent with police officers and in a grand juryhearing should not be enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Smith (2, W14) points out that "on the stand, Hyland positively identifiedKelly (Jarrett) for the first time.

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