As 2018 draws to a conclusion, it is often customary to look back and examine the year in review. For Jesse, it has been a year of raised hopes and bitter disappointments.
Much of the year had been spent in preparation for his hearing in September, when Jesse’s lawyer Donna Brown presented evidence to Judge Richard McNamara that the prosecutors unfairly used wealth bias to prejudice the jury against Jesse, including more than 50 references to wealth during Jesse’s trial. On October 17, 2018 Jesse’s attorney Donna Brown filed a Discretionary Appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court after Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara denied Jesse’s two year Habeas battle for a hearing to present evidence of Ineffective Counsel.
The prosecutor Elizabeth Woodcock entirely and wholly mislead the judge, telling him that it was not their theme nor was there any mention of wealth in either the opening or closing statements at trial. In addition, Jesse’s lawyer argued during that hearing that impermissible hearsay testimony by incentivized witnesses had been unfairly allowed into evidence and used against Jesse at trial and that Jesse’s trial attorneys were ineffective for failing to object. In a devastating blow, the judge ruled that the unsubstantiated hearsay statements were in fact a violation of the Rules of Evidence but ruled they constituted harmless error because of other “overwhelming evidence” against Jesse during trial aside from the hearsay evidence.
The only evidence presented against Jesse was the testimony of incentivized witnesses and the actual perpetrators who had motivation to lie. For example, Joseph Vrooman gave an extraordinarily detailed account of a June 16th, 2005 conspiracy bedroom meeting that never took place. Prosecutors and Jesse’s trial attorneys withheld the exculpatory evidence of proof that Jesse did not and could not have been at any meeting. That fictitious meeting was the cornerstone of the State’s case against Jesse.
Tragically for Jesse, Judge McNamara denied Jesse’s Motion to Reconsider his Ineffective Counsel claim and denied a motion for an evidentiary hearing.
Then in October, in an attempt to correct this injustice, Jesse’s lawyer Donna Brown filed a Discretionary Appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court after Judge Richard McNamara denied Jesse’s two-year Habeas battle for a hearing to present evidence of Ineffective Counsel. However, in November, yet again, Jesse’s hopes were dashed as the New Hampshire Supreme Court declined to accept a request for a discretionary appeal with no explanation offered.
Jesse has one year to file a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. In the meantime, he is battling to get medical care for his failed back and degenerative spinal condition.
In spite of this, Jesse is trying hard to keep his hopes alive for the day he receives justice. This month, Jesse Brooks turned 42 in prison, marking one more year that he has been separated from his family and friends for a crime he didn’t commit.
As 2018 ends and 2019 appears on the horizon, we hope this is the year that justice arrives.