Milgaard Inquiry

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Bob Mitchell, Eat Your Words!

Joyce Milgaard is still testifying at the inquiry. She has been talking about how she felt following the Supreme Court of Canada's decision about her son.

Essentially, the court said in 1992 that to continue to incarcerate David may constitute a miscarriage of justice, thus, he should be released from prison, which is what the ruling accomplished. The justices said that there was new evidence that may have forced the jury to have drawn a different conclusion had they heard it at that time; however, the court was dubious about Milgaard's innocence.

Then Justice Minister, Bob Mitchell, apparently told the press that he thought that David Milgaard was guilty and that there would be no compensation or inquiry into his case. I'm sure that he regrets those words to this very day!

As we can see from the unfolding of the Milgaard investigation, from day one errors were made, starting with the police, moving on to the prosecution, defense and retrial, and culminating with the terrible and disappointing decision of the highest court in the land. The Supreme Court left David in a state of legal limbo with nowhere to go. It took five long years for him to be exonerated by DNA. Shameful.

Sigrid Mac

Friday, May 19, 2006

Letter from Campbell Still Provokes Pain

Joyce Milgaard became emotional during her testimony on Wednesday when she read aloud from a letter from Kim Campbell, former Justice Minister, telling her and her family that the department was turning down David's application for a review in 1991.

"I need to take a break," Milgaard said. "This is a letter I find very upsetting and I would really appreciate a break."

Must be hard for Joyce to have to relive this whole affair, week in and week out, as the inquiry goes on and on, much longer than anyone had anticipated.

The Leader Post also reported that after spending almost 12 years investigating on their own, the Milgaard family and lawyers only had six weeks to prepare their big case for the Supreme Court trial in 1992. Amazing!

Sigrid Mac

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

"At the End of My Rope"

Joyce Milgaard said that she was at the end of her rope in 1990 while she was waiting for the Section 690 to be reviewed by the federal Justice Department. She continued with her quest to free her son and was fortunate enough to receive an anonymous tip through her lawyer, from a man who claimed that Larry Fisher had killed Gail Miller.

Private eye, Paul Henderson from Seattle, accompanied Joyce on a trip to Saskatchewan in the to interview Linda Fisher, Larry Fisher's ex-wife. Linda explained that her husband had acted strangely on the morning of Miller's death. She had even laughingly accused him of killing Miller and Larry Fisher turned white; this reaction puzzled and worried her. Linda Fisher was also missing her kitchen paring knife and it was known that Gail Miller was stabbed to death repeatedly with such an instrument. She had reported this to the police but nothing was done about it.

CBC Saskatchewan quoted Joyce as saying, "Chills just went up and down my spine when she gave me that information," she said. "I went out of there saying, 'We are going to get you out David, we are going to get you out.'"

Joyce reiterated her conviction at that time that she was getting nowhere with the criminal justice system -- especially after she had been dismissed by Kim Campbell when she had approached the Justice Minister in person in order to hand her a report by a forensic pathologist that Joyce thought established David's innocence. Rebuffed, Joyce concluded that the best way to obtain justice for her son was to reach out to the media.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, May 11, 2006

People Weren't Doing Their Jobs Right

Joyce Milgaard claimed that she was forced into becoming a private eye because other people were not doing their jobs right. She said that she pulled all night stakeouts and disguised herself in wigs in her sleuthing attempts to discover information that would exonerate her son.

In addition, Joyce read through all of the trial transcripts, knocked on doors looking for old witnesses and spent an inordinate amount of time researching and investigating the cold case.

"The more she learned, the less she trusted those around her, including lawyer Calvin Tallis, who defended her son at trial," CBC News reported.

Betty Ann Adam of the Star Phoenix explained that after Joyce re-enacted the crime scene and found it to be implausible, she began to suspect that prosecutor Bobs Caldwell didn't buy it either. In 1982, Joyce wanted to see Caldwell's files but she was afraid that he wouldn't give them to her and she'd forgotten that Caldwell had already given authorization for her lawyer, Gary Young to look at them.

Instead, Joyce asked writer Peter Carlyle-Gordge to approach Caldwell and he did so without any difficulty or obstruction. "In a taped interview, Caldwell told Carlyle-Gordge that he got along with Milgaard's defence lawyer, Cal Tallis, and remarked that the pair of them had worked together to get a man locked away forever, " Betty Ann Adam wrote; this comment made Joyce suspicious of her own lawyer, Tallis. In retrospect she understands that there was no impropriety on his part but at the time it seemed as though he may have been in collusion with Caldwell.

Sigrid Mac

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

$10,000 reward

Joyce Milgaard continues to recount the history of her battle to have her son David released from prison. The Star Phoenix reported that by offering a $10,000 reward in 1980, the Milgaard case attracted the attention of several people in the media, including former Maclean's journalist Peter Carlyle-Gordge.

Carlyle-Gordge and his wife worked tirelessly over the years to investigate the Milgaard case and believed strongly in David's innocence.

Joyce and her family went back to the scene of the crime and re-enacted it, concluding that David could not have committed the murder given the timeframe that the police suggested. Joyce also said that she was suspicious of everyone back in those days because it was so hard to know whose word to trust.

There was a lengthy discussion about documents in the courthouse and parts of Gail Miller's file that were not made available to Gary Young, the private investigator that the Milgaards hired.

Sigrid Mac

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Police Impeding the Investigation

The Canadian Press reported that Joyce Milgaard said that the police were not helpful to her in her quest to interview David's friends in the 1980s. She told the police in Saskatoon that she wanted to talk to the kids who had testified against David at his trial -- then adults -- but the police informed her that they did not want to talk to her. Joyce got the impression that the police had told Ron Wilson, Nicole John and Albert Cadrain not to speak with her.

Joyce also told the inquiry today that she felt as though she was failing her son.

Sigrid Mac

Joyce Milgaard Testifies at the Inquiry

Yesterday, Joyce Milgaard began her lengthy testimony at the inquiry. She described the history of her family's battle to get her son David out of prison, starting with the fact that David was a child with a "wild streak"; however, he had sorted his life out at age 16 and was selling magazine subscriptions for Maclean's, having abandoned the hippie lifestyle, when he was arrested and charged with the murder of Gail Miller.

At first, Joyce Milgaard stated, the family had faith in the justice system. They knew that an error had been made and were convinced that they would rectify the mistake. When this failed to happen, David became restless and depressed. He escaped from prison twice -- once when he was on a day pass from Stony Mountain in 1980, he stayed out in the community for 77 days. He was caught and shot in the back by police officers.

Sitting by his hospital bed, Joyce Milgaard realized that she would have to take over. She could no longer rely on the justice system and David's escape had considerably decreased his chances of ever getting parole.

At that point, Joyce offered a $10,000 award for anyone having information about David's case. She enlisted the help of the media and private investigators and began to interview witnesses herself with a small group of Milgaard supporters. If she had not done this, is possible, if not probable that David would still be behind bars.

Joyce will be testifying all week.

Sigrid Mac

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Joyce Did NOT Apologize!

I'd like to quote directly from a memo that I just received from Joyce:


Previously I had reported that Joyce apologized because I'd read that in the CBC news.

Sigrid Mac

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Joyce Milgaard Apologizes

Joyce Milgaard apologized today for leaving the inquiry yesterday and telling the media that the commission had been treating her son unfairly.

Her comments did not please Justice MacCallum, who called them "a thinly veiled accusation of bias." MacCallum said that Joyce Milgaard can say anything she wants as a private citizen but not as a person with standing at the inquiry. Having standing means that her lawyers are paid for.

Joyce issued the apology through her lawyer, Hersh Wolch.

Sigrid Mac

More Details about the Walkout

Apparently, Joyce Milgaard walked out of the inquiry yesterday following a ruling by Justice MacCallum regarding which lawyer would be able to question the last witness. Of course, the Milgaards were hoping that Hersh Wolch would be granted the privilege of interviewing the final witness, but MacCallum ruled in favor of the Saskatoon Police.

Joyce said that this was the "straw that broke the camel's back." She implied that the commission had been unfair to her son in several of its decisions.

Earlier this year MacCallum forced David to testify although David had produced medical letters saying that he had post traumatic stress disorder and that talking about the event could possibly precipitate a breakdown.

MacCallum did not accept David's PTSD diagnosis and thought that David was being deliberately difficult; however, MacCallum did allow him to testify by video and all parties agreed that David was more than cooperative.

Sigrid Mac

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Joyce Milgaard walks out of inquiry

Joyce Milgaard walked out of the inquiry today, saying that from the beginning, the official investigation had not been fair to her son. stated that Joyce was emotional when she left and that she wasn't sure if she was going to return, although she is supposed to testify at a later date.

I wasn't able to get any more details but if the Milgaard family does not wholeheartedly support this inquiry, it will have been for naught.

Sigrid Mac

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