DATE: March 31, 2021
TO: Whom This May Concern
FROM: Shun Terrell Howell, aka COACH ACTSHUN TERRELL,
RE: Wrongful Conviction of SHUN TERRELL HOWELL
L.C. Case No. 13-003793-01-FH:
Issues at hand:
I. Insufficiency of Evidence;
II. Official Misconduct;
III. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, inadequate legal defense (both retained and court-appointed);
IV. Prosecutor’s failure to comply with discovery order;
V. OIC failed to investigate, showed gross negligence; committed perjury;
VI. Verdict against great weight of evidence
VII. Relief sought
Defendant – Shun Terrell Howell, aka Coach Actshun Terrell;
Victim – Karen Patrick;
Date of Crime – March 26, 2013;
Location – Cass Tech High School, 2501 2nd Ave Detroit, MI 48201;
Police OIC – Jefferey Manson;
Charges – 2 counts CSC IV;
Sentence – Life on SORA;
Karan Patrick – Victim;
Dominic Jackson – Witness/Boyfriend of victim;
Jordan Morgan – Witness/Best friend of victim;
Nicholas Pettway – Witness/Best friend of boyfriend of victim;
Samuel Brown – Witness/Best friend of boyfriend of victim;
Monica Moore –Security officer of school;
Jeffery Manson – Detective in Charge;
Angelo Murphy – Computer/video tech Cass Tech;
Lisa Philips – Principal;
Facts of The Case
On March 26, 2013, at approximately 10:00 am, Mr. Howell, who was an assistant high school football coach and who also worked as a lunch aid during the day, received a cell phone call from one of his partner coaches who also worked as a lunch-aid. He was requested to come to the lunch room because someone was throwing chili-laced crackers. Mr. Howell who was dressed in an all-white button-down shirt was reluctant to go to the lunchroom, which was as big as a college commons area. At any given time, the area would be occupied by at least 400 students and faculty. Mr. Howell was regarded as the enforcer with kids, as they respected him as an authority figure. At Approximately 10:05 am, the lunch aid coach called again and insisted that he needed Mr. Howell’s assistance. Mr. Howell arrived in the lunchroom at approximately 10:13 am. He proceeded to speak with the other coach to come up with a game plan to see which table was throwing the crackers. Once they narrowed the direction and location in which the flying food was coming from, SPLATTT!!!!!
Mr. Howell took a direct hit in the chest and chili splattered all over his white shirt. He made a bee line directly to the culprit, Dominick Jackson. The kid immediately jumped up and apologized. Mr. Howell asked the student was it intentional, scolded him, and then unemotionally walked away at approximately 10:47 am, not saying a word or even looking upset. He went to clean off his shirt and resumed his day. He was not in the lunchroom during the end of the period which is at 11:15 am. At approximately 1:30 pm, Mr. Howell was called to the office by principal Ms. Phillips. She boldly instructed him to sit down without any explanation as to what was going on. At approximately 2:05 pm, security guard Monica Moore came into the room with DPD detectives and put handcuffs on Mr. Howell. As they were doing so, security guard Monica Moore whispered in Mr. Howell’s ear she didn’t believe what was being relayed to her. As Mr. Howell was being handcuffed, no one ever read him his Miranda Rights.
DPS security took Mr. Howell to the Security room where he noticed that there were video monitors that recorded security video footage throughout the school. Mr. Howell asked the security officer in the room how the cameras worked. The security officer showed him that they have live feeds only but can see every inch inside and outside of the school’s campus. Security stated that the DPS main office has the recorded footage. Not once did anyone tell Mr. Howell what was going on. More police came and still, no Miranda Rights were ever read. The security officer and the police noticed how the children and staff were affected by Mr. Howell being arrested so, they decided not to embarrass him. They put a coat over him and the handcuffs and walked him out the back door. He wasn’t allowed to use the restroom, so he soiled himself in the back of the patrol car. They took him to the 12th precinct but its lockup was full, so Mr. Howell was escorted to the 11th precinct where he was held and interrogated. It wasn’t until the interrogation that he found out who had falsely accused him of unconsented touching of a female student (CSC IV). The kids who were caught throwing crackers.
Before the interrogation was over, Mr. Howell told Det. Manson about the cameras throughout the school and asked Manson to go get the video footage to prove Mr. Howell’s innocence. Det. Manson left Mr. Howell with a card to call. Det. Manson assured Mr. Howell he was going to review the tape that day. Mr. Howell still incarcerated did not understand why he was still locked up. So, Mr. Howell made his one and only phone call to Det. Manson and left a message on the answering service the next day, asking Det. Manson had he in fact reviewed the camera footage. Det. Manson did not.
There are (3) main issues in this case but more issues at hand:
- Whether there was force and coercion with sexual intent
- The fact the DPD did not investigate and allowed video evidence to be destroyed.
- Insufficiency of evidence
I. Evidence was Insufficient to convict defendant:
a. The standard of review on the sufficiency of the evidence is whether the court committed an error, People v Thomas, 438 Mich 448 (1991), whether each element the prosecutor was required to prove for conviction was supported by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In Re Winship, 397 US 358; 90 S Ct 1068, 25 L. Ed 2d 363 (1970). Mr. Howell was charged with two counts of CSC IV. There was video proof that he did not commit the herein crime. A school security officer viewed the video footage and testified that the video showed that no crime occurred and was not guilty of any crime. Mr. Howellhas always maintained his innocence. Even if the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, there were no facts presented of sexual force or coercion as required by statute. MCL 750.520e(1)(b); (People v Patterson, 428 Mich 502, 1987)
b. Moreover, the above-referenced Security Officer wrote a letter to the prosecutor confirming that she reviewed the video footage and it showed Mr. Howell did nothing wrong.
c. There was also a 6th & 14thAmendment constitutional violation where the trial judge ordered Mr. Howell to turn his back to the jury and the witnesses throughout the whole trial. The Sixth Amendment provides that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him.”
II. Official Misconduct (Mishandling of Exculpatory evidence)
a. No one from Detroit Police Department did anything to “Preserve” the video evidence. The officer in charge (OIC) of the case, Jeffrey Manson, was made aware of video evidence on the date of the alleged incident when he took Mr. Howell’s statement. (Exhibit 30 lines 4-7). OIC Manson never viewed the video nor preserved it as was his duty to do so. (Exhibit 9 lines 19-25; exhibit 10 lines 1-4; exhibit 13 lines 10-14). Manson’s failure to preserve the video violated Brady. The Supreme Court in Brady v Maryland 1963 stated“…The Court clarified that “[t]he government is held responsible for evidence within its control, even evidence unknown to the prosecution, without regard to the prosecution’s good or bad faith.” Id. “…to disclose evidence favorable to the defense, turns on the cumulative effect of all such evidence suppressed by the government, and we hold that the prosecutor remains responsible for gauging that effect regardless of any failure by the police to bring favorable evidence to the prosecutor’s attention. Because the net effect of the evidence withheld in this case raises a reasonable probability that its disclosure would have produced a different result,…” Kyles v Whitley, 115 S.Ct 1555 (1995).
b. Mr. Howell made repeated requests for a polygraph test. From the onset of this case, even before the preliminary examination Mr. Howell adamantly demanded a polygraph, but was denied, and said the denial was redacted from the record. (Exhibit 11)
III. Ineffective assistance of Counsel (both retained and court-appointed):
(Retained, inadequate legal defense)
a. Force and coercion with sexual intent are essential elements of CSC IV. Neither existed in this case. (People v Patterson, 428 Mich 502, 1987). The absence of these elements dictates that this conviction is void.
b. Defense counsel did not push for a polygraph as the defendant requested. (see above)
c. Mr. Howell was well-liked throughout the school and had many positive interactions with the students. The defense counsel did not call any character witnesses.
d.Defense counsel did object to the unavailability of the exculpatory video, but did not push to get the video produced –which everyone knew existed!
(Court-appointed Appellate Attorney)
a. Failed to communicate timely when the appeal was denied by the Court of Appeals (that Mr. Howell only had 56 days to appeal the denial). Appellate counsel received the COA denial on February 24, 2015, but did not alert Mr. Howell until her letter on April 11, 2015. Mr. Howell was not able to effectively put a case together before the Michigan Supreme Court because he only had 4-5 days out of 56.
IV. Non-compliance of discovery order
a. Discovery issues brought up in the preliminary exam were not handled properly. The judge could have made a ruling before the trial requiring the production of the videotape. (see trial transcripts. (Exhibits 1 and 2 pg. 6 (lines 10-25)); Gillespie v Majestic Transport Inc, (2017); Robin Canha v Peter W. Gubellini (2014).
V. OIC Failure to investigate, showed gross negligence, failed to provide discovery and perjured himself on stand
a. According to the OIC statement during the trial (Exhibits #5–#10; Exhibits #24-29), he never investigated by questioning witnesses or complainant, nor did he go to the scene of the alleged incident to properly investigate.
b. Gross negligence according to MCL 691.1407 (7)(8)(a); Jerome Samuel v. Micheal Crum (2018)
c. OIC perjured himself on the stand. DPS security officer Monica Moore stated she left the school on her own accord right after taking statements from the students on the same day to review video footage. (Exhibit #20 lines 5-20). OIC stated he sent Ms. Moore to view footage days later. (Exhibit #18 lines 4-9; Exhibit #19 lines 1-5). These were just a few of the many perjuries the OIC made while under oath on the stand.
VI.Verdict against great weight of evidence
a. The jury’s verdict was against the great weight of the evidence. (Terry v Wheeler, 2016; Scott v Parnell, 2000; Jawad v Granade, 1986)
The conviction itself is a constitutional violation. The cumulative effect of all these violations caused this wrongful conviction and deprived Mr. Howell of his rights to equal protection under the law and due process. His conviction should be immediately vacated, for, at a minimum, insufficiency of evidence where there was no proof of force or coercion with sexual intent. Additionally, the mishandling of exculpatory evidence and the above issues of fact has resulted in a miscarriage of justice. Mr. Howell has maintained his innocence throughout and his conviction should be vacated.