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Habeas petition update

Today marks 9 years of incarceration in Jesse Brooks’ wrongful conviction case.
Today marks 9 years of incarceration in Jesse Brooks’ wrongful conviction case.

Judge Richard McNamara has denied the prosecution’s request to dismiss Jesse Brooks’ habeas corpus petition. Prosecutors claimed the petition for a new trial should not be granted according to a legal concept called res judicata (to litigate again) but the judge ruled February 16, 2017 that res judicata does not apply.

Jesse’s conviction was based entirely on the testimony of cooperating witnesses’ hearsay and improper appeals to class bias. There was no confession in this case nor was there any forensic evidence that linked Jesse Brooks to the murder, which occurred while he was thousands of miles away from the scene. His petition for habeas corpus relief alleges that his trial attorneys failed to properly impeach these informants, failed to object to hearsay and failed to object to improper appeals to class bias.

The law recognizes the simple reality that any witness —prosecution or defense— whose testimony was secured with something of value has been bribed and thus untrustworthy.


MICHAEL BENTON Benton admitted that he and Joseph Vrooman were the two men who physically killed Jack Reid. He also admitted that there was no plan when he went “crazy” according to Vrooman and picked up a hammer striking Jack Reid’s head 3 times. He confessed to police that he was at the height of his IV crack cocaine drug/alcohol addiction, “jonesing for a fix ” and irrational at the time. His mother stated in a recorded jail call that he should take Jesse down but Benton told her that it wasn't Jesse that got him involved. JOSEPH VROOMAN Vrooman testified at trial that Jesse Brooks was his “leverage” to a lighter sentence. He initially told police that Jesse had nothing to do with the murder but changed his testimony during negotiations. In recorded jail calls to family he said that “if they don’t think it’s worth anything – then I’m in big trouble” and “the State doesn’t give a f**k about the truth.” Vrooman also avoided the death penalty in exchange for his testimony against Jesse Brooks and instead plead to conspiracy. He wrote family members saying he expects to only serve 11.8 years.

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